Jammu and Kashmir Dilemma of Accession: A Historical Analysis and After PDF Print E-mail


1. Seeds of secessionism in J&K were sown in 1938 and the seeds of Pakistan sprouted in 1940

1.1 In August this year I received what I realized with incredulity was a photocopy of the private note of Rai Bahadur Pandit Ramchandra Kak, the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir between June 30, 1945 and August 11, 1947. The person who sent me the photocopy chose to be anonymous and I can only presume he or she sent it to me after reading a spate of articles I wrote about the State in July-August this year, perhaps hoping that this first-hand account of the tumultuous events in 1946-47, written in the third person by the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, would be made known to the country.

1.2 I read the 22-page document titled “Jammu and Kashmir State in 1946-47 - Dilemma of Accession - The Missing Link in the Story” with a seething sense of disbelief. The document, despite the severely illegible and generally poor quality of the copy was, I soon realized, a veritable treasure of suppressed facts, events and personages who eventually decided the fate of Jammu and Kashmir State in a manner which made Jammu and Kashmir and the newly created jihadi state of Pakistan a slow-killing, dichotomous thorn in the country’s body politic. Imperial London sent Mountbatten as India’s last viceroy in March 1947 with the sole intent of implementing two far-sighted geostrategic objectives – to create the virulently hostile Islamic state of Pakistan which would exist as a permanent threat on two sides of India’s national borders (on the east and on the west), and to create an independent Muslim-ruled state of Jammu and Kashmir, or better still, a Pakistani satellite state of Jammu and Kashmir. The choice of Mountbatten, who was Chief of Combined Operations and Supreme Commander, South East Asia during WWII with tremendous war experience behind him, as the last viceroy who would oversee the empire’s retreat with little or no cost to Britain, was no accident.

1.3 “Here was a State with the biggest area in India, with a population predominantly Muslim, ruled over by a Hindu Maharajah. Lord Mountbatten knew Sir Hari Singh well, having been on the Prince of Wales’ staff with him during His Royal Highness’ tour in 1921-22.” (VP Menon, Integration of the Indian States, Orient Longman Ltd, (1956) 1999, page 451)

1.4 “After the decision to send the Cabinet Mission, the decision to send Lord Louis Mountbatten as Viceroy of India when political independence seemed increasingly imminent, was the second masterstroke by the British government. Gandhi's public statement on the eve of the Quit India movement in 1942 made it clear that he was well aware of events in the nations of East and South-East Asia - in Malaya, Indonesia and Burma during World War II, when Japan was gaining ground and the Allied forces were engaged in fierce battles to keep their colonial empires intact in the region. We know from the fact that Gandhi met Indonesian soldiers in Madras in January 1946, that he was aware of Mountbatten's role in Britain’s decision to sabotage Indonesia's fledgling independence; and after the defeat of Japan, it was Mountbatten as head of Southeast Asia Command, who directed the liberation of Burma and Singapore.

1.5 Mountbatten’s role as Supreme Commander, South East Asia, entailed a stint in Indonesia too and during those critical months he enabled the return of Indonesia to her colonial masters, Portugal and Netherlands. As the British withdrew from Indonesia, Mountbatten successfully broke the country into several parts, leaving each part simmering in political chaos. After re-taking Singapore, Mountbatten’s first act was to order the demolition of the war memorial honoring slain INA heroes. The INA War Memorial at Singapore to commemorate the "Unknown Warrior" was started on 8 July 1945 at Esplanade Park. It was razed to the ground by Mountbatten's allied troops when they re-occupied the city. [SubhashBose who posed the biggest threat to the British government in India and to Nehru’s political ambitions, had to be pulled down from his pedestal, literally and figuratively. Demolishing the war memorial was no different from Christian hordes desecrating the tombs of conquered peoples and it was done with the same conquestorial intent; Hindu tradition in statecraft has a name for them - “asuravijayi.]

1.6 Gandhi knew all this. Yet Gandhi, whose repudiation of the Cabinet Mission proposals facilitated Jinnah’s obduracy leading to partition, allowed Mountbatten to come to India as Viceroy without a murmur of protest. This allowed Mountbatten to implement the imperial plan to vivisect the Hindu bhumi, and gave him the rare opportunity to fulfill Britain's second most important strategic intent after partition, namely, the West's control of the critically important territory of Jammu & Kashmir, through the agency of the United Nations.” (Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, Chapter 6)

1.7 That Mountbatten knew Maharaja Hari Singh since the 1920s was the single most influential factor which sent Mountbatten to India as the last viceroy. Mountbatten as the Supreme Commander, South East Asia during the Second World War which had just ended would also have been in possession of military intelligence with regard to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and its Hindu ruler. MI5 would have also given Mountbatten critically important intelligence reports on Sheikh Abdullah, Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the INC and the Muslim League.

1.8 Mountbatten was well-armed for all contingencies when he came to India in March 1947.

2. Why was/is the territory of Jammu and Kashmir (Riyasat-e Jammu wa Kashmir waLadakhwa Tibet ha) so important in British and Muslim geopolitical calculations?

2.1 “The British government’s farsighted move to paratroop Gandhi from South Africa to India yielded spectacular results; the nation was vivisected and Mountbatten succeeded in leaving with Pakistan the critically vital territory of the kingdom’s northern areas which adjoined not only Afghanistan and China but also had a small but geopolitically important border with Central Asia. Mountbatten knew that Pakistan would be forced to gravitate into the western orbit for American and British aid in the economic and military spheres to keep abreast of India’s abundant natural resources and proven native genius; and that was the West’s leverage with the newly created Islamic state of Pakistan to control the territory overlooking China, Afghanistan and Central Asia. And what remained with India of the kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, after Pakistan’s invasion and occupation in October 1947, Mountbatten nudged Nehru to take it the United Nations Security Council.”

