PART 2 - JAMMU AND KASHMIR: WHY MAHARAJA HARI SINGH WOULD NOT ACCEDE IN 1946 AND WHY HE COULD NOT ACCEDE IN 1947 - ANALYSIS OF PRIME MINISTER RAMCHANDRA KAK’S PAPER
- RADHA RAJAN
1. Overview of events in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1946-1947
1.1 When Mountbatten announced that he was accelerating transfer of power and that the country would be partitioned into two dominions - India and Pakistan, he made it clear that London’s paramountcy over Princely States would not be passed on to the new Indian and Pakistani governments and that technically all Princely States would be independent as of 15 August, 1947. The total area of the 564 Princely States was approximately two-fifths or almost half of the total territory of the country. When the country was partitioned we lost 364,737 square miles of our territory to Pakistan. Patel, better than Gandhi, Nehru or other Hindu leaders in the INC knew the critical importance of integrating the Princely States into the Indian Union to build a strong, unified country – united culturally, politically and economically, united as a civilization.
1.2 It was under these circumstances that the Department of States was formed under Sardar Patel with VP Menon as Secretary. With transfer of power, the Department of States became a full-fledged Ministry of States with Patel as Minister and VP Menon, who was then Constitutional Adviser to the Governor-General, was retained by Patel as Secretary. Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak’s first-hand narrative of the events which culminated sequentially in Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest, trial and imprisonment, Nehru’s detention in Muzaffarabad and Uri, Pandit Ramchandra Kak’s resignation and the resulting administrative vacuum in the State facilitating Pakistan’s successful invasion and occupation of Kashmir, and eventually Maharaja Hari Singh handing over his kingdom on a platter to Sheikh Abdullah, only exposes the destructive role played by Gandhi and Nehru in Jammu and Kashmir whose consequences including loss of territory and property and loss of lives and the exodus and genocide of the Hindus of the Kashmir valley seem today to be almost irreversible.
1.3 The narrative of the RCK Paper is categorized under eight sections and each section bears the Roman numeral. The document begins with I and goes on to VIII which is the Epilogue. The Hindu-Arabicnumerals against the points which present verbatim excerpts from the RCK Paper are identical with the numerals in the original document. Additional information or related facts are presented by me at the end of a point as ‘Note’. The full original paper is at: http://vigilonline.com/downloads/2016/RCK_MissingLink_Full_1.pdf
1.4 The text is identical to that of the India Office Library copy (some obvious typographical errors apart) and, when needed, the two texts were compared to remove any doubt.
1.5 I begin with Section I which bears no subtitle.
The question of accession was posed to the Jammu and Kashmir Government on two different occasions and under two different sets of conditions. The reaction of the Kashmir Government was the same in both cases, viz.,that it did not wish to accede…
…..In regard to accession, the views of the Prime Minister and the Maharaja coincided, though not for identical reasons.
The first reference from the Government of India inviting the views of the State on the subject of accession was received late in 1946…..At this time, the issue of Partition had not arisen except as a remote contingency, and accession was envisaged only with reference to the newly to-be-created Dominion of India.
In the following year, after Lord Mountbatten’s assumption of office, when decision had been taken with regard to the partition of India into two dominions, the alternatives posed were whether the State would accede to India or to Pakistan.
So far as Pandit Ramchandra Kak was concerned, in 1946 the decisive factor which influenced him in holding the view he had on accession was the attitude of the Indian National Congress, in regard to the affairs of the State.
During the preceding eight years, the Indian National Congress had boosted Sheikh Abdullah. Indeed it may be said that the Congress identified itself with Sheikh Abdullah and lent its great weight of authority to his agitation against the State Government. The Congress leaders, including Pandit Nehru, Maulana Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and others paid visits to the State, participated in the deliberations and demonstrations of the National Conference. These later culminated on certain occasions in breaches of peace, which caused considerable embarrassment to the State Government and deep resentment among those sections of the people of the State who had not thrown in their lot with Sheikh Abdullah. The climax came when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested in May 1946…..Then Pandit Nehru decided to pay a personal visit to the State, to arrange for the defense of Sheikh Abdullah who was being put up for trial on charges of sedition….The Kashmir Government had already communicated to the Government of India that, in view of the excitement prevailing in the State, it would be most undesirable for Pandit Nehru to come to Kashmir at that time, and that if he persisted it would be the duty of the Kashmir Government to prevent his proceeding to Srinagar.
2. Why Prime Minister Kak was forced to arrest Sheikh Abdullah
4.Sheikh Abdullah started his political career in 1931 as one of the two protagonists of the Muslim Conference which was professedly and unashamedly a communal body. His principal colleague was Ch. GhulamAbbas.In the years that followed, due to the intensification of the rivalry between the two chiefs, and the fact that Ghulam Abbas was able to secure a more favored position in the estimation of Mr. Jinnah and consequently the Muslim League, Sheikh Abdullah and the Kashmiris who followed him set up a rival organization which they called the National Conference. As a matter of tactics and as a means of securing external support and publicity, Sheikh Abdullah appealed to Pandit Nehru’s catholicity of mind by proclaiming himself and his organization non-communal.
