Remembering Sher-e-Duggar

Ravi Rohmetra
This is the tale of a towering personality who worked selflessly for the cause of the people. He was a friend, a guide and a social worker. During his life time he was counted amongst the great personalities of Jammu.
By the turn of the nineteenth century, Jammu started experiencing reverberations of the political and social awakening in the rest of the country.  Lala Hans Raj Mahajan was the most outstanding leader of that phase of Jammu’s history. He pioneered formation of associations of various communities like the Mahajan Sabha and the Rajput Sabha as also of the Anjuman-i-Islamia and acted as their honorary secretary which ensured their mutual cooperation in the common task of social reform. The first secular organization of the state, also non-political to start with, was Dogra Sadar Sabha in 1904. He dominated the entire social reform movement in Jammu region for half a century from 1892, when he entered public life, to 1944 when he died.  His field of work included campaign for Swadeshi,  rights of women, spread of education, economic betterment of backward areas, reform in ceremonies observed at marriage, death and other social occasions, help to widows and orphans cow protection, cleanliness and redressal of grievances against omissions and commissions of administration. Needless to remind that these activities were vital adjuncts of the national freedom movement. Lala Hans Raj started first two monthly newspapers in the state named the Dogra Gazette and The Mahajan Niti Patar in 1907.
From the very beginning Jammu has been known as the place of saints and warriors. Jammuites are proud that leaders like Lala Hans Raj were born here. In 1892 Lala Ji founded Mahajan Sabha. Whole of the Mahajan Community in this country is ‘feeling proud to have such prominent socialworker and a very good leader.’He. in fact was the live example of wisdom, humility and tolerance.
Lala Hans Raj Ji was born on 2nd October 1866 at Hamirpur Sidhar,- Tehsil. Akhnoor District Jammu in a well known family. His father’s name was Lala Harish Chand  Mahajan.     .
In 1926 Lala Hans Raj started Dogra Gazette whose editor was Daya Krishan Gardish. Lala Ji started tirade against the outsiders through  Dogra Gazette and forced the. State Government to reserve the jobs for the sons of the. soil. The “State Subject Certificate for State jobs came into existence. Lala Hans Raj through his life fought against the evils which were prevailing in the Hindu society and strived for the economic and social uplift of the  people of the State. He was far ahead of his time. Prince of Wales College was established in Jammu because of his sustained efforts. He fought against the dowry system, untouchablility, child marriage and smoking. He favoured widow Marriage. He asked the Jammuites to get themselves  educated in Urdu language if they wanted to get Government jobs.
A pioneer in the field of social reforms. Lala Ji was an institution in himself. For him social service was Parmodharma. He was held in very high esteem and reverence by all sections of the society. Hans raj was true karamyogi who lived his life according to the highest moral values.
He was also known as the “Dogra General”.  Lala Ji died in the intervening night Of 26th / 27th February 1944 at 4:00 A.M. He was 77. Whole of the society was shocked to hear about the demise of Lala Hans Raj Mahajan. Every political and non-political party condoled Lala Ji’s demise.