2.2 “At the time of the partition, the State had important international boundaries. To the east was Tibet, to the north-east lay the Sinkiang province of China and to the north-west was Afghanistan. A tongue of Afghanistan territory, Wakhan, is north of Gilghit and is west of the main route from Gilghit to Kashgar over the Mintaka Pass; A few miles beyond lies Russian Turkestan.” (Integration of the Indian States, pp 449-450) is the A u/c in the original?

3. Gandhi – handy instrument for British objectives

3.1 Soon after World War II broke out in September 1939, Viceroy Linlithgow unilaterally announced that India was at war with Germany and, after the announcement, met Gandhi, Jinnah and the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes separately, seeking their co-operation in the war effort. The CWC passed a resolution resisting the idea that an imperialist war could be imposed on India against the wishes of her people. In a hasty and short-sighted move, Congress governments in eight provinces resigned in protest in October 1939. Elections to the provinces in British India were held in November 1936 as mandated by the Government of India Act, 1935 and the results were announced in February 1937. Achieving state power in eight provinces was a major milestone in the country’s faltering, halting movement towards total political independence because, while the Indian National Congress won in eight of the eleven provinces, the Muslim League could not form a government in any province. Imperial London was at war and that was the time for Indians to retain political power across the country as leverage in any negotiation with London for support and co-operation in the war. But, as always, Gandhi pulled the strings of the Congress Working Committee and in what must have come as an unbelievable and welcome surprise to the Muslim League, Congress governments in all eight provinces resigned in protest and, once again, full state power returned to the Viceroy.

3.2 As negotiations between the Viceroy and the INC, the Viceroy and the Muslim League, and the Viceroy and the Chamber of Princes continued, London was promising immediate and full dominion status when war ended as a reward for co-operation. Jinnah’s only fear was the Congress may change its mind and Congress governments would be restored in all eight provinces again. The Muslim League hardened its stand against the Congress and, as a sign of things to come, during the three-day session in Lahore from 22-24 March, 1940, the Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution which presented to London and the INC the shape and contours of any future dominion. This was the future Pakistan even if the Muslim League did not mention Pakistan by name.

“3. Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designated on the following basic principle, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”
(GD Khosla, Stern Reckoning, Oxford India Paperbacks, Second Impression, 1999, page 23)

3.3 The Lahore Resolution found an immediate echo in the British Parliament. At the end of the Viceroy’s discussions with the three major political formations in India – the INC, the Muslim League and the Princely States, a White Paper, India and the War, was issued on 10th April, 1940. During the debate on the White Paper in the British Parliament on 18th April, the Secretary of State made the astounding statement:

“I cannot believe that any government or parliament in this country would attempt to impose by force upon, for example, 80 million Moslem subjects of His Majesty in India a form of constitution under which they would not live peacefully and contentedly.” (Integration of the Indian States, page xxxiv)

3.4 This statement by the Secretary of State on 18th April, 1940 in the British Parliament would take definite shape in the Cabinet Mission proposals which were made public on 16th May, 1946, in what is called the State Paper of May 16. The proposals as contained in the State Paper would culminate inevitably in the creation of Pakistan. As stated at the very beginning, Imperial London had decided to retreat from India but it was going to retreat only after achieving the Generic Church’s two critically important geo-strategic objectives – vivisection of India and creation of Pakistan, and alienating the territory of Jammu and Kashmir from the Indian Union.

The Ramchandra Kak (RCK) Paper tells us how well London succeeded in achieving these objectives.

3.5 The paper I received from the anonymous source is a scanned copy of the document (reference MMS Eur D 862) kept in the India Office Library and Record, London. The India Office Library document in turn is the re-typed copy of Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak’s original narrative; the India Office Library copy specifies Copy of Note by R.C. Kak, and incorporates in the main text the corrections made by Pandit Kak in the margin of the original text but otherwise is identical to the original text. Given the extremely poor quality of the print I received, it would have been unwise to attempt to analyze the document, but even when I was not sure if I had a goldmine on my hands or if I was sitting on a volcano or both, I spoke about the paper to a friend and, eventually, from Pandit Ramchandra Kak’s family sources, gratefully received a clear and legible scan of the original paper, with the corrections made in the margin also clear and legible.

3.6 Curiously, there is not even a whisper of the events, as written down by Prime Minister Kak and which influenced Maharaja Hari Singh against accession to India in 1946 and again in 1947, in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi which otherwise is full of details - important, inconsequential and salacious - of Gandhi’s political and public ‘private’ life. There is no hint of the extremely significant happenings in the State in VP Menon’s Integration of the Indian States written in 1955, particularly the relentless persecution of Prime Minister Kak by Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the INC which forced Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak, an able and stern administrator, to step down on 11th August, 1947. There is also no mention of the role of Swami Santdev, who makes a sudden appearance in Srinagar in 1944 and who by 1946 had convinced Maharaja Hari Singh that he was destined, after the British retreated from India, to rule over not just the State of Jammu and Kashmir but over newly-acquired territories from what is today Himachal Pradesh.

3.7 These omissions in CWMG and by VP Menon in his book Integration of the Indian States are surprising, not to say suspicious, because VP Menon who was Cabinet Secretary in 1945, Reforms Commissioner from 1942 to 1947, and more importantly who, as Secretary in the States Ministry headed by Sardar Patel, met Ramchandra Kak sometime between 23rd and 27th July, 1947. And let us not forget Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the INC were actively fomenting not just instability and revolt in J&K against the Hindu king, but were mounting an increasingly vicious campaign against the Prime Minister, seeking his dismissal.

