– A Book Summary by Major N.H.Rao ( Retd)
In the remote jungle and hilly terrain in the Western border of Kashmir (Rajouri-Poonch Sector), the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC in C), Western Command, Indian Army, addresses the officers of the division, responsible to safeguard the border some time in 1971. “Gentlemen, we will be at WAR with Pak shortly, Unlike, in 1965, we shall now crush the enemy both in the Eastern and Western Sectors decisively and shall not give away an inch of territory back to the enemy. Hence, motivate your men under your command to fight accordingly”.
The war broke out, Indian Army did exceedingly well, East Pakistan surrendered with nearly more than 90,000 soldiers. The rout of West Pakistan and liberation of Kashmir was certain within a day or two. The folly of cease fire took place and with that the dram of complete anhilation of Pak was jolted – and the Army had to retrace its steps to LOC (Line of Actual Control) with a great pain in the heart.
This took place due to the obnoxious and lopsided decision of our Central Government and we were back to square one of 1947-48 days.
The valley of Kashmir is located at an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by lofty mountain ranges of Himalayas. It has been a bore a sure base of Indian culture and exquisite beauty.
According to the Neelpat Puran ( a mytholigical text) there existed a vast lake – present day Kashmir. It is believed that Maharshi Kashyap cut the mountain near Varahmul (Baramula) to create an outlet for the water of the lake. The water flowed in the river Vitasta (Jhelum). Thus a beautiful valley was formed. This valley was named as Kashyap Marg – known as Kashmir.
Srinagar, the present capital was built by Maurya Emperor, Ashoka the Great.
According to known history, even before Mahabharata and during Mahabharat, Kashmir had been a prominent seat of Vedic Dharma.
On the way to the intellectual victories of Adi Sankaracharya all over the country, Kashmir became a leading and important centre for intellectual, philosophical and religious debates.
Medieval and modern history
Maharaja Lalithaditya of 8th Century is still remembered for fame and prosperity and progress of this State. Consequently, it attracted Arab Muslim hordes. But they could not face the valour of Lalithaditya and retraced with great humiliation. During his rule it was a famous pilgrimage centre. Martand temple was built, whose ruins are still known as a symbol of cultural heritage of India.
The unquestioned influence of Kashmir remained undiminished upto the famous king Avanthivarman – 11th Century. for 300 years the successive generations of Arab hordes could not dare cast an evil eye on Kashmir.
After a glorious past, in the 14th Century, there was muslim courtier named Shah Mir during the regime of Sahdev. The rule of Sahdev and after him Udayandev did not last long. Kotarani the queen (wife of Sahadev) was dethroned by Shah Mir – she committed suicide. This was in 1339, the rule of Kashmir passed into the hands of a muslim for the first time. After Shah Mir – Sikandar the successor committed genocide of the Hindus and the Dal lake was filled with dead bodies of Hindus and it became like a dyke. The remains of those bodies are still visible in the middle of the lake in the form of structure. The local people call it ‘But Mazar’ meaning tomb of Hindus. A small number of Hindus remained. Their descendants are Kashmiri Pandits.
Moghuls captured Kashmir like other parts of the country and later the Pathans.
In 1820, Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed Kasmir and reestablished Hindu rule over it. Gulab Singh, an Army chief of Ranjit Singh was enthroned as king of Jammu. Gulab Singh with his famous chieftain Jorawar Singh expanded the borders of Jammu & Kashmir up to China and Tibet.
Britishers recognised the valour and influence of Gulab Singh and they signed a treaty at Amritsar in 1846 under which the State of Jammu and Kashmir became a separate and independent entity and he was given the status of an independent ruler. The whole mountainous area between the rivers Ravi and Jhelum was declared as an integral part of Jammu regime, in addition to the valley.
Later on, Maharaja Gulab Singh annexed Gilgit and Baltistan and established a strong and powerful empire, including J&K, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Baltistan. He became independent ruler and his descendants remained undisputed souverign kings up to 1947. Maharaja Hari Singh was the last successor.
In between, however, Ranvir Singh, successor to Gulab Singh agreed to bring back muslims into the national main stream. Some narrow minded Kashmiri Pandits threatened to commit suicide if muslims were allowed to embrace Hindu fold.
Pak invasion and J&K’s accession to India
On 15 August 1947, the British government partitioned our country into India and Pakistan. Approximately, 600 princely States were also granted freedom. At that time J&K was under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. He had supported Mahatma Gandhi in the 1931 Round Table conference regarding freedom of India. The Britishers were annoyed by his decision and never forgave him.
