NEHRU AND GANDHI’S COMMITMENTS ON KASHMIR
Freedom Sturuggle in Kashmir
by: Mir Abdul Aziz
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru is primarily responsible for involving the two countries, India and Pakistan, in a permanent strife on the issue of Kashmir. This issue was created by Nehru not because he had any special attachment for Kashmir as the “land of his ancestors”. His primary aim was to weaken Pakistan, which had come into existence as an independent State in 1947 against the wishes of the leaders of the Hindu Congress, misnamed the Indian National Congress.
If we accept the argument of Nehru that he annexed Kashmir and had a great attachment for Kashmir because it was the land of his ancestors, why on earth, we may ask, did his forces invade Junagarh, Hyderabad and Goa. He never claimed that these three states, which were forcibly annexed to India were in any way the lands of his ancestors Junagarh had legally acceded to Pakistan. Hyderabad was an independent State and same was the caste with Goa when the Indian forces took “police action” (an auphemism for a military invasion) against these three States. The point of Kashmir being the land of his ancestors was invented by Nehru and his henchmen only to camouflage the evil and imperialistic designs of India on Kashmir.
There are crores of other Kashmiris, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, in Pakistan and Bharat and even in Bangladesh whose ancestors left the Vale of Kashmir, several hundred years ago. They are Kashmiris by race but they are not the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and never laid any claim to the citizenship of the State. Their love for the homeland of their ancestors is also very much there, but they never aspired to invade and gram Kashmir as their domain. They are welcome to the State as visitors and guests, but it is unimaginable that they should have any political claim to the State of Kashmir. The claim of Nehru and men of ilk on Kashmir, because of the fact that their ancestors belonged to Kashmir once upon a time is, therefore, untenable. State subjects and citizens of Kashmir are only those who come under the definition of the State Subject Act proclaimed by the ruler of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 1927, in the month of April. This position was accepted by all and sundry and also by the United Nations Security Council to whom the case of Kashmir was referred by the Indian Government of Pandit Nehru himself on 31st December 1947.
The greatest of the Indian leaders, greater even than Nehru, was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi called Mahatma (the great soul) by the Hindudom. In his honest moment, even he believed that Kashmir was one day going to become a Musalman State.
It was Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz, a Kashmiri historian and journalist, who as far back as 1934, inquired from Gandhi by letter what the Maharaja of Kashmir should do, when majority of his subjects were Muslims. In his reply dated 5th May, 1934, Gandhi wrote back to Bazazji.
“Knowing that Kashmir is predominantly Musalman, it is one day bound to become a Musalman State. Therefore, a Hindu prince can rule it only by not ruling i.e., doing as the Musalmans want him to do or by expedient is more than 1 can judge (From the History of Struggle for Freedom in Kashmir by Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz, published by Kashmir publishing Company, 122 Kotla Mubarikpur, New Delhi, page 343).
On the day when India landed her forces in Kashmir in order to occupy it by force, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru sent the following telegram to the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Pakistan:
‘I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. On view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people and we adhere to the view.”
Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Governor General of India that is Bharat, replying to the letter of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, requesting him to accept accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, on 27th October,1947, wrote back:
“In consistence with their policy that the case of any state where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of State’s accession should be settled by a reference of the people.”
The above views are not the views of Governor General of India alone, but also of Pandit Nehru, who was the first Prime Minister. Obviously, the Governor General Mountbatten could not have sent the reply without the approval of the Prime Minister.
It was on the next day, i.e., 28th October, 1947, that Pandit Nehru sent a telegram to his counterpart in Pakistan, the late Liaquat Ali Khan, saying.
‘In regard to accession also, it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of the State and their decision.”
In a broadcast to his nation, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said on 2nd November, 1947 on the All India Radio:
“We have decided that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. The pledge we have given (and the Maharaja has supported it) not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it. We are prepared when peace and law and order have been established to have a referendum held under international auspices like the UN. We want it to be a fair and just reference to the people and we shall accept their verdict. I can imagine no fairer and juster offer.
“We are anxious not to finalise anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their way. It is for them to decide, ultimately.
“And let we make it clear that is has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either dominion, the accession must be made by the people of the State. This is in accordance with this policy that we have added a proviso to the instrument of accession of Kashmir.”
The Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru, sent the following telegram to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on November 4, 1947.
“I wish to draw your attention to the broadcast on Kashmir which I made last evening. I have stated our Government’s policy and made it clear that we have no desire to impose our will on Kashmir but to leave final decision to the people of Kashmir. I further stated that we have agreed on impartial international agency like the United Nations supervising any referendum.
“This principle we are prepared to apply to any state where there is a dispute about accession. If these principles are accepted by your Government there should be no difficulty in giving effect to them.”
