- The partition of India was the end result of the 1200-year long continuous freedom struggle for total independence for the entire country. During this long era of slavery every generation had kept the flame of the struggle flame through their matchless sacrifices and never accepted bondage even for a day. One generation kept on handing over the strings of struggle to the other and as such the struggle went on in different forms. But when the strings of this struggle came in the hands of the congress, instead of handing it ouer to the new generation it decided to end the struggle, thereby stabbing in the back of the social self-respect, and the national goal of total independence for the entire country.
In the intoxication of the so called independence the country's leaders cauld not visualise the plans of those anti- nationalists who'were already engaged in the conspiracies of partitioning the already divided country. Kashmir became a victim of such anti-national elements.
During the time of the partition of India in 1947 all the states were given the right, under the Indian Independence Act, to accede either to India or to Pakistan. Giving display of his political wisdom and capacity for taking decisions, the then Union Home Minister, Sardar Patel, succeeded in merging about 600 states with the Indian union. As a result of obstinacy and rigidity of Hyderabad and Junagarh, Sardar Patel merged them with India through military campaign.
But the matter of Jammu and Kashmir was kept by Pt. Nehru in his hands. His national outlook and his capacity to take decisions were eclipsed by his affection for Abdullah and his animosity with Maharaja Hari Singh and his ingrained Kashmiriyat. This personal ego kept Kashmir away from the rest of the Indian states.
In this hour of crisis Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, was caught in confusion. By acceding to India, Nehru's obduracy would not suit the Maharaja and by joining Pakistan the future of the vast Hindu society in Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh was to remain in the ditch of darkness. He felt the danger of destruction and annihilation of thousands of temples and monasteries, built by his forefathers, reserves of Sanskrit books and scriptures and bloomed culture which are a symbol of Indianness. As a result of his farsightedness and his innate love for united India the Maharaja turned down all the allurements of Mr. M.A. Jinnah. The geographical position of Jammu and Kashmir too was a cause of his problem. The highway that linked Jammu and Kashmir with India passed through Pathankot only. The rest of the routes passed through Pakistan. The main highways of Sialkot sand Rawalpindi were with Pakistan. Therefore, even while being in favour of accession with India, the Maharaja could not take the final decision.
Mountbatten: Behind the Scene
Mountbatten too played his role in maintaining the Maharaja's indecision. According to Dr. Gourinath Rastogi, Mountbatten knew that if Jammu Kashmir was merged with India, then the strategic Gilgit area would come out of the influence of the Anglo-American block and the plan of carrying out a military siege of the Soviet Union could not materialise. Contrary to this, merger of Kashmir with Pakistan would facilitate this scheme. Mountbatten besides being an expert Army officer was also a skilful diplomat. He succeeded, for a long time, in preventing Maharaja Hari Singh from acceding to the Indian union by influencing the then Prime Minister, R.C Kak through his English wife, who further influenced the Maharaja.
Those very days Sheikh Abdullah too remained busy in playing his political tricks. He established links with Pakistan and prevailed upon Jinnah to merge Kashmir with Pakistan in the name of Islam. On the advice of the Prime Minister, R.C Kak, Maharaja Hari Singh put forth a resolution favouring a Standstill Agreemellt while keeping in view all the above mentioned compulsions. Pakistan gave its approval to the proposal after finding it a golden opportunity for keeping Kashmir away from India. But India did not agree Gopalaswami Aiyer, Minister for State Affairs, reached Srinagar to discuss the issue with the Maharaja. The Maharaja was unmoved. On the other side, Pakistan was keen to grab Kashmir.
Jinnah formulated a comprehensive scheme for wooing and pressurising Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to Pakistan. He used all moral, illegal and militaly pressures for forcing the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. He sought permission from the Maharaja for staying in Kashmir for a few days. He wanted to prepare the Muslims in Kashmir for revolting against the Maharaja. Sh. Mehar Chand Mahajan has written that as per the plans of Jinnah he wanted Kashmir. Like the Mughal emperors, he wanted to see Kashmir as part of Pakistan so that as Governor General af Pakistan he could enjoy the salubrious climate of the valley. He would treat Kashmir in his pocket whether accession took place as per the wishes of the people or by force.
