J&K acceded to the Indian Union

By By K.N. Pandita

True story of accession is somewhat shrouded in mystery. A number of versions are afloat. Pakistani version is that the accession was never made and the document called Instrument of Accession is a fake one. They also say it was signed under duress. This line of thinking persists with some of our so-called “progressive” historians as well. If not contradicted and falsified vigorously a day may come when those who were premier party to the accession will sing to the Pakistani tune.

The stupendous lie spread by both NC and Congress is that the basis of accession was compatibility of ideology of democracy, secularism and egalitarianism. People do not know that before approaching New Delhi, the Sheikh and his close associates had approached Jinnah with the condition to accept autonomous or restricted autonomous status for the State of Jammu and Kashmir to pave the way for accession to Pakistan, If it is true that the Sheikh looked for compatibility of ideology, did he not know that Pakistan was created on the ideology of two – nations theory? Where did the compatibility element evaporate in thin air when he sent his team to negotiate with Jinnah?

Was the Sheikh a democrat? The answer to this question should for searched in the story of election to the Constituent Assembly of the State in 1949.
The truth is that there was no question of ideology, The Sheikh pandered to Islamic ideology but at the same time wanted to have his “Sheikhdom” in one or the other form.

Finding that Pakistan was not the State that would succumb to his self-centered politics, the Sheikh gave up flirting with Pakistan and stuck to the lone option of turning to New Delhi.

It is true that Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler was very much looking for the option of an independent State. Some historians of Nehruvian school say he was day-dreaming. On the surface it may appear a day-dream but in essence Maharaja Hari Singh’s fears have come true very oppressively. Imagine the cost in terms of men and material India had to pay in a foolish bid to repudiate what is naively called Maharaja’s “day-dreaming”. The finale of this cataclysmic political myopia is yet to be anticipated.

Why did the then Governor General, namely Mountbatten write a separate letter to Maharaja imploring him to seek the opinion of his subjects once the tribal incursion was fully repulsed? No such condition was imposed on any of the hundreds of states that joined Indian Union in the aftermath of the partition? Obviously, Mountbatten knew that there was a Muslim majority State and there was also the Muslim Conference with sizeable presence in the valley. Prime Minister Nehru sought the consent of the Sheikh for accession to India, which was forthcoming in any way. Why did not Nehru, the so-called democrat, seek the consent of Molavi Yusuf Shah, the scion of the Mirwaiz House in Srinagar and the President of the State Muslim Conference? After he was crowned by Nehru as :Nazim-e ala Nizam-e Hakumat Riyasate Jammu wa Kashmir wa Ladakh ha:.(Chef Administrator) of the State, why did the Sheikh order banishment of Mirwaiz Molavi Yusuf Shah from the State and also of the Radical Humanists (the Royists or the followers of the “Left” ideologue M.N. Roy) from Srinagar? Pandit Premnath Bazaz, one-time Sheikh’s alter-ego, was also banished from Srinagar along with his team namely Kanhayalal Kaul and Jagar Nath Sathu (of Daily Telegraph, Calcutta). Bazaz left Kashmir for Delhi where he rented a room in Sitaram Bazaar locality in Chandani Chowk and soon established contact with Pakistan embassy in New Delhi. Kanhayalal Kaul, a lawyer by profession, first went to Sopor and then shifted permanently to Baramulla where he practiced law at the Sessions Court.

These facts reinforce our assertion that there was absolutely no so-called ideological compatibility between NC and Congress top leadership. The more sordid part of the story is that Nehru had no qualms of consciences on the Sheikh blatantly violating democratic norms of freedom of thought and expression, and overlooked the charge of the Sheikh against the Radical Humanists of having British intelligence connection when he himself was dubbed by Stalin as “the running dog of British imperialism.”

The Sheikh consented for accession to India because after failing in his Pakistan venture, he looked not only for his political survival but also for physical survival. That is why he lodged his family somewhere in Indore during the critical days of the fall of Baramulla and the siege of Srinagar airport by the tribesmen in October 1947 was at hand.