3.8 The absence of details in VP Menon’s book and in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi makes Pandit Ramchandra Kak’s account of the events in 1946-47 in the state of Jammu and Kashmir veritably the missing link in the narrative of why and how Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the Indian National Congress knowingly and intentionally alienated not only the King of Jammu and Kashmir but also his Prime Minister at this critically important juncture of the country’s rapidly evolving history. As always I am left with the troubling question about why both Sardar Patel and Rajaji never publicly broke their silence and never stopped Gandhi and Nehru in their tracks when they were leading the INC and the Hindu nation towards certain and irreversible catastrophe.

4. Why the upheaval in Jammu and Kashmir in 1946 is linked to the violence following the Cabinet Mission

4.1 The second article in my J&K series, Kashmir’s Jihadi Cauldron: Gandhi, not Nehru lit the fire began thus:

“The secessionist fire raging in Kashmir today was lit in 1946 by Gandhi who instigated Nehru to interfere in the affairs of the Hindu kingdom as if the Hindu nation was Gandhi’s patrimony and the kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet was Nehru’s fiefdom. Gandhi also forced the Congress Working Committee to position itself against Maharaja Hari Singh while simultaneously legitimizing the opportunist rise of jihadi Sheikh Abdullah in the kingdom’s polity during the turbulent period following the failure of the Cabinet Mission; the Cabinet Mission failed (if it indeed failed) because after enthusiastically welcoming the proposals for transfer of power by the Cabinet Mission within three days of its arrival in India, Gandhi proceeded to sabotage the Mission’s twin proposals for interim government and constitution-making step by calibrated step. How Gandhi with the same cold calculating mind as Sheikh Abdullah sabotaged the Cabinet Mission is the theme of the next article in the series unraveling the Mahatma’s political game of dice as he gambled away the territory of the Hindu nation. From 1917, when Gandhi officially took charge of the party, the INC resembled the Kaurava Court as Patel, Rajaji, Rajendra Prasad, Nehru and JB Kripalanichose to look down and maintain silence while Subhash Bose, KM Munshi and Rajaji were evicted from the Kaurava Court even as the freedom struggle culminated in Hindu genocide in 1946 quickly followed by vivisection of the Hindu nation in 1947. If Gandhi’s actions had consequences then the silence and inaction of Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Rajaji and Munshi had consequences too.”

4.2 After reading the RCK Paper the only correction that must be made is that preparations for the secessionist fire began in 1938 when Gandhi and Nehru propped up Sheikh Abdullah against the Maharaja while the fire itself was lit by Gandhi in 1946. The opening paragraph of my article Kashmir’s Jihadi Cauldron was, as will be demonstrated in this article, a prophetic summation of the RCK Paper. Gandhi’s sabotage of the Cabinet Mission proposals for peaceful transfer of power and the resulting jihadi violence unleashed by Jinnah’s Muslim League against Hindus provided the perfect cover and context for Sheikh Abdullah and the National Conference during the Quit Kashmir campaign to unleash targeted violence and mayhem against Abdullah’s political opponents and their families and against the minority Hindu community. Jihadi fire burning across the country also provided the perfect cover for the INC and National Conference when they set about undermining the political authority of Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak who stepped down in August 1947, and it eventually forced the Maharaja to step down too thus making it easy for Sheikh Abdullah to seize control of J&K.

4.3 Jihadi violence unleashed against Hindus by the Muslim League following Direct Action and the political turbulence in J&K in 1946 presented Mountbatten with the perfect cause and context to vivisect the Hindu nation within five months of his coming to India in March 1947.

4.4 In retrospect, it must be concluded that events in Jammu and Kashmir between March and November 1947 unfolded as they did because Gandhi, Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah and Mountbatten acted in tandem and with well-coordinated unity of purpose.

5. Sheikh Abdullah and London got what they wanted; the question remains, whose interests were Gandhi and Nehru serving?

5.1 The bigger questions also remain –

  • Why did Sardar Patel, Rajaji and other leaders of the INC not speak up against Gandhi?

  • Why were they helpless in the face of unchecked ascendancy of the Muslim League in India and the rise of Sheikh Abdullah in J&K, and

  • Why could they not halt the disempowerment of the INC and by extension the Hindus of the country vis-a-vis the Muslim League’s stated position to achieve Pakistan?

5.2 The only explanation seems to be that Patel, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Rajaji, GD Birla, KM Munshi and Rajendra Prasad, despite serious reservations about Gandhi’s un-nuanced non-violence and his experiments with women to test his brahmacharya even in 1946 and 1947 when the country was in turmoil, could not challenge or critique Gandhi’s politics or private life publicly for the real risk of weakening the INC vis-a-vis a determined Jinnah and the Muslim League. Such was Gandhi’s absolute control of the Congress and his moral authority among the ordinary people of the country that, had Gandhi been publicly exposed or challenged, not only would the INC have been rendered leaderless and rudderless, the faith of the people in Gandhi’s infallibility and the hope that he would lead them to freedom would have been destroyed and the consequences of Hindu despair would have been nothing short of cataclysmic.