Seditious ways of R.C. Kak
The then Prime Minister, R.C. Kak, assured Jinnah of his support for his goal. Kak tried his best to influence the Maharaja but as an Indian nationalist the Maharaja had understood the link-up between Jinnah and Kak and he cleverly and politely prevented Jinnah from coming to Srinagar. R.C. Kak did not like all this.
Now Pakistan used another missile. It imposed economic blockade and closed all the routes to Kashmir The postal and telecommunications services were disrupted. The supply of essential commodities was stopped. Pakistan violated the Standstill Agreement which R.C. Kak had got approved by it. The moment the veil was lifted from the pro-Pakistan feelings of R.C Kak, the Maharaja immediately sacked him and appointed Gen. Janak Singh as the interim Prime Minister.
Pak invasion: Mehar Chand Mahajan as new Prime Minister
When the economic blockade failed, Pakistan took recourse to the third option. Armed Pakistani tribals infiltrated into Kashmir. It was an open invasion of Pakistan on India. In this highly serlous situation the Maharaja, through the help of Sardar Patel, appointed Chief Justice of Punjab High Court, Mr. Mehar Chand Mahajan, as the Prime Minister. But Sheikh Abdullah did not want to see is farsighted and influential person installed as Prime Mlnister. In this connection he established his contact with his dear friend, Pt. Nehru. But Sardar Patel smashed all his plans.
With the installation of Mehar Chand Mahajan as Prime Minister, Pakistan extended its invasion to the borders of the entire state. Besides the invasion, Pakistan kept on pressurising the Maharaja for acceding to Pakistan. According to Mehar Chand Mahajan, the son-in-law of a former Chief justice of Lahore High Court, Major Shah, who was one among important secretaries of Pakistan, was in Srinagar at that time. He was roaming in Srinagar with a whip and sword in one hand and accession papers in his other hand. He was pressurising Gen. Janak Singh and the deputy Prime Minister that they should prevail upon the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. But by then he had not succeeded.
Plan to abduct the Maharaja
Pakistan continued to indulge in pressure tactics and the Maharaja too remained steadfast with confidence. Pakistan formulated a plan for kidnapping the Maharaja. Mehar Chand Mahajan has given an account of this scheme in his book "The bitter truth of Kashmir".
According to him, there was a plan to abduct the Maharaja and "myself" and force "us" to accede to Pakistan at gunpoint. "The news of our activities were being immediately sent to Pakistani authorities. This way our programme of touring the border had been made available to Pakistan. The police Chief of Jammu was an agent of Pakistan". His plan was that "when we are having our meals in the Bhimber Dak Bunglow we will be arrested." Bhimber is close to the Pakistani border and falls on the famous Mughal route in Kashmir. The road runs close to the border and its one side touches Pakistan. "We had decided to go to Kathua on 20th and on 21st to Bhimber and Mirpur. Pakistanis had planned to attack us with armoured cars on October 21. Their objective was to destroy the Bunglow after arresting us, occupy the city, annihilate the Hindu population and loot their property".
They were, however, saved by unexpected incident, when on October 20 they reached near Kathua and stopped at a crossing. Here one road led to Kathua and the other to Bhimber and Akhnoor. The Maharaja ordered the jeep driver to drive to Bhimber instead of Kathua. Mehar Chand Mahajan objected to it on the plea that officers would be waiting for the Maharaja at Kathua and on the wayside and when they had not sent any programme to Bhimber, there would be no proper arrangements there. The Maharaja brushed aside my objections and said that he was not bound by any programme and he would hardly follow any". They went to Akhnoor and Bhimber and since it was late they could not reach Mirpur. The Pakistani invaders were active all along the border and it would look like a cremation ground in distant places. The Hindus were marching for safety and the Maharaja and his Prime Minister made some arrangement for their security. They had their lunch in the Bhimber Dak Bunglow and after issuing instructions for security arrangements for the city, they reached Jammu at 10 in the night. On the return journey to Jammu, houses on either side of the roads, were aflame. The Army was busy in restoring order and in providing assistance to the people. The Army Chief was present at the site and whatever was possible was being done to stop arson and massacre. And as per the earlier plan armed attack was launched from Gujarat and Bhimber Dak Bunglow was destroyed on October 21. Had they followed the initial programme fixed by the Msharaja they would have been burnt to death. But Maharaja's intuition had saved them from being killed by the Pakistanis.
