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Chapter 1:

Historical Overview and Physical


Features:-
The folk people of Bhalessa were called Bhalls in the
past which makes one to believe that queen Bhala of Raja
Nagpal have been from Bhaderwah. There are variety of
opinions from different people regarding the origin of its
name “Bhalessa” some talk it as Land of “Bhaley Manus”
(Bhaley Lougun Ka Desh) which is meant the decent
people with distinct identity. Dr. P K Koul who conducted
a research on Bhaderwah, Chamba, Kangra and Bhalessa
in early nineties opine that the Bhalessa area derived its
name from Queen Bhalla-The Queen of Nagpal. Some
people regard it as land of “Bhalay Loug” (The right
people with right destiny)

It has become very difficult for the person of my stature


to gauge the history of this otherwise hilly terrain. Before
the Roots of Bhalessa saw a light of the day, I go through
the pages of several researches conducted on the
Himalayan region. The historical evidence regarding the
area like of Bhalessa is not found widely in the books like
“Rajtarangni” of Kalhana or other regional studies.
Nevertheless, some of the historians like Dr. P K Koul,
Parvaiz Deewan (IAS) and Wali Mohd. Aseer has had
spared their three lines regarding Bhalessa.
Bhalessa as it is commonly called comprised of the twin
valleys of Bonjwah drained and carved by the rivults and
Bhalessa drained by Kalgoni stream whereas the former
emerges from the mountain ranges of Chamba near the
Sach Peak. The later emerges from the Katari range near
Son Bain (Golden Spring) mountain. The two rivults unite
near Donadi, a few miles above Thathri on the National
Highway 1 B where it finally merges into the chenab
river.
The upper valley is very beautiful and picturisque. In
former times the valley of Bhalessa were easily
communicable from Churah Wazarat of Chamba state
through more then one pass, namely Padri Gali (12862')
and Mahlwar Pass (13027'). On the north, it is bounded
by snow clad peaks of Kishtwar and Padder and in the
east it is bounded by chamba district of Himachal
Pradesh through a padri pass.
The main divisions viz a viz locations are Neeli, Jatota,
Pingal, Chilli, Nanota and Basnota, these areas seemed
scattered owing to the The area is having several
picturesque places like Bal Padri, Kanthi Dhar, Soin
Bhagar, Naglotan etc. The area of Bhaderwah and
Bhalessa comprise of glaciated mountain slopes and
terraced fields.
The Churah and Bhalessa must have been closely linked
in the social and cultural fields as is evident today by a
large of relations between Chamba and Bhalessa. There
seemed a unity in social structure.
Bhalessa is full of meadows popularly known as Dhar
like Kanthi, Naglotan, Soin Bhagar, Roharhi, Dagan, Bal
Padri, etc. the area is mountainous, it has umpteen
number of trekking routes which pass through places
with unbelievable captivating scenic beauty.
The place is a comfortable base for trekkers and
mountaineers, on their way to the Great Himalayas. By
road, bus services from Doda connect Bhalessa.
Tiny patches of maize and mustard, like patchwork
quilts, straddled the edge of the stream that rushed
down from the snow-capped peaks in the distance with
an irrepressible passion to merge into the Chenab
beyond. Children played cricket on improvised pitches on
patches of land left fallow or lazed around on conical
haystacks.

Weather-beaten Bakkarwal men-with their hennaed


beards and loosely wound turbans, led flocks of hairy
mountain goats. Their children and womenfolk followed
after them, driving mules laden with pots, pans and
bedding their mobile homes. The perfect picture of
serenity. It has a Muslim majority, with a Hindu minority
of a little more than a third of the population.

