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Gulab Singh and the Creation of the Dogra State of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh

  • Robert A. Huttenback

Extract

Current chinese activity along the northern frontier of India, and Peking's claims to much of this area, have focused attention on a remote and sparsely populated region whose arid reaches, blanketed by perpetual snow, have never held a central position on the stage of world history. The history of Ladakh, where controversy currently rages over conflicting claims to Aksaichin, the Chang Chenmo Valley, Kurnak Fort, Spangur, and Demchok, has been characterized by instability and turmoil. Squeezed between Tibet, India, Kashmir, and the autonomous Muslim Rajahs of Baltistan, Ladakh as an independent entity suffered a precarious existence.

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1 William Moorcroft, famous British traveler, and Company Agent in Central Asia.

2 A lakh equals 100,000.

3 Political Consultations, Feb. 14, 1838, Nos. 57, 58, Wade to Macnaghten, Jan. i, 1838.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid. In regard to the Dogra conquest of Ladakh Wade wrote: “It was a wanton act of usurpation in order to strengthen his means of seizing Kashmir itself when the expected opportunity may offer.” Ibid., Jan. 17, 1838, No. 26, Wade to Macnaghten, Nov. 17, 1838.

6 Aitchison, C. U., Treaties Engagements and Sanads, etc. (Calcutta, Govt. of India, 1931), I, 34. Actually the British only restricted Ranjit Singh's advance eastward in the plains area. In the mountains his movements were even encouraged as it was hoped that the Sikhs would come into conflict with Nepal, which the Company, in turn, urged to advance westward. A clash occurred almost immediately (the late spring of 1809) in Kangara.

7 Lamb, Alistair, “Tibet in Anglo-Chinese Relations, 1767–1842,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, New Series V–80 (1958), Part II.

8 The Gyalpo's name appears in many different forms throughout the records—among them: Jank Roostum Numkil, Tonduk Namgyle, Chung Num Tal Rustum.

9 Baron Hügel reported that the Gyalpo delayed Zorawar's advance for three months by intimating that Dr. Henderson was an agent of the British Government. Quoted in Sinha, N. K., Ranjit Singh (Calcutta, Mukherjee, 1951), p. 125.

10 Cunningham, Alexander, Ladak (London, W. H. Allen, 1854), pp. 335, 336.

11 Sapru, A. N., The Building of the Jammu and Kashmir State—Being the Achievement of Maharaja Gulab Singh (Lahore, Punjab Record Office, 1931), pp. 2328.

12 The British tended to include Tibetans in their meaning of the word Chinese.

13 Political Consultations, Jan. 9, 1837, No. 24, Col. H. T. Tapp, Political Agent, Subathoo to T. T. Metcalfe, Agent to the Lt.-Gov., Northwest Province, Nov. 22, 1836.

14 Political Consultations, July 17, 1837, No. 82, Chung Num Tal Rustum, Rajah of Ladawk to General Sir H. Fane, no date.

Political Consultations, Aug. 14, 1837, No. 8, Son of the Rajah of Ladakh to the Commander in Chief, no date.

Political Consultations, Dec. 20, 1837, No. 7, Jank Roostum Namkil, Rajah of Ladak to the Commander in Chief, no date.

15 Political Consultations, July 17, 1837, No. 83, Macnaghten to Capt. J. Hay, Commander in Chief's personal interpreter, July 17, 1837.

16 Political Consultations, Dec. 20, 1837, No. 8, Captain Hay to the Rajah of Ladakh, Oct. 23, 1837.

17 Sapru, op. cit., pp. 23–28.

18 Political Consultations, Jan. 17, 1838, No. 26, Wade to MacNaghten, Nov. 17, 1837.

19 Political Consultations, March 21, 1838, No. 90, T. T. Metcalfe to Wade, Nov. 7, 1837.

20 Ibid., Wade to Col. H. T. Tapp, Nov. 17, 1837.

21 Ibid., Wade to Macnaghten, Nov. 15, 1837.

22 Political Consultations, Jan. 17, 1838, No. 26, Wade to Macnaghten, Nov. 17, 1837.

23 Political Consultations, Aug. 8, 1838, Nos. 28, 29, Wade to Macnaghten, March 1, 1838.

24 Sapru, op. cit., pp. 23–28.

25 Secret Consultations, Aug. 16, 1841, Nos. 34–38, John Erskine, Political Agent, Subathoo to T. T. Metcalfe, July 20, 1841.

Ibid., No. 36, Lushington to Secretary of the Govt. of the Northwest Province, July 15, 1841.

26 Ibid., No. 35, Thomason to Lushington, July 31, 1841.

27 Ibid., No. 38, Governor-General to Clerk, Aug. 16, 1841.

28 Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, Vol. LXXIX, Thomason to Lushington, Sept. 1, 1841 (India Office Library, London).

30 The British Resident in Nepal.

31 Secret Consultations, Aug. 23, 1841, No. 65, Hodgson to J. Erskine, Aug. 4, 1841.

32 Secret Consultations, Sept. 6, 1841, Nos. 42–44, Govt. to Clerk, Sept. 6, 1841.

33 Secret Consultations, Sept. 13, 1841, Nos. 19, 20, Lushington to Thomason, Aug. 25, 1841. The value of this trade between 1830 and 1835 had been about one lakh, Rs. 20,000 annually.