6.Sheikh Abdullah while taking full advantage of his new found and unearned elevation in the Congress hierarchy, never lost sight, however, of his original aims and objectives, which remained what they had always been. He wanted absolute control over the Kashmir State administration. As the population was 76 percent Muslim, this automatically implied, however the changeover might be glossed and camouflaged with terms of democracy, the permanent subordination of the minority communities, who, therefore, barring the few who had thrown in their lot with Abdullah, were not too happy about it, the more so as they knew Sheikh Abdullah’s arrogance and prejudices better than the Congress leaders, whose contacts with him were comparatively few and far between.
7.…Their real misgivings about the future arose not so much out of their fear of loss of privilege, as out of the methods of coercion and bullying adopted by the National Conference against those who differed from them including even the dissident Muslim groups. There are instances of residents in Srinagar who were unable for years to visit other parts of the town, having experienced on earlier occasions, molestation and public humiliation at the hands of the strong-arm squads of the National Conference…..The same applied to members of the minority communities who did not accept the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah. They went always in fear and trembling. In what was called the “Quit Kashmir” agitation in 1946, mobs, thousands strong, used to surround houses of respectable citizens, who had incurred the wrath of the National Conference by their non-conformity. These mobs, for hours together, terrorized the inmates, throwing stones and shouting filthy abuses, not excluding the womenfolk of the house in its scope. In fact, these activities were one of the main causes which necessitated drastic action against the National Conference bosses in that year.[emphasis added]
Note: And that is why Sheikh Abdullah, the Great Democrat was arrested by Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak in May 1946. And this was the man whom the Congress was actively instigating against Maharaja Hari Singh and the man to whom power was transferred as pre-condition for sending Indian troops to save Srinagar from Pakistan in October 1947! Sheikh Abdullah was arrested in May 1946 and Nehru went to Srinagar soon thereafter, despite the warning from Prime Minister Kak that he would not be allowed to go to Srinagar. He was stopped at the border-post at Kohala and later detained in the Dak Bungalow at Muzaffarabad. This was hardly arrest and incarceration. The State Government housed Nehru and his retinue at the Dak Bungalow and the entire Dak Bungalow in Muzaffarabad was reserved for Nehru and his party. Later Nehru was taken to the Dak Bungalow in Uri where new telephone lines were installed specially for Nehru, to facilitate communication between Nehru and the Congress leadership in Delhi. When, in response to Gandhi’s passionate call to Nehru to come back to participate in the negotiations with the Cabinet Mission, Nehru decided to return to Delhi, the Kashmir Government made arrangements for Nehru to travel to Rawalpindi by road and from Rawalpindi by special plane to Delhi. And all this was done at the State Government’s expense, on Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak’s orders.
“I and all are of opinion that your presence here is essential above everything else. Remember that you are under an organization which you have adorned so long. Its needs must be paramount for you and me. Remember also that your honour is ours and your obedience to the Congress call automatically transfers to it the duty of guarding your honour. The Committee is also solicitous equally with you about Sheikh Abdullah’s case and the welfare of the Kashmir people. Therefore I expect you to return in answer to this. You will tell Maharaja Saheb that as soon as you are freed by the Congress you will return to Kashmir to retrieve your honour and fulfill your mission.”(Draft reply to Jawaharlal Nehru, June 21, 1946, CWMG Vol. 91 pp 180-81)
Gandhi’s letter to Nehru and the Gandhi drafted CWC resolution on Kashmir beg the following questions:
Why was Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak compelled to arrest Sheikh Abdullah in May 1946?
Why did Gandhi equate Nehru’s honour with the honour of the Congress and why was the Congress obliged to defend Nehru’s honour?
When Gandhi kept himself abreast of world politics and had an opinion on Hitler, the persecution of Jews and even Syria and Lebanon’s freedom from French colonial rule, did he not know what was happening inside Jammu and Kashmir and why Sheikh Abdullah had to be imprisoned and tried for sedition?
On what authority was the Congress sending a Commission of Inquiry into a sovereign State?
Did Gandhi think that the State administration which acted firmly to keep Nehru from fishing in the troubled waters of Kashmir, would allow a USCIRF-like committee with no legitimacy inside Kashmir, to enter the State?
Was Gandhi grandstanding as usual or was he hoping to provoke Pandit Ramchandra Kak to unleash what Gandhi and his INC termed more “repressive measures”?
Was Nehru really arrested as the Congress claimed or merely detained at Muzaffarabad and then Uri with all creature comforts at his disposal paid for by the Kashmir Government?
Was Sheikh Abdullah really labouring for freedom and what exactly did Gandhi and the INC mean when they spoke about “cause of freedom in Kashmir’? Freedom from what, freedom from whom?
3. Sheikh Abdullah: Congress-backed Pretender to the Throne
10. Distinguished advocates from India, members of the Congress, were deputed for Sheikh Abdullah’s defense, including Mr. Asaf Ali, who remained in Kashmir during the whole period the trial was in progress. Simultaneously, attempts were made by the Congress leaders to bring pressure on the Kashmir Government with the object of securing Sheikh Abdullah’s release.
Note: The same Indian National Congress did not lift its little finger when Tilak and Aurobindo were imprisoned for sedition; instead, Gokhale who had serious differences with LokmanyaTilak used the vacuum to begin the process of bringing Gandhi back to India from South Africa.