The history of Bhalessa and Bhaderwah dates


back to 200 B.C. When the revered Buddhist scholar
Nagsena was invited to a discussion by king Mender in his
palace at Sakla.Kishtwar. In the discussions Nagsena
replied all the questions of the king who then embraced
Buddhism and became king Milinda. Nagsena recorded
the discussion in “Millinda Panha” a Pali Treatise on the
fundamental principles of Buddhist philosophy.
The principality of Bhaderwah Bhalessa was distributed
into 15 administrative units. The total area of Bhaderwah
Jagir (including Bhalessa etc) was 533 sq.miles which
after amalgamation with Udhampur district in 1931 was
reduced to 213 sq.miles only. The earliest mention of the
place is traced from Rajatarangni around (1112-28A.D.)
Bhalessa had come into existence in the year 1948
and its Headquarter is located at a distance of 241 Kmts
from the Jammu winter capital and 282 kmts. from the
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. The area is
located between 32-52 and 41-97 degree longitude.
The altitude of the area varies from 3200 to 15000 ft.
from the sea level. The area is surrounded by Chamba
district of Himachal Pradesh.
The form of the land is rugged and
mountainous surrounded by the sprawling mountains of
Himalayas from north to west. These are named as great
Himalayas. Besides there are other lofty ridges and
peaks. The nullahas like historical Kalgoni streem merge
into river Chenab at Thathri. Nullahs called “Kalguni” is
Pavitur in the sense that it is surrounded by historical
Basaka Nag temple at the corner of village Kilhotran.
The main river in Bhalessa is Kalgoni straching
from “Kansozoo” that merge into the chenab after.
Besides this there are some other small Streems/ Nullahs
such as Beer Sow with its origin from Ludoo Kansar with
enormous hight, Kanchu sohow near Makhan Chuchool
(local popular name of hindus and muslims) has its origin
near Goha Kahagugasar. These rivers flow through
gorges and are mainly exploited for generation of Hydel
Power. Of late Bhalessa is rich in natural resources if
exploited may contribute for the states economy.
The climate is almost dry. The rainfall is scanty,
because of this reason the area is declared as Drought
Prone Area by the Ministry of Rural Development Govt of
India. The temperature remains snow bound for five-six
months of the year. Summer is generally without rain and
precipitation often occurs during the winter season.
The soil is generally loose and Gruti and in
some places Sandy with very low moisture. The incidence
of soil erosion is very high and roads blockage is frequent
during the rainy season.
The places are notorious for fall of slides
during every rainy season and cause inconvenience to all.
The Soil conservation Department is surveying the area
but no concrete steps has been put in place by the
concerned officers to aware the people about the soil
conservation schemes.
The role of NGOs is strongly laudable in this
direction for contributing their bit owing to which many
wastelands became green. Bhalessa is rich in coniferous
forest wealth.
The forest provides timber of important
varieties viz, Deodar, Fir, Kail, Chir, etc.These also yield
products like dhoop, resin, guchian and other products.
For rehabilitation of degraded forests and increase the
forest area by plantation in the area taken up in a big
way of the forest Department.
There might be some world’s oldest Deodars s
in Jitota Zone of Bhalessa. The precious stones in the area
are also expected to be found in the Dudwar area in
abundance. The main crops are Maize, and wheat.

There is enough potential to hold back the


tourist in Bhalessa and areas around for at least a
fortnight. Imagine how much good it could do to the local
economy. Places of pilgrimage if promoted will help
bringing the tourist to these areas even while the
infrastructure is being developed. Of course The Tourism
Development Authority required have to be established.
Bhalessa presents beautiful picturesque as
well as attractive fields on way to Padri Top which could
be promoted as a health resort as well as a picnic spot.
This is a connection line of Bhalessa and Bhaderwah. An
everlasting Glacier, Bal Padri is just 15 Km from Padri
Top/ Dhaar/ Khanni Top on foot/ horse back from
Bhaderwah side. It is on huge heights and one could find
large snow field here even in the month of June. Enough
scope exists for Gandola rope ways. Bhadherwah to
Kansar could be a good Gandola venture with Khanni Top,
Padri Dhaar , Nagni MataTemple and Jaai Valley are lying
around Bhalessa. Unfortunately, the area has been
divided and has not taken care of geographical proximity
or administrative conveniences. The areas like Bonjawah,
Kahara, Basnota, Pingal and Cilly. There seemed more or
less discrimination meted to people of these areas.
Bhalessa is presently a part of Bhaderwah
Constituency including some little part of Bhatyas and
chilly hamlets, whereas the areas like of Basnota
(Kahara) and Bonjawah are part of Inderwal assembly
segment.
Owing to the scatteredness of these areas the
composite culture has been deteriorated. The regional
chauvinism led its head high due to its political
dislocation. The local traditional ethos has been damaged
and area has been little progressed& planned. It may be
due to poor administrative and political set up. The areas
like Kahara and Bhatyas are disconnected owing to
inadequate administrative presence.