34 The documents refer to “Beans” but no doubt the Byans district of Kumaon is the one involved.

35 Secret Consultations, Oct. 11, 1841, No. 46, Lushington to Thomason, Sept. 20 and Sept. 23, 1841.

36 Ibid., No. 97, Govt. to Clerk, Oct. 8, 1841.

37 Enclosures to Secret Letters from India, Vol. LXXIX, 1841, Thomason to Lushington, Sept. 1, 1841 (India Office Library, London).

38 Secret Consultations, Oct. 11, 1841, Nos. 46–51. Minute by Lt. Governor T. C. Robertson, Meerut, Sept. 28, 1841.

39 The Sikh Confederation.

40 Political Proceedings, June 12, 1837, No. 41, Wade to Chief Sec. Fort William.

41 Political Proceedings, Oct. 20, 1837, No. 6.

42 Secret Consultations, Sept. 6, 1841, Zorawar Singh to the Lahore Govt., Aug. 18, 1841.

43 Secret Consultations, Nov. I, 1841, Nos. 35–37, Lushington to Asst. Secretary, Secret and Political Dept., Northwest Province, Oct. 9, 1841.

44 Secret Consultations, Nov. 22, 1841, No. 23, Cunningham to Clerk, Oct. 21, 1841.

45 Secret Consultations, Nov. 8, 1841, No. 45, Clerk to Cunningham, Oct. 20, 1841.

46 Secret Consultations, Nov. 22, 1841, No. 18, Clerk to Maddock, Oct. 31, 1841.

48 Evidence indicates that there were only very few Chinese with the Tibetan forces.

49 Secret Proceedings, March 30, 1842, No. 101, Cunningham to Clerk, Feb. 2, 1842.

50 Secret Consultations, March 21, 1842, No. 85, Governor-General to Clerk, March 21, 1842. Secret Consultations, March 30, 1842, H. T. Prinsep. Ibid., Mar. 30, 1842, No. 1, Minute by W. W. Bird.

51 Secret Proceedings, Mar. 30, 1842, No. 101, Cunningham to Clerk, Governor-General's Agent to the Northwest Province, Feb. 2, 1842.

52 Secret Consultations, Oct. 5, 1842, Nos. 73–76, Zoorkong to Cunningham, July 20, 1842.

53 Ibid., Clerk to Maddock, Aug. 14, 1842.

54 Secret Consultations, Sept. 14, 1842, Nos. 49–51, Cunningham to Clerk, May 20, 1842.

55 Secret Consultations, Oct. 19, 1842, Nos. 45–56, Cunningham to Clerk, Sept. 18, 1842.

56 John Cam Hobhouse, Chairman of the Board of Control for India.

57 Hobhouse Papers, DCCCXXXVI, 184, Hobhouse to Bagley, Jan. 11, 1841 (India Office Library, London).

58 Secret Consultations, Oct. 26, 1842, Nos. 94–99, Maddock to Clerk, Sept. 5, 1842.

59 Secret Consultations, July 6, 1842, Nos. 40–44, Gumbo to Cunningham, April 18, 1842.

60 Ibid., Cunningham to Gumbo, May 3, 1842.

61 Secret Consultations, Aug. 3, 1842, No. 22, Rajah of Ladakh to Cunningham, May 27, 1842.

62 Ladakh was never a political dependency of either Tibet or China.

63 It is hard to determine whether the Chinese or Tibetans are referred to here: Tibetan affairs were largely controlled by the Chinese Resident in Lhasa.

64 Secret Consultations, Aug. 3, 1842, No. 22, Rajah of Ladakh to Sher Singh, June 13, 1842.

66 Secret Consultations, Oct. 26, 1842, Nos. 94–99, Clerk to Maddock, Aug. 31, 1842. Cunningham estimated that the Dogras numbered 9,000 and the Tibetans 5,000.

67 Secret Consultations, Nov. 9, 1842, No. 61, Cunningham to Clerk, Sept. 27, 1842.

68 Panikkar, H. M., The Founding of the Kashmir State—A Biography of Maharajah Gulab Singh, 1742–1858 (London, Allen and Unwin, 1930), pp. 8587.

69 From the Persian source quoted in Sapru, op.cit., and translated by Sepher Zabih for the Indian Press Digests, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

70 Panikkar, op. cit., pp. 87–89. Meng Pao, the Chinese Resident in Lhasa, also gave his assent and his report was accepted by Peking.

71 A crore equals 10,000,000.

72 Aitchison, op. cit., I, 50–54; XII, 21, 22.

73 There has been some recent controversy whether Kashmir and Ladakh were sold or transferred to Gulab Singh. It seems clear that it was a case of transfer rather than sale. Article twelve of the Treaty of Lahore provides for the recognition of Gulab Singh as the independent ruler of these territories, and no mention of a pecuniary settlement is made until the negotiation of the Treaty of Amritsar some days later.

74 Article 1, Treaty of Amritsar, see Aitchison, op. cit., XII, 21, 22.

75 Secret Consultations, Dec. 26, 1846, Nos. 1331–1343, Lawrence to Cunningham (officiating assistant to the Governor-General's Agent in the Punjab), no date.

76 Ibid., Hardinge to Vizier of Lhassa, Aug. 4, 1846.

Gulab Singh and the Creation of the Dogra State of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh

  • Robert A. Huttenback

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