Time has changed yet the pages of history need to be reopened and read with rapt attention and critical eye. The timeline reveals that what once enjoyed the prominence in the entire city is today wailing over its plight. The torn pages of history speak for themselves when you enter through the tunnel towards Wazeeron ki Gali.
Just at a distance of few meters from the Royal Durbar of Maharaja Hari Singh at Mubarak Mandi is “Wazeeron ki Gali”, a small mohalla which once was home of the courtiers and other employees of Maharaja has stories to narrate. The Mohalla has lost its significance and importance yet history has left its traces alive in the Mohalla.
The Mohalla used to be called as “Wazeeron ki Gali” for the fact that one of the loyal ministers of Duggar Kingdom lived in this Mohallah. His name was Wazir Mhor Singh who used to be personal secretary of Maharaja Pratap Singh. Due to a close affinity with the seat of power, the Mohallah in which he lived came to be known as “Wazeeron ki Gali”.
Records present at Department of archives and archaeology Jammu reveal that the Mohalla used to be called as Gadhadhar Mohallah, after the name of Gadhadhari Temple which is present in the Mohallah. Gadhadhari Temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples. During the time of the Royal Dogra Raj, this Mohalla used to be a busy street with courtiers of Maharaja running up and down. The Mohallah used to be a way towards Mubarak Mandi Durbar.
“Wazeeron ki Gali” came into limelight in the year 1942 when the son of the private secretary of Maharaja Pratap Singh, Wazir Ganga Ram became Home Minister in the first cabinet elected during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh. The elected ministers were called as Popular Ministers and Wazir Ganga Ram was one of them.
It is said that he was very close to the Maharaja. And it is this closeness because of which the Maharaja would call this Mohallah as Mohallah Wazir Ganga Ram. Ganga Ram was not the only Wazir; there were many other renowned personalities who lived in this Mohallah. Dewan Badrinath was one such personality.
The Mohallah apart from being home of the Wazir family also housed the families of fourth class employees working as servants and washermen of the Maharaja. It is also established from the records that most of the families living in the Mohallah belonged to the Muslim community.
The workers and servants of the royal court lived in this Mohallah. One of the washermen, Mohammed Yaqoob who later left to Pakistan in the year 1947 used to be a highly respected washerman.
“None could match his quality,” said Makhan Lal, who is above 80 years old and has seen the Mohallah from childhood.
He added that after the bloodbath of 1947, Mohammed Yaqoob went to Pakistan and as somebody who went to Pakistan and as somebody who went to Pakistan after coming back, he told us that his grandsons are currently multimillionaires. Others who lived in this Mohallah were shoemakers and horseriders. A few cooks also lived in this Mohallah.
Brahmin families also formed an integral part of the Mohallah. In the past, the Mohallah consisted of around 60 to 70 families. The residents of the Mohallah state that nothing much has changed in the last 60 years apart from this that the few houses in the Mohallah have been renovated.
“It used to be once an important Mohallah and the only thing that has changed more than any other thing is that it has lost importance,” said an old man nearing 70s.