India achieved independence in 1947. Almost all the princely states simultaneously acceded either to India or Pakistan under the Indian Independence Act. But Maharaja Hari Singh was in a fix. Reasons being:
a)Acceding to Pakistan was not possible due to fear of genocide of Hindus keeping in view of the political climate of Pakistan and its hostility.
b)Acceding to India had some problems. Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of National Conference, had started ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement in 1946, under the pretext of establishing democratic rule in the State. But his real motive was to remove the Maharaja. In the middle of 1946, Maharaja Hari Singh arrested Sheikh Abdullah and sentenced him to 3 years imprisonment. But Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, announced to take part in the movement and Maharaja banned his entry into the State.
c) When Nehru became the Prime Minister, he kept the issue of Kashmir under him whereas it should have been assigned to Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister and Dy. Prime Minister. Because of the nexus between Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sheikh Abdulla, Maharaja became hesitant regarding the accession to India.
d)Accession of Kashmir to India had another problem – that was lines of communication and supplies. The only route was through Gurdaspur – kutcha road – prone to be blocked during rains. Moreover, till 6 August 1947, the British Government did not decide whether this district would be in Indian or Pakistani territory. Another more open route passed through Sialkot and Rawalpindi – Pak territories. All essential commodities passed through this route. Under the circumstances, Pakistan will surely block transportation of all commodities resulting in economic crisis due to the blockade.
e)Delay tactics were also employed by British Government in respect of Gilgit, which would not be under Anglo-American influence if acceded to India and Military blockage of Russia would not be possible. This delay was carried through Ramchandra Kak (Prime Minister of Kashmir) and his English wife.
f)Under the circumstances Maharaja made an offer for a Stand-Still Agreement – which India neither accepted nor rejected. Political visits bore no fruits.
During this fluid political situation, Sheikh Abdullah was conspiring with Pakistan. He told Jinnah that if he accepted him as the sole leader of Kashmir he would put political pressure in favour of Pakistan. Maharaja was aware that if he acceded to India, the Muslim community and Sheikh Abdullah will put all sorts of obstacles.
The stand-still agreement became infructuous and Pakistan started economic blockade of Kashmir. Even postal and telecom system was closed. Maharaja dismissed his Prime Minister, Kak. When all types of tactics failed to accede to Pak by Jinnah, he ordered tribals to infiltrate in large numbers from the bordering areas of J&K. Their aim being to loot, arson and frighten the Hindus – compelling them to leave the State and thus establish Pak authority. There was genocide.
On account of the grave situation, Maharaja decided to appoint Meharchand Mahajan (Judge of Punjab High Court) as Prime Minister. Though Sheikh Abdullah tried to thwart the move, through the efforts of Sardar Patel, Mahajan was relieved of his duties and was appointed as Prime Minister on 15 October 1947 by the Maharaja.
It was also obvious that until the State was acceded to India, India would not be in a position to send its troops for defence of the State.
Sardar patel and Mahajan were aware of the fact that RSS could play an important and useful role in removing the hesitation of Maharaja. Accordingly, Mahajan and Shri Guruji went to Srinagar in October 1947 and met the Maharaja and dispelled his hesitation to accede to India.
On 24 October 1947, the Maharaja conveyed the grim position to Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. Maharaja also sent his personal letter to them. The Maharaja also sent the instrument of accession along with his letter. A telegraphic message was also sent to the British Prime Minister. In the meantime, the Pakistani invaders reached outskirts of Baramula. The muslim soldiers of Maharaja’s army had deserted and joined the Pak invaders. There were wide spread scenes of looting, arson, rape etc. RSS activists took over charge of the defence of Srinigar and its airport till Indian Army reached there on 27 October 1947 by Air.
The above move took place immediately after the documents of accession got prepared and duly signed by the Maharaja on 26 October 1947 and sent to Delhi through Mahajan and VP Menon (Secretary Ministry of States) who reached by plane, from Delhi the same day – 26 October 1947, the document being accepted by India constitutionally, and on 27 October 1947 Indian Army reached Kashmir by Air.
On reaching Srinagar, Indian Army started fierce attach on Pak invaders and they were forced to flee – Srinagar was saved.
Security Council on 13 August 1948, asked Pak to withdraw its Army totally from J&K. But it has till now not withdrawn from 2/5 part The legal and constitutional accession of J&K to India has been accepted by the Security Council.
Despite the fact that the legal position of accession of J&K is crystal clear, very often the question of plebiscite is raised on the ground that India had committed herself to hold it to ascertain the opinion of the people of the State. Mr. Mahajan clearly stated that when after J&K acceded to India on 27 October 1947, the Indian Army started driving the Pak invaders out of J&K. The then Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan arrayed his arguments in holding a plebiscite in J&K, Shri Mahajan rebutted in the meeting called by Lord Mountbatten. The authority to accede a State to India or Pak had been solely vested in the ruler of the State and no conditions could be imposed on them.
The National Conference fought election to the J&K Assembly on 27 October 1950. The State Constitutent Assembly passed the Constitution for J&K on 17 November 1956 – brought into force on 26 January 1957. In that it has been clearly stated “The State of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and shall remain permanently its integral part” – (Article 3 of J&K constitution). The Articles 3 and 5 not only declared that the decision of accession was final but also expressed a resolve that this question shall not be raked up in future.
Even after 25 years since 1965 war between India and Pakistan, the Security Council has never discussed the issue of J&K and Pakistan’s demand for plebiscite (which has been turned down).
Pak holds 2/5 of the State under illegal occupation. International law does not allow the aggressor to enjoy the gains of illegal invasion. Pak has no right to ask for plebiscite.
