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Of note: Jammu & Kashmir was joined to India in 1947, after the last dynastic monarch, Hari Singh Dogra, ceded control to the newly-formed Republic. Dogra dynasty's control of J&K began after first Dogra, Gulab Singh, was awarded the monarchy for betraying Sikh Empire to British.
The downfall of the Sikh Empire began when Maharaja Ranjit Singh “passed on the levers of power to the hands of Dogras.” A British Government report adds, “Much of the trouble, too, that befell the Sikh Government after Ranjit Singh’s death may be traced to the inordinate...
... power he had permitted his favorites to acquire.... Foremost in influence and ability of the favorites were the three Dogra brothers from Jammu: Gulab Singh, Dhian Singh, and Suchet Singh.”

The Dogras eventually “usurped to themselves the whole of the functions of govt.”
In 1818, Dhian became Prime Minister. The territory of Jammu was controlled by the Sikh Empire and, in 1822, Gulab was appointed as Raja of Jammu. “Scarcely any affair of importance was undertaken by Ranjit that was not entrusted to one of them,” observes Lt. Col. Henry...
... Steinbach, a German mercenary who served in the Sikh military. In their positions of power, the Dogras directly caused the downfall of the Sikh Empire.
Ranjit Singh reigned until June 27, 1839, when he died in his sleep.... Afterwards, the kingdom fell into complete disarray as it was overwhelmed by political intrigues, cloak and dagger schemes, murders, coups d’état, and civil war. At the center of it all were the Dogras.
Steinbach reports, “For a long time after the death of Ranjit, their paramount influence over public affairs, added to their prodigious wealth, enabled them almost to hold the destinies of the Punjab in their own hands. They were, however, more feared than liked.”
The Sikh Empire soon crumbled as the British made war with the Sikhs. Once again, the role of the Dogras was treachery.
In 1845, while the Empire was led by a boy king, the British declared war on the Sikhs. With no one else to turn to during the war, explains Cunningham...
... Gulab was “spontaneously hailed as minister and leader.” According to Shah Mohammad, a Punjabi poet living in Amritsar during the war, Gulab had the majority of the Sikhs “removed from the army, thus weakening the Khalsa beyond retrieval.” Within two years, British forces...
... overwhelmed the Sikhs and occupied Lahore. “Gulab Singh had been appointed [minister] by the chiefs and people when danger pressed them, and he had been formally treated with as minister by the English,” writes Cunningham.
The army “readily assented to the requisition of the [Maharaja’s] court that Gulab Singh, their chosen minister, should have full powers to treat with the English.” In response, Gulab negotiated the Empire’s surrender w/reps of Henry Hardinge, the British Gov-General of India.
Mohammad suggests that Gulab “was serving none but himself.” He welcomed the British with open arms. “Raja Gulab Singh paid obeisance to the [Governor-General] with all obsequiousness,” writes Mohammad. “He brought him into Lahore, holding him by the arm."
According to Cunningham, “The overtures of the Raja... were all made in the hope of assuring to himself a virtual viceroyalty over the whole dominion of Lahore.” He failed to achieve that specific goal, but Gulab’s sycophantic self-interest did cost Punjab its independence.
Under the March 1846 treaty Gulab negotiated, large portions of the Empire’s territory were ceded to the British, most of the Sikh army was disbanded, and their arms were seized. Under a subsequent December 1846 treaty, a permanent British garrison was established at Lahore...
... and the whole admin of the country was transferred to a Council of Regency, which was allowed to act only “under the control and guidance” of a British agent who took up residence at the court. In short, the Sikh Empire became a vassal state of the British East India Company.
While negotiating the Treaty of Lahore, the Dogra minister did not neglect to consider his own future. “Gulab... suddenly perplexed the Governor-General by asking what he was to get for all he had done to bring about a speedy peace and to render the army an easy prey,” states...
... Cunningham. He asserts the treaty was composed “to appease Gulab Singh in a manner agreeable to the Raja.” Under Hardinge’s auspices, “Kashmir and the hill states... were cut off from the Punjab Proper and transferred to Gulab Singh as a separate sovereign.”
Even the treaty records that it was crafted to satisfy Raja Gulab’s desires: "In consideration of the services rendered by Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu to the Lahore State towards procuring the restoration of the relations of amity between the Lahore and British Governments, the...
... Maharaja hereby agrees to recognize the independent sovereignty of Raja Gulab Singh in such territories and districts in the hills as may be made over to the said Raja Gulab Singh by separate agreement between himself and the British Government."
Having thus betrayed the Sikh Empire in exchange for lining his own pockets, the Hill Raja fled north. Mohammad reports, “After getting Kashmir in the bargain, Gulab Singh repaired forthwith to Jammu.” So Gulab Singh Dogra became the first Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.
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