MAHARAJA’S PROCLAMATION: 1931
Proclamation of Maharaja Hari Singh July 9, 1931 following some communal incidents in Jammu
TO MY BELOVED PEOPLE
From time immemorial all communities within the State have been living on terms of closest harmony and friendship with each other and I used to take the greatest pride in the fact that we were happily from all communal strife. I am, therefore, greatly pained to see that quite recently owing to external influences a changed and regrettable attitude is observable in certain sections in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar. This is greatly to be deplored. Two unfortunate incidents which occurred recently in Jammu city and which could not by any stretch of imagination be associated with any action or policy of my Government and for which the responsibility rested solely on the persons involved have been seized upon and widely misrepresented aside and outside the State so as to convey to those who are not in a position to know the true facts that the policy of my Government is such that Islam is in danger. It is not my intention to deal with the details of these incidents in this message as they are being dealt with separately. So far I have preferred that my Government be judged by its actions alone. But numerous representations from my loyal subjects of all sects and creeds have reached me within the last few days to the effect that such agitation even though at present it Ends no response generally is calculated to promote communal strife and might even lead to breaches of the public peace in some cases. It has accordingly been deemed necessary to make this formal announcement of the policy and intention of myself and my Government in regard to such propaganda asked communal relations within the State generally.
As the beginning of my rule I announced to you, my people, that my religion is justice. That announcement has guided all my public acts and policies and I shall always adhere to it. I have not made, and will not permit, any discrimination against any class of my people on the grounds of religion The humblest of my subjects has free and direct access to me and any grievances my people may have can be submitted by them personally to me. Subject to tom fundamental conditions, viz.,
1. that political activities are confined within the law of the land, and
2. that no outside intervention is sought in any shape or form.
I have no desire whatever to suppress the legitimate requests and voice of my people whether expressed in writing or in speech It is my inention to give effect to these views but I am unable to do so, so long as communal tension exists’ for fear of aggravating it. Consequently, the first essential is that the leaders of the various communities should take immediate action to put a stop to all political activities tending to prevent tile re-establishment of friendly relations between them. As soon as it is reported to me that any community has faithfully responded to my desire, I shall be prepared to receive and consider most sympathetically any re-presentation that community may desire to submit to me.
Every person within the State is, and shall always be, free to practice his own religion, subject to the paramount necessity of maintaining public peace and public order. I particularly wish to refer in this connection to a malicious rumour now being spread that cow killing is shortly going to be permitted. This malicious rumour has no foundation whatever. And it has given me great pleasure to receive from Muslim subjects spontaneous condemnation of such an insinuation or any other insinuation likely to injure the religious susceptibilities of any other community. There is no question whatever of making any change in the matter.
In regard to recruitment for the State services prior consideration is and shall always be given to the public interest and the obligation of maintaining the efficiency of the administration at the highest possible level can never be overlooked. There is also no desire to follow a blind rule of percentages for the various communities irrespective of considerations of qualification and merit. Subject to these conditions’ the policy governing recruitment will be such that no class or community should gain undue predominance Al any branch of the public service and that adequate representation is secured to duly qualified. Hereditary State Subjects from all classes and communities of my people. Instructions to this effect have been recently issued and I shall watch closely their practical execution by my officers.
I have dealt above in a brief manner with what I conceive to be points of major importance with regard to which some misunderstanding prevails in certain quarters. I trust such misunderstanding will be dispelled by this authoritative enunciation of my beliefs and intentions with regard to these points. It is my aim to carry on the administration in consonance with these views in your best interests. Whenever I have found that any of you have been led into wrong action, I have always tried to make you see the error of your ways and to win you over to the right path by reasoning and conciliation. I am not a believer in false ideas of prestige, for I hold that just action is a sign of strength and not of weakness. But should, God forbid, all appeal to reason fail, I must disch~.rge in effective manner the supreme responsibility which rests on me for the maintenance of law and order. I cannot chow my Government to be coerced by threat into unjust action and it is my duty to protect the law-abiding sections of my people from encroachments on their lawful rights. The immediate burden of maintaining law and order necessarily falls on the Magistracy and the Police whose duty it will be to see that the law is upheld at all costs, and where the law is defied, its authority will be restored. It is the duty of the Police to act impartially and with calm judgement in such emergencies and I wish to assure them that they will be supported by myself and my Government in the due discharge of their duty and will not be sacrificed to unjust clamour or intrigue.
In conclusion, I trust that the old policy of ‘live and let live’ which characterized your relations with each other in the past will be restored It is easy to excite public feeling by misrepresentation, but it is difficult to restore harmony and friendship. Do not attribute false motives to those placed in authority over you or to one another. As regards people outside the State, whether Hindus or Mohammedans, I ask them not to interfere in any way in matters concerning my State and my people, as I do not interfere in matters concerning British India and British Indians. The whole basis of political action is impaired if one political unit interferes in the demostic concerns of another. I do not wish to claim immunity from legitimate criticism of the acts and policies of my Government, which, I have no hesitation in saying, have always been designed to promote the moral and material progress of my people. It is my duty and my one aim in life to maintain the progressive character of my administration. But this end is defeated by unjustifiable outside intervention which has, within the last few weeks, done nothing but immense harm to the true interests of you all. I pray to God that you will receive the light of truth and wisdom and that you will live peacefully and happily with one another as before.
“Sd. HARI SINGH, G.C.I.E., K.C.V.O., A.D.C.,
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.
MAHARAJA’S PROCLAMATION: 1931