The objective of Pakistan is to legalise its occupation with the help of USA and seek international recognition.
As a result of 1971 war – East Bengal totally separated. After the war Shimla Agreement was signed between Bhutto and Indira Gandhi. J&K issue was also included. There was no mention of plebiscite in the agreement. Pak’s demand for self determination is hallow.
Yet, Pak, while spreading various misgivings states that the population of J&K have been deprived of their right of self determination on the accession of J&K. Every now and then, it raises the issue in the UNO.
The poisoned atmosphere of J&K, which has made the whole of India suffer was planted by Sheikh Abdullah – with slogans like “Hindustan Murdabad” , “Pakistan Zindabad”.
The sheikh had been a British Agent, a fanatic communalist, cunning and incarnation of chameleon.
It was unfortunate blunder of Nehru to give open support to Sheikh Abdullah during “Quit Kashmir” movement and later. Hence, the present day sad situation of Kashmir.
Nehru had handed over the overall command of Indian Army to Sheikh Abdullah and thus advancement of Indian Army was checked in vital sectors such as Gilgit.
Sheikh was responsible for genocide of the Hindus and those Hindus who could some how save themselves were not granted Urdu in total disregard for Kashmir.
Students were condemned for act of treason when they objected flag of National Conference to be hoisted in place of National flag during functions.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who took up the cause of removing permit system to enter J&K was medically murdered.
Sheikh had fixed his eyes on turning J&K into his independent kingdom with definite bias towards Pak. Finally, Nehru got stunned. Nevertheless, it was out of extraordinary fascination for the Sheikh that Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution which has become a perpetual sore in the body politic of India.
India had to pay a heavy cost for not recognising the seditious intentions of Sheikh Abdullah. At last he was removed from office and arrested on 9 august 1953. But the damage was done – result of which Kashmir is suffering an explosive situation today. Lakhs of Hindus are homeless and lingering as refugees in their own country in Jammu and Delhi.
Article 370 – A poison of separatism
The Article 370 of the Indian Constitution separates J&K from all other States and provides a different status for J&K. This fatal Article in the Constitution of India has not been made under any pressure, compulsion or legal obligation but simply for providing political appeasement.
Dr. Ambedkar opposed it vehemently, when Nehru mentioned about it. Under this responsibility of defence etc., of J&K should remain responsibility of India, but Indian Parliament should ‘ have no control over the State. To implement other Articles of the Constitution as passed by Parliament, special permission of the President and also special consent by the Legislative Assembly of J&K is essential.
Thus a psychological impression is created that common people and particularly the muslims consider themselves separate from the other citizens of India. Thus leading to regionalism, communalism rather than National integration.
This Article is now sought to be percolated to other States also.
Because of this Article the honour of National Flag, National Anthem and other symbols of National honour are not applicable in J&K. No treaty for their benefit can be signed. Also no changes in boundary can be made.
Though the Governor of J&K is appointed by the President of India, he has no right to vote – because he is not a citizen of the State. Even Hindus, Budhists who are ‘State citizens’ from Jammu and Ladakh have no right to vote.
If the President of India proclaims emergency under Article 352 due to external aggression or internal armed rebellion, the emergency becomes applicable to whole of India except J&K. Similar is the case with Article 350 (Financial emergency).
There are many other misdismenors like industrial development, educational institutions etc.
During the rule of Sheikh Abdullah, Dr. Farooq Ghulam Mohd. Shah, anti India and pro Pak elements got full freedom to capture the machinery of the State Administration. Whatever plans were framed by our security forces were passed on to the enemy.
The wrong and faulty policies of the Government of India and anti-national leadership of the State has turned the affairs of the State into explosive situation.
Bomb explosions, demolition of religious places, killing of both general public, mostly Hindus, kidnappings, killing of senior government and important personalities being order of the day.
Almost all the Hindus of Kashmir valley have been forced to flee.
A large number of arms and ammunition is being smuggled from Pak. Young men are being taken forcibly to train them as terrorists by Pak and anarchy is rampant.
The young generation of J&K has become hostile to India. Some of them wish J&K to merge with Pak,. The real base is islamic fundamentalism, intolerance and animosity towards India (with the help of Pak).
Hindus have already been pushed out from Kashmir. Next target – Budhists from Ladakh and next Jammu.
China and Pak have joined hands – apart from USA. Reason being Pak has agreed to give away Gilgit to China – and thus improving lines of communication.
Pak has developed nuclear capability with the help of USA, China and the Arabs.
Article 370 must immediately be removed – under which J&K is part of India and yet it is separate. By removing this separatism will automatically dissolve.
Government of India should take hold of Poonch-Uri-Titwal corridor adjacent to Pak occupied area so that Pak cannot have direct access to Kashmir.
Hindus who migrated to Jammu and other areas due to force of circumstances should be granted all citizenship rights.
Till the time Pak is waging undeclared war against India, the Indian Army should given free hand to rout the enemy.
Industrial and business ventures should be developed without discrimination.
Pro-Pak elements in important services should be removed.
Social, religious organisations, schools which incite religious fanaticism should be banned.
One Head, one Constitution, one flag should be final principle.