Glimpses of Jammu’s glorious past and present

O P Sharma
Name of Book: Jammu Then and Now
Author : Shiv Chander Sharma
Publishers: BFC Publications, Lucknow.
Rate: Paper back edition Rs 305
and kindle edition (on Amazon only) @ Rs111
The book in English, written by an eminent author of many books including Antiquities, History, Culture and Shrines of Jammu in 1997, Those who shaped Jammu and Kashmir in 2005 and Dadi Nani ki Kahanian in 1991, is a work which will help readers know about the glorious past and present of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Very few among the present generations might be knowing that Jammu city was once walled with five entry and exit gates surrounded by a high wall right from the Gummat Gate in the South passing through present Town Hall building towards the JDA parking at Bus Stand, Government Ayurvedic Hospital. Near Shri Ranbir Higher Secondary School, between Dogra Hall and Kachi Chawni, present main telephone Exchange Building near Kachi Chawni on the western side and on the East and North towards Maheshi Gate adjoining present Vivekanand Chowk, Government Hari Singh Higher Secondary School towards Jogi Gate, the main cremation ground in Jammu city near DPS school to Old Royal Palace also known as Mubarak Mandi or Royal Palace on the east and north eastern side on the right banks of famous river Tawi.
Interestingly, the only mode of transport in the city was the *Tongas (Horse-driven vehicles) which plied from Tange Wali Gali adjoining the Red Cross building near Kachi Chawni being the main stand, up to various locations in the old city. These Tongas were replaced by three wheeled Tempos during 1970s when the city started to expand beyond Tawi bridge towards Gandhi Nagar. During those days there was bonding among the people living in the city and almost everyone knew each other not only in one’s own locality but in other Mohallas also, which is missing now a days.
The book under review is dedicated to author’s father late Brij Bhushan Sharma, his ancestors and the tutelary deities. Bibliography has been presented in the last pages of the book mentioning which books and resources the author consulted while writing this book.
The author has estensively covered the past of the Jammu right from the early history of Jammu up to the latest . The city for being located on the hill slopes then consisted of small Mohalllas and localities including Pacci Dhakki, Jhulaka Mohalla, Mast Garh, Dhakki Sarajjan, Pir Mitha, Lakh Data Bazar, Bawe Wali Gali, Residency Road, Mohalla Prapatgarh, Mohalla Darru Giran, Raghunath Bazar, Raghunath Pura, Gumat, Dhounthly Bazar, Panj Tirthi, Kali Janni, Afghan Moahalla, Pacca Danga etc.
The population of the city during the Royal period was about 40,000 to 50,000 souls which crossed the 15 lakh mark in 2016 and as per Master Plan 2021 the projected population was 19.29 lakhs and in 2032 is likely to increase manifold with the area likely to spread up to 652.33 Sq. Km as per Jammu Development Authority’s Master Plans. In addition to the population of Jammu city, approximately 1.80 lakh people move to Jammu city every year during the Durbar Move. The employees are joined by their families .
Besides, Defense personnel and their families also continue to move to Jammu.
Overview Glimpses
Jammu: Then and Now, consists of four chapters. The first one of 22 pages outlining the brief history of Jammu and is followed by other chapters
The main being- about the founder of Jammu and Kashmir kingdom-Maharaja Gulab Singh, who extended the boundaries of his empire to Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan with the help of his brave Gallant General Zorawar Singh of Kalhur (Himachal Pradesh) and the next about the development of Jammu city during and after last ruler of the State, Maharaja Hari Singh, who signed the instrument of Accession of the entire Jammu and Kashmir State with India. This chapter highlights the importance of Jammu regarding how it developed and prospered and expanded.
Walled City
The second chapter throws ample light on the ancient monuments of Jammu, which covers in detail regarding the wall ,inside which, Jammu city which was covered. This wall was started by the then ruler of Jammu, Ranjit Dev in 18th century AD to save the city from the outside invaders. However, this wall was completed by his successors. The next part of the second chapter gives description of Bahu Fort, a major attraction for the tourists and pilgrims visiting Jammu, Raj Thara-The Royal seat of coronations, Jogi Gate, Maheshi Gate and Amar Palace.
Old localities
The third chapter covers the details regarding important places of the city which include various localities including Oldest Raghunath Bazar, Moti Bazar, Pacca Danga, Haveli of Mughlani Begum, Kali Janni, the old railway station which was linked with Sialkot –Lahore (now in Pakistan) before the Partition of the country in 1947, Ranbir School-the first Government school of Jammu and Kashmir, Prince of Wales College (Now GGM Science college), Company Bagh, Parade ground, *Hathi Khana*, now the main Sabzi Mandi, Maharani Girls College, now the Government Women College, Parade and other important localities of the old city.
Religious places
The last and the fourth chapter of this book covers the important shrines of the city including Raghunath temple-a main attraction for the tourists and pilgrims coming to Jammu from various parts of the country and abroad, Ranbireshwar temple, Mahakali temple besides other important shrines of the city.
The book is an important source of the history of Jammu and its present status and people of all generations, particularly younger and future generations besides the students and lovers of history, it is recommended for all Jammuites living in Jammu and Kashmir, others part of the country and abroad.
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