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International Journal of Trend in Scientific 
Research and Development (IJTSRD) 
International Open Access Journal 

ISSN No: 2456 - 6470 | | Volume -1 | Issue - 6 



Dogra Rule: State of Jammu and Kashmir (1846-1952) 

Dr. Syed Damsaz Ali Andrabi 

College Teacher, History, Department of Higher Education, J&K 


The occupation of Kashmir by Gulab Singh on 1846, 
was a landmark in the socio-religious and cultural 
history. As for the first time the state of Jammu and 
Kashmir is having its own identity provided by the 
treaty of Amritsar. But the intervention of foreign 
elements as British proved very harmful for 
Kashmiris. Nodoubt different developmental 
measures were taken, but actually they were taken to 
fulfill their own pockets. Kashmir as such was very 
rich in resources but every time were exploited by 
them for their personal benefits. Harsh taxation policy 
resulted in the migration of artisans towards other 
areas. Each and every industry was at first instance 
patronized but later on was put under the burden of 
illegal taxes. The revenue earned activities of arts and 
crafts for which Kashmir valley was famous were 
completely ruined. Skilled section cut their fingers 
and thumbs in order to have disability. Whatever was 
earned was taken forcibly and were left with the 
mercy of God. People raised their voice against the 
atrocities of Dogras that resulted in mascare of 

Keywords: Occupation, Illiteracy, Harsh Taxation, 


The Jammu and Kashmir state came in to existence in 
1846, under the treaty of Amritsar signed between the 
Maharaja Gulab Singh on the one hand and the British 
Government on the other side, after the first Anglo- 
Sikh war of, 1845-46,and Maharaja Gulab Singh 1 was 
nominated as its first ruler. On the eve of, 1846 
Kashmir, Jammu as well as Ladakh were under the 
control of Lahore Darbar of Sikh Kingdom ,while as 

Kashmir was ruled by a Subedar deputed by the 
Lahore Darbar. Jammu and Ladakh were under a 
Jammu Dogra, Gulab Singh, who too was under the 
dominance of Lahore Darbar. The three distinctive 
geographical, cultural and political entities namely 
Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh were merged into 
one political entity for the first time in history. The 
territories of the state had constituted a part of the 
Sikh Kingdom and being ruled by different dynasties 
at different time’s .It is only the valley of Kashmir 
which has retained the position of an empire the 
position it enjoyed for centuries together. On the 
contrary Jammu and Ladakh regions were fragmented 
into petty states, each under a local potentate. 

The colonial expansion policy had a direct bearing on 
the political situation of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. 
The Britishers had a covetous eye on Punjab which 
led Anglo-Sikh wars. Since Gulab Singh was a very 
influential member of Lahore darbar. The Britishers in 
a bit to create defection among the Sikh generals to 
ensure their success and succeeded in wooing in 
Gulab Singh to their side. This proved fatal for the 
Sikhs and Punjab fell in the hands of the Britishers. At 
the end of the war a treaty known as treaty of Lahore 
was concluded on 9 th March 1846, between the British 
Government and the Darbar of Sikhs at Lahore 2 under 
which Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions were 
snatched away from the Sikhs. On 16 th March 1846 
another treaty commonly known as Treaty of 
Amritsar was concluded. Because the treaty was 
enunciated at Amritsar between the British 
Government and the Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu 
who until the conclusion of the war was a feudatory of 
the Sikhs, by virtue of the aforementioned treaty, 
Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were transferred to 

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Gulab 3 Singh. After the treaty Gulab Singh received 
the legal title over the territories but not their 
possession that the company itself have only, the part 
that he held earlier as a feudatory of Sikh sovereign 
was under his actual control. The rest had to be 
consolidated by Gulab Singh himself. In the process, 
exchange of certain territories was made with the 
mediation of the British government. The British aid 
and assistance was also sought to redeem Kashmir 
from the Sikh Nazim, Sheikh Imamu’d-din, who was 
resisting its occupation. The British intervention put 
an end to this and led to the return of Sikhs from 
Srinagar on 23 October, 1846. Gulab Singh entered 
Kashmir as the first Dogra Maharaja of the state on 
1st November 1846.Contrary to general belief that the 
state was not an independent one, for independence, 
unlike sovereignty, cannot be divided. The various 
articles in the treaty are sufficiently supporting the 
fact that Gulab Singh accepted the supremacy of the 
British government. Nor was it a feudatory, a status to 
which it was reduced later in 1860. Juridically, it was 
a sovereign state and certain restrictions were put on 
its external sovereignty otherwise, it was left 
autonomous. This is what K.M Panikkar, rightly 
conveys when he uses the expression “totally 
independent in its internal affairs”. No control was 
exercised by the British government in the 
administration and no resident was appointed till, 
1885. In fact the political position in the Punjab has 
not made any such intervention impossible at that 
crucial juncture. 