11. Pandit Kak was requested to meet Sardar Patel at Bombay. He went and met him there three times at Mr. Dahyabhai Patel’s flat on the Marine Drive. At the last of these meeting Mahatma Gandhi was present. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel impressed on Pandit Kak how prudent it would be for him to arrange the release of Sheikh Abdullah. Mahatma Gandhi said such was the importance that Pandit Nehru attached to his relations with Sheikh Abdullah that “he would be prepared to lay his life down for him.”
13. Later, the Working Committee of the Congress or was it the AICC passed a resolution condemning the Kashmir Government and appointing a commission comprising Mr. JairamdasDaulatram and Sri Prakasa to hold an inquiry with regard to the happenings in connection with Sheikh Abdullah’s agitation, arrest, trial and conviction. The Kashmir Government refused to acknowledge the authority of the Congress to appoint such a Commission which consequently was not appointed.
Note: “Recent events in Kashmir have been repeatedly considered by the Working Committee and the Committee have been greatly affected by them. They refrained, however, from expressing any opinion as they hoped that the situation could be handled satisfactorily by friendly mediation. Their approaches, however, to the State authorities had an unfriendly response, and the situation has progressively deteriorated, involving repression of, and suffering for, the people. Recently, the popular leader of the people and the President of the Kashmir National Conference, Sheikh Abdullah, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. This has added to the gravity of the situation and distressed and angered large numbers of people within and outside the State. When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru went to Kashmir and was arrested there, MaulanaAbulKalam Azad, the then President of the Congress, asked him to come back in order to continue the valuable work he was doing for the Congress in connection with the negotiations with the Cabinet Mission. Maulana Azad had assured him then, with the consent of the Working Committee, that the Congress would make his cause in Kashmir their own. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru willingly returned, though not without misgivings. The Working Committee regret to find that his misgivings were justified. From all accounts received by the Committee, repression of an open as well as a subtle type is continuing, and the people connected with the Kashmir [National] Conference are being harassed in many ways. It is reported that while elections have been announced for the State Assembly, large numbers of names are being struck off the electoral rolls, and many prospective candidates for the election have been disqualified. No attempt is being made to liberalize the Constitution and to make it more democratic and responsible. In view of these reports, the Working Committee feel it necessary to send a deputation, consisting of persons of unquestioned ability and impartiality, to inquire into the reports of repression and suppression of civil liberties. The Committee, therefore, earnestly recommend to Kashmir State that they should invite such a deputation. Recent events in Kashmir have a large significance affecting the rulers and peoples of all the States in India and Committee trust that the States will welcome the step that they are taking in regard to Kashmir. While noting with deep regret the sentence passed on Sheikh Abdullah, the Committee would consider his incarceration as a worthy sacrifice if it results in the achievement of the freedom for which he was labouring. The Committee express their sympathy for all those who have suffered or are suffering for the cause of freedom in Kashmir.” (Congress Working Committee Resolution on Kashmir, September 25, 1946, CWMG Vol. 92, pp 464-65, emphasis added)
Not only had Gandhi arrogated to himself the moral authority to bring about the “total extinction of the States” through his destabilizing mission, he demanded that Jammu and Kashmir must make a new Constitution with Congress advice! And it was Congress’ insistence to Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak to make a new Constitution which culminated in Nehru agreeing to Sheikh Abdullah’s demand to constitute the Jammu and Kashmir State Constituent Assembly which gave shape to the separate and separatist Jammu and Kashmir State Constitution. The country has to thank Gandhi for the seminal idea which gave birth to Article 370.
15. It was against this background that the problem of accession was posed to the Kashmir Government in 1946, and the Kashmir Government’s decision not to accede was communicated to the Government of India through the Resident…..
16. Sheikh Abdullah’s detention without trial since 9th August 1953 onward, viewed against the background of the events of 1946, is not without an element of irony – the more so, as the ruling party in India and its leaders are the same as those who persistently tried for his release and transfer of power to him in 1946-47.
26. So long as it was thought that India would be one single unit, Pandit Kak’s objection to accession was due to the identification of the Congress with Sheikh Abdullah and their refusal to see any other point of view than his. Top Congress leaders insisted after the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in May 1946, not merely that he should be released forthwith, but that a new constitution should be drafted for the state, with their advice,and power transferred to Sheikh Abdullah. [emphasis added, underline in original]
Note: Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak resigned on August 11, 1947; Pakistan invaded Kashmir on 22 October 1947. Maharaja Hari Singh, in the interim, had released Sheikh Abdullah in September.
8. In September 1947, the Maharaja released Sheikh Abdullah before expiry of the term of imprisonment to which then he had been sentenced. His object in doing this was twofold. Firstly, he hoped to put himself right with the Congress by building up an alibi with reference to Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest and trial, viz., that it was the Prime Minister (Pandit Kak) and not he who was responsible for this and for the refusal subsequently to Abdullah’s release. (This would, however, not have been easy, since the Maharaja had himself had rejected ShriKriplani’s plea for Sheikh Abdullah’s release when ShriKriplani came to Jammu in May 1947 and spoke to the Maharajah personally about it). The Maharaja’s second object was to make a deal with Abdullah by offering the National Conference a couple more ministerships, there being already two elected ministers out of five in the Kashmir Government and the idea was to add two more to the total.
