HISTORY OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR RIFLES – 1820 – 1956

Beginning with the origin of Jammu, the book goes on to the Mughal rule, the Sikh rule and then the takeover by the Dogras.  The Jammu Army, in fact, originated with Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s conferment of Jammu as a Jagir on Gulab Singh, a Dogra grandees at the Sikh Court, in 1820, which required him to maintain a number of troops in the service of the Sikh Ruler. Subsequently, with the up-gradation of the Jagir to a vassal state of Punjab with Gulab Singh as its Raja in 1822, the strength of the Jammu Army was required to be raised significantly. Thereafter, the Army helped the Jammu Raj to completely fulfil its ambitions of territorial extension in around 25 years. In between it, no doubt, suffered a rout at the hands of the Tibetans, when it ventured to invade Western Tibet and nearly lost Ladakh in the attempt. Fresh troops from Jammu, however, managed to evict the Tibetans from Ladakh while a peace treaty between the representatives of the Chinese Emperor, the Maharaja of Punjab and the Raja of Jammu, ushered in peace  along the borders of Ladakh, which lasted all through the 100 years, and more, of Dogra rule. In 1846 Kashmir was added to Jammu to form the Jammu and Kashmir State. With the formation of the Imperial Service Troops in 1889 started the process of modernisation of the State Force in line with the Indian Army.

The first and the second World Wars brought to light the fighting qualities of the State Army which, besides the Hindu and Muslim Dogras, also included Gorkhas and Sikhs in appreciable proportions. After Independence, and the State’s accession to the Indian Dominion, the entire infantry element of the State Force was merged with the Indian Army in 1957 to form its Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment.

Prelude