Roots of the ‘Kashmir Question’ – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism

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YV Sharma

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru may be remembered for many good things he did as Prime Minister of India, but he made so many mistakes in his policies and politics regarding Kashmir and China that even after 75 years of independence, we are bearing the brunt of his bad decisions.
Union Government Law Minister Kiren Rijiju recently repeated the well-known facts about Jawaharlal Nehru’s miscalculations and mistakes in 1947 in considerable detail and without mincing words.
This upset the usual suspects; National Conference and Indian National Congress. National Conference, because of the continued treacherous and double games with the Indian nation and state, INC because they cannot admit the mistakes of their icon Jawaharlal Nehru.
Let us be clear that it was Nehru’s follies and the result of his “heart rather than head” decisions that saved J&K and ultimately India at a crucial time in the nation’s history. all these years the nation was in turmoil.
It was in 1937 that Sheikh Abdullah met Nehru, another fellow Kashmiri, as his local counterpart. Jawaharlal Nehru’s family migrated from the Kashmir Valley in 1716 when the Mughal Empire was already in decline. Nehru always wore his Kashmiri lineage on his sleeve.
The Kashmir Garden, in retrospect, captured Nehru’s mind at very crucial times in Indian history, especially in the context of J&K when critical decisions had to be taken. This blindness became even worse after his friendship with Sheikh Abdullah.
He gained prominence in the politics of the Valley for his role in the agitation launched against Sheikh Maharaja Hari Singh in 1931. Confusion leads to death and mayhem in Kashmir. In November 1930 and January 1931, the disturbance was engineered by the British to put Maharaja Hari Singh “in his place” as he openly expressed the nationalist views of the Indian princes and masses at the first round table conference convened by the British government in London. Sheikh Jawaharlal skilfully used his friendship with Nehru to strengthen his position in Kashmir and rub the Maharaja the wrong way and make him appear as an oppressor of Kashmiris. To achieve his aim he left no stone unturned and his favorite method was to stir up the religious passions of the Muslims in Kashmir and elsewhere.
On May 15, 1946, Sheikh launched the Quit Kashmir movement. Supported by Jawaharlal Nehru, this movement started against the non-Kashmiri Dogra rulers of Jammu. This led to unrest and rifts between the states of Jammu and Kashmir, which were exacerbated by Sheikh himself. The turmoil in the valley forced the Maharajas to arrest the Sheikh. Jawaharlal Nehru could not accept this, Sheikh was a very close friend and tried to enter Kashmir valley with some lawyers to get Sheikh out of jail. Nehru was arrested by J&K state forces on 20 May 1946 near Garhi.
Thus, the enmity between Jawaharlal Nehru and Maharaja Hari Singh was set in stone and became the bedrock for all decisions taken by Jawaharlal Nehru regarding Kashmir, consciously or otherwise. This enmity blinded him to reason, logic and above all to the Indian national interest. From then on, his aim was to support Sheikh Abdullah at all costs and make the Maharaja look like a villain.
The invasion of Kashmir by Pakistani forces on 22 October 1947 under the guise of tribalism enabled Nehru to corner the Maharaja and appoint Sheikh Abdullah as the Emergency Administrator of Jammu and Kashmir on 30.10.1947 after his release from prison. On 29.09.1947. Before raiding Kashmir on 22.10.1947, Poonch, Mirpur etc. the territories were in turmoil since the spring of 1947. The Muslim Conference, which had influence in this region of J&K, was aligned with Jinnah’s Muslim League. In addition, the region’s 60,000-strong force, which had fought in World War II, was allowed to keep its arms, another source of concern for the Maharajas, who were beginning to lean towards Pakistan. State forces were also swamped in the area and many Muslim elements joined the Pakistanis, as in Uri. So the situation for the Maharaja was very difficult to say the least.
Prem Shankar Jha in his book Origins of Disputes: Kashmir 1947 notes that the Maharaja had already decided to join India in April 1947 if he was not allowed to remain independent, but the situation in the Poonch areas irritated him.
To ensure unanimity in his government on matters affecting the future of the state, on 11.08.1947 he dismissed the pro-Pakistan Prime Minister Ram Chand Kak and invited Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan (a known sympathizer of the Congress party). to be the chief minister of the state. Jha also notes that by early September 1947, the Maharaja was considering joining India.