9.Sheikh Abdullah declined and publicly declared that the future of the State would be settled by the will of the people. India and Pakistan had at this time already come into existence as separate Dominions. After announcing this, he left for Delhi.
12. What Sheikh Abdullah was really gambling for and what his alliance with the Congress in effect provided, was an independent pricipality[sic] whose continued existence was guaranteed by the Indian armed forces and whose solvency was secured by the Indian treasury. There was, however, no idea of a quid pro quo from his side. He did not expect to be called to account either in respect of the internal administration of the State or the utilization of the funds supplied to him by the Indian Government[emphasis added]
13. The curious thing is that despite the fact that he made no secret of his intentions, it took India no less than six years to make up its mind to face up to the true situation, viz, that Sheikh Abduallh[sic] stood only for his own aggrandizement and that he had no affection for India, and no sue[sic] for her except to the extent she subserved his ends.[emphasis added]
17. With the arrival of Lord Mountbatten in India as Governor General and Crown Representative, and the decision to partition India, the Kashmir Government’s feelings with regard to non-accession became more pronounced….Kashmir was now asked, not merely as before to communicate its decision with regard to accession, but to state whether it would accede to India or Pakistan.
4. The dilemma of accession; Mountbatten’s insistence on accession to Pakistan, and hispre-condition of plebiscite
18. Lord Mountbatten visited Kashmir in June 1947 with the specific object of getting a decision from the Maharaja to accede. He had a talk with Pandit Kak on that occasion and subsequently in Delhi in the following month…..Pandit Kak asked him point-blank to state as to which Dominion he advised Kashmir to accede. Lord Mountbatten, avoiding the direct reply, said, “That is entirely for you to decide. You must consider your geographical position, your political situation and the composition of your population and then decide.” “Kak rejoined “That means that you advise us to accede to Pakistan. It is not possible for us to do that; and since that is so, we cannot accede to India”. In other words, since Kashmir would not accede to Pakistan, it could not accede to India.
21. …..Pandit Kak saw Jinnah also, and had a long talk with him. Mr. Jinnah advised him to accede to Pakistan and stated that Kashmir, by immediate accession would get far better terms from Pakistan than she was likely to get later. On being told that the State’s decision not to accede was definite, Mr. Jinnah said that so far as he was concerned, he was prepared to concede that this was option which could be exercised by the State and so long as the State did not accede to India, he would not mind if it did not accede to Pakistan.[emphasis added]
Note: “He (Mountbatten) accepted a long-standing invitation from the Maharajah to visit Kashmir again and went there in the third week of June. Lord Mountbatten spent four days discussing the situation and arguing with the Maharaja. He told him that independence was not, in his opinion, a feasible proposition and that the State would not be recognized as a Dominion by the British Government. He assured the Maharaja that, so long as he made up his mind to accede to one Dominion or the other, before August 15, no trouble would ensue, for whichever Dominion he would accede to, would take the State firmly under its protection as part of its territory. He went so far as to tell the Maharaja that, if he acceded to Pakistan, India would not take it amiss and that he had a firm assurance on this from Sardar Patel himself. Lord Mountbatten went further to say that, in view of the composition of the population, it was particularly important to ascertain the wishes of the people.” (Integration of the Indian States, pp 451-52, emphasis added)
Mountbatten’s implicit threat, that if the Maharaja did not accede by August 15 there would be serious problems, must be read together with the fact that, as of August 15, the armed forces in both India and Pakistan were headed by British Officers and this was the situation even in October when the Pakistani army, packaged as tribal invaders, invaded and occupied Kashmir in a well-planned operation. The invasion and occupation happened in the political and administrative vacuum created by the resignation of Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak. All this would have been known to MI5, to the British Officers in India and Pakistan, and certainly would have been known to Mountbatten.
5. When British Officers and the Muslim League made common cause in Gilgit
“Before the Jinnah-Mountbatten parleys took place, another drama had been enacted. I have already mentioned that soon after the announcement of the transfer of power, the Gilgit Agency had been retroceded to the Maharajah. The Maharajah then appointed a Governor for that area. The Governor, accompanied by Major-General HL Scott, Chief of Staff of the Jammu and Kashmir Army, reached Gilgit on 30 July. On arrival they found that all the officers of the British Government had opted for service in Pakistan. There was no State civil staff available to take over from these officers. The Gilgit Scouts also wanted to go over to Pakistan. In addition to the Scouts, 6J&K battalion (half Sikhs and half Muslims) was the only State force unit available…..At midnight of 31 October, the Governor’s residence was surrounded by the Gilgit Scouts. The next morning the Governor was put under arrest and a provisional government was established by the rebels. The Muslim elements (including officers) in the State force garrison had deserted; the non-Muslim elements were largely liquidated. Those who survived escaped to the hills and then joined the State force garrison at Skardu. On 4 November, Major Brown, the British Commandant of the Gilgit Scouts ceremonially hoisted the Pakistan Flag in the Scouts’ lines and in the third week of November, a Political Agent from Pakistan established himself at Gilgit(Integration of the Indian States, pp 463-64 Emphasis added)
6. Mountbatten’s pre-conditions for accepting the Instrument of Accession
“On the evening of 24 October, the Government of India received a desperate appeal for help from the Maharajah. They also received from the Supreme Commander information regarding the raiders’ advance and possible intentions. On the morning of 25 October, a meeting of the Defense Committee was held, presided over by Lord Mountbatten. This committee considered the request of the Maharajah for arms and ammunition as also for reinforcement of troops. Lord Mountbatten emphasized that no precipitate action should be taken until the Government of India had fuller information. It was agreed that I should fly to Srinagar immediately in order to study the situation on the spot and to report to the Government of India. …
The Maharajah was completely unnerved by the turn of events and by his sense of lone helplessness. There were practically no State Forces left and the raiders had almost reached the outskirts of Baramula.
