The Lead

Jan 2017, when grandson got J&K Upper House nod for Maharaja holiday

Ajatshatru Singh, grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh

Jammu: It took inordinately long for this historical correction, but a time had to come for everyone to realise what Maharaja Hari Singh meant not only to Jammu and Kashmir but the whole of India, says his grandson Ajatshatru Singh in his first reaction to Jammu and Kashmir administration’s decision of declaring holiday in honour of last monarch.

Emerging from a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor, late Thursday evening, a group of BJP leaders posed outside the gates of Raj Bhawan in Jammu to announce that the government has conceded to ‘their demand’ of official holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth anniversary. Over the past few weeks, a group called Yuva Rajput Sabha had intensified agitation for this demand.

It was, however, in 2017 when the need for appropriate honour to Maharaja Hari Singh was acknowledged with his grandson Ajatshatru Singh bringing a Private Member’s Resolution in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council.

The resolution passed unanimously by the Upper House of Jammu and Kashmir legislature on January 24, 2017, over declaring state holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Sigh.

Minister from the Peoples Democratic Party and Leader in the Upper House, Naeem Akhtar pleaded with Ajatshatru, on government’s behalf, to withdraw the resolution even as he promised to consider the demand. Ajatshatru was also personally reached out by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, but he pressed for the Resolution.

Normally members withdraw resolutions after reply from the government but in this case, Ajatshatru Singh refused to withdraw and pressed for discussion and voting.

Several legislators from PDP and BJP praised the administration of Late Maharaja Hari Singh as the House passed the resolution. This proved to be pivotal day in resurrecting memory of Maharaja Hari Singh.

Also Read: Sheikh scrapped Maharaja holiday; Here is how Omar, Mufti, Azad revived Hari Singh’s memory

Soon after the passing of Resolution in the Legislative Council, its details were sent to the Secretary General Administrative Department. Ajatshatru continued to agitate at all forums for getting the Mahataja’s memory honoured.

Ajatshatru Singh, son of Dr Karan Singh, joined the mainstream politics at young age of 26 when he won Assembly election from Nagrota constituency on the outskirts of Jammu city and was subsequently appointed Minister in Farooq Abdullah’s cabinet.

Ajatshatru had later joined BJP in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while his brother Vikramaditya Singh was with the Peoples Democratic Party.

The Jammu and Kashmir BJP on Thursday said Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has agreed its demand to declare the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh on September 23 as a public holiday in the Union Territory.

Holiday, finally

“The Lieutenant Governor has announced holiday on the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh,” senior BJP leaders told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan here.

He said a joint delegation met Sinha to press for the long pending demand of the people to declare holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

“I congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their aspiration and feelings have been addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji and LG Manoj Sinha ji. They gave approval to the demand,” BJP leader Devender Rana said.

He said a notification in this regard will be issued before September 23.

Former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh said the demand raised by Dogras for the past 72 years has been addressed.

“It is a tribute to Maharaja who did accession of J-K with India and was a great reformer and a visionary king,” he said.

Earlier, Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Hari Singh, had endorsed the demand of the locals to declare September 23 a public holiday.


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