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Gulab Singh

Gulab Singh began as a soldier under Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1792-1839) and rose to a position of prominence in the latter's court. After signing the Treaty of Amritsar he bought the state of Jammu and Kashmir for Rs 75 lakh.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2002 15:49 IST
PTI

Gulab Singh began as a soldier under Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1792-1839) and rose to a position of prominence in the latter's court. He forged an alliance with the British and defeated Sikh groups vying for power after Ranjit Singh's death.

After signing the Treaty of Amritsar he bought the state of Jammu and Kashmir for Rs 75 lakh. For the British it was a sound arrangement as they needed a friendly power by which the Northwest frontier could be defended against the Afghans. Earlier, Punjab was a useful buffer state between the Afghans and the British. But now it had turned against the British themselves, and could not be depended upon in the future.

The solution: Some territory was taken away from the Darbar vide the Treaty of Lahore of March 9, 1846 and out of it was created the modern state of Jammu and Kashmir under Gulab Singh who would given the title of Maharaja as per the Treaty of Amritsar between the East India Company and Gulab Singh on March 16, 1846. The region of Jammu, Kashmir, Laddakh and Baltistan were handed over to Gulab Singh and the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir came into existence.

Maharaja Gulab Singh's territories occupied an exceedingly important position in the political geography of undivided India. These were bounded by several hundred kilometres on the north by the Chinese and Russian Turkistan and on the east by independent Tibet, while on the south and west of them lay Punjab and the Northwestern Frontier Province of India respectively. The state itself was, however, composed of three distinct divisions culturally and physio-graphically - the two provinces of Jammu and Kashmir and the frontier areas of Ladakh and Gilgit.

British interest in Kashmir had been demarcated since early times. It was an important outpost to Central Asia. It allowed them to monitor the happenings in Soviet Russia. In later years too, during the reign of Hari Singh, the British got the Gilgit agency leased and only surrendered it to Pakistan only in 1947.
Gulab Singh's rule improved the condition of the people fairly. He used harsh methods to bring about peace and order but laid the foundation for a strong rule in the state.

Gulab Singh died in Srinagar in 1857