We left Srinagar in the first light of the morning of 26 October and immediately on my arrival in Delhi, I went straight to a meeting of the Defence Committee. I reported my impression of the situation and pointed out the supreme necessity of saving Kashmir from the raiders. Lord Mountbatten said that it would be improper to move Indian troops into what was at the moment an independent country as Kashmir had not yet decided to accede to either India or Pakistan. If it were true that the Maharajah was now anxious to accede to India, then Jammu and Kashmir would become part of Indian territory. This was the only basis on which Indian troops could be sent to the rescue of the State from further pillaging by the aggressors. He further expressed the strong opinion that, in view of the composition of the population, accession should be conditional on the will of the people being ascertained by a plebiscite after the raiders had been driven out of the State and law and order had been restored. This was readily agreed to by Nehru and other ministers.
Soon after the meeting of the Defence Committee I flew to Jammu accompanied by (Prime Minister) Mahajan….The Maharajah was asleep;…I woke him up and told him of what had taken place at the Defence Committee meeting. He was ready to accede at once. He then composed a letter to the Governor General describing the pitiable plight of the State and reiterating his request for military help. He further informed the Governor General that it was his intention to set up an interim government at once and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with Mehr Chand Mahajan, his Prime Minister.”(Integration of the Indian States, pp 455-458, emphasis added)
Note: At the time of crisis when every hour mattered and when Pakistani soldiers were approaching Srinagar, Mountbatten refused to act promptly. VP Menon’s narrative has no mention of Gandhi’s response, if any, or Sardar Patel’s views on the issue of delayed response and Mountbatten’s pre-condition for plebiscite. I return to one of my core submissions in the book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation that either Gandhi had no conception of Hindu nation or he did not subscribe to it. The Hindu Nation historically has always had well-defined borders. The kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir was well within these Hindu national borders. I also return to the other despairing question: Why was Sardar Patel silent on those occasions when he should have been on the warpath. As Home Minister of independent India, sending Indian troops to Jammu and Kashmir ought to have been his decision and that of his Prime Minister. Mountbatten had no locus standi. For a man who was nitpicking on Kashmir’s independent status as posing a hurdle to sending in Indian troops, Mountbatten failed to respect the borders which governed the duties and responsibilities of the Home Minister of independent India. Why did Sardar Patel not send the Indian troops on the 22nd or even 23rd October when Pakistan launched its all-out invasion of Jammu and Kashmir; and why did he allow Mountbatten to make plebiscite a pre-condition?
7. Why did the Kashmir State Troops offer no resistance to the invading Pakistani army?
41. The question why the Kashmir State troops put up little or no resistance against the raiders in October 1947, it needs an answer. When Pandit Kakrelinquished office on 11th August 1947, it became clear to the people of the State that his policy and methods would now no longer be followed. Consequently, the confidence which the people had felt and by reason of which they had remained calm and untroubled when blood was flowing freely between the two major communities in the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, often within their own sight and hearing, was shattered. That being so, maintenance of law and order would under the new circumstances prevailing require far greater resources than were available to the successor State Government.
42. Secondly, Pandit Kak’s elimination was followed by what can only be termed the decapitation of the entire administration. The Revenue Minister was retired a few days later; the Chief Secretary, the Chief of the Army Staff, the Inspector-General of Police, the Governor of Kashmir, the Director of Civil Supplies, the Chief Engineer and other important officers, were almost immediately removed from their office, and in their place were appointed people of little or no experience and some of doubtful reputation, the majority belonging to one community, the Maharaja’s own. Naturally, when the shock came, there was no one in high authority willing to take responsibility and capable of taking adequate action. The new Prime Minister, an estimable old gentleman now nearly 80 years old, was not physically or mentally able to bear the strain of the stenuous[sic] events confronting him. On assuming office, he took to his bed and seldom emerged from it till he handed over charge on 15th October. He was a good man and had been a loyal servant in his day, but he was not, as can be well imagined, the man to steer the Government to safety in the storm which had now begun to rage inside as well as outside. The Maharaja was hag-ridden by superstition in the person of his Guru, Swami SantDev and was unable to make up his mind firmly in any matter.
Note: This is just one-half of the narrative of why the State troops put up no resistance. The other more alarming and nerve-chilling half is detailed in Integration of the Indian States.
