Amritsar Agreement 16 March 1846 - Background, Misunderstandings, Points


Treaty of Amritsar 16 March 1846 

 A misunderstanding 

It is a common misconception regarding the Amritsar Agreement that the British had sold the area of ​​Kashmir to Gulab Singh and Gulab Singh had bought the area by paying Rs. 7.5 million as Nanak Shahi.

Treaty of Amritsar 16 March 1846 Amritsar Treaty
Treaty of Amritsar 1846 Treaty of Amritsar 

This notion is completely wrong and contradicts historical events.

The fact is that the war between the Punjab and the British was initiated by the Sikhs. In this war, the British suffered heavy loss of life and property but the field remained in the hands of the British and the Sikhs were defeated. The East India Company demanded one and a half crore Nanak Shahi coins from the war empire as ransom. By the time he paid this amount, he had abolished the Sikh dominion between Do Aba, Chamba, Kashmir, Hazara and all the adjoining mountainous areas between Sutlej and Beas. 

Rani Jindan and other Sikh generals were unable to pay such a large ransom. He barely paid Rs. 50 lakhs and till the payment of the remaining Rs. When Maharaja Gulab Singh saw this situation, he contacted the British and offered them that if the Sikh court could pay the remaining amount of ransom, he would be willing to pay this amount from his own knot. 

Provided that the East India Company assigns supreme authority to the above areas. The East India Company accepted the offer of Maharaja Gulab Singh.

Gulab Singh 

Gulab Singh was a very clever, far-sighted, worldly and patriotic man, he opened his eyes to a humble family in Jammu and as an ordinary salaried soldier he became associated with the court of Ranjit Singh, the ruler of Punjab. He also took his two brothers Dhyan Singh and Sochpeet Singh to the court. These three brothers gained immense confidence in Ranjit Singh on the basis of their ability, hard work and courage and bravery and became the doers of the Sikh Empire.

After the death of Ranjit Singh, his successors became embroiled in a power struggle. Gulab Singh's two brothers will also be killed in this conflict. Disgusted by this situation, Gulab Singh turned his full attention to Jammu and Kashmir and separated from the Sikh court. 

In November 1845, when the Sikhs were embroiled in a power struggle, they crossed the Sutlej River and invaded the English territory. Thus the bloody battles between the Sikhs and the British began. When Rani Jindan, the widow of Ranjit Singh, saw the empire falling apart, she summoned Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu for help and appointed him as the Prime Minister at the Lahore court. Gulab Singh ordered the Sikh chiefs to stop fighting in order to control the demands, but when the chiefs disobeyed his orders and continued fighting, he separated from the Lahore court and returned to Jammu. Because he was more concerned about his homeland than the rapidly declining Sikh Empire.

When the British entered Lahore on 10 February 1846 after their victory in the Battle of Sabhra, they demanded a ransom of 15 million rupees and many territories. These areas included Gulab Sang's native Jammu. When Gulab Singh saw all the mountainous areas including his hereditary area going in the context of the British, he made a plan to take this area under his control by paying the ransom money from his knot. 

Gulab Sang knew that the treasury of the Sikh Empire was empty and he would not be able to pay. So he spoke directly to the British. And offered to pay the ransom money from his knot, provided he was recognized as the ruler of the afflicted areas. The British accepted the offer.

 When the agreement was reached, due to lack of funds, Gulab Singh left the area between Beas and Ravi for Rs. 2.5 million, and for the remaining Rs.

GM Mir writes in his book "Five Thousand Years of Kashmir History":

The British demanded one crore rupees as ransom for war expenses. Dilip Singh's treasury was empty, he handed over Kashmir and Hazara territory to the British. The British needed money, they sold the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Gulab Singh for Rs. 75 lakhs and gave him the title of Maharaja.

According to Article 3 of the agreement, Maharaja Gulab Singh had to pay Rs 5 million to the company on occasion and the remaining Rs 2.5 million by October 1 this year or earlier. 5 million Gulab Singh paid on time but the remaining amount was paid in several installments over a period of two years. Correspondence between the parties also continued during this period. Finally, the East India Company issued a receipt for the payment on March 20, 1850.

Treaty of Amritsar 16 March 1846

Article 1:

The British Government, all the mountainous areas along the periphery which are located east of the Indus River and west of the Ravi River, including Chamba, except Lahore, which is part of the area which the Lahore court granted Maharaja Gulab Singh and his descendants are entrusted with the permanent and total authority.

Article 2: 

The area being transferred to Maharaja Gulab Singh under section I of this treaty. Its boundaries will be determined by the commissioners appointed by the British Government and Maharaja Gulab Singh. These boundaries will be identified under a separate agreement.

Article 3. 

Under the aforesaid provisions, the area which is being transferred to Maharaja Gulab Singh and his heirs, in return Maharaja Gulab Singh will pay Rs. 75 lakhs to the British Government. Of this, Rs 5 million will be paid on holding the contract and the remaining Rs 2.5 million will be paid on or before October 1 of the same year.

Article 4. 

Maharaja Gulab Singh will not change the boundaries of his country without the consent of the British Government.

Article 5: 

If a dispute arises between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the Government of Lahore or any other neighboring kingdom, the Maharaja shall refer the matter to the British Government for mediation and will abide by its decision.

Article 6 

Maharaja Gulab Singh, on behalf of himself and his heirs, pledges that if the British army is engaged in the neighboring areas of his country, he will join the British army with all his military might.

Article 7 

Maharaja Gulab Singh pledges that he will not employ any British, European or American citizen without the permission of the East India Company.

Article 8: 

Maharaja Gulab Singh pledges that as far as the territories transferred to him are concerned, he will respect the provisions of Article 5. 6.7 of the Agreement of 9 March 1846 between the British Government and the Lahore Darbar.

Article 9 

The British Government pledges to assist Maharaja Gulab Singh in protecting his country from external enemies.

Article 10: 

Maharaja Gulab Singh recognizes the supreme power of the British Government and out of respect will present to the British Government every year one horse, 12 good breed of wool goats and three pairs of Kashmiri shawls. 

This treaty was concluded between the British Government and Maharaja Gulab Singh on 16 Rabi-ul-Awal 1262 AH at the site of Amr Tassar on 16 March 1846. 

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