Jammu, Sep 23: Ecstasy marked the celebrations across Jammu and Kashmir on Friday on the occasion of the maiden holiday on the birth anniversary of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
The festivity was in the air as Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS), which spearheaded the agitation demanding declaration of holiday on Maharaja’s birthday, and several other organisations took out rallies which finally culminated in front of Maharaja Hari Singh’s statue at Tawi bridge amid dance to the beats of drums and distribution of sweets. With locals joining the festivity, celebrations had spilled to Maharaja Hari Singh park along the River Tawi as well
Political parties, (read mainly Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which have Jammu as their main electoral base, besides social and civil organisations too joined the festivities. The political formations competed with each other to be part of the celebrations where YRS activists called the shots.
Wearing bright coloured turbans and brandishing swords, YRS activists perched atop vehicles and horses began their victory rally from Ban Talab. After passing through different areas, the rally finally culminated at the Tawi Bridge amid slogans and songs. YRS members, including women activists, danced to the beats of drums. Many locals and members of various organisations joined the ecstatic YRS activists, whose celebrations had started last night.
As celebrations continued for a long time, this hampered the traffic on the ever-busy Tawi Bridge, which connects to flyover, Jewel, and Bikram Chowk.
While addressing the gathering, YRS president Rajan Singh Happy said that this achievement (holiday) was the result of the collective efforts of the Dogra community. “Our continuous agitation yielded results and the government announced a holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh’s anniversary after 75 years. Now our next objective will be to ensure inclusion of the contribution of Dogra rulers and warriors in the school curriculum from the next academic session,” he said extending gratitude to all.
Earlier the celebrations started with the great-grandsons of Maharaja Hari Singh offering prayers at the Ranbireshwar temple in the city early in the morning. “I want to congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the 127th birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh ji. Grant of holiday on his birth anniversary is a victory for all the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the youth of Jammu,” grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh and former legislator Vikramaditya told reporters.
J&K BJP leaders led by their president, Ravinder Raina danced to tunes of drum beats amid slogans. Sweets were also distributed among the people while medical camps were organised at several places in the city. “It is a victory for people. It is justice done. We congratulate the people of J&K, particularly Yuva Rajputs for their fight,” Raina told reporters.
Congress party led by its working president Raman Bhalla also took part in the celebrations and asserted that it was time for the central government to fulfill another demand of restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.
Former minister and MP Choudhary Lal Singh also took out a victory rally and said it was time to fight for restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.
A group of displaced Kashmir Pandits took out a rally in the Muthi area and raised pro-Maharaja slogans.
Similar celebrations were also held in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, and Rajouri districts.
In Kathua, some public transporters offered free travel to passengers as a tribute to the Maharaja.
District Congress Committee Jammu Rural too paid tributes to the Maharaja Hari Singh on his 127th birth anniversary in a programme held at Jammu North Assembly.
On the occasion, Mula Ram, senior Congress leader, and former minister; Hari Singh Chib, president of DCC Rural, Uday Bhanu Chib, president of J&K Pradesh Youth Congress along with several party workers and prominent people of the area paid tributes to the Maharaja.
Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party today celebrated the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh with great enthusiasm and fervour at its party office 30-B Gandhi Nagar Jammu. While paying tribute to Maharaja, JKNPP president Vilakshan Singh threw light on the reforms taken by the Maharaja during his regime.
Shiv Sena and Dogra Front led by party president Ashok Gupta celebrated the day with the distribution of sweets while paying tributes to Maharaja. J&K Dogra Sadar Sabha celebrated the day as “Samajik Nyaya Divas”.