6. How Gandhi sabotaged the possibility of peaceful transfer of power and provided Sheikh Abdullah with the cover to seize control of Jammu and Kashmir

6.1 The timing of the Cabinet Mission was a clear sign of surrender by the British government to the inevitable: India could no longer be held by force. Within a month of ending the siege of Imphal, London sent the Cabinet Mission to India in March 1946. The Cabinet Mission came to India ostensibly to devise a mechanism for the smooth transfer of power. It comprised three members – Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India; Sir Stafford Cripps, President, Board of Trade; and AV Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty. The Mission had twin objectives: to devise a Constitution for the independent Indian state, and the formation of an interim government or executive council to assist the Viceroy to administer the country until the making of the Constitution, with the rider that the Viceroy would continue to enjoy overriding powers. The proposals were made public in what has come to be known as the State Paper of May 16, 1946. The paper broadly set out the basis and mechanism of Constitution-making and the need for setting up an interim government until the process of Constitution-making was complete. India would be a free country after the Constitution was in place. The important features of the State Paper are:

  • The British Government accepts the anxiety of Muslims to protect their religion, culture and language;

  • The British Government concedes fully the Muslim claim that they fear Hindu domination and hence cannot accept being ruled by Hindus;

  • The Cabinet Mission therefore provides for grouping of provinces into Groups A, B and C which permits grouping of provinces with sizeable Muslim population into Groups B and C allowing the Muslim League political control of sizeable territory;

  • The Cabinet Mission rules out a separate state of Pakistan not only to get the INC on board for the negotiations but also on the ground that the Pakistan of Jinnah’s demand would exist on two sides of partitioned India – Group B on India’s west and Group C on India’s east;

  • The Union of India would have only three subjects under its control – Foreign Affairs, Defense and Communications. All other subjects would vest with the provinces;

  • If any province wished to opt out of the Group into which it had been placed it could do so at the time of the first general elections in independent India;

  • No clause of the State paper could be modified or changed and nothing could be added or deleted without a majority of the representatives of the two major political formations, and a majority of the total representatives present in the Constituent Assembly, agreeing to it;

  • The Cabinet Mission had provided for the Princes and rulers of the Indian States to send 93 delegates to the Constituent Assembly to participate in the making of the Constitution.

6.2 Thus, all subjects other than Foreign Affairs, Defense and Communications would vest in the provinces, and the provinces would be free to form larger groups, with their own executives and legislatures, with powers to deal with such subjects as the provinces within that group might assign to them. In this manner, the provinces that Jinnah claimed for Pakistan in the Lahore Resolution of March 1940 could form groups or sub-federations and enjoy a large measure of autonomy approximating to but not quite Pakistan.

6.3 Notwithstanding Jinnah's repeated insistence on carving out the Muslim state of Pakistan, Viceroy Wavell's ultimatum, that if Jinnah insisted on Pakistan he would get only a truncated Pakistan (Punjab and Bengal would be partitioned too and Assam would be part of the Indian Union), ultimately persuaded Jinnah to accept the Mission's proposal for a three-tier Constitution which allowed maximum autonomy for all provinces within the Indian Union, including the Princely States, which would be prevailed upon to join the Union by sending their representatives to the Constituent Assembly. Jinnah’s, and subsequently the Muslim League’s acquiescence to accepting the Mission proposal for maximum autonomy without Partition was a well-planned tactical gesture because Jinnah intended to water the seeds of Partition once the Muslim League came to power in these provinces and after the British quit India.

6.4 The State Paper dealt even-handedly with the INC and the Muslim League – it effectively averted the looming threat of vivisection and also gave enough to Jinnah and the Muslim League to force them to accept the proposals. It also issued a direct warning to both parties about the possible catastrophic consequences for the people if, because of the intransigence on the part of one or other of the parties, the Mission were to fail in its objective.

“We ask you to consider the alternative to acceptance of these proposals. After all the efforts which we and the Indian Parties have made together for agreement, we must state that in our view there is a small hope for peaceful settlement by agreement of the Indian Parties alone. The alternative therefore would be a grave danger of violence, chaos and even civil war. The result and duration of such a disturbance cannot be foreseen; but it is certain that it would be a terrible disaster for many millions of men, women and children. This is a possibility which must be regarded with equal abhorrence by the Indian people, our own countrymen and the world as a whole. We therefore lay these proposals before you in the profound hope that they will be accepted and operated by you in the spirit of accommodation and goodwill in which they are offered.” (Statement of Cabinet Delegation and Viceroy, May 16, 1946, The Transfer of Power, 1942-47, Vol. VII, pp 582-91, CWMG, Vol. 90, Appendix XX, page 447)

6.5 It is not as if Gandhi did not know the possible horrendous consequences of rejecting the proposals or failing to come to some kind of agreement with the Muslim League.

7. Gandhi promptly welcomed Cabinet Mission proposals and then flipped in slow motion

7.1 The Cabinet Mission came to Delhi in March 1946. For two months the Mission held extensive discussions with the INC, with the Muslim League and with the Princely States or Indian States. The Cabinet Mission made the proposals public on May 16, 1946. The Mission proposals came with the seeds of vivisection; Imperial London was sympathetic to and supportive of Muslim separatism and knew that all that the Cabinet Mission had to do was plant the seed and leave the rest to nature. And yet, within three days of the Cabinet Mission proposals being made public, Gandhi welcomed it wholeheartedly and, for good measure, absolved the British of any mala fide intention and declared that the British Government, when they retreated from India, wanted to leave behind a united India!

“After four days of searching examination of the State Paper issued by the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy on behalf of the British Government, my conviction abides that it is the best document the British Government could have produced in the circumstances. It reflects our weakness, if we would be good enough to see it. The Congress and the Muslim League did not, could not agree. We would grievously err if at this time we foolishly satisfy ourselves that the differences are a British creation. The Mission have not come all the way from England to exploit them. They have come to devise the easiest and quickest method of ending British rule. The authors of the document have endeavored to say fully what they mean. (Emphasis added)

7.2 Their one purpose is to end British rule as early as may be. They would do so, if they could, by their effort, leave united India not torn asunder by internecine quarrel bordering on civil war. They would leave in any case. Since in Simla the two parties, though the Mission succeeded in bringing them together at the Conference table (with what patience and skill they could do so, they alone could tell), could not come to an agreement, nothing daunted, they descended to the plains of India, and devised a worthy document for the purpose of setting up the Constituent Assembly which should frame India’s charter of independence, free of any British control or influence. It is an appeal and an advice. It has no compulsion in it.” (An Analysis, NEW DELHI, May 20, 1946, Harijan, 26-5-1946, CWMG Vol. 91, pp 1-3) (Emphasis added)