Of late, the people in governance are in favor of


creation of separate constituency under the pretext of
Delimitation Commission report. Administrative reforms
are already in place. The recent changes seemed to be
happened. The Tehsil Thathri and Tehsil Bhalessa carved
out of Sub- Division Bhaderwah very recently is a
milestone in the history. Tehsil Bhalessa has been
upgraded as Sub – Division. This way there again remain
two Sub-Divisions i.e. Bhaderwah and Bhalessa with three
Tehsils namely Bhaderwah, Bhalessa and Thathri in
District Doda.
As such, in any case one Sub-Division is to have two
Tehsils while the other will remain Sub-Division for one
Tehsil. It may be in place to mention that the distance
from Thathri to Tehsil Headquarter Bhalessa is only 30
Kms whereas distance from Thathri to Bhaderwah is
around 60 Kms. Furthermore, the distance from Bhalessa
to Bonjwah is only 20 kms and is geographically very
close to Bhalessa.
However, In view of the above considerations the
government proposed that new Sub-Division Bhalessa
shall comprise, Tehsil Bhalessa and Tehsil Thathri.
Previously, a demand was projected by the public that
twenty three villages falling in three Patwar Halqas
namely Kansoo, Jora and Malanoo be attached with Tehsil
Bhalessa after their deletion from Tehsil Thathri.
The demand for the setting up of Niabats at Bhatyas and
Kahara is justified as the area is disconnected
administratively.
Another demand received by the government team
during its visit to the area pertained to attachment of
eleven villages of Patwar Halqas Patnazi and Jawalapur
commonly known as Bunjawa with Tehsil Thathri after
their detachment from Tehsil Kishtwar on the ground of
proximity of the area and convenience of the people.
After considering all counter claims in respect of these
demands and taking into consideration, the proximity of
Patwar Halqas, administrative convenience and public
demand, the team recommended strongly that eight
villages of Patwar Halqa Kansoo namely Kansoo, Bathri,
Indlu, Dichhal, Bhatoli, Dharyouth, Piyakal, Kuthyara with
population of 5,744 can be deleted from Tehsil Thathri
and added in Tehsil Bhalessa. The demand for attachment
of Patwar Halqas Jora and Malanoo with Bhalessa Tehsil is
not found justified and agreeable. The government find it
unjustified. This was suggested by the committee formed
by the government.
The area of Bonjawah is in close proximity
with Bhalessa including Bhatyas and Khara.
Geographically Bonjawah, Khara, Bhatyas and Gandoh
Bhalessa upto khaljugasar is a single geographical unit.
Unfortunately, the area has been divided and
has not taken care of its geographical proximity, Bhalessa
is presenty a part of Bhaderwah Constituency including
some little part of Bhatyas and chilly, whereas the areas
like of Khara and Bonjawah are part of Inderwal assembly
segment thereby the local composite culture has been
deteriorated. The regional chauvinism has its head high
due to its political dislocation. The local composite
culture has been damaged and area seemed little
progressed & planned.