On 26 October the town of Baramulla fell to the tribal lashkars. On the night of 28 October, about a hundred Pandits of the locality were interned in the Koti Tirtha shrine in Baramulla. Their tribal lashkar captors asked them to pray for their success in capturing Srinagar and also Sheikh Abdullah, the mission entrusted to them in Rawalpindi. I have personally interviewed some of the members of our community who were among the interned people and they corroborated the story.

More than a month ahead of the declaration of partition, Gandhi visited Srinagar in the first week of July 1947. He visited Maharaja Hari Singh in his palace. He refused to accept a glass of milk offered to him by the Maharani saying that he would not drink from the glass of a ruler who did not care for the safety of his subjects. Gandhi was referring to the reports brought to him about the uprising in Poonch. Alas, Gandhi never knew or feigned not to know the true story of the uprising by the disbanded Sudans of Poonch at the instigation of the Muslim Conference and Muslim League goons and thugs. The real story of Poonch uprising is copiously recorded by unbiased Pakistani and PoK historians.

In June 1947, the news was brought to the Dogra Durbar in Srinagar that Nehru was planning to come to Srinagar to plead the case of release of the Sheikh from the jail. The Maharaja wrote a letter to Mountbatten saying that the State government was in the process of negotiating a deal of sorts with Pakistan and some progress had been made. As such, he pleaded that Nehru should postpone his proposed visit and let the State government bring the process of negotiation to its logical conclusion. The Maharaja also wrote that the release of the Sheikh from the prison was also on the anvil. Mountbatten, in turn, advised Nehru to postpone the visit but temperamental obstinacy did not leave the man.

Maharaja Hari Singh did not see eye to eye with Nehru from the very beginning. The reason was Nehru’s incompetence to gauge the Kashmirian psyche. Unreasoned emotionalism in national struggle for freedom is disastrous as we find in Kashmir today. In the Sheikh, Nehru saw only the virtue and no human weakness.

Circumstances were created for the Maharaja and his Prime Minister R.C Kak by the Congress leadership that forced them to procrastinate a final decision. Today you will find Nehruvian school of historians heaping endless criticism on both Hari Singh and Kak for their inability to take a quick decision about the future of the State. May I ask the Congressites to explain how come that for six months Congress government’s foreign minister Sardar Swarn Singh continue Kashmir talks with his Pakistani counterpart and yet could reach nowhere close to any agreement. May I ask why the Congress government, after winning the historic victory in Bangladesh war in which 90 thousand Pakistani troops were taken prisoners, failed to find a final and lasting solution of Kashmir dispute? With what cheek does the Congress leadership bring blame to the Maharaja of the State?

I will not hesitate to record for the posterity that many old Kashmiri Pandits who had attained prominent positions in Delhi Durbar, first under the Mughals and later under the British, were brazenly jealous of a local KP from an insignificant house in Srinagar becoming the Prime Minister of J&K. They certainly vitiated the mind of Nehru against Kak and the Maharaja. Some years ago I had a long conversation with the daughter of Ramachandra Kak, who lives in Boston and I came to know the nitty-gritty of jealousy these Pandit migrants of medieval times nursed against Kak. I may also disclose that once in the course of an informal talk with late P.N. Haksar (then Indira Gandhi’s Principal Secretary) in his Moti Bagh home, he made an detestable remark saying “Kak was a traitor.” I flew into rage and charged that his ancestors who had run away from Kashmir during the days of later Mughals were the real traitors.