8. This is what the Muslim League said in June 1946 even before the Cabinet Mission allegedly “failed”

“……The Muslim League having regard to the grave issues involved, and prompted by its earnest desire for a peaceful solution, if possible, of the Indian constitutional problem, and in as much as the basis and the foundation of Pakistan are inherent in the Mission’s plan by virtue of the compulsory grouping of the six Muslim provinces, in sections B and C, is willing to co-operate the constitution-making machinery proposed in the scheme outlined by the Mission, in the hope that it would ultimately result in the establishment of complete, sovereign Pakistan…” {Emphasis added} (Resolution of Muslim League Council, June 6, 1946, the Transfer of Power 1942-47, Vol. VII, pp 836-8, CWMG, Vol. 91, Appendix V, page 439) (Emphasis added)

8.1 My book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle, published in 2009 was the first attempt by any writer in this country or elsewhere to critically evaluate, from a Hindu nationalist point of view, Gandhi’s politics from 1915 when he returned to India from South Africa, until August 1947 when the Hindu nation was vivisected. The RCK Paper now compels me to extend my scrutiny of Gandhi’s politics until January 1948 when an enraged Hindu nationalist assassinated him because, after loss of national territory to the newly-created jihadi state of Pakistan in August 1947, and after Pakistan invaded and occupied large territories of J&K within ten weeks of its creation in October 1947 resulting in more loss of territory to Pakistan, Gandhi undertook an indefinite fast to compel Sardar Patel to hand over Pakistan’s share of pre-Partition treasury funds. Gandhi had to be removed by force because Patel and the rest of the INC were in no position to stop Gandhi from meddling in government affairs to the detriment of national interest. No writer or historian subsequent to my book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation has rebutted or challenged my core submissions that –

  • Total political independence was never the end objective of Gandhi’s so-called freedom movement

  • The three most celebrated political events of the freedom struggle – Civil Disobedience Movement, Salt Satyagraha, Quit India Movement – were only tokenisms and sloganeering in response to the return of Tilak, execution of Bhagat Singh and the rise of Subhash Bose – tokenisms for which ordinary people paid with their lives and liberty but which did not take a toll of Gandhi and did not further the quest of ordinary, deluded Hindus for total political independence

8.2 That every move that Gandhi made politically in three decades benefited only the Muslims and Imperial London while Hindus lost their territory, liberty and lives.

9. The last stage in sabotaging the Cabinet Mission, and its catastrophic consequences

9.1 While important leaders of the Congress Working Committee may have pretended to the country that they were negotiating actively with the Cabinet Mission on the proposals of May 16, the truth is Gandhi and Gandhi alone was making all decisions on behalf of the INC and by extension on behalf of all Hindus of the country. Muslims had the Muslim League; Hindus had only the INC but Gandhi said the Congress was not a Hindu party. Gandhi selected the President of the INC; Gandhi had a decisive say in the selection of the CWC; Gandhi arrogated to himself the moral authority to force Congress Ministers to act upon his advice; and Gandhi drafted important resolutions of the CWC including the one on the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru when Nehru insisted on going to Srinagar.[1]

“Answering an initial request that he should give a report on the negotiations as they stood at the moment, Mahatma Gandhi said: I wish I could, but I am here only as an adviser. I have, for many years, been advising the Congress. But now, I have constituted myself as an adviser both to the Congress and to the Viceroy, too, and through him of the British people. You see, that makes my position exceptionally delicate. (Emphasis added)

“I suggested that not only Mr. Jinnah, but Lord Wavell, most of India and all observers at the conference looked upon Gandhiji as head of the Congress regardless of the technicality that he was not a member, and that no settlement would be reached without his consent. (Emphasis added)

Gandhiji replied: That is both right and wrong. That impression has been created because generally my advice is accepted. But technically and substantially it is wrong. The conference is legally representative and, therefore, I can have no place in it.

9.2 To my insistence that his was the controlling voice in the Congress, Gandhiji replied: Not even that. They can shunt me out at any time, brush aside my advice. If I tried to override them, I might succeed for once. But the moment I try to cling to power, I fall, never to rise again. That is, not in my temperament.” (The Hindu, 1-7-1945: Interview to Preston Grover CWMG Vol. 87, pp 189-191) (Emphasis added)

9.3 After first welcoming the Mission proposals, Gandhi led the Indian National Congress and the Hindus of the country on a wild goose chase, disagreeing first with one and then the second and then all clauses in the proposals. Knowing well that the Muslim League had declared on June 6 to achieve Pakistan by all and every means, Gandhi neither empowered the INC and the Hindus of the country to resist Partition by force nor did he give peace the slightest chance to effect transfer of power. On June 24, Sardar Patel expressed his displeasure at Gandhi’s dilatory tactics.

  • Sardar Patel expresses his displeasure to Gandhi about what he feels is Gandhi’s needless obstructionism – June 24, 1946. “After the meeting…on the way Sardar asked Bapu: “There is a meeting of the Working Committee; what am I to tell them?” Bapu answered that he was not satisfied with the talk with the Cabinet Mission. The Sardar was irritated. “You raised doubts as regards para 19. They have given a clear assurance on that. What more do you want?” (Talk with Vallabhbhai Patel, CWMG Vol. 91, pp 189-190)

  • On June 24, Gandhi forced the CWC to reject the formation of an Interim Government and told the Viceroy to ask the Muslim League to form the Interim Government; this after the Muslim League made its intention with regard to Pakistan unambiguously clear on June 6.

