(Last Updated on : 08-04-2009)
The Dogras, numbering nearly one million are concentrated north of the River Sutlej (in Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir and Punjab) and have carved out India's northern frontier along the Karakotam.
According to one tradition, the word Dogra is derived from 'duggar', which is ascribed to dvigarta, implying a land of two lakes, the Mansar and Saruinsar. The historical tradition rests on two Chamba copper plates of the eleventh century that have been found which mention Durgareshwar, the lord of Durgar. It is said that Durgareshwar, once attempted to conquer the Chamba Kingdom so the name may well be derived from durgaradesha (the difficult terrain). In any case, the word 'Dogra' does not denote a caste but is a term embracing Hindus of all castes as well as Muslims and Sikhs living in the Dogra region and speaking Dogri.
The Dogra region is famed for its miniature paintings. The Pahari School, which included the Poonch, Jammu, Basohli, Guler and Kangta styles, created beautiful and highly stylised combinations of colour and line, expressing delicate and sensuous feeling and intense passion. Many of these paintings depict the moods of lovers in a romantic setting.
The Dogras excel in martial arts. However, in addition to their joining the defence forces in large numbers, they have also entered other spheres of economic and political activity. Dr. Karan Singh, the youngest person ever to become a member of the union cabinet, and at one time the ambassador to the United States, is a Dogra.