STATE TIMES NEWSAKHNOOR: The contribution of founder of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Gulab Singh is unimaginably significant because unlike other rulers who changed boundaries of the country from within, this great monarch expanded India far and wide by conquering parts of China, Tibet and even Afghanistan.This was asserted by Ajay Gandotra President Dharmarth Trust J&K after paying floral tributes to the great Maharaja of the erstwhile State of J&K while celebrating his 200th Coronation Day at Jia Pota Ghat in Akhnoor on Thursday. As per the tradition, J&K Dharmarth Trust held a decent function to mark the 200th anniversary of coronation of the great Maharaja at the bank of River Chenab viz. Jia Pota Ghat, following SOPs stipulated by the government for keeping at bay the COVID-19 virus.On June 17, 1822, Maharaja Ranjit Singh administered the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, who then became the first King of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State and substantially contributed in its development and ensured public welfare.Addressing a very limited gathering, the President Ajay Gandotra said that this year due to limitations on account of coronavirus restrictions the celebrations remained a low key affair but next year Dharmarth Trust will ensure that a grandiose function shall be organized with distinguished dignitaries visiting the site from different parts of the country. Dr (Pt) Shiv Raina, Chairman J&K Dharmarth Trust Advisory Committee; Advocate Rameshwar Singh Jamwal, Member Advisory Committee; Secretary Dharmarth Trust Dr Gopal Parthasarthi, Additional Secretary Varinder Singh Jamwal and other officials of Dharmarth Trust were also present.The function commenced with paying of the floral tributes to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Maharaja Gulab Singh. Later, the priests of the Trust performed the rituals amidst chanting of Vedic Mantras.While dwelling on the contributions of Maharaja Gulab Singh, President Dharmarth Trust said that the great king was not only the warrior and able administrator but also a secular person as there was complete freedom of worship during his regime. He said that Maharaja Gulab Singh never forgot his roots and was approachable by his ‘Praja’. “The Maharaja abolished the system of bonded labour and also banned Sati Pratha and female infanticide. He re-organised the industry in Kashmir valley and introduced a new law providing relief to the workers besides rationalizing the system of taxation”, Gandotra maintained, adding that the contributions made by the founder of Dogra dynasty are immaculate and remarkable which make people of J&K to feel proud and contented. While paying tributes to the Great Maharaja, Dr (Pt) Shiv Raina said that let the blessings of Maharaj Gulab Singh remain with the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. He also anticipated that with the blessings of God next year the J&K UT will soon get rid of this lethal virus and we can celebrate this occasion with much fan fare and gaiety at this significant spot where Maharaja Ranjit Singh coronated Maharaja Gulab Singh.
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