Jammu and Kashmir tests Hindu resolve – 2
by Radha Rajan on 01 Dec 2009 10 Comments

Wanted, a resolute Hindu leadership

During the critical nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the fate of the Hindu nation was being determined by Islam and the colonial British government, the Hindu nation woefully lacked a resolute Hindu leadership with both vision and courage to stay the course in the war against two powerful and well-organized enemies. Regaining state power to protect the Hindu nation was never the objective of the INC’s political adventure. 

 

The imperial government in London allowed the INC to be led first by white British citizens, and thereafter only by non-Hindus like non-ideologues or notional Hindus like Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjea, G K Gokhale, M K Gandhi and finally Jawaharlal Nehru, who piloted the INC till 1947 when colonial rule was brought to an end on terms determined by the Muslim League and the British Empire. The festering, gangrene-infected sore that is J&K today is a Gandhi-Nehru legacy.

 

The quality of the deracinated Hindu leadership is best gauged from the passivity with which Gandhi and the INC accepted without murmur the appointment of Mountbatten as last viceroy, the terms for transfer of power, and their unwillingness to avert vivisection. Mountbatten as last viceroy, the Cabinet Mission document, creation of Pakistan as West-controlled territory, and the problem of J&K were all components of one invisible whole; only neither Gandhi nor Nehru or any one of the other leaders in the INC had the intelligence to understand that they were being manipulated skillfully by London with the able assistance of the Muslim League.

 

In fact, by 1946 Gandhi had not only accepted partition but had actually endorsed Rajaji’s formula for partition as the best possible solution. Gandhi and the INC had always readily grabbed whatever political crumbs were thrown by successive viceroys, but persisted with the lie that they were leading a freedom movement. Gandhi’s hubris did not permit him to see even in 1946 that the imperial government and the British Indian government knew Gandhi exceedingly well and knew how to play him along. Nehru, suffering as much from hubris as Gandhi, while he was determined to inherit Gandhi’s political mantle, had only grandiose woolly-headed fantasies for arsenal instead of hard-nosed and hard-headed political sense of international politics.   

 

When World War II had drained London’s coffers and when Subhash Bose’s INA threatened to overrun India, and when the INA shamed Indian armed forces in the Royal Indian Navy and British Indian Army to revolt, the imperial government in London sent the Cabinet Mission to India in May 1946 to work out the modalities for transfer of power.

 

Gandhi’s INC should have refused to entertain the Cabinet Mission just as it had refused to entertain the Cripps Mission earlier in 1942. Unable to deal with an intractable Gandhi, the Cabinet Mission returned to London at the end of June 1946. The decision to send Mountbatten to India as last viceroy was probably taken after June, in the hope that this man would be able to repeat his success in Indonesia.

 

If Gandhi and Nehru had understood Mountbatten’s role in Indonesia and had they been outraged enough at Mountbatten’s desecration of the war memorial in Singapore for Bose and the fallen soldiers of the INA, they would not have welcomed him as wholesomely as they had; nor would Gandhi have asked him to play umpire (that was Gandhi’s prescription exactly) between the INC and the Muslim League; in effect, Gandhi asked Mountbatten to play umpire between him and Jinnah. It is pertinent at this juncture to recollect that Gandhi had also welcomed the Cabinet Mission proposals as “the best document in the circumstances” while refusing to even consider the Sapru Committee report which had drafted the broad contours and contents of the future constitution of independent India.

 

This point cannot be emphasized enough, because while the Cabinet Mission proposals were drafted by imperial London keeping in mind Britain’s post-colonial interests, the Mission document was also London’s exit policy predicated on keeping India’s populace looking away from their colonial tormentors and preoccupied in dealing with elements within the country which would soon be unleashed by events proceeding from acceptance of the Mission document. It is not overstating the obvious that the simmering cauldron of Muslim separatism in J&K was brought to boil by the Cabinet Mission proposals for transfer of power.

 

To hammer home the point yet again, the Sapru Committee report was an all-Indian draft constitution for independent India, while the Cabinet Mission document was London’s blueprint for exit and consolidation of future geo-strategic interests, factoring an expanding Soviet Russia into Central Asia. Gandhi was the sole interlocutor with the British government in the negotiations, while Sardar Patel and other Congress luminaries merely stood grimly on the side-lines; thus only Gandhi could have rejected the document had he wanted to. Instead he welcomed it within four days after the document was presented to the INC and the Muslim League, without reading the fine print.

 

The INC, after Gandhi’s endorsement, never summed up the will to reject the proposals and went along with the Cabinet Mission document (henceforth referred to as Mission document), carrying the Hindu nation inexorably towards vivisection. Along the way to vivisection in 1946, Gandhi and Nehru sowed the seeds, nurtured and brought to full bloom the poison weed of separatism in J&K with their endorsement of Sheikh Abdullah as the alternate leader to the King. One of the several troubling questions that haunts us is why, in the absence of any other Indian initiative in that direction, did Gandhi not submit the Sapru Committee proposals to the British government as the starting point for their withdrawal from India?