“The all-out invasion of Kashmir started on 22 October 1947. The main raiders’ column, which had approximately two hundred to three hundred lorries, and which consisted of frontier tribesmen estimated at five hundred - Afridis, Wazirs, Mahsuds, Swathis, and soldiers of the Pakistani Army “on leave” – led by some regular officer who knew Kashmir well, advanced from Abbotabad in the NWFP along the Jhelum Valley Road. They captured Garhi and Domel and arrived at the gates of Muzzafarabad. The State battalion consisting of Muslims and Dogras stationed in Muzaffarabad, was commanded by Lt.ColonelNarain Singh. All the Muslims in the battalion deserted; shot the Commanding Officer and his adjutant; joined the raiders, and acted as advance-guard to the raiders’ column.
The raiders then marched towards Baramula along the road leading to Srinagar; their next destination being Uri. All the Muslims in the States Forces had deserted and many had joined the raiders. When Brigadier Rajinder Singh, the Chief of the Staff of the State Forces , heard of the desertion of the Muslim personnel and the advance of the raiders, he gathered together approximately 150 men and moved towards Uri. There he engaged the raiders for two days and in the rearguard action, destroyed the Uri bridge. The Brigadier himself and all his men were cut to pieces in this action.” (Integration of the Indian States, pp 454-55, emphasis added)
Note: Pandit Ramchandra Kak summed up Sheikh Abdullah brilliantly well when he said what Sheikh Abdullah wanted was an independent principality whose continued existence was guaranteed by the Indian armed forces. From 1947, to this day, our armed forces from the rest of India are continuing to die for the Sunni jihadi parasitical Kashmir valley so that the Abdullah clan may perpetuate itself at the expense of the Hindu taxpayer; so that descendants of Nehru can look the other way when descendants of Abdullah’s community commits the genocide of Kashmiri Panditsfrom their homeland; so that Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah can both declare that they will not only not permit a Hindu Chief Minister in the State, they will also not allow a sainikcolony nor allow Kashmiri Pandits to be settled in a secure enclave, both of which threaten the prevailing religious demography of the Kashmir Valley.
8. Why did both Congress and Maharaja Hari Singh want Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak out?
6. As stated above, when the question of accession was first mooted, the State Government’s reaction was that it would not accede. So far as the Maharaja was concerned, his inclination was reinforced by the faith he had in his Swami, Swami Santdev….
7. Such was the domination acquired by the Swami over the Maharaja, and such his reputation as the decisive influence in moudling[sic] the Maharaja’s mind, that even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when he came to Kashmir for the second time in 1946, paid a call on him.
8. The Maharaja believed that after the departure of the British from India, he would through the potency of the Swami’s supernatural powers, be able to extend his territory and rule over a much larger dominion than that already comprised in the Jammu and Kashmir State. A good deal of propaganda was being carried on in the State and in the Punjab, about the formation of what some people then called Dogristan in which it was hoped to include, besides the Jammu and Kashmir State, the districts of Kangra and the States and areas now mostly included in the Himachal Pradesh.
9. In june 1947, the Maharaja of Sirmur and the Rajas of Mandi and Jubbal came to Srinagar and stayed with the Maharaja as his guests. One evening the Maharaja sent for Pandit Kak and introduced him to his princely guests. He then showed him a draft agreement, in which were defined the aims and objectives of the proposed federation and the safeguards in relation to dynastic matters of the ruling families. Kak offered no comment at that time beyond asking for time to think. Next morning, however, he explained to the Maharaja how futile and impracticable such an idea was, and how utterly unrealistic it was for anybody to imagine that the forces which had compelled the British to leave India, would allow the creation of the new empire in their midst. Kak added that the utmost that one could hope for in conditions now emerging, was the survival of the Jammu and Kashmir State as already constituted and any expectation beyond that or any move in the direction contemplated by the Maharaja and his guests was sure invitation to disaster. So far as Kak was concerned, the matter came to an end there.
11. The cold douche administered to his hopes by Pandit Kak was, therefore, never forgotten nor forgiven, either by him or his Swami, or by the Court favourities[sic] and hangers-on who expected to benefit from the expanded empire.
13. Finding Pandit Kak as Prime Minister not amenable to his wishes and feeling that the Maharaja might perhaps jib at being directly asked to remove his Prime Minister, the Swami embarked on bringing about an understanding between himself and the leaders of the Indian National Congress, who already had their own reasons for not approving of an administration in the State, which had consistently refused to yield to coercion in the matter of Sheikh Abdullah.
14…..Pandit Kak, though previously, on occasion, puzzled by stray hints dropped in various quarters, finally became aware of the dispatch of these messages when he met Sardar Patel in July 1947, at the time he went down to Delhi at the request of Lord Mountbatten to attend the Conference of the States Ministers.
15. Sardar Patel started by showing him a copy of a letter from Khurshid Ahmed, Mr. Jinnah’s Personal Assistant, to Ch. Hamid Ullah Khan….as regards the attitude of the Muslim Conference during the forthcoming visit of Mahatma Gandhi to Kashmir. Mahatma Gandhi was to be the guest of Begum Abdullah and the idea seems to have been that the National Conference would ask the Mahatma Gandhi to use his influence to bring about Pandit Kak’s removal…..
16…..Sardar Patel concluded by asking me to tell Your Highness that this state of affairs was unfortunate and that in these crucial days it was essential that the Maharaja and the Prime Minister pull together and if that was not possible, the situation should be brought to an end immediately…..
17. The Maharaja was now in the horns of a dilemma. He has to choose between his Swami and his Prime Minister. Inevitably, he chose the Swami.