Let me disclose one more rather unsavory story. In 1994, I was at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Pakistan had brought a resolution condemning India for violation of human rights in Kashmir. Besides Anglo-American bloc some Islamic countries and members of the OIC had also declared their support to the Pakistani resolution. New Delhi had sent a very strong all party delegation under the leadership of the leader of the opposition Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Shri T.N. Kaul, former Ambassador and Foreign Secretary, too, was among the official team. He knew me and talked to me patronizingly. I mustered courage and asked him to justify the decision of not finding a final resolution of Kashmir dispute in the course of talks with Bhutto in Shimla where he was present. He paused and said, “When you are back in Delhi put this question to Haksar.”

Kak was removed from power and humiliated by NC goons in Srinagar streets. The entire effort made by Kak for a negotiated settlement of the State came to naught. Other actors emerged on the scene. Grapevine has it that the Sheikh made a secret trip to Lahore on 6-7 August 1947 in a motor car provided by Chirag Din & Sons transporters. He wanted to make a last minute attempt to cobble an understanding with the Muslim Conference and the Muslim League.

Very few people know that preparations for launching attack on Kashmir by tribesmen as proxies was under consideration of Qayyum Khan, the chief minister of NWFP as early as June 1947. Some British army officers of lower rungs were accomplices in the conspiracy. A large group of rabid mullahs was deployed to whip up hatred and animus against the Hindus and India among the tribesmen. But more than that they were told that the incursion into bountiful Kashmir would earn them fabulous booty the like of which they had never seen, Ghulam Muhammad, the then Finance Minister, who later on became the President of Pakistan, allocated three lakh rupees for the operation. After the capture of Baramulla on 27 October and encamping on the sprawling lawns and buildings of St. Joseph’s College premises, there surfaced a dispute between the lashkar commanders and Major Khurshid who was placed in overall command of the operation. The dispute was that the lashkar commanders demanded the three lakh rupees released by Pakistan as their price but Major Khurshid declined to pay. Faqir of Ipi, a religious leader who wielded influence with the lashkars was driven post haste to Baramulla but the lashkars refused to budge. They said they would not move forward unless money was paid. Of course, money was paid and the lashkars moved towards Shalteng where the final and the decisive battle was fought and nearly 600 lashkars slain.

While Baramulla fell, V.P. Menon along with Dwarkanath Kachroo (a Kashmiri Pandit and Nehru’s personal secretary) negotiated accession deal with the Maharaja. In the late afternoon of 25 October, Menon’s special aircraft landed at Palam and he went straight to a party that was hosted that evening on the vice-regal gardens in the Lutyens Delhi. In reply to a query by a British officer, Menon took out a folded paper from his coat pocket and waving it to the officer said, “The bastard signed,” It was the historic Instrument of Accession.

On 27 October Mountbatten affixed his signatures on the document. It spoke of accession for three heads only, defense, foreign relations and communication. It stipulated that the Maharaja would resume full powers once the state was freed from the presence of the intruders.

Looking in retrospect, we find that the sentence that the Maharaja would resume full control once the intruders were thrown out decided his fate. Fearing that this situation could arise sooner or later, the Sheikh left no stone unturned to prevail upon Nehru to opt for cease fire and order his Generals to stop the fighting. General Thimayya of Zoji La fame, who later on became the Army Chief, adopted defiant mood and had to bear the brunt of Nehru’s wrath.

While the fighting raged through 1948 and Indian army was poised for more success, the British foreign office got alarmed. It kept a close eye on what was happening in Kashmir. Attlee the Labour Prime Minister of Great Britain, with who Nehru was in cahoots during his days at the Cambridge (and also Mountbatten) brought pressures on Nehru to cease fire and put an end to the firing. Attlee used Nehru for his country’s interests. He knew if Indian forces recaptured Muzaffarabad, it would mean entire Krishanganga (now Neelam) valley would go into Indian control and that would give the Soviets access to the Indian sub-continent and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. British Labour government saw to it that Indian forces did not move beyond Uri and that Kishanganga valley remained with Pakistan. We have evidence to show that the American Ambassador Warren extended warm felicitations to Noel Baker and Clement Attlee on their success in bringing about the ceasefire in Kashmir.

The rest is history.

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