 

The Cabinet Mission document had carefully concealed the ticking time bomb of Pakistan and J&K in its proposals. It is not within the purview of this column to go into the details of the document with regard to the Provinces, but to connect the dots between Mountbatten, Gandhi-Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah and J&K. The Mission document concealed the time bomb of vivisection and Pakistan in the cleverly worded offer for maximum autonomy for the Muslim majority provinces “approximating to but not quite” Jinnah’s demand for a separate Muslim state.

 

The Muslim League while accepting the Mission document also declared that it would use the document to sow the seeds of Pakistan. Thus the creation of Pakistan was a certainty; Pakistan would be created either immediately if the negotiations failed, or subsequent to British withdrawal from India. 

 

So preoccupied were Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and the others with the imminent threat of the creation of Pakistan that they failed to perceive the real threat posed by the lapse of paramountcy in the Princely states which was linked to imminent vivisection. The threat lay in the unstated truth that J&K was a frontier region which would be contiguous with the still-in-the-future Pakistan. The Mission document yet again camouflaged the time-bomb of London’s intent for J&K by cleverly cloaking London’s approach to the Princely states in words of sweet reasonableness.

 

The Mission document laid out the road-map for the future of the princely states in unambiguous language. Paramountcy over the princely states which was vested in the British Government would be allowed to lapse and not passed on to any future post-independence government or governments. The lapse of paramountcy and the British refusal to pass on paramountcy to any future government rested on London’s covert determination, notwithstanding the fact that vivisection was not envisaged in May 1946, that no matter how the tripartite negotiations progressed over the Mission document, they would end only in vivisection of what was known as British India.

 

-          14. Before putting forward our recommendations we turn to deal with the relationship of the Indian States to British India. It is quite clear that with the attainment of independence by British India, whether inside or outside the British Commonwealth, the relationship which has hitherto existed between the Rulers of the States and the British Crown will no longer be possible. Paramountcy can neither be retained by the British Crown nor transferred to the new Government. This fact has been fully recognized by those whom we interviewed from the States. They have at the same time assured us that the States are ready and willing to co-operate in the new development of India. The precise form which their co-operation will take must be a matter for negotiation during the building up of the new constitutional structure, and it by no means follows that it will be identical for all the States. We have not therefore dealt with the States in the same detail as the Provinces of the British India in the paragraphs which follow. (STATEMENT OF CABINET DELEGATION AND VICEROY May 16, 1946, CWMG Vol. 90, pp 441-42)

 

For an empire on the retreat it ought to have mattered little if the five hundred odd princely states acceded to India or Pakistan, declared independence or descended to chaos. And when the negotiations did fail and when vivisection became a certainty, in a move calculated to distract the attention of the INC away from their real intent, the British government constituted two Departments of States – one for India and another for Pakistan to oversee accession of the princely states to their respective countries. While Sardar Patel was made head of the Department of States for India, Abdur Rab Nishtar, a Muslim League leader and minister in the Interim Government, was the head for the Pakistani DoS. The Departments of States came into being on June 27, 1946 and even as late as June 1947 the issue of the princely states remaining sovereign independent entities was still undefined and open-ended.

 

Amid the chaos of vivisection, communal riots following Direct Action Day and the frenetic activity arising from Mountbatten’s decision to advance independence from June 1948 to August 1947 on the one hand, and the highly volatile and surcharged issue of accession of the princely states on the other, Nehru with the full backing of Gandhi was meddling in the affairs of J&K. With no thought to the grave danger and the imminent instability that he was causing to the shape of the emerging post-independence India, Nehru convened the State People’s Conference in the first week of June 1947. Nehru convened this conference of the people of the princely states, thus pitting the people against their rulers at a time when the support of the Hindu rulers would have been critical for the shape of the emerging independent India.

 

Unmindful of the consequences of antagonizing the rulers and encouraging a peoples’ uprising in the princely states against the rulers, particularly in J&K where the so-called peoples’ movement was only a Sunni Muslim movement led by Sheikh Abdullah and his All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (later National Conference) against the Hindu king, Nehru declared, on June 8, 1947, Sovereignty must reside in the people and not in any individual. The State people’s claim to represent for themselves is justified and will see to it that they are heard. And certainly their rulers cannot speak for them,” before the delegates of the State People's Conference. Nehru reiterated his view at the AICC on June 15, 1947: “We will not recognize the independence of the states in India and any recognition of such independence by any foreign power will be considered as unfriendly act”.

 

Amidst the chaos, Patel as head of the department of the states for India, with characteristic wisdom went about the task of winning the trust of the Hindu princes and kings with the same quiet wisdom that he had demonstrated earlier when he went out of his way to apply balm to Ambedkar’s injured self-esteem by inviting him to join the Constituent Assembly and making him Convener. Patel assured the rulers that beyond surrendering Defence, Communication and External relations to the Union, the rulers would continue to exercise sovereign control over their kingdoms and could send their representatives to the Constituent Assembly to work out the nature and extent of their co-operation with the Indian Union.

