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Maharaja Hari Singh’s birth anniversary celebrated across Jammu

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Jammu: The 128th birth anniversary of last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh was celebrated with enthusiasm across Jammu on Saturday with various political and social groups holding public events to pay rich tributes to the “great social reformer” of his times.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had last year declared the last Dogra ruler’s birth anniversary as a public holiday in response to a long agitation headed by the Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS).

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha paid his tributes to the maharaja and expressed hope that his “legacy continue to guide us towards a brighter future”.

“Humble tributes to Maharaja Hari Singh Ji on his Janm-Jayanti. He was a towering man of ideas & ideals, a harbinger of change, who dedicated his life to welfare of people & made remarkable reforms to uplift society. May his legacy continue to guide us towards a brighter future,” Office of LG J&K wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Ranvijay Singh, the trustee of Dharmarth Trust, founded by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846, visited the life-size statue of Hari Singh near the main Tawi bridge in the heart of the city and celebrated the birth anniversary of his great grandfather with 128 kg laddu.

“I am praying to god to help us tread the path shown by the Maharaja and keep Jammu and Kashmir prosperous,” he said.

The YRS activists, attired in their traditional dress with some carrying swords, took out a huge motor rally from Bantalab to Tawi bridge, covering a distance of over 10 km and garlanded the maharaja’s statue amid chants of “Maharaja Hari Singh Ji Amar Rahe” (Long live Maharaja) and “Jai Duggar Jai Dogra”.

Besides social organisations, the leaders and workers of different political parties, including the BJP, Congress and Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) visited the venue separately and paid floral tributes to the maharaja. They also organised cake-cutting ceremonies amid drum beats.

“Maharaja is a torch-bearer for us and we will continue to follow his path,” Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina said.

Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Vikar Rasool Wani accompanied by other party leaders also paid rich tributes to the maharaja at Tawi bridge and recalled his contributions to the region as a ruler.

Wani said that Jammu and Kashmir became an “integral part of India” under the maharaja’s signature.

“Unfortunately, the historical state that he ruled has been disbanded, divided and downgraded, and all rights and protection to the permanent residents of his state have been removed arbitrarily and unilaterally by the BJP government at the Centre,” he said.

Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with India on October 26, 1947, to repulse an attack by Pakistan army-backed tribals on Jammu and Kashmir.

Wani demanded that the historical state be given full statehood and rights as well as democracy be restored in Jammu and Kashmir without any delay.

The maharaja’s birth anniversary was also celebrated in several other districts, including Samba, Kathua and Udhampur.

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