19. On the 25th October night, the Maharaja left Srinagar as a refugee. The Swami was also in the train, but in the course of the journey, on the way to Jammu, they finally parted company. It was the end of an association which had cost the Maharaja dear.
9. Closing Word
It took the Congress less than 18 months to gift away the State of Jammu and Kashmir to Sheikh Abdullah and just 15 months to manipulate the resignation of Prime Minister Kak which in turn created the administrative vacuum utilized to the hilt by Pakistan. What is more horrifying is the casualness with which VP Menon, Secretary in the Ministry of States entrusted with persuading all Princely States to sign the Instrument of Accession, narrates the cataclysmic events of 1947 in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Shortly before the transfer of power, PanditKak was replaced as Prime Minister by Major-General Janak Singh. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir then announced their intention of negotiating Standstill Agreements with both India and Pakistan. Pakistan signed a Standstill Agreement. But we wanted time to examine the implications. We left the State alone. We did not ask the Maharaja to accede, though at that time, as a result of the Radcliffe Award, the State had become connected by road with India. Owing to the composition of the population, the State had its own peculiar problems. Moreover, our hands were already full and, if truth be told, I for one had simply no time to think of Kashmir. (Integration of the Indian States, page 458)
This was the Secretary, Ministry of the States speaking and he has the audacity to claim he had no time to think of Kashmir. VP Menon compounds his offence when he speaks of the territory of the nation as if national territory were merely coins in a game of dice where you win some and lose some.
“When India was partitioned and Pakistan became a separate state, India lost an area of 364,737 square miles and a population of 81.5 million; but by the integration of the states, India received an area of nearly 500,000 square miles with a population of 86.5 million. India was adequately compensated.” (Integration of the Indian States, page li)
Gandhi went to Srinagar in August 1947, though what Gandhi was doing in Srinagar at a time when the rest of the country was being torn apart by vivisection, a vivisection which gandhi said would happen only over his dead body! When Gandhi went to Srinagar in August 1947 as Begum Abdullah’s guest, Gandhi would have seen how perilously close the State was to descending into chaos and anarchy because of his behind-the-scenes maneuverings against the Prime Minister and yet, such was his infatuation for Nehru that he was unforgiving of Prime Minister RamchandraKak for daring to keep Nehru out of Srinagar and for daring to reject his (Gandhi’s) demand for Sheikh Abdullah’s release. Gandhi therefore did nothing to heal the fissures between the Congress and PanditKak and between the Maharaja and his Prime Minister. The State of Jammu and Kashmir and the hapless people of the State were not Gandhi’s priority; seeking the extinction of the Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was, and PanditKak and the people of the state were just collateral damage. Just how uncaring Gandhi was about loss of more territory to Pakistan, is best judged by his threat to go on an indefinite fast if Patel did not honour the promise to Pakistan to hand over Pakistan’s share of pre-partition treasury funds.
Sardar Patel did not demur, did not protest when Mountbatten insisted on plebiscite as pre-condition to sending Indian troops to Srinagar; Patel did not publicly resist or condemn Nehru for promising Sheikh Abdullah his own state constitution nor did he refuse to support the pernicious Article 370 from being tabled and then accepted by the Constituent Assembly to be subsequently made a part of the Indian Constitution.
The Instrument of Accession is the binding legal document which makes Jammu and Kashmir and all Princely States integral parts of India. Anything outside of the IoA is not binding upon the Indian State. Plebiscite, separate Constituent Assembly, separate state constitution and Article 370 are not in the Instrument of Accession and are therefore not binding upon the Government of India and Parliament in one voice can still reject them.
If Gandhi erred horrendously when he encouraged Nehru to prop up Sheikh Abdullah against the King, he erred more grievously when he made Nehru his political heir and thus India’s first Prime Minister for what is an unbelievably frivolous reason:
“But I give you a tip. I was not joking when I made a statement some time back in answer to Sir Feroz Khan Noon at San Francisco, that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is my heir. He has got ability, knowledge and close touch with the public here and can interpret India’s mind. I have already, as I wrote to Lord Linlithgow, taken him as my guide in international affairs. He can interpret India’s mind to the outside world as no one else can.” ((Interview to Preston Grover CWMG Vol. 87, pp 189-191)
Obviously Nehru failed to “interpret India’s mind to the outside world”. Nehru and Gandhi watched as Imperial London vivisected the nation; they watched as Pakistan invaded and occupied Jammu and Kashmir; and when Nehru obedient to Mountbatten’s suggestion that he should not continue with the military offensive to drive Pakistan out of the occupied territories, but must take India’s case to the United Nations which, Mountbatten assured Nehru, will deal with Pakistan, Nehru failed in the United Nations too. Gandhi anointed Nehru as his political heir whatever that may mean; what was obvious was Gandhi made Nehru the Prime Minister of India for the only reason that “he can interpret India’s mind to the outside world”.
