J&K: Dilemma of Accession – Part IIA
by Radha Rajan on 18 Dec 2016 1 Comment

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 almost half the total territory of the country. 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.

 

Under these circumstances, the Department of States (later Ministry of States) was formed under Sardar Patel with VP Menon 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 Muzzaffarabad and Uri, 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 valley, seem today to be almost irreversible. 

 

The narrative of the RCK Paper is categorized under eight sections and each section bears the Roman numeral I to VIII which is the Epilogue. Additional information or related facts are presented at the end of a point as ‘Note’.

 

Section I [no subtitle] 

 

1.   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…

 

2.  …..In regard to accession, the views of the Prime Minister and the Maharaja coincided, though not for identical reasons.

 

4.  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.

 

5.   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.

 

7.   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.

 

8.  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.

 

Why Kak was forced to arrest Sheikh Abdullah

 

Section VI

 

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. Ghulam Abbas. 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… 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. ..… 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.

 

Note:

That is why Sheikh Abdullah, the Great Democrat, was arrested by Prime Minister Ramchandra Kak in May 1946. 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 Muzzaffarabad. This was hardly arrest and incarceration.

 

The State Government housed Nehru and his retinue at the Dak Bungalow and the entire Dak Bungalow in Muzzaffarabad 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. 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 (which follows later) 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 J&K 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 really 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 Muzzaffarabad and then Uri with all creature comforts at his disposal 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’? There are no answers to “Freedom from what and freedom from whom?”

 

Sheikh Abdullah: Congress-backed Pretender to the Throne

 

Section 1

 

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 Lokmanya Tilak, in consultation with London, 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 meetings 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. Jairamdas Daulatram 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, Maulana Abul Kalam 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 regrets 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)

 

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.

 

Note:

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.

 

(To be concluded…)

See also: Part I

http://vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4157

http://vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4158

http://vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4159

Pandit Ramchandra Kak Paper

http://www.vigilonline.com/downloads/2016/RCK_MissingLink_Full_1.pdf

 

Complete originals at

http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2339:jammu-and-kashmir-dilemma-of-accession-a-historical-analysis-and-after&catid=95:pictures&Itemid=142 and

http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2340:jammu-and-kashmir-dilemma-of-accession-a-historical-analysis-and-after&catid=95:pictures&Itemid=142

User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top