It is to be noted that the Indian Independence Act, which received Royal Assent on 18.07.1947 by the British Parliament, had only one option for the princely states and that was to accede to either of the two newly carved dominions; India or Pakistan. Independence was not an option. So when the Maharaja signed the instrument of accession with India, the matter should have been closed, but Jawaharlal Nehru continued to refer to Kashmir as a special case. He could neither give up his friendship with the Sheikh nor his enmity with Hari Singh.
As already mentioned by Prem Shankar Jha, the Maharaja had decided to join India in the face of difficulties and enemies, but Sheikh had something else in mind.
The documents now in the open show very clearly that Sheikh had always deceived Nehru and actually wanted an independent Kashmir. He wanted to be the new Maharaja and a confused Nehru was moved by his love for Sheikh and unwittingly fueled his imagination. Incredibly, he failed to connect the dots already patterned by the Sheikh.
A few paragraphs from AG Noorani’s essay dated 27.05.2016, the Roots of Kashmir controversy makes interesting reading:
* On April 19, 1946, the Sheikh cabled the British Cabinet Mission demanding “the right to independence” because “the people of Kashmir” lived in a “unique region of India”. This was claimed when it was not a matter of division but of federal unity.
* After partition, Sheikh was released from prison on September 29, 1947. On October 3, he said: “We will choose the path that leads to the independence of Kashmiris.”
* He also said, “If 40 lakh people living in Jammu and Kashmir defect and the state declares its accession to India or Pakistan, I will raise the flag of revolt and we will face a struggle.” This was clearly a warning against joining India as Maharaja Hari Singh had no intention of joining Pakistan. Back on October 22, 1947, Abdullah’s line was: “Freedom before unification.” This was reflected in Khidmat, the paper of his party’s National Conference, which said that day: “What the present moment urgently demands and demands is not merger with Pakistan or India, but power to the people. Shall we sell ourselves to Indian capitalists or to the Nawabs of Pakistan?’
* Abdullah spoke to Phillips Talbot, US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs, who visited India in 1939-1948. incur the enmity of another. According to him, he wants an arrangement where Kashmir can have normal relations with both countries.
Before accession, Abdullah sent Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed and GM Sadiq to Pakistan to meet Jinnah. Neither Muhammad Ali Jinnah nor Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was allowed to meet. While GM Sadiq was still in Lahore, Pakistan launched a “tribal attack” on Kashmir. However, the question remains, what was the Sheikh’s message to Jinn?!
The above paragraphs reveal a lot about Sheikh’s line on the future of J&K. However, Nehru had full confidence in him. On Sheikh’s instructions, Nehru inserted Article 370 into the Indian constitution. It was the intervention of Sardar Patel that gave it a “temporary” character.
Nehru signed the Delhi Accord in 1952 with Kashmiri leaders, along with Article 370, which established a constitutional arrangement between the state and the center that became the base for separatist tendencies in the Kashmir Valley. In short, Nehru was making concession after concession to Sheikh and Nehru. As Maharaja Hari Singh continued to grumble about the constant breach of agreement with him and being thrown out of the window, he was throwing up.
Nehru was like a gambler who lost bet after bet, but every time he increased his stake in Kashmir and destroyed his own cause, Sheikh never lost his determination to strengthen and maximize his advantage. He carried out only those parts of the Delhi agreement, viz., the abolition of the monarchy, etc.
It was only in 1952 that Nehru realized his folly and told Dr. Karan Singh that he had “no answer when asked in Parliament or outside why the Delhi Agreement was not implemented”. Sheikh stopped responding to Nehru’s letters and traveling to Delhi when he was called to important meetings to review the situation in Kashmir. This resulted in Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest in 1953, for which India had to pay a heavy price in the form of the martyrdom of the tall nationalist leader, Dr. Shaima Prasad Mukherjee.
Nehru was so infatuated with Sheikh that he stayed as Nehru’s guest at the Teenage Murthy House when he was released from prison in 1964. He was given the “duty” to meet Pakistani President Ayub Khan to resolve the “Kashmir issue”. Sheikh was still in Pakistan when Nehru died.
Surprisingly, India has always considered Kashmir as an integral part of India, but Congress governments were willing to discuss its status with Pakistan, whether under Nehru or otherwise. Nehru was so blinded by his love for Sheikh that the national interest became completely blurred. The Congress tried to resolve the “Kashmir” issue by negotiating Musharraf’s 4-point plan for “joint control of J&K”.
It was only under Modi that things started to become very clear after 5th August 2019.

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