If Gandhi’s actions had the most destructive consequences for the Hindu nation, Patel’s, Rajaji’s, Munshi’s and Rajendra Prasad’s silence had equally destructive consequences too. Imperial London’s plan to paratroop Gandhi into India in 1915 and to maneuver him as leader of the INC yielded spectacular results. In 1947, Mountbatten, the Muslim League and Sheikh Abdullah got what they wanted. Kashmir’s original Hindu populace, the Kashmiri Pandits, undivided India’s Hindus who were forced to abandon their homes in the newly created jihadi state of Pakistan and who fled to India, Ladakh’s Buddhists and Pandit Ramchandra Kak who lived the remainder of his life in poverty In Himachal Pradesh, have become the invisible, silent and forgotten victims of Gandhi’s politics.
If Prime Minister Modi is indeed genuinely committed to honouring Sardar Patel’s tireless efforts to integrate the Princely States with the Indian Union, he should constitute a committee of the best legal minds to find a way to get rid of Article 370 which is a festering wound of separatism and retrieve PoK to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with finality into the Union of India.
Prime Minister RamchandraKak's Paper is a document of national significance and must be read in full to appreciate his political prescience and integrity. He was a proud Kashmiri Hindu and in the Epilogue he makes an eloquent argument for the Hindu case and cause for Kashmir. He shows clearly, albeit implicitly, how it is Hindus who served British interests for India, and it is Hindus who furthered Kashmiri Sunni anti-India interests. The Sunnis themselves acted quite consciously in their own Sunni interest, manipulating gullible Hindus to our own destruction with the bogus idea of “kashmiriyat”; as the Kashmiri Sunnis do even now - and PanditKak almost 70 years ago recognized and forecast they would.
Prime Minister RamchandraKak’s Epilogue in the 22 page document is a brilliant counter to the jihadi Sunni Muslims of the Kashmir valley who, after persecuting and genociding the Hindus, now claim the valley for their own; and a perceptive counter to the Sunni Muslim political leadership including America’s creature, the Hurriyat, the Mufti and Abdullah clans who have publicly declared that they will not allow any change in the religious demography of the Kashmir Valley:
“In reply to a question how it could be possible for Indian to expect to retain the Valley of Kashmir with a 95% Muslim population contiguous to the entirely Muslim area of the North-West Frontier Province, he replied that it was a misunderstanding of the whole position to treat the status of the Valley of Kashmir as affecting only the residents therein and to think of deciding its future with reference only to the composition of its population. The Valley of Kashmir had, from time immemorial, been an important constituent of the corpus of Hindu religious thought and religious practice, and for that reason, had since the dawn of history, enjoyed a reputation and consideration, wholly independent of its political or economic importance. In considering any solution for the present impasse it was not enough to relate the solution only to the composition of the population at present residing in the Valley, for the reason that the entire Hindu population of India was intimately concerned with the fate of Kashmir, irrespective of where their habitation might be. It was not a case of individual temples and shrines, but the whole country as such being reverenced as Holy Land, and including within its mountain walls, the replicas of all the important holy places of the Hindus in India. The apparent inconsistency, discernible in the Indian attitude in respect of Kashmir had to be viewed in the light of these facts. Politically minded Indian leaders wedded to the ideals of democracy and secularism might find it difficult officially to base an argument on the strength of religious sentiment and background. Nevertheless, religious sentiment and background even though lacking official imprimatur could not be lightly brushed aside. In fact, among people in whose lives religion still plays a dominant and vital role, its pull though invisible and unexpressed, could be ignored only at treat peril. The argument based on this feeling, Pandit Kak added, would not be unique in the case of India. If the Jews could get back Israel after 2000 years of exile, why should it be considered extraordinary if India wanted to retain Kashmir which was already in its possession?”
Pandit Kak is describing the Hindu nation; he defined the civilizational roots of the Hindu nation and placed Kashmir squarely within its borders. Gandhi decried western civilization in the much touted Hind Swaraj but sought extinction of India’s Hindu Princely States for western notions of democracy and governance. Hindu nationalists must begin to understand Gandhi’s Indian National Congress for what it had become after the passing away of Tilak – an anti-Hindu social reform instrument driven by non-Hindu political ideas.
India is a nation of Hindus. While persons professing the Abrahamic and other faiths may live with all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to all citizens, they may not claim this territory to be their own for separatist and secessionist ends – Sikhs, Muslims or Christians. Jammu and Kashmir tests Hindu resolve to protect the Hindu nation from aggression by anti-Hindu and non-Hindu forces.
Point 8 in the Jammu and Kashmir Instrument of Accession says:
“Nothing in this Instrument affects the continuance of my sovereignty in and over this State, or, save as provided by or under this Instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as Ruler of this State or the validity of any law at present in force at in this State.”
Gandhi, Nehru and the Government of India did not live up to or fulfill their obligation to the Maharaja as contained in point 8 of the IoA. Instead, Sheikh Abdullah, the Pretender to the throne, ascended the throne with a separatist state constitution and Article 370 in tow. The ultimate tragedy of Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak’s resignation on August 11, 1947 is best summed up by Pandit Kak himself:
“Sheikh Abdullah’s detention without trial since 9th August, 1953 onward, viewed against the background of the events of 1946, is not without an element of irony – the more so as the ruling party in India and its leaders are the same as those who persistently tried for his release and transfer of power to him in 1946-47.” (PanditRamchandraKak Paper, Section I, page 4, paragraph 16)
Rai Bahadur Pandit Ramchandra Kak Paper tells us why Hindu nationalists must fiercely resist all attempts to force them to become mute witnesses in the Kaurava Court.