TREATY WITH GULAB SINGH, 16 March 1846. Gulab Singh Dogra was formally invested with the title of Maharaja on 15 March 1846 and on the following day was concluded between him and the British government a treaty whereby he was recognized as ruler of the hill territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the erstwhile provinces of the Sikh kingdom of Lahore. This included “all the hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies, situated to the eastward of the River Indus, and westward of the River Ravi.” In consideration of the transfer made to him, Maharaja Gulab Singh was to pay to the British government a sum of seventy five lacs of Nanakshahl rupees.

He would refer to the arbitration of the British government any disputes with the Lahore government and would, with the whole of his military force, join the British troops when employed within the hills. He would not take any British subject or European or American into his service, without the consent of the British government. Maharaja Gulab Singh acknowledged the supremacy of the British government, who in return guaranteed protection of his territories from external enemies. Lord Hardinge`s treaty with Gulab Singh regarding the sale of Kashmir was subjected to severe criticism.

In England, Lord Ripon and Sir James Weir Hogg, the Chairman of the East India Company, had objected to the propriety of the measure.Lord Ellen borough condemned it as a reward for Gulab Singh`s treachery towards the Sikhs. Hardinge stubbornly defended the treaty both on political and financial grounds. His reply to Gulab Singh`s critics was “He had done good service to us, which we recognized before he was a Sikh Commissioner. After the war commenced, were we to abandon our policy and treat with indifference the only man who had not lifted up his arm against us ? His forbearance was rewarded, because that forbearance was in accordance with an intended policy, and because the charge of treason could not be substantiated.”

References :

1. Cunningham, Joseph Davey, A History of the Sikhs. London, 1849
2. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, Anglo-Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1968
3. Ganda Singh, ed., Private Correspondence Relating to the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Amritsar, 1955