Over 55 years after the death of Jammu and Kashmir’s last Maharaja Hari Singh, the state Legislative Council today passed a resolution to declare his birthday, September 23, as a State holiday after his two grandsons piloted the proposal. It was Hari Singh who had signed the Instrument of Accession of J&K to India in 1947 after Pakistani army and raiders attacked the state.
The resolution for declaring the birthday as a State holiday was moved by BJP member Ajatshatru and it was seconded by PDP MLC Vikramaditya. Both are grandsons of Hari Singh and sons of Congress leader Karan Singh.
Ajatshatru said the contribution of Maharaja Hari Singh needs to be acknowledged. He said it would be a tribute to him if the state declares official holiday on his birthday. Hari Singh, who was born on September 23,1895, passed away on April 26,1961 at the age of 65.
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Education Minister and Leader of the House Naeem Akhtar, Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh, Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council Jehangir Hussain Mir besides MLCs Ashok Khajuria, Surinder Mohan Ambardar, Ramesh Arora, Firdous Tak, Surinder Kumar Chowdhary and Vibod Gupta participated in the discussion.
Akhtar spoke at length on the Maharaja, describing his various initiatives and his facets but asked Ajatshatru to withdraw the resolution, assuring him that his proposal could be considered. But Ajatshatru pressed for the resolution, following which it was carried by voice vote even though Khursheed Alam of PDP opposed it.
“We are very happy. Passage of this resolution in the Upper House is a welcome sign in restoration of the glory of Maharaja Hari Singh,” Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told media persons here. “He is a symbol of the nation and vicious campaigns have dented his image. This is the first step towards restoring the image of the great visionary and people’s maharaja,” he said.