Kashmir and Pakistan
A lot is being done to alter the collective conscience of the nation from the fact that Kashmir has been the integral part of the ‘Pakistan Plan’ in the minds of the founding forefathers. It is being induced in the youth that Kashmir is a non-issue and that the Kashmiris are better off without Pakistan’s sympathy-showing; that the Kashmiri’s are happily settled with their invaders and that it is Pakistan who creates tensions and incursions that put the Kashmiris in harm’s way. Loving India through injection of Indian film and music and the general increase in the availability of entertainment sources world-wide helps in covering a lot of thinking-space with non-issues, leaving the real issues that matter to the lives of the individual and the nation, dumped in the cold-storage of amnesia. This gap of memory also allows many bounty-hunters to jump in the pages of history and present a faltered, designed, new syllabus of history, unknown to the old and unquestioned by the young.
The youth of the nation, who is undoubtedly sharper, more energetic, open and honest, must be alarmed that this superfluous flash of glamour and materialism being offered, is a means to cut them from their very roots, their history, their identity and eventually from the very ground beneath their feet.
Let us turn a few pages of history to remind us of what we are and what we were in terms of Kashmir. The founding fathers did not have a narrow vision in terms of what ‘Pakistan’ needed to be, nor were they neglective of the Muslim majority areas immersed midst Hindu areas. Following is a map as proposed initially by CH. Rehmat Ali: Jinnah wanted three Muslim dominions – Pakistan, Osmanistan and Bangistan. Bangistan as his map shows included Sikkim and Bhutan. (Dated 1930s)
As of Kashmir, the Quaid announced it as the ‘jugular vein of Pakistan’, not only because of the ‘waters’ but because he considered it the rightly part of the Muslim states and knew that its amalgamation into the Indian state will only ensure the eternal plight of its people and the blood and pain from its wounds would always spill over to the Pakistani side and would keep arousing the urge in the Pakistani people to defend and deliver their suffering brethren.
The Quaid had visited Kashmir in 1926, 1929, 1936 and 1944; the Quaid was aware that the Dogra Raj over the Muslim majority of Kashmir created a complicated situation and that the ‘Instrument of Accession’ was the right way to deal with the issue of Kashmir as it had been made clear between the British, the Congress and the League that all accessions will be made considering the aspirations of the people and the boundaries adjacent to the princely state. In both these regards Kashmir was coming perfectly as a part of Pakistan.
The Quaid, in his visits to Kashmir, had well acquainted himself with the miserable conditions the Muslims of Kashmir were suffering under the Dogras, therefore he endeavored for the political awakening of this undermined people, so that at the right time they would be able to stand up for their right of self-determination under the ‘Instrument of Accession’. In 1939, he was given a landmark reception by the united Kashmiri leadership of the Muslim Conference, with Sheikh Abdullah and Chudhary Ghlum Abbas in the forefront. The Quaid, said to the Kashmiris: “Oh yes Muslim! Our Allah is one, our Prophet is one, our Quran is one, and therefore our voice must also be one”. In 1944, the Quaid stayed in the state for over a month. He met with the leaders of the Muslim Conference and the National Conference and address with the gatherings of both parties and attended many functions, meeting with workers, students, lawyers, common people and journalists.
On March 23, 1940, at the Lahore Resolution, MA Jinnah proposed a plan showing the broader thinking of the founding fathers: “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”. (Source)
But as it happened the Maharaja and the Congress conspired and the Raja played a two prong game; on the one side, the delay tactics of the Raja to make accession with Pakistan, on account of the aspiration of the majority, and information reaching from Kashmir across border, into Pakistan, that the Raja was negotiating with Mountbatten to defect his people, created anxiety in the people of Pakistan. And on the other hand, when some mujahedeen entered Kashmir to assist in the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris, the Raja immediately made a case against Pakistan, and hastened to make accession to India. Here is an extract from the Raja’s letter:
'My dear Lord Mountbatten, I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request immediate assistance of your Government… I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede to… Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes with modern weapons have been allowed to infliter into the State…. With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and to great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Domination of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for; acceptance by your Government… it is my intention at once to set up an interim Government and ask Shaikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities …' (Source)
This document clearly shows that the Raja did not have the intent of acceding to Pakistan from the beginning, and was waiting for any excuse it could find to accede to India. The Raja had no regard for the aspirations of the ‘majority’ and thought of Kashmir as his personal property, which is clear in the letter of the ‘Instrument’ to Mountbatten, saying:
‘…therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession…’ (Source)
Immediately after, war broke between the two countries, the Quaid without pause passed his orders to the Army Chief to dispatch troops to Jammu and Srinagar but Gen. Gracey (CinC Pak Army), who proved to be a stooge of Gen. Auchinleck (FM of both armies), refused to obey command. The courageous Pathans then assembled themselves for the defense of the neighboring brethren; the Pathans had no prior record of intrusion or extortion in other lands but are well-known for their valour if attacked upon. These handful of Pathans (2000 to 5000) who were later joined by Pak army Jawans and officers that had defected, with barely any supplies, fighting like gorillas, were able to secure almost half of Kashmir.
United Nations Security Council intervened with Resolution 47, adopted on April 21, 1948, (Source) which asked to send a ‘Commission’ that would help restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. The resolution recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals (~5000), who entered the region for the purpose of fighting and that India leave only the minimum number of troops needed to keep civil order (~700,000), yet the resolution was ‘non-binding and had no mandatory enforceability’ under Chapter VI.
Perhaps this ‘non-binding’ element defines the ‘lack of will’ which extends the resolution of ‘tyranny and butchery upon a section of humanity’ to a non-ending time. The question is, do the layers of time or the succession to new generations, change the reality - does it change history - does it heal the atrocities committed upon the Kashmiris - or does time not add to their hopeless misery. Is it not an alarm for our youth how we have lost so much time in this issue and have shown patience when our brothers have been beaten and amputated and our sisters have been abused and raped and while the bestial Indian forces had been killing and dumping our brethren, unaccounted for, in unnoticed crevasses between the hills.
Let us not fail to show ‘Solidarity with Kashmir’, as deep as it ought really to be.