Brigadier Rajinder Singh's rebuff to the invaders
The Maharaja's troops faced the powerful Pakistani invasion with courage. The Maharaja directed his Army Chief, Brigadier Rajinder Singh, to protect the state till his last breath. Brig. Rajinder Sirgh had, after receiving his degree from the P.W. College, Jammu, joined the State Army as Lieutenant. His rise was quick and with his qualities of discipline he became the Chief of the Army Staff on August 14, 1947.
On the unfortunate day of October 22 he was on official duty in the cantonment in Srinagar. He received a message that Muzaffarabad was under a major attack and the invaders were marching towards Srinagar. For the time being even the reserve troops were not nearby. He succeeded in organising a small group of 150 soldiers and civilians. But it was necessary to save the city and the only way far doing this was to stop the invaders on the Baramulla road. Brigadier Rajinder Singh decided to launch an attack from Dhumel, 112 kms from Srinagar.
But Dhumel was lost and the enemy troops marched ahead. The enemy took position at Garhi, 16 kms inside the state. The enemy troops stopped the infant company of soldiers of Rajinder Singh. Despite reverses, Rajinder Singh stood his ground for sometime but when the invaders attempted to lay a siege on the soldiers of Rajinder Singh, they came out of the siege and decided to return to Baramulla.
Struggle till the last moment
This retreat encouraged the enemy troops who reached Uri. Regrouping his troops the Brigadier rushed to Uri. In Uri Rajinder Singh faced the full thrust of the enemy and he performed the main task of stopping the invaders as long as he could so that their march to Srinagar was delayed. The Brigadier destroyed that bridge which cut the base of the enemies from the next place. The invaders launched a three pronged attack which caused great loss to the Brigadier. First he retreated his soldiers from Moharra and then from Rampat (Jehlum Valley road). Here the Brigadier fought a bitter battle with the enemy for 11 hours. But the Brigadier had to pay a heavy loss. In the end he ordered the remaining troops to retreat. When the troops, while fighting, were searching for defensive position, Rajinder Singh was single-handed firing continuously to provide fire cover to the rear company. There at that time two bullets hit him, one injuring his right arm and the other his right leg but this did not silence his gun. Quickly the enemy surrounded him and he was killed.
In the "History of Kashmir" Bamzai has written that the Brigadier and his soldier colleagues, cooks, mess bearers and orderlies, under the orders of the Brigadier, had taken up arms and performed great feat in the military history of the world. These sons of their motherland of India stopped the Pakistani troops for three days and prevented them from marching ahead.
Nehru's obstacle in accession
The RSS activists on the basis of their intelligence had already informed the Maharaja about the Pak plan of invasion and about the mutiny of Muslim soldiers. Expectedly Muslim soldiers, in the Maharaja's Army, killed their commander, Col. Narain Singh, and joined the Pakistani troops. In order to save people from the crisis, which had gripped Jammu and Kashmir, and in the interest of the integrity of India, the Maharaja accepted to give up his ego. He immediately sent his Prime Minister, Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan, to Delhi with the accession proposal, which had been signed by him. He had also requested the Government of India for sending troops. This pertains to October 24, 1947.
In the letter of October 26, 1947 the Maharaja had written in clear terms to Lord Mountbatten that the current situation and crisis in "my state has left me with the only option of seeking help from India". He had informed Mountbatten that so long he did not accede to India, it was natural that India could not give him the assistance he had sought for. Therefore, he has decided to do it and he had submitted the relevant accession papers for the approval of his Government.