  • Congress sends letter to Lord Wavell rejecting the Interim Government proposals – New Delhi, June 24, 1946

    “The decision was in fact taken yesterday but we felt that it would be better if we wrote to you fully on all aspects of the proposals made by you and the Cabinet Delegation. The Working Committee have been sitting almost continuously and will be meeting at 2 p.m again today. After full consideration and deliberation they have been reluctantly obliged to decide against the acceptance of the Interim Government proposals as framed by you. A detailed and reasoned reply will follow later.” (Draft Letter to Lord Wavell, June 24, 1946, The Indian Register, 1946, Vol. 1, page 173, CWMG, Vol. 91, page 190)

    On returning from there (meeting the Viceroy) a visibly irritated Sardar again asked Bapu: “Were you satisfied?” Bapu replied, “On the contrary, my suspicion has deepened. I suggest that hereafter you should guide the Working Committee. The Sardar replied, “Nothing of the sort. I am not going to say a word. You yourself tell them whatever you want.” (Talk with Vallabhbhai Patel-II, June 24, 1946, Mahatma Gandhi – The Last Phase, Vol. 1, Book 1, page 227, CWMG, Vol. 91, page 193)

10. Gandhi sounds a new warning at a meeting of the CWC about joining the Constituent Assembly – afternoon of June 24, 1946, at the meeting of the CWC

At the meeting, after sending the draft letter to Lord Wavell rejecting the Interim Government proposals and before meeting the Cabinet Delegation again later in the day, Gandhi addressed the CWC again. At this meeting Gandhi came up with a new objection – he now told the Working Committee that it made no sense to him for the Congress to enter the Constituent Assembly when they had no control over the Interim Government. Gandhi justified his warning on the grounds that his “mind is in a fog” and “I see darkness where four days ago I saw light”.

First Gandhi pressured the Congress not to form the Interim Government, and then he pressured them not to enter the Constituent Assembly.

11. Gandhi writes to Stafford Cripps that joining the Constituent Assembly is linked to the Interim Government - 10 p.m., June 24, 1946

“In spite of the readiness, as it seems to me, of the Working Committee to go in for the Constituent Assembly, I would not be able to advise the leap in the dark…I therefore propose to advise the Working Committee not to accept the long-term proposition without its being connected with the Interim Government. I must not act against my instinct and shall advise them to be guided solely by their own judgment. I shall simply say that the conversation gave me no light to dispel the darkness surrounding me. I shall say I had nothing tangible to prove that there were danger signals”. (Letter to Stafford Cripps, June 24, 1946, Gandhiji’s Correspondence with the Government, 1944-47, page 212, CWMG, Vol. 91, 193-4)

  • Congress Working Committee writes to the Cabinet Mission rejecting Interim Government proposals but accepting long-term plan for Constituent Assembly – New Delhi, June 25, 1946

  • Viceroy and Cabinet Mission announce formation of caretaker government - June 26, 1946

  • Cabinet Mission leaves for England – June 29, 1946

11.1 Notwithstanding the fact that the Muslim League accepted the Cabinet Mission proposals for peaceful transfer of power, notwithstanding the fact that the Muslim League was ready not only to form an Interim Government with or without the INC and notwithstanding the Muslim League’s readiness to enter the Constituent Assembly, the Viceroy, as promised earlier, did not invite the Muslim League to form the Interim Government when the INC under pressure from Gandhi reneged on all promises it had made on May 20 when Gandhi welcomed the proposals. Enraged at the deception of the INC and the Viceroy, the Muslim League promptly unleashed jihad against the Hindus. Two days after the Cabinet Mission left for England, on July 1, 1946, jihadi violence broke out in Ahmedabad on the sacred occasion of ashadhsud or rathyatra day. On July 29, the Muslim League rejected the Cabinet Mission proposals in entirety.

11.2 Incensed over what they considered was a gross betrayal by the Viceroy of Clause 8 of the June 16 statement[2], the Muslim League convened in Bombay on 29th July and passed two resolutions – the first withdrawing the previous acceptance of the Mission proposals and the second announcing direct action to achieve Pakistan –

“And whereas it has become abundantly clear that the Muslims of India would not rest content with anything else than the immediate establishment of an independent and full sovereign State of Pakistan and would resist any attempt to impose any constitution, long-term or short-term, or setting up of any Interim Government at the centre without the approval and consent of the Muslim League. The Council of the All-India Muslim League is convinced that now the time has come for the Muslim nation to resort to Direct Action to achieve Pakistan and to get rid of the present slavery under the British and contemplated future caste Hindu domination.” (Stern Reckoning, GD Khosla, Oxford University Press, Oxford India Paperbacks, Second Impression, 1999, page 38) (Emphasis added)

11.3 To prove my point that London sent the Cabinet Mission to plant the seeds of partition, which intention Gandhi fulfilled faithfully when he pulled the rug from under the feet of an already volatile Muslim League, the Viceroy, in August 1946, invited the INC to form the Interim Government, after the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy both announced on June 26 that a caretaker government with representatives from both the INC and the Muslim League, not an Interim Government would be formed; and this time on August 12, 1946, the INC and Gandhi both accepted to form the Interim Government. An enraged Muslim League retaliated by setting fire to the nation with jihadi vengeance. Jinnah announced Direct Action on August 16 and soon, jihadi flames engulfed Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, Punjab and the North-West provinces. The Hindu Nation was on fire.

11.4 In retrospect it must be concluded that Gandhi and the Viceroy acted in tandem to push the Muslim League over the precipice; the resulting communal violence in the country pushed the tragic events unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir to the margins.