The state was not a personnel creation of Gulab Singh 
but was rather the outcome of an agreement between 
him and the representatives of the British East India 
Company. The prospect for such an eventuality was 
first envisaged in the treaty that laid down the terms 
for the conclusion of first Anglo-Sikh 4 war 1845. The 
agreement stipulated the creation of a new state by 
transferring the territories between the River Ravi and 
Indus and makes over for ever independent possession 
to Gulab Singh and his natural male 5 descendents. In 
return Gulab Singh agreed to pay the British 6 
Government 75, lakhs of rupees (Nanak Shahi). The 
momentous decision was to serve the colonial 
interests of the British government. Undoubtly the 
J&K state was strategically a very important state 
considering the un-pending threat of Russia and 
China. But to maintain this state at that crucial 
juncture was very expensive, because of the absence 
of effective means of communication to keep a hold 
over the state. Therefore, Lord Harding found it 

politically unwise and militarily impossible to 
maintain grip on the administrative measures of state 
Jammu and Kashmir 7 . At the same time, he also found 
it necessary to snatch it from the Sikhs 8 to reduce their 
position to a weaker level . There was no local ruling 
family with which any arrangement could be made. In 
fact there had existed none after its annexation by the 
Great Mughals in 1586. It was fully recognized policy 
of the British government then not to have a Muslim 
political power on this side of the Indus 9 . Evidently it 
was the immediate need of the British imperial 
interests in 1846 and not Gulab Singhs perfidy 
towards his masters, as F.M. Hassnain believes 10 , 
which dictated that Kashmir be juxtaposed with its 
adjoining territories to form the new state. Therefore 
the Britishers thought it better to hand over it to a 
loyalist who would rule over the state on their behalf, 
so that two purposes would be simultaneously served. 
One that a buffer state would be created to save the 
British India from the Russian and Chinese 
advancements and secondly they would not have to 
made any investigations of it, as it was not possible 
for them to do it in the then given financial 
conditions. Since Gulab Singh had proved loyal to 
them during their struggle to annex Punjab, it was 
thought better to hand over the state to him. At the 
time of treaty of Amritsar the Britishers had some 
misunderstanding regarding Russian and Chinese 
advancements and as well as economic potential of 
the state. They had probably not realised the much 
needed control over the state in relation to Russian 
and Chinese forward policy. Because after a short 
time we find them on keeping a control over the 
Kashmir when Russia was making rapid advances in 
Central Asia. From the statements of British 
diplomats and opinion makers it seems that they had 
realised the folly of surrendering the state to Gulab 
Singh immediately after the signing of treaty. That is 
why they subsequently, compelled the Maharaja to 
accept the British person as an officer on special duty 
in Kashmir, actually an agent at Gilgit and 
subsequently in 1885, they appointed a British 
Resident. Another important reason which compelled 
the British government to bestow the emblem of 
sovereignty on Gulab Singh was primarily to weaken 
the Sikhs by driving a permanent wedge between 
them and the Dogra Rajput 11 of the hills. A policy that 
had been toyed with by the British 12 decision makers 
earlier. This had now become an urgent necessity 
because the Sikh 13 army though defeated in the war 
had proved itself too strong to be completely beaten 

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and the British found it difficult to annex Punjab 