It is a matter of misfortune for the country and Kashmir that still Pt. Nehru's obstinacy and personal ego created hurdles. Nehru had plainly told the Maharaja "First handover power in Jammu and Kashmir to Sheikh Abdullah, quit Jammu and Kashmir and go out of the state, then accession can be accepted and then the Indian troops will reach Srinagar". The "I will not agree" note wasted two days and there in Kashmir the Pakistani troops while carrying out destruction, rape, arson and other crimes had reached Srinagar. Nehru's obduracy proved heavy on the sincere suggestions of Sardar Patel, Gopalaswami Aiyangar, Acharya Kriplani, and Mahatma Gandhi. In the end, the Maharaja agreed to handover power to Sheikh Abdullah in the interest of the nation. On October 27, 1947 the Indian troops landed on the Srinagar airport which had been made worthy of landing by thousands of RSS workers' round the clock hard work. The Indian Army exhibited such a chivalry that the Pakistani soldiers took to their heels. Sheikh Abdullah, who had fled with his family members to a friend's house in Indore, was taken back to Srinagar under the security of the Indian Army in a plane of the Indian Airforce. Like a bridegroom he reached Srinagar. The Maharaja staked all he had and reached Jammu.
Nehru's policy: punishment for nationalist and reward for anti-national
This way Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, treated his personal friendship with a separatist, communalist and anti-national like Sheikh Abdullah above the security and integrity of the nation. Nehru tried to insult the nationalist Maharaja by projecting the Maharaja as too insignificant in comparison to the Sheikh. When Mehar Chand Mahajan reached Delhi with the accession letter, Nehru thought that if he would accept the proposal directly the credit would go to the Maharaja. Nehru wanted that this credit too should go to the Sheikh. It is said that at that time the Sheikh was in another room of Nehru. It is not known as to how the Sheikh, who had fled at the time of the invasion on Kashmir, had come to Nehru's place. When the Sheikh, who earlier plotted with Pakistan and was a schemer, said "yes" to the accession, Nehru accepted it. Nehru had patronised a traitor.
"It is said that the leader of the National Conference did not like the Maharaja. I wish to ask whether the people of Hyderabad liked the Nizam of Hyderabad ? It is said that whatever Maharaja Hari Singh did after the partition and prior to the accession was shocking. I would like to ask that whatever the Nizam did through Layaq Ali and Qasim Rizvi, was that against the flames of communalism and in favour of friendship with India ? I want the Government of India to read its own white paper on the Nizam and say whether Hari Singh or Nizam of Hyderabad was bad ? Despite this, the Nizam was drawing Rs. one crore as yearly salary as head of the state. Maharaja Hari Singh is spending his last days in Bombay. I want to ask why this discrimination ? Was it a fault of Maharaja Hari Singh that he announced Kashmir's accession to India ? In the absence of his accession-related announcement, we have till today no basis for treating Kashmir as part of India. The Maharaja of Kashmir could too have been made a constitutional ruler like other Indian princes. His presence would have been a guarantee for Kashmir's unity. We have finished this guarantee and he has been left in the middle of feuds and disorder." (Urdu Daily Milap, April 1952)
The policy of appeasement of the Muslims by Pt. Nehru and his friends in the Congress left Kashmir in the hands of those who had already partitioned the country. Had the Congress leaders any love for national interest, they would have entrusted power to Maharaja Hari Singh. But this nationalist ruler, who brought about Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India, had to spent his last days in Bombay as an ousted person. He had to remain away from the soil of his land. But against this, the Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad, who, under the instructions of Pakistan, launched an attack on the Indian troops, was installed as head of the princely state and was given Rs. one crore as yearly salary.
The insult and defeat of the Maharaja was an insult and defeat of the united nationalist forces of India. Sheikh Abdullah's political victory and welcome was a victory for those antinational elements who had set foot on the soil of India in the 7th Century for converting India into Darul Islam. It can be treated as a misfortune for the entire India and Kashmir that here the nationalist forces have been defeated by their own people.