12. Gandhi, Nehru and the Princely States

12.1 The rise of Sheikh Abdullah as a violent antagonist, whose politics was directed specifically against the Hindu ruler of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, derived directly from the political views that Gandhi, Motilal Nehru and Jawaharlal Nehru nurtured and implemented against Hindu princely states and their rulers. Sandwiched between the Simon Commission and the Government of India Act, 1935 was the Round Table Conference which was convened to discuss self-governance in an All-India Federation with a diarchic federal legislature of Upper and Lower Houses to which the provinces or British India and the Princely States would send their representatives. While accession of the provinces to the federation would be automatic, accession of the Princely States was voluntary; a State would be considered to have acceded only after the ruler had executed the Instrument of Accession which would have to be accepted by the British King. When rulers of Princely States acceded to the Indian Federation, they would possess and retain all original sovereign powers except those which they surrendered, under the terms of the Instrument of Accession, to the Crown.

“The rulers and their ministers met in conference at Bombay in November 1938. While reiterating their faith in the idea of an all-India federation, they stressed the need for specific and effective safeguards without which ‘the rulers and their successors would find themselves unable, in the fast changing circumstances of the country, to duly discharge their duties to the Crown, to their dynasties and to their peoples’”. (Integration of the Indian States, page 46)

12.2 At the time of the Simon Commission and even during the Government of India Act, 1935, there were only two distinct political formations in the country – the provinces under direct British rule and the Princely States. The underlying concept of the All-India Federation with two Houses of Parliament for self-governance was to preserve the essential unity of the country and to knit the two distinct political formations into a self-governing whole. Gandhi, who embraced the Ali Brothers, who refused to make ban on cow slaughter a condition for support to the Khilafat campaign, Gandhi who declared in 1942 that he was ready to hand over the whole of India – British India and the Princely States, majority of which were Hindu Princely States - to the Muslim League, Gandhi who insisted that the Congress would not resist by force or violence if the Muslim League seized power to rule the country, however made no attempt to reach out to the Princely States and to draw them into the freedom movement. Instead, Gandhi, Motilal Nehru and Jawaharlal Nehru equated the rulers of Princely States to the British government and repeatedly asserted that the people in the Princely States had every right to aspire for independence from their rulers; only they called it “aspire for responsible government”.

12.3 From this adversarial notion about the Princely States was born the All-India States’ Peoples Conference, also referred to as All-India States Subjects Conference – a political forum under the aegis of the INC for all malcontents in the Princely States - of which Sheikh Abdullah was appointed President!

13. Motilal Nehru and the Princely States

13.1 In the Nehru Report, 1928 which was a counter and rebuff to the all-British Simon Commission, Motilal Nehru theorized, “It is inconceivable that the people of the States who are fired by the same ambitions and aspirations as the people of British India will quietly submit to existing conditions forever, or that the people of British India bound by the closest ties of family, race and religion to their brethren on the other side of an imaginary line, will never make common cause with them.” (Integration of the Indian States, pp xxvi-vii)

This was the first explicit threat by the INC to interfere in the internal affairs of Princely States.

13.2 In the wake of victory of the INC in eight of the eleven provinces in the provincial elections whose results were announced in February 1937, a triumphant Gandhi and the INC instigated civil unrest in several Princely States in the name of civil liberties, temple entry and “responsible government”. There was Congress-triggered unrest in Mysore, Travancore, Kashmir, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Rajkot, Talcher and Dhenkanal.

13.3 The freedom movement was floundering with no decisive progress towards total political independence. Gandhi had transformed the INC from vehicle for political independence into instrument for social reform. And after Gandhi forced the Congress governments in eight provinces to resign in October 1939, the INC was bereft once again of a political agenda. Gandhi had to keep a restive Congress from open rebellion and simultaneously had to keep the people of the country who had not lost hope that he was leading them towards independence, firmly behind him. Gandhi’s usefulness with the British government rested on his absolute control of the INC and his power over the ordinary people, the majority of whom were Hindus.

13.4 Since Gandhi was making no headway with the Viceroy or with the Muslim League, he had to provide a vent to the simmering fire of need for political action; interfering in the internal affairs of Princely States was a tactical move which cost the Congress nothing but destabilized the Princely States and the Congress’ destabilizing mission coincided with the resignation of the Congress provincial ministries. Mysore, Travancore, Dhenkanal, and the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak were some of the best administered Princely States in 1946 when Gandhi let loose the INC into their territories. These states, in the view of VP Menon, had well-organized administrative machinery, excellent judiciary and the tax-payer’s obligations were clearly defined. Such was the extent of destabilization and the newly injected poison of discontent among the people that the Princely States had little reason to like or trust the Congress, Gandhi or Nehru. Why Maharaja Hari Singh and Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak would not agree to accede to the Indian Union in 1946 when the first offer was made, must be seen against the background of the Congress’ destabilizing mission which propped up Sheikh Abdullah against the Hindu king.

14. Gandhi and the Hindu rulers of Princely States

“In February 1938, at the Haripura session of the Congress….the Congress reiterated its objective of standing for the same political, social and economic freedom in the States as in the case of the rest of India. The Congress, the resolution continued, was not yet able to obtain the liberation of the States’ subjects by itself operating within their borders. In the existing conditions, “the burden of carrying on the struggle for freedom must fall on the people of the States.” Only false hopes would be raised if they relied on extraneous help or assistance or on the prestige of the Congress name. The Congress as an organization could only offer moral support and sympathy. Individual Congressmen would be free to render further assistance in their individual capacities.

Meanwhile individual Congressmen started leading the agitation in the States themselves. The All-India Congress Committee meeting in Delhi in September 1938 condemned repression in Travancore, Hyderabad, Kashmir and the Orissa States. The Congress ministries of provinces adjoining Princely States declined to use their statutory powers to prevent agitation being organized within their provinces and launched beyond them.