 

After the initial assurance, Patel persuaded with iron determination, not only to discourage ideas of independence of individual princely states, but also persuaded the rulers to give in to total constitutional integration with the Union. Except J&K. Gandhi and Gandhi’s INC remained mute spectators as Nehru kept J&K out of Patel’s jurisdiction and insisted on handling the affairs of J&K single-handedly. The result of this unchallenged claim to J&K as Nehru’s personal domain to do with it as he pleased created the bloated parasite called J&K which is living off the blood it continues to suck from the body of the Indian Union.

 

Five days before transfer of power, on August 10, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh dismissed his Prime Minister Ramachandra Kak and appointed a military man, Gen. Janak Singh as Prime Minister. It may mean something or nothing at all that Ramachandra Kak was married then to a White British national. Subsequent to unconfirmed news about Pakistan sending in its army into J&K in the guise of a tribal invasion on around 2nd or 3rd September, Gen. Janak Singh asked to be relieved of his new responsibility to enable him to assume charge of active military service; Maharaja Hari Singh then nominated an advocate, Mehr Chand Mahajan as Prime Minister.

 

Within a week of news of Pakistani intrusion into J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh for some inexplicable reason decided to release Sheikh Abdullah from prison and within a month made his arch-enemy the Head of Emergency Administration. Our history books have never told us about Ramachandra Kak, his dismissal, or anything at all about this unheard of Emergency Administration. Even more strangely, Sheikh Abdullah in democratic independent India re-surfaces as Prime Minister of something called the Interim Government in J&K, when no elections had taken place! The Hindu nation has to assume that Nehru had handed over his personal fiefdom on permanent lease to Abdullah. Gandhi must have been delighted at the political empowerment of Muslims at least in one part of what was non-Muslim, but un-Hindu post-vivisection India. 

 

When the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh as a pre-condition for India sending in her army to fight Pakistan’s aggression into J&K, one version of history written by a Kashmiri Hindu (Ram Krishen Kaul Bhatt) states that Sheikh Abdullah too signed the Instrument of Accession in his capacity as Head of Emergency Administration, while another version of Kashmiri Hindu account of the same history (Mohan Krishen Teng) says he did not sign it. More on this later.

 

But Kashmiri Hindus - those continuing to live bravely in an India which has let them down or those who chose to run away to foreign lands for a life of comfort, have not recorded in a verifiable or corroborative manner the untold political history of their homeland in that critical 1940s and 1950s decade which sealed their fate. Kashmiri Pandits have been guilty of endorsing the cancerous Kashmiri Sufism as they happily chewed on the lemon called Kashmiriyat sold to them by the wily Sunni Muslims of the valley. And because there is no detailed account of the events of these two decades, the following questions and thoughts simply beg themselves –

 

-          Why was Ramchandra Kak removed as Prime Minister?

-          Did he lose the Maharaja’s trust or did someone powerful from outside the state exert pressure on the Maharaja to sack him?

-          What advice was Ramachandra Kak giving the king? Not to accede to India or Pakistan and declare independence, or to accede to India, or accede to Pakistan?

-          Declaring independence would have worried Nehru because he would have wanted to retain some form of control over J&K

-          Accession to India would have worried Mountbatten. It would have been easier for the British to control J&K via Pakistan, because control of J&K via India would have been impossible

-          J&K as an independent kingdom leaning towards Hindu-majority India for sustenance and security would have been an equally abhorrent possibility for Mountbatten

-          Maharaja Hari Singh’s dilemma must have been the most tragic. Accession to Pakistan would never have been an option, while accession to India would have been just as unviable knowing that Gandhi and Nehru had no respect for the Hindu rulers and both wanted Hindu monarchies to disappear

-          So what advice was Ramchandra Kak giving the Maharaja?

-          Why did the Maharaja release Sheikh Abdullah knowing that he was just inviting more trouble for himself when he was being told that Pakistan had intruded into his kingdom?

-          Under whose pressure did Hari Singh release the known trouble-maker Sheikh Abdullah and make him Head of Emergency Administration?

-          Why was Mehr Chand Mahajan removed as Prime Minister with Sheikh Abdullah taking his place?

-          Why did J&K alone need an interim government with a Prime Minister?

-          What role did Gandhi, Nehru and Mountbatten have in these decisions beginning with the sacking of Ramchandra Kak and culminating in Abdullah inheriting J&K as his fiefdom?

 

This writer has noted with alarm the penetration of foreign women in the lives of very important Hindu leaders in the twentieth century – Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Farooq Abdullah and finally Rajeev Gandhi. Sheikh Abdullah married the lady who was earlier married to Lawrence of Arabia! Hindu nationalists must begin to look at this phenomenon fearlessly. If Kashmiri Hindus fail even now to render their history from the perspective of the Hindu Nation, then Maharaja Hari Singh and Ramchandra Kak will remain history’s villains, instead of Mountbatten, Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah.


(To be continued…)
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