The Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir descends from Raja Suraj Dev, who ousted the Bajar Dhar dynasty and established himself as ruler of Jammu ca. 850 AD. The early rulers allied themselves with the Hindu Shahi rulers of Kabul. Raja Brij Dev, who succeeded his father in 1165, became a vassal of Shahab ud-din Muhammad Ghori. The state was invaded and plundered by Timur during his advance on Delhi in 1399, the Raja being forced to convert to Islam. Thereafter, the rulers of Jammu remained vassals of the Mughals until the early eighteenth century. They remained independent for the remainder of the century, but fell before the armies of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab in 1808. The defeated Raja remained in post as a figurehead for a few years. Deposed in 1816, he removed his family to British territory, where they eventually received the Akhrota estate. After an interregnum of four years, Jammu was conferred on a junior branch of the family, in the person of Gulab Singh. The latter greatly impressed the Sikhs during the defence of Jammu in 1808, entered the service, and rose to high rank in the army. Several members of his family served the Sikh Sher-i-Punjab as Chief Minister. However, the increasingly bloodthirsty turn of events at the Lahore court resulted in the death of several relatives. His brother, nephew and two elder sons were lost within a period of 15 months in 1843 and 1844. A portion of the Sikh army then invaded his territories, his estates ransacked or confiscated. Having antagonised their greatest vassal, the Sikhs had laid the foundations for their own destruction. Gulab Singh succeeded through diplomatic skill and force of arms to install himself as Chief Minister at Lahore. In that capacity, he negotiated and concluded the Treaty of Amritsar between the Sikh State and the HEIC. The reward for his exertions being the province of Kashmir, now converted into a hereditary principality conjoined to his family's hereditary possession of Jammu. On the withdrawal of British sovereignty over the sub-continent in August 1947, the princely states were encouraged to accede to either one of the new dominions, India or Pakistan. The Hindu Dogra Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, ruling over a largely Muslim population, hesitated to throw in his lot with either. However, on the 22nd of October 1947 large numbers of heavily armed Muslim tribesmen began an armed insurrection. This attracted considerable unofficial help, as well as, tacit official assistance from Pakistan. The Jammu and Kashmir army was easily overwhelmed, forcing the Maharaja to seek military assistance from India. The price for the latter was accession to the Dominion of India on the 26th of October. Heavy military intervention succeeded in driving out large numbers of the insurgents and regaining territory by March 1948. However, the Pakistani army intervened in May. The vale of earthly paradise has been effectively partitioned between the two countries ever since.


The ruling prince: Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri (personal name) Singhji Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, with the style of His Highness.
The Consort of the ruling prince: Maharani (personal name) Devi Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Maharaj Kumar Shri Yuvaraj (personal name) Singhji Bahadur.
The younger sons of the ruling prince: Maharaj Kumar Shri (personal name) Singh Sahib.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Maharaj Kumari Shri (personal name) Devi Sahiba.
Other male descendants of rulers, in the male line: Mian (personal name) Singh Sahib.

The Public Service Medal: instituted by by Maharaja Shri Ranbir Singh and awarded for good conduct, meritorious and long service. Awarded in two class, a silver and a bronze medal.
The Military Medal for Bravery and Victory at Madu Fort (Tamgha Jawaan Mardi Fateh Qila Madoo): instituted by Maharaja Shri Ranbir Singh in 1863 to reward bravery during the conquest of Madu Fort in the Yasin campaign. Awarded in a single class, a circular silver medal.

Public Service Medal (L), Military Medal for Bravery & Victory (C) and Great War Medal 1914-1918 (R)

Sir Pram Ji Sahai Medal of Honour (Sir Pram Ji Sahai Tamgha Bahadri): instituted by Maharaja Shri Ranbir Singh in 1863 to reward brave conduct during the conquest of Mandauri during the conquest of Yasin. Awarded in a single class, an eliptical medalion.
Hunza Nagar Badge: instituted by Maharaja Shri Ranbir Singh in 1891 as a reward for services during the Hunza and Nagar campaign. Awarded in a single class, a bronze rectangular plaque.

Hunza Nagar Badge

Jammu and Kashmir Medal: instituted by Maharaja Shri Pratap Singhji in 1895 to recognise the services of state troops during the Chitral campaign. Awarded in a single class, a kidney shaped bronze medal.

Great War Medal 1914-1918: instituted by Maharaja Shri Pratap Singhji in 1919 to recognise the services of state troops during the Great War in East Africa and the Middle East. Awarded in two classes, a silver medal for officers and bronze for other ranks.
Campaign Medal (Jarin Huschin Bala Malek): no details.

Male primogeniture amongst the descendants of Maharaja Gulab Singh, with the right of adoption by the recognized head of the family on the failure of natural heirs.

Mushir-i-Khas-i-Kaiser-i-Hind: Councillor of the Empress of India.
Rajrajeshwar: prince of princes.
Sardar-i-Riyasat: Constitutional Head of State.
Shriman: the high born.
Sipar-i-Sultanat (i-Inglishia): Shield of the (English) Kingdom.

Bawa Satinder Singh. The Jammu Fox. A Biography of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir 1792-1857. Southern Illinois Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1974.
Prof. Sukhdev Singh Charak. Life and Times of Maharaja Ranbir Singh (1830-1885). Jay Kay Book House, Jammu-Tawi, 1985.
Prof. Sukhdev Singh Charak. Maharaja Ranjitdev and the rise and fall of Jammu Kingdom, from 1700 A.D. to 1820 A.D. The Dogra-Pahari Itihas Kendra, Pathankot, 1971.
Sorabji Jehangir and F.S. Jehangir Taleyarkhan. Princes and Chiefs of India: A Collection of Biographies, with Portraits of the Indian Princes and Chiefs and Brief Historical Surveys of their Territories. 3 volumes. Waterlow and Sons Limited, London, 1903.
Prof. M.L.Kapur (ed.). Maharaja Hari Singh (1895-1961). Har-Anand Publications, New Delhi, 1995.
Revised List of Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages of the Jammu and Kashmir State and the Gilgit Agency. The Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1939.
Karan Singh. Autobiography 1931-1967. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1994.
Mohinder Singh. Raja Ram Singh, the forgotten prince and his times (1861-1899). Gajral Printers, Sanyaj Gandhi Nagar, Jammu, 1990.
G.M.D. Sufi. Kashmir, Being a History of KashmirFrom the Earliest Times to Our Own. 2 Vols. Light & Life Publishers, New Delhi, 1974.

Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
Copyrightę Christopher Buyers
Copyrightę Christopher Buyers
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Copyrightę Christopher Buyers, March 2001 - September 2017