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HomeNewsDaily Nuggets on the Art.370 legacy-2

Daily Nuggets on the Art.370 legacy-2

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article 370

By Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan

It is Aug 2,2023. The constitution bench proceedings of the Suoreme Court of India are set to begin. The challenge is to the legality of the Aug,2019 Presidential Order under Art.370(3). The process and procedure adopted are under the scanner. No matter how well informed one may be , we cannot place our hands on the core issue, without beginning with, where we must-Treaty of Amritsar,1846 signed by the then Dogra Maharajah, Gulab Singh. It is umbilically tied to how Art.370 came to be and the purpose abd intendment behind it.

Let us get to know the Dogras first. Shall we?

The Dogra dynasty began in the 1840s with the rise of Gulab Singh, a Dogra Rajput who served as a general in the Sikh Empire. After the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, the British defeated the Sikhs and took control of much of their territory. Gulab Singh saw an opportunity to expand his own power, and he negotiated with the British to purchase the Kashmir Valley. The Treaty of Amritsar, which was signed in 1846, gave Gulab Singh control of Kashmir in exchange for a payment of 7.5 million rupees.

Gulab Singh was a shrewd and capable ruler, and he quickly consolidated his power in Kashmir. He built up the army, improved the infrastructure, and promoted trade. He also introduced a number of reforms, including the establishment of a court system and the introduction of a uniform system of taxation.

Gulab Singh’s son, Ranbir Singh, succeeded him in 1857. Ranbir Singh continued his father’s policies, and he further expanded the Dogra kingdom. He also built a number of important public works projects, including the Jammu Tawi Canal and the Banihal Tunnel.

The Dogra dynasty ruled Kashmir until 1947, when it was partitioned into two parts: Jammu and Kashmir, which joined India, and the Northern Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan, which joined Pakistan.

The following are some of the key events that led to the rise of the Dogra dynasty in the 1840s:

A. The First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846): The British defeated the Sikhs and took control of much of their territory.

B. The Treaty of Amritsar (1846): Gulab Singh purchased Kashmir from the British in exchange for a payment of 7.5 million rupees.

C. The rule of Gulab Singh (1846-1857): Gulab Singh was a shrewd and capable ruler who consolidated his power in Kashmir and introduced a number of reforms.

C. The rule of Ranbir Singh (1857-1885): Ranbir Singh continued his father’s policies and further expanded the Dogra kingdom.

The Dogra dynasty was able to buy territory to add to Kashmir from Governor Hardinge because the British were eager to get rid of the responsibility of governing Kashmir. They were also willing to sell Kashmir to Gulab Singh because they believed  that he would be a stable and able leader.

Even if the Chief Justice of India Justice D Y Chandrachud may have openly said that the court will have nothing to do with the history of where it all began and where it was on date of promulgation and thereinafter and  the court was confined to the ‘constitutionality’ of the Act, take it from me, no one, just no one, on either side, can argue with content and conviction, without alluding to the Dogra dynasty of Kashmir, whose Hari Singh, ( the congressman Karan Singh cones in this lineage), it was, who signed  the critical  Instrument of Ascension of Kashmir in 26th Oct,1947. Watch this space for more.

(Author of Constitution & its Making/Wirking, OakBtidge- is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)


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