The locals are in favour of creation of


separate political and administrative unit under the
pretext of Delimitation commission by combining Tehsil
Bhalessa, Khara, Bhatyas, Chilly and Bonjawah and
deleting Bhalessa from Bhaderwah and Bonjawah from
Inderwal.
It will be a progressive step if Bhalessa-
Bhatyas –Bonjawah might be carved as a separate
political and administrative unit. The state government
should set up a committee for taking into account the
sentiments of all three zones viz Tehsil Bhalessa,
Bonjawah and Bhatyas Pingal & Chilly areas.
The advantage of separate unit may lead to
the progress as far as developmental arena is concerned.
The local community especially the people of all these
areas be taken in confidence while preparing the final
document on achievable motherhood so that the people
of the area might get solace of the problems of
inadequate development and help to maintain the age old
tradition, folk lore and above all culture and geographical
oneness.
Deterioration of Identity by the
perspective rulers
Basnota, Nanota, Pingal, Jitota, Chilly

Nestling amongst high mountainous and cliffy terrain,


off shooting high where skies are the limits, it is most
prominent townships like Bonjawah, Basnota, Chilly and
Pingal in Doda District.
The spirituality attunes the skies resting aside castes,
creed and colours and above all religions, The Ruby Gems
on mountainous slopes glows and glitters and marble of
Thathri twinkle amidst dense, vibrant, lush green
uplands.
The topography of the area is hilly and mountainous.
There is Lack of transport communication as compared to
other areas of the erstwhile Doda District.

It is the most backward which is evident from the low


literacy rate, dilapidated road conditions, poor road net
work, low per capita income, Non-existence of industries
and lack of adequate agricultural inputs.
There is enough potential to hold back the tourist in the
area for at least a fortnight. Imagine how much good it
could do to the local economy. Places of pilgrimages if
promoted will help bringing the tourist to these areas
even while the infrastructure is being developed. Of late,
The Tourism Development Authority required to be
established firstly.
Bhalessa presents beautiful picturesque as well as
attractive fields on way to Padri Top which could be
promoted as a health resort as well as a picnic spot. It is
on huge heights and one could find large snow field here
even in the month of June.

Of late, the people in governance are in favor of


creation of separate constituency under the pretext of
Delimitation Commission report. Administrative reforms
are already in place. The recent changes seemed to be
happened. The Tehsil Thathri and Tehsil Bhalessa carved
out of Sub- Division Bhaderwah very recently is a
milestone in the history. Tehsil Bhalessa has been
upgraded as Sub – Division. This way there again remain
two Sub-Divisions i.e. Bhaderwah and Bhalessa with three
Tehsils namely Bhaderwah, Bhalessa and Thathri in
District Doda.
As such, in any case one Sub-Division is to have two
Tehsils while the other will remain Sub-Division for one
Tehsil. It may be in place to mention that the distance
from Thathri to Tehsil Headquarter Bhalessa is only 30
Kms whereas distance from Thathri to Bhaderwah is
around 60 Kms. Furthermore, the distance from Bhalessa
to Bonjwah is only 20 kms and is geographically very
close to Bhalessa.
However, In view of the above considerations the
government proposed that new Sub-Division Bhalessa
shall comprise, Tehsil Bhalessa and Tehsil Thathri.
Previously, a demand was projected by the public that
twenty three villages falling in three Patwar Halqas
namely Kansoo, Jora and Malanoo be attached with Tehsil
Bhalessa after their deletion from Tehsil Thathri.
The demand for the setting up of Niabats at Bhatyas and
Kahara is justified as the area is disconnected
administratively.
Another demand received by the government team
during its visit to the area pertained to attachment of
eleven villages of Patwar Halqas Patnazi and Jawalapur
commonly known as Bunjawa with Tehsil Thathri after
their detachment from Tehsil Kishtwar on the ground of
proximity of the area and convenience of the people.
After considering all counter claims in respect of these
demands and taking into consideration, the proximity of
Patwar Halqas, administrative convenience and public
demand, the team recommended strongly that eight
villages of Patwar Halqa Kansoo namely Kansoo, Bathri,
Indlu, Dichhal, Bhatoli, Dharyouth, Piyakal, Kuthyara with
population of 5,744 can be deleted from Tehsil Thathri
and added in Tehsil Bhalessa. The demand for attachment
of Patwar Halqas Jora and Malanoo with Bhalessa Tehsil is
not found justified and agreeable. The government find it
unjustified. This was suggested by the committee formed
by the government.
The area of Bonjawah is in close proximity with Bhalessa
including Bhatyas and Khara. Geographically Bonjawah,
Khara, Bhatyas and Gandoh Bhalessa upto khaljugasar is
a single geographical unit.
Unfortunately, the area has been divided and has not
taken care of its geographical proximity, Bhalessa is
presenty a part of Bhaderwah Constituency including
some little part of Bhatyas and chilly, whereas the areas
like of Khara and Bonjawah are part of Inderwal assembly
segment thereby the local composite culture has been
deteriorated. The regional chauvinism has its head high
due to its political dislocation. The local composite
culture has been damaged and area seemed little
progressed & planned.

