Jammu, June 17: While speaking at a programme to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the coronation of the first Dogra ruler, Maharaja Gulab Singh here Friday, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said that out of about 565 princely states in India, what distinguished the Dogra rulers was their vision to introduce several futuristic reforms and their knack to discover talent which later earned universal acclaim.
The Minister pointed out that he was personally delighted in contributing to the setting up of the first-ever statue of Maharaja Gulab Singh at the gateway entry point of Jammu & Kashmir in Lakhanpur, which happens to be part of his LokSabha Constituency.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Dogra rulers established a justice driven governance model which created some of the best practices that are applicable even today.
Looking ahead of their times, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Dogra rulers set up the first two degree colleges in Jammu & Kashmir at a time when the only degree college awarding graduation degree in the whole of North India was at Lahore and was known as Government Degree College Lahore, he said.
SP College was set up at Srinagar and Prince of Wales College at Jammu that were set up by the Dogra Rulers and set the foundation of many later reforms in the education sector.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, giving importance to the foundational sector like health, the Maharaja set up two speciality hospitals namely SMGS hospital and SMH hospital in Jammu & Srinagar respectively, at a time when only such health care facility in whole of North India was available in Amritsar and all the patients had to go there for treatment.
Referring to the knack of discovering talent, Dr Jitendra Singh gave citing striking examples he said, hardly anybody in Jammu knows that "mint", the popular mouth freshener and throat soother tablet, was discovered by the scientist who was in turn the discovery of Maharaja Hari Singh.
He went on to explain that Sir Ram Nath Chopra got superannuated in Calcutta in early 1940s and immediately thereafter the Maharaja brought him to Jammu and set up a Drug research Lab. The same Sir Chopra later brought the Mint medicinal plants from Japan and cultivated it in Jammu, conducted trials and somewhere in 1950s gifted Mint tablet to the world.
Similarly, Dr Jitendra Singh regretted that even Dogra protagonists have forgotten the name of luminary Prof SatishDhawan who was born in J&K in the year 1920 and during his young age he was groomed for science education which later took him to Bangalore where along with Vikram Sarabhai he set up the ISRO and the department of Space. Today , the world discusses India's Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan space missions which are actually programmes initiated by SatishDhawan.
Thirdly, Dr Jitendra Singh cited the example of MalikePukhar the famous singer of the Indian sub-continent who had herself acknowledged during her lifetime that when she was hardly 14 years of age the Maharaja had identified her talent and arranged for regular music sittings for her.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the next 25 years are being called the 'Amritkaal' by Prime Minister NarendraModi and today J&K is all set to become a developed region.
History is witness that the achievements and developments of present and future in the region have their foundations in the progressive governance of the Dogra Rulers.