On 8th November, 1947, the following telegram was sent to the Prime Minister of Pakistan by the Indian Prime Minister. This was nearly two months before the Kashmir case was formally referred to the United Nations by the Indian Government of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Says the telegram:
“… Where the State has not acceded to that Dominion whose majority community is the same as the States rulers the question whether the State has finally to one or the other Dominion, should be ascertained by reference to the will of the people.
On 21st November 1947, Nehru wrote the following letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan:
“Kashmir should decide the question of accession by plebiscite or referendum under international auspices, such as those of the United Nations.”
On 25th November, 1947, Prime Minister Nehru of India made a statement of Kashmir in the Indian Constituent Assembly, in which he, inter alia, said: “In order to establish our bona fides, we have suggested that when the people are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations Organisation. The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people.”
The Indian Prime Minister sent the following telegram to Prime Minister of Pakistan on 12th December 1947: “We have given further thought, in the light of our discussion in Lahore, to the question of inviting the UN to advise us in the matter. While we are prepared to invite the UNO observers to come here and advise us to the proposed plebiscite, it is not clear in what other capacity the UN help can be sought…. I confess, however, that I find myself unable to suggest anything beyond what I have offered already, namely to ask UNO to lend impartial observers to advise us regarding the plebiscite.” (It had been suggested in the Lahore meeting by Pakistan that UN observers be invited to Kashmir).
Indian Government referred the issue to the UN Security Council on 31st December 1947, and prolonged discussions on it took place. In between, Pandit Nehru addressed the Constituent Assembly of India on March 5, 1948, and said.
“Even at the moment of accession, we went out of our way to make unilateral declaration that we would abide by the will of the people of Kashmir, as declared in a plebiscite or a referendum. We insisted further that the Government of Kashmir would immediately become a popular government. We have adhered to that position throughout and we are prepared to have a plebiscite; with every protection for fair voting, and to abide by the decision of the people of Kashmir.
“Ultimately, there is no doubt in my mind, that in Kashmir, as elsewhere, the people of Kashmir will decide finally and that all we wish is that they should have freedom of decision without any external compulsion.”
In the year 1948, the Government of India issued a White Paper on Kashmir in which the Nehruvian promice of Plebiscite was repeated Says the white paper.
“The question of accession is to be decided, finally throughout a plebiscite, on this there is no dispute. There will be no victimization of any native of the State, whatever, his political views may be and no Kashmiri will be deprived of his right to vote.”
Gopalaswami Ayyengar, Minister Incharge of Kashmir affairs of Pandit Nehru’s government told the Constituent Assembly of India on May 27, 1948:
“No doubt, we have offered to have a plebiscite taken when the conditi0ons are created for holding of a proper and impartial plebiscite. But if the plebiscite produces a verdict which is against the continuance of the accession to India of the Kashmir State, then what we are committed to is simply that we shall not stand in the way of Kashmir separating itself from India.
Indian Prime Minister Pandit Nehru went to London in January 1951, where he addressed a press conference. The statement he made there was also reported by the Statesman, New Delhi, on January 18, 1951. Says the report in the Statesman:
“We all agreed that it is the people of the State who must decide for themselves about their future externally or internally. It is an obvious fact that, even without any agreement, no country is going to hold on to Kashmir against the will of the Kashmiris.”
The Indian Prime Minister made the following statement in the Indian Parliament on February 12, 1951:
“We have given our pledge to the people of Kashmir, and subsequently to the United Nations, we stood by it and we stand buy it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide.”
Indian Prime Minister Nehru visited Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, in June 1951, where he addressed a public meeting. Inter alia, according to the report of the prominent India newspaper the Hindu, Madras, dated 6, 1961. Nehru said:
“First of all, I would like to remind you all the fateful days of 1947, when I came to Srinagar and gave the solemn assurance that the people of India would stand by Kashmir in her struggle. On that assurance, I shook Sheikh Abdullah’s hand before the vast multitude that had gathered there. I want to repeat that the government of India will stand by that pledge, whatever happens that pledge itself stated that it is for the people interference. The assurance also remains and will continue.”
Indian Prime Minister Nehru submitted a report to the all Al India Congress Committee. The report appeared in the Statesman New Delhi, on July 9, 1951, saying:
“Kashmir has been wrongly looked upon as a prize for India or Pakistan. People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and is people must be the final arbiters of their future. It is here today that a struggle is being fought, not in the battlefield but in the minds of men.”
Pandit Nehru made a statement, as reported by Amritbazar Patrika, Calcutta, on January 2, 1952, saying:
“Kashmir is not the property of either India or Pakistan, it belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashmir acceded to India, we made it clear to the leaders of the Kashmir people, that we would ultimately abide by the verdict of their plebiscite. If they tell us to walk out, I would have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir.
“We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution…. As a great nation we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.”