The locals are in favour of creation of separate political


and administrative unit under the pretext of Delimitation
commission by combining Tehsil Bhalessa, Khara,
Bhatyas, Chilly and Bonjawah and deleting Bhalessa from
Bhaderwah and Bonjawah from Inderwal.
It will be a progressive step if Bhalessa-Bhatyas –
Bonjawah might be carved as a separate political and
administrative unit. The state government should set up
a committee for taking into account the sentiments of all
three zones viz Tehsil Bhalessa, Bonjawah and Bhatyas
Pingal & Chilly areas.
The advantage of separate unit may lead to the
progress as far as developmental arena is concerned. The
local community especially the people of all these areas
be taken in confidence while preparing the final
document on achievable motherhood so that the people
of the area might get solace of the problems of
inadequate development and help to maintain the age old
tradition, folk lore and above all culture and geographical
oneness.
Chapter 2:- Period of Awakening
Over time there seemed less political or social
awakening among the elites, the area was little
progressed, there was no education rather primary
schooling to the people. People used to go to Bhaderwah
for their primary studies.
The political staire was also lacking as people
represented a low income strata and economy was poor.
The people seemed out of such activism. Hari Saran
Zaildar of Batara was regarded as a chief Chowkidar of
the hamlet. The first teacher was Anirud Singh of
Khaljugasar who was educated from Bhaderwah.
Some families over time migrated from Kashmir.
The whole Chenab valley and Bhaderwah Jagir was ruled
by Rana’s and Thakurs. The area of Bhalessa was a part
of Bhaderwah Jagir and Bhaderwah was regarded as a
main centre of decentralization.
It is learnt from our elderly that they used to go
Bhaderwah for ration to feed them.
Owing to the close proximity with Bhaderwah,
people maintained healthy relations with Bhaderwah.

However, many families in Kashmir have migrated


from one part to another in search of habitation and
livelihood. One such family was the Batt family which
migrated to the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh
while a few factions stayed in Bhalessa's Soti village. The
family at Soti took up peasant work. Ghulam Rasool Azad
was born in the year 1916 to this peasant family. There
were only two schools then in Bhalessa - the Primary
school Kilhotran and the Bhaderwah Amar Singh school.
Rasool's father Kh. Khazra Batt sent him to both.

In 1935, Ghulam Rasool Azad passed the graduate


entrance examination from Jammu Centre. He graduated
in Mathematics. He did his post graduation from Punjab
University in 1943.
Munshi Mohamed Anwer was also enrolled in
Bhaderwah
Chapter: Bhalessa: Social and Political
awakening
Gone are the days when area like of Bhalessa witnessed a tumultuous days. Of late, there was a
paucity of community leadership on the one hand and sacracity of a membership in assembly
to represent the improvised terrain of Bhalessa on the other.