Provisions of the Treaty 

The British Government has demanded from the 
Lahore, as indemnification for the war expenses. The 
payment of one and a half crore of rupees and the 
Lahore government being unable to pay the whole of 
sum at this time, or to give security satisfactory to the 
British government for its eventual payment. The 
Maharaja cedes to the Company in perpetual 
sovereignty, as equivalent for one crore of rupees, all 
his forts, territories, rights and interests, which are 
situated between the rivers Beas and Indus, including 
the provinces of Kashmir and Hazara. In 
consideration of the services rendered by Raja Gulab 
Singh of Jammu to the Lahore state, towards 
procuring the restoration of the relations of amity 
between the Lahore and British government, the 
Maharaja hereby agrees to recognize the independent 
sovereignty of Raja Gulab Singh, in such territories 
and districts in the hills as may be made over to the 
Raja Gulab Singh by separate agreement between him 
and the British Government, with the dependencies, 
thereof, which may have been in the Raja’s 
possession since the time of the late Maharaja 
Kharrak Singh and the British Government, in 
consideration of the good conduct of Raja Gulab 
Singh, also agrees to recognize his independence in 
such territories and admit him to the privileges of a 
separate treaty with the British government. 

Article: i, The British Government transfers and 
makes over, forever in independent possession, to 
Maharaja Gulab Singh and heir males of his body, all 
the hilly or mountainous country, with its 
dependencies situated to the Eastward of the river, 
Indus and Westward of the river Ravi, including 
Chamba and excluding Lahol, being part of the 
territories ceded to the British government by the 
Lahore Darbar. 

Article: ii, The Eastern boundary of the tract 
transferred by the foregoing Article to Maharaja 
Gulab Singh shall be laid down by commissioners 
appointed by the British government and Maharaja 
Gulab Singh respectively for that purpose and shall be 
defined in a separate engagement after survey. 

Article: iii, In consideration of the transfer made to 
him and his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing 
Articles, Maharaja Gulab Singh will pay to the British 
Government the sum of seventy five lakhs of rupees 

(Nanakshahi), fifty Lakhs to be paid on ratification of 
this treaty and twenty-five lakhs on or before the 1st 
October of the current year, 1846 A.D. 

Article: iv, The limits of the territories of Maharaja 
Gulab Singh shall not be at any time changed without 
the concurrence of the British Government. 

Article: v, Maharaja Gulab Singh will refer to the 
arbitration of the British government any disputes or 
questions that may arise between him and the 
government of the Lahore or any other neighbouring 
state and will abide by the decision of the British 

Article: vi, Maharaja Gulab Singh engages for himself 
and his heirs to join with the whole of his military 
forces, the British troops when employed in the hills 
or in the territories adjoining his possessions. 

Article: vii, Maharaja Gulab Singh engages never to 
take or retain in his service neither any British subject 
nor the subject of any European or American state 
without the consent of the British government. 

Article: viii, Maharaja Gulab Singh engages to 
respect, in regard to the territory transferred to him, 
the provisions of the Articles, v, vi, vii, of the separate 
engagement between the British government and the 
Lahore Darbar, dated, 11th March, 1846 A.D. 

Article: ix, The British government will give its aid to 
Maharaja Gulab Singh in protecting his territories 
from external enemies. 

Article: x, Maharaja Gulab Singh acknowledges the 
supremacy of the British government and will in 
token of such supremacy present annually to the 
British government one horse, twelve perfect shawl 
goats of approved breed (six male and six female) and 
three pairs of Kashmiri Shawls. 

This treaty 14 consisting of the above articles has been 
this day settled by Frederic Currie Esq. and Brevet- 
Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under the 
directions of the Right Honourable Sir Henry 
Harding, and by Maharaja Gulab Singh in person and 
the treaty has been this day ratified by the seal of the 
Right Honourable Sir Henry Harding, G.C.B., 
Governor General, done at Amritsar this sixteenth day 
of March in the year, 1846.A.D, corresponding with 
the seventeenth day Rabi-ul-Awwal 1264 Hijri. 

State of Jammu and Kashmir was having the separate 
identity of its own. Still the overall position of 