On June 26, 1952, the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, told the Indian Parliament:
“If, after a proper plebiscite, the people of Kashmir said: ‘We do not want to be with India’, we are committed to accept it though it might pains us. We will not send an army against them. We will accept that, however, hurt we might feel about it, we will change the Constitution, if necessary. India is a great country and Kashmir is almost in the heart of Asia. There is an enormous difference not only geographically but in all kinds of facts there. Do you think (in dealing with Kashmir) you are dealing with a part of U.P. or Bihar or Gujrat?”
Here is a quotation from the speech of the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru, as reported by the Times of India, Bombay, July 2, 1952.
“In any event, from the start, India was committed to the principle of letting the final word regarding the accession rest with the people of the princely states and there could be no getting away from that commitment. In fact, that was why India had accepted Kashmir’s accession only provisionally in 1947, when I came to Srinagar and gave the solemn assurance that the people of India would stand by Kashmir in her struggle. On that assurance I shook Sheikh Abdullah’s hand before the vast multitude that had gathered there. I want to repeat that India will stand by the pledge, whatever happens, that pledge itself stated that it is for the people of Kashmir to decide their fate without external interference. That assurance also remains and will continue.
Pandit Nehru also made the following statement on Kashmir in the Indian Parliament on August 1, 1952.
“With all difference to this Parliament, I should like to say that the ultimate decision will be made in the minds and hearts of the men of Kashmir and not in this Parliament or in the UN…. First of all, let me say clearly that we accept the basic proposition that the future of Kashmir is going to be decided finally by the goodwill and pleasure of its people. The goodwill and the pleasure of this Parliament is of no importance in this matter, not because this Parliament does not have the strength to decide the question of Kashmir but because any kind of imposition would be against the principle that his Parliament holds…..If, however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them against our will, however, painful it may be to us. We want no forced marriages, no forced unions.
“I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir, who can decide the future of Kashmir, it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy we have persued, not only in Kashmir but everywhere. Though, these five years have meant a lot of trouble and expense, and inspite of all, we have done, we would willingly leave Kashmir if it is made clear to us that the people of Kashmir wanted us to go. However, sad we may feel about leaving, we are not going to stay against the wishes of the people. We are not going to impose ourselves on them at the point of the bayonet.”
Judging from the statements of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, one is led to believe that he was the most sincere, progressive and reasonable person, who wanted to solve the issue of Kashmir in a democratic and ideal manner, according to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations Security council and the UNCIP, as well as the lofty ideal of the right of the self-determination. But this was only the one side, the outer appearance of the first Prime Minister of India. The other side, which was the inner side, was darkindeed. Leave aside what Pakistani politicians or writers have to say or have written about Nehru. Let us see how his life-long friend and follower, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who was called Sher-i-Kashmir or the Lion of Kashmir by his people but was caged and tamed by Pandit Nehru has to say about Nehru. Abdullah abandoned all the principles and nobler ideas on which he had started his political career in Kashmir in the year 1931, and from Kashmir’s lion, he became Kashmiri Gandhi, and also Kashmiri Nehru.
Abdullah on pages 350 to 355 of his autobiography has exposed the real Hindu revivalist, who was keen to restore the “ancient greatness” of India and his Discovery of India sometimes came imperceptibly, though, close to the ideology of Hindu revivalists like K.M. Munshi and Swami Dayanad Sarsvat (the founder of Arya Samaj). He considered himself ancient empire and thus, his politics included the elements of the politics and charlatanism of Marchiavelle also. Thus, this follower of a principles person like Mahatma Gandhi was a worshipper of the old Indian political theorist like Chanakya, the author of the book Arthashastra, in which Chanakya has described the tricks and strategies of politics and diplomacy. Pandit Nehru has admitted that this book would remain under his pillow. This is why Nehru adopted this sort of politics with us in Kashmir and also in international politics with Hungary and other issues.
Abdullah says that one of the weakness of Nehru and women. They included Saroini Naidu, Padmajna Naidu, Mridulas Sarabai, Edwina Mountbatten and scores of other women, Abdullah says that he was very fond of beautiful women. Sometimes, it happened that if he was out of mood, some beautiful woman would appear and he would come to his own. On many occasions, it happened that he was in a very large national meting, but if some female favourite came, he would forget where he was and start light talk with her Abdullah says that the following verse of Akbar Allahabadi applied to him aptly:
Roki sakti nahin taqwa say mujhay koi sada
Shart yeh hai ki voh paazeb ki jhankar na ho
(No sound can dissuade me from the path of abstention, but the condition is that should not be the sound of the anklets of some damsel).
Abdullah has dealt at length with the machinations of Pandit Nehru in Kashmir. He says that he went to the extent of playing Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad against his benefactor (Abdullah).
Abdullah has tried to differentiate between the “principles” Gandhi and the “principled” Gandhi and the passionate Nehru, but, as we have seen, even Gandhi was responsible for enslavement of Kashmir. For Kashmirs, there is little to choose between the two.
Book Title: Freedom struggle in Kashmir
Author: Mir Abdul Aziz
Imprint: Lahore : Research Society of Pakistan,