Situated on the northern extremity of Hindusthan, with its boundaries extending from the northern outskirts of the vast Punjab plains to the point where the three Empires, Russia, China and Hindusthan meet, the Kashmir and Jammu State occupies a very important and strategical position in our political map.
It is on the left side of the Chenab River in Jammu Province and in Kangra that the Dogras reside. (The word ‘Dugar’ comes from Sanskrit ‘Dvigrat’ meaning ‘between two lakes.’)
The ruling family belongs to the Dogra Hindu race.
The Dogras are a lovable specimen of bodily beauty. They are neither highly educated nor extraordinarily intelligent. They are brave and chivalrous and retain the qualities of ancient Hindu soldiery. The Dogras are born soldiers and being a martial race dominate the State Army.
It was during the regime of Maharaja Pratap Singh, uncle of the present ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, that the Dogras were allowed to possess any king of weapons, including guns, revolvers, etc.
They are mostly concentrated in Jammu Province and Kangra. Even in Jammu city there is only a small number of them, mostly soldiers, while a majority of them live in villages built like fortresses.
The dress of the Dogras is simple. It consists of a churidar pyjama and a turban like that worn by the people of Punjab State like Kapurthala. Unlike the Punjabis, their womenfolk also wear churidar pyjama. While the language in Kashmir is Kashmiri, the Dogras speak and write Dogri, which is a dialect of the Punjabi.
The Dogras are of an amiable nature, straightforward, simple and not quarrelsome. Their greeting is “Jai Daya.”
They set the highest standard of human valour, patriotism, self-sacrifice, chivalry and truthfulness during the various wars. For these services they have been granted ‘jagirs’ in Kashmir State by the Maharaja.
The Stiff resistance put up by the Dogras against heavy odds during the recent ‘Pakistan’ invasion of the State is too well known. The Dogras under the command of Brigadier Rajinder Singh held the raiders at Uri for three days, and but for their resistance Srinagar would have fallen into the hands of the invaders.
The Dogras are trained soldiers and are only too willing to fight for the defence of the State. A large army can be created overnight if they are given arms. Will this discrimination against the brave sons of the soil stop? By JD Singh