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Kashmiris under Dogras remained very hostile. No 
doubt some developmental measures were taken to 
benefit the residents by providing them security 
through different acts like the state subject and 
various others. After the death of Gulab Singh in, 
1857, the later Dogra rulers showed positive attitude 
towards developments. Ranbir Singh, 1857- 
1885,Pratap Singh, 1885-1925,Hari Singh, 1925-1949, 
and Karan Singh, 1949-1952,Karan Singh as Sadari 
Riyasat, 1952-1965, and as governor, 1965-67.No 
doubt number of initiatives were taken to develop the 
economy of state and to connect Kashmir with other 
parts through different routes like, Banihal cart road, 
Jehlum valley cart road, Zojilla pass etc. Health and 
educational facilities were provided to people, so that 
they could think in terms of change. But on other side 
number of illegal taxes were imposed to reduce their 
position like medieval" Balhars". The skilled workers 
of famous and revenue earned industries Shawl and 
Silk were taxed severely. Even a Shawl weaver earns 
only four paisa in a day. While as the authorities used 
to exploit them as much they could. With the result 
they lost interest in their art that resulted in the 
downfall of art and craft centers. Besides the legalized 
tax on their crafts they have to pay other taxes also. 
Keeping in view their problems they cut their thumbs 
and fingers in order to have disability. They also 
drowned into different streams of Zaldagar Srinagar 
on, 1865.One can realize the cruelity of Dogra rulers 
through the imposition of taxes like, Revenue tax as 
traki, (tax on rice), shaqdar tax(grain watchers), 
malikana tax (paid to Maharaja as owner of land), 
patwari tax (related with land records), nazrana, 
rasum, mandri/ashgal, (construction and maintenance 
of temples),sathrashahi (marriage tax), rassudar(house 
tax), tax on graves (grave digger), zari chopan(tax on 
sheeps), tax on chinars (chinar leaves), plough tax, 
zari meva(fruit tax), rassdart (annual tax on house), 
horse tax, rasum(village exactions),shawl tax (tax on 
weavers), silk tax(tax on workers), tax on wine 
,beggar (forced labour) and others etc. The taxation 
was so heavy that more than ninety percent of total 
income was snatched by Dogra 15 rulers only less than 
ten percent was left with them. The people managed 
to save their life with the help of fruits. All was taxed, 
looks like that only air was left without taxation. 

Ultimately the people of state remained silent just the 
cattles. As they were sold for a petty amount.As stated 
by G.M.D.Sufi, "each Kashmiri was thus sold for Rs.7 
(seven) by a handful of British officials to Gulab 

Their fields,their crops,their streams, 

Even the peasants in the vale 
They sold,they sold all ,alas! 

How cheap was the sale! 

And thus the Kashmiri became,a stranger in his own 

To see and to understand the character of people 
especially of Kashmiris, it is very very difficult. On 
one side they will look for better profitable options 
and on another side they raise their voice against the 
administration. Actually their desires are limitless, 
rather uncontrolled and without proper guidance. The 
leaders have never tried to work for the benefit of 
commoners irrespective of faith. The role of leader is 
actually just like the head of family. Every time the 
masses have been deceived and the people too are 
equally responsible for having the tendency of 
resistance and that silence has ultimately shown it's 


On the whole every one suffered a lot under the Dogra 
rule. With the result people raised their voices against 
the mismanagement that resulted in the emergence of 
social, political and religious movements with an aim 
to liberate themselves from onslaughts of Dogras. 


1) U.K.Zutshi, Emergence of Political Awakening in 
Kashmir, Ramesh Jain Publications New Delhi 
1986, P.19. 

2) All about Sikhs The Lahore Treaty of 1846. ‘or’ 
The British Library, India Office Records. 

3) Bawa Satinder Singh, The Jammu Fox: A 
Biography of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir, 

4) Charles Viscount Harding, Viscount Harding, 
Oxford, 1891, p.133. 

5) F.M. Hassnain, British Policy Towards Kashmir, 


6) Khushwant Singh and Sarjit Singh Bal, British 
Policy Towards the Punjab (Calcutta, 1971), p.80. 

7) Bi kr ama Jit Hasrat, Anglo-Sikh Relations, 1799- 
1849: A Reapraisal of the rise and Fall of the 
Sikhs, Hoshiarpur, 1968, pp.247-48. 

8) F.M.Hassnain,British policy towards 

Kashmir, 1974,pp. 140-41. 

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International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development (IJTSRD) ISSN: 2456-6470 

9) Administration reports of the Jammu and Kashmir 

10) Mohammad din Fouq, Tarikhi Aqwami 
Kashmir, 1978.pp.232-33. 

11) Mohammad Saleem Khan,Medieval Kashmir, 
Srinagar, 2006, pp. 232-33. 

12) G. M.D. Sufi,Islamic Culture in 


13) G. M.D.Sufi, Kashir being a History of Kashmir, 
vol,ii, Srinagar, pp.766-67. 

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