Kirpa Ram

Kirpa Ram (1832-1877), son of Jawala Sahai, was appointed as Diwan by Ranbir Singh in 1856 at the age of 24 and governor of Kashmir in 1865. He authored several works in Persian such as Golābnāma, a biography of Ranbir Singh’s father, Gulab Singh which was printed in 1876 at the Tuḥfa-ye Kashmir Press, Srinagar. The Golabnāma war translated into English by Sukhdev Singh Charak and Anita Charak Billawaria as “Gulabnama. A History of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir” (Gulshan Books, Srinagar 2005). Another work by Kirpa Ram is a history of Kashmir entitled Golzār-e Kašmīr printed in Lahore in 1870 at the Maṭbaʿ-e Kūh-e Nūr press.

He also wrote a work on ethics entitled “A handful of roses of ethical principles” (Goldaste-ye alāq). Furthermore, he authored two short treatises, the “Refutation of Islam” (radd-e eslām) and “Site of verifying” (Madīna al-taqīq). The latter was printed in Sialkot in 1877 and is described in the catalogue of the printed books in the Library of the British Museum by Edward Edwards as “a short polemic in defence of certain Hindu rites impugned by Moslems, with some criticisms of the practices of the latter”.

Translation Bureau?

During the reign of Ranbir Singh, several efforts in the educational system were undertaken. Traditional institutions such as madrasa and pathshala were promoted and government-funded schools following the British model were opened, too. During this time, the founding of a “translation bureau” should have taken place where scholars were engaged to translate classics from Persian and Arabic as well as contemporary material for practical purposes into Indian languages:

[…] the institution of translators through which he tried to enrich the languages spoken and understood in the State and the classical language Sanskrit […] A large personnel was employed for the purpose and an elaborate system had been worked out. About a hundred men were proposed to be appointed for translation and compilation work – 40 from Srinagar, 40 from Jammu and 20 from out side. Their pay ranged between ten rupees to fifty rupees per month, and 50 of them were stationed at Srinagar and 50 at Jammu. Some were appointed on monthly pay and some on work charge system […]

– Charak 1985: Life and Times of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, p. 261

We do not know much of the exact scope and range of this “translation bureau” and its output which would allow us to draw further conclusions, however.

Portrait of Ranbir Singh at the Dogra Art Museum, Jammu