The Maharaja of Kashmir Sir Pratap Singh Jamwal (1903)
Maharaja of Kashmir Sir Pratap Singh GCSI GCIE (r. 1885-1925) belonged to the Dogra dynasty of Jamwal clan of Rajputs.
The Maharaja is remembered for abolishing the ‘begar’ forced labour system in Kashmir. He undertook many social and civil schemes for the development of Kashmir including construction of Banihal Cart Road, Jammu-Sialkot railway line and Ranbir Canal among others.
In 1889, a major step of improvement was taken when the Jhelum Valley Cart Road, from Kohala to Baramulla, “the most wonderful mountain road in the world”, was completed, and a new Kohala Bridge the next year. In 1897 this road was extended to Srinagar. During the reign of Pratap Singh, many other new roads were built in the state, including those from Srinagar to Gilgit in Baltistan and Leh in Ladakh. The impact on the lives of the people of the state was enormous, as before Pratap Singh’s time there had not been a single wheeled conveyance which could travel from one place to another, not even a hand-cart. Consequently, the Jhelum River was important for transportation.
Besides, agriculture, sericulture, viticulture and horticulture were given great encouragement, and these made much progress going onto become flourishing state industries. A silk factory set up at Srinagar attained the distinction of being “the largest of its kind in the world” .
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