One distinctly remembers the story which we learnt in our primary schools about the establishment of Jammu. “Raja Jambolochan nay Sher aur Bakri ko ek hi ghat par pani pitay dekha aur iss say kush hokar yehan par Jammu shehar bassaya!” King Jambolochan saw a lion and a goat drinking water at the same spot and was so impressed that he decided to establish the city of Jammu here. Thus the City of Jammu presently known all over as the City of Temples came into being on the banks of River Tawi. Thus, Jammu was initially a City and not a State. Over the years it turned into what is known as the “Dugger Desh”, the country of the Dogras. However, there were other principalities of Rajputs in different parts. Ultimately, during the Dogra period, the Jammu became the Kingdom of Dogras and it expanded into the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, clobbered together through conquest of Ladakh by General Zorawar Singh and the purchase of entire valley of Kashmir along with its people from the British by virtue of the infamous treaty of Amritsar.
As mentioned by Kalhan in Rajtarangani, two erstwhile principalities in the Chenab Valley, Kashtavata (the erstwhile district Doda) and Parontsa (Poonch and Rajouri) were always aligned to Kashmir valley because of their Kashmiri speaking population. These two areas were populated by Kashmiris who had migrated from the valley from time to time due to various reasons. In fact, the rulers of these areas had many social connections in the valley. There were inter-marriages between the valley rulers and the rulers of these regions. Even at present the majority of the population in the entire Chenab Valley is Kashmiri speaking. They had been clamouring for getting connected to the valley for a long time. It is very recently that the two roads connecting these regions via Synthan Pass and Pir ki Gali have somewhat been connected directly to the valley. These roads are yet to be made fully macadamized and year round as that requires construction of tunnels at Vailoo and under Pir ki Gali. It is alleged that the authorities have been sleeping over these projects deliberately and have put these on a slow track as they would not like these Kashmiri speaking areas to get fully connected to the valley on a year round basis. That would be paving way for establishment of the erstwhile Greater Kashmir as it had existed for centuries.
The demand for a separate state of Jammu is not a new one. It has been there for quite some time but by a section of people only. In fact, right from the time Maharaja Hari Singh lost his throne, the people of Jammu, especially the Dogras started feeling the loss of their hold on the poor wretched suffering Kashmiris whom they were treating as serfs! The first manifestation of this loss was in the form of the Parija Parishad agitation, “Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan” aimed at total merger of the state with the Indian Union. This agitation was highlighted by the entire media in India and supported by the rightist parties. Sheikh Abdullah tried to crush the agitation but was severely castigated by the Indian press and many politicians which made him realise his blunder in aligning with India. Since that time a certain section of Jammu people have been blackmailing the valley politicians from time to time by raising these demands going against the aspirations of the Kashmiris.
Before one even thinks about the creation of the new state one has to ascertain whether the majority of the people want it. As already mentioned, the majority of the population in the entire Chenab Valley would prefer to be with Kashmir than with the proposed state of Jammu. The people demanding the creation have also to keep in view the fact that with two and a half districts of Jammu, Kathua, and Udhampur, they would be almost the size of a district of Himachal Pradesh just like Chamba! Moreover, the importance of Jammu is because of it being a take off point for Kashmir and Ladakh. Without these it will lose the economic and other importance. It is true that the state of Jammu & Kashmir is not the creation of a natural voluntary process but it has been clobbered together by the Dogra Maharajas. However, during last 65 years there has been economic, social and cultural integration and the three regions have become dependent on each other. In addition, throughout India and abroad people hardlyknow aboutJammu. They call the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir as Kashmir.
The most alarming thing about the present episode of the separate Jammu State demand has been triggered by the Chief Minister’s suggestive remarks regarding creation of the new state of Telengana. People have been attributing sinister motives to this new episode of the Jammu State agitation. This becomes more sinister by being bracketed with the Union Territory demand of Ladakhis. Some people allege that the whole thing is the creation of certain destructive think tanks who would like to isolate the trouble making Kashmiris to deal with them in a better way as was done in early nineties by Jagmohan. In the end, it may be pointed out that as said by a fellow columnist, the State of Jammu & Kashmir cannot be divided for any purposes without the United Nations coming in. It is still on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council and we have the United Nations Military Observer Group very much present in Srinagar and Islamabad!