On 3 December 1938, Gandhiji acclaimed the simultaneous awakening in the States as due to the “time spirit”and declared that there was no halfway house between total extinction of the States and full responsible government. (Emphasis added)

He then gave the warning that the Congress policy of non-interference might be abandoned; and he advised the rulers to cultivate friendly relations with an organization which bids fair in the future, not very distant, to replace the paramount power – let me hope, by friendly arrangement.”
(Integration of the Indian States, pp 49-50, emphasis added)

The gloves were off and, drunk with power and success in the elections, Gandhi was fomenting instability and unrest in several Princely States, including in the three largest States – Kashmir, Mysore and Hyderabad. Several Congress leaders, Nehru, Maulana Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and others made periodic visits to Kashmir to participate in the agitations and demonstrations unleashed against Maharaja Hari Singh by Sheikh Abdullah and his National Conference. Gandhi watched indulgently as Nehru propped up Sheikh Abdullah from 1938, after the Haripura Resolution and, as we shall soon see in the RCK Paper, with tragic consequences for Jammu, Ladakh and the Hindu nation.

During the Round Table Conference and during discussions preceding the Government of India Act, 1935, there were only two political formations, the INC and the Princely States. The Muslim League was not yet a strong political contender and could not form a government in any of the provinces, not even in the Muslim majority NWFP, Assam and even Bengal. Political sense dictated that Gandhi and the Congress should deal respectfully and sensitively with the Princely States to seek their co-operation and support when, as Gandhi warned them, the Congress hoped to replace the paramount power.

Just how short-sighted and foolish it was to discount the Muslim League from political calculations, and worse, to antagonize the Princely States, was thrust upon the INC and the hapless Hindu nation when the political scene changed dramatically in October 1939 when Gandhi, in a fit of bravado, asked all eight Congress governments to resign.

“Though one may sympathize with the feelings of Congressmen who found themselves in this position, the outcome of their actions only confirms the conviction that the original decision to withdraw the Congress-controlled Provincial Ministries was a fatal mistake. Once that mistake had been made, everything else followed more or less inevitably, but nonetheless disastrously. In particular, it created the atmosphere of civil war in which the extremist position of the Muslim League came to be viewed as natural and right even by level-headed Muslims. In fact, within a year of the launching of the Quit India campaign, the League succeeded in gathering under its banner, the governments of Assam, Sind, Bengal, and the NWFP, except the Punjab. This meant, of course, a very great increase in its stature as a party.” (Integration of the Indian States, page xxxvii)(Emphasis added)

By 1940, after the Lahore Resolution where the Muslim League declared its intention to achieve a sovereign state of Pakistan, the British Government was confronted by three very large political formations – the INC, the Princely States and the Muslim League. But Gandhi did not desist. Gandhi and Nehru continued with their disrespectful and antagonistic approach in their dealings with the Princely States, and their bulldozing methods had its worst impact on the State of Jammu and Kashmir; the country is still dealing with the festering problem of Muslim intransigence, Islamic separatism and jihad which is organized in Pakistan and launched across national borders into Jammu and Kashmir – in the exact same manner in which Congress-ruled provinces organized the destabilizing mission inside their borders and launched them across borders into the adjoining Princely States..

It is in the context of these convulsions which Gandhi forced upon the nation that we must look at the events in J&K in 1946-47. Gandhi played no small role in the upheaval and subsequent Islamic rule in this once beautiful Hindu-Buddhist kingdom.

….continued in Part 2

The first-hand narrative of Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak can be read here: http://vigilonline.com/downloads/2016/RCK_MissingLink_Full_1.pdf

[1] “In connection with the Bengal dispute, in your writings to the Press you were offensive and the discourteous, impatient walk-out nearly broke my heart. You should have bravely recognized the necessity and propriety of your and other friends’ exclusion from the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee. It was not aimed at you, Prakasam or SrinivasaIyengar…..There was no question surely of distributing patronage, of placating personal interest, however high they may be.” (Letter to Subhash Chandra Bose, Sabarmati, January 3, 1930. CWMG, Vol. 48, pp 189-90)

“This is my plea about MaulanaSaheb. I find that the two of us have drifted apart. I do not understand him nor does he understand me. We are drifting apart on the Hindu-Muslim question as well as on other questions. I have also a suspicion that MaulanaSaheb does not entirely approve of the proposed action. No one is at fault. We have to face the facts. Therefore I suggest that the Maulana should relinquish Presidentship but remain in the Committee, the Committee should elect an interim President and all should proceed unitedly. This great struggle cannot be conducted properly without unity and without a President who comes forth with a hundred per cent co-operation. Please show this letter to MaulanaSaheb”. (Letter To Jawaharlal Nehru, Sevagram, Wardha, July 13, 1942 CWMG vol. 83 page 98)

“I was somewhat alarmed on hearing about the incidents at Ahmedabad. I was aware of the Rath-yatra day. They must have anticipated a skirmish. Why did the police not take precautionary measures? Does not the police now belong to the people? Why did they not seek the people’s co-operation beforehand? Our real defense force ought to be the people. Why call the military for such tasks? The people ought to have been forewarned that they would not get the help of the military. The State too may not rule with the help of the military. This could not be. Now realize your mistake and start afresh. Withdraw the military if you can. If you find it risky to withdraw the military immediately let them do policing. They may not carry rifles, and if they carry bayonets these should be used sparingly. Don’t mind if a few have to die. They have been trained to act like monkeys. Under your administration they should cease to be monkeys and become human beings. (Letter to Morarji Desai, Poona July 1, 1946 CWMG, Vol. 91, pp 222-3.Morarji Desai was Minister for Home and Revenue in the Bombay Presidency)

[2] Clause 8 of the June 16 statement which would be used by Gandhi to obstruct the discussion stated – “In the event of two major parties or either of them proving unwilling to join in the setting up of a Coalition Government on the above lines, it is the intention of the Viceroy to proceed with the formation of the Interim Government which will be as representative as possible of those willing to accept the statement of May 16.”