Towards the end of April 1949, Maharaja Hari Singh, his wife, son, some advisers, aides and staff checked into Imperial Hotel in Delhi where they had gone in Sardar Patel’s invitation. Patel invited Hari Singh and his family members over dinner where he clearly asked Maharaja to stay away from Jammu and Kashmir for an indefinite period. The Maharaja was left shocked and so was his wife. Next morning Prime Minister Nehru invited Karan Singh over breakfast at his place and encouraged him to take up the role of Regent in absence of his father.
Karan had long idolised Nehru and accepted his suggestion immediately. Hari Singh tried hard to have Patel’s decision on his forcible exile reversed but to no avail. Even Karan Singh, by his own admission, didn’t support him. The family spent 50 days in Delhi and Dehradun but nothing could change the future Patel and Nehru had decided for them. Finally, on the morning of June 20, Hari Singh, his wife and son left Delhi in three different directions to spent rest of their lives. In this episode, I bring to you the minutest details of these days, the game Nehru and Patel played and the internal travails of the royal Dogra family of Jammu and Kashmir.