Mohammad Sharief Niaz- rated high in the realm of Politics was the only torch bearer to
provide solace to the people during the turmoil. Niaz, born in improvised family on 24th of
April 1944 in village changa Bhalessa, He is a law graduate, being a legal luminary, he was
entrusted the responsibility as Law Minister of the state in 1989. He patronized the improvised
people above the castes and religions.

Packed with outstanding achievements in democratic arena. Niaz, joined student Union, trade
unions and teachers unions. He joined congress party in 1976, worked as a trade union leader
and pleaded the cause of working class, nominated district president of congress committee
Doda in 1979, unsuccessfully contested 1983 assembly elections on congress ticket from
Inderwal constituency but elected in 1987, inducted into the council lof ministers of minister of
state Law in1989, From 1992 to 1996 he remained a member of USERS consultative
committee in Northern Railway of India, elected to assembly in 2002 . He polled 16,962 votes
and defeated his nearest NC rival Mohammed Aslam by a margin of 6,827 votes He was
inducted as Minister for power in Mufti-led Congress-PDP coalition.
Paving the way to the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest the Assembly
elections, He resigned from the Bhaderwah constituency from where he was elected in 2002.
Mr. Niaz's resignation was accepted with effect from March 1,

It was mandatory for Mr. Azad to be a member of any of the two Houses by the end of April
since he took over as Chief Minister on November 2, 2005. Due to the resignation of Niaz, by-
election was held in Bhaderwah constituency on April 24, 2006. He won this seat with an
overwhelming margin of 58,000.

In 2007, Niaz was elected as a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) for Doda replacing
Mohammad Iqbal Bhat.

This is interesting to note that in the aftermath of Jammu agitation while the assembly
constituency like Bhaderwah witnessed sharp polarization, here the impact was not so deep for
Niaz being the lonely competent condidate for congress high command.

Lo and behold, Niaz reportedly broke down at the declaration of the result,when he was
contesting from Bhaderwah in 2009 By elections as he himself was not expecting to win. Niaz,
defeated Mr. Dalip Singh of BJP by a margin of 2,747. While Mr. Niaz polled 21,966 votes,
Mr. Singh polled 19,219 votes, out of total 53,219 votes polled.

Niaz was not only pitched against strong candidates of other parties but also his
own party leaders, workers and a number of close relatives worked against him.
The youth and disadvantaged played a pro-active role to ensure his victory. Niaz
saw a bitter contest with the BJP roping in Ghulam Ali, brother of Ghulam Nabi
Azad, to campaign for the BJP candidate. Ghulam Ali raised a storm by
supporting the Babri Masjid demolition in his speeches.

Local people opines that he won the election keeping in view the contribution of
Niaz during tamultous days of termoil.

To focus on his contribution to the state in general and Bhaderwah Bhalessa area
in particular before 42 years. We can speak it as Political representation of
Bhalessa in assembly since time immemorial. Things seemed changes due to the
visionary programmes of Niaz.

He resigned as a Teacher and joined Indefinite strike to metigate the suffering


people at that time. when Bhalessa was witnessing atrocities committed no to the
people by nefirious designs, a fire owing to the turmoil, its he who remained all
along with the people who became prey of violence. The times itself are
witnessing that Niaz has by and large contributed for the peace and amity of the
land. He seemed Pro-Active in socio-developmental convas of Bhalessa.

Regarding the Kashmir conflict, he is on the screen as a think tank for Indo-Pak
process viz-a-viz good goverenance in the state. He always raised the issues in his
that a large number of people living under the constant fear of gun along the
border on both sides, are today are most relieved with this decision. He advocated
that Pakistan should take desired measures to control the militant organisations
operating from its soil and indulging in bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir.

During his tenure as a cabnit Minister, he ordered a probe into the reasons for the
collapse of the diversion Tunnel Number 2 at the 450-MW Baglihar hydroelectric
project in Kashmir.

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