The cat out of its bag
Accordingto Sh. Balraj Madhok, the mistake of entrusting the reins of the Government not only of Kashmir but of the entire state to Sheikh Abdullah was bigger than the mistake of keeping Jammu and Kashmir out of the jurisdiction of Sardar Patel. This became evident from the first speech of the Sheikh in Srinagar on the evening of October 27. Mr. Madhok had himself listened to the speech. During his one-hour long speech the Sheikh did not, even once, talked about the Government of India and the Indian Army on whose shoulders he had returned to Srinagar and received the reins of the Government. He kept on inciting people with religious sentiments and went on repeating the Kalima. Raising his voice he had said "we have picked up the crown of Kashmir from the dust and whether we accede to India or to Pakistan is a secondary question, first of all we have to complete our freedom". Just one sentence clarified his intentions. His desire was to make Kashmir an independent sultanate and not accede to India.
The Sheikh picked up the crown from the dust and got engaged in ruining Kashmir. Which was this crown ? Which was that dust ? And what dces this total independence mean ? These questions have remained unanswered till today. This "dust" was of Hindu Dogra rulers of Kashmir from whose head he had removed the crown and put it on his head. And the "crown" was those Muslim sultans whose 500-year long activities of atrocities and inhuman cruelties had converted Kashmir to Muslim Kashmir. The meaning of total independence lay in the Sheikh's becoming a Sultan.
Fetters of Security Council in the feet of victorious soldiers
On assuming power, the Sheikh's treacherous and antinational feelings removed all their curtains and presented themselves shamelessly. But there was no change in the intentions of Nehru. The Muslim vote bank had opened its mouth in the entire country. Pt. Nehru adopted an ostrich type attitude. Sheikh Abdullah left no stone unturned in discouraging the Indian Army by issuing his orders. After ensuring the seucrity of Srinagar, when the Army marched to attack other areas of Kashmir, Mirpur, Kotli-Bhimber etc., to protect these places, the Sheikh stopped them. Several thousand Hindus in these areas had been mercilessly killed. When the Chief Commander of the Indian Army, Gen. Pranjaype, informed Nehru about such activities of the Sheikh, Pt. Nehru told him plainly "Do whatever Sheikh Sahib tells you?" The result of this "do the same" policy was that whatever portion of Jammu and Kashmir was with Pakistan had to remain with Pakistan. On the basis of the occupation of this part of the state, Pakistan is ridiculing the policies of the Indian rulers.
Nehru, who was fond of wearing a rose and who remained drunk in his Kashmiriyat and pro-Muslim bias, kept on striking his feet with his axe and the strikes of this merciless and directionsless axe had kept on causing cracks in Kashmir, the crown of mother India. When the Indian troops were marching for liberating Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and the liberation was a metter of a few hours, that very moment Nehru, on the direction of the Sheikh, announced unilateral ceasefire on January 1, 1948. Feeling hurt over the attitude of Nehru, Justice Kunwar Dilip Singh, India's Agent General in Kashmir, resigned. Nehru did not stop there. He, without consulting Army commanders, took the Kashmir matter, at the behest of the Sheikh, to the United Nations' Security Council which announced that the fate of Kashmir can be decided through a plebiscite. Nehru invited trouble without asking. And today Pakistan, by swearing in the name of the Security council resolution, is backing the youths in Kashmir. An instance of such a political bankruptcy is not found anywhere in the world. It is a height of narrow vision.
The Sheikh wanted to settle many scores by exploiting this problem. Had the Indian Army been allowed four-five days' time, Pakistan would have been mauled and the entire Kashmir would have been with India thereby establishing the supremacy ofthe Indian troops. The Sheikh did not want it. The narrow vision of Nehru fulfilled this wish of the Sheikh. The Kashmir problem has, thus, remained on the files of the United Nations and has become a termite in the international politics. By taking the matter, through Nehru, to the Security Council the Sheikh smoothened his ways.
Maharaja's complaint to Patel
The constitutional head of the State, Maharaja Hari Singh, was highly dismayed over the anti-Hindu activities of Sheikh Abdullah. The Sheikh had almost descended to the level of an anti-national rebel. He was simply worried over Kashmir and its Muslims. There was danger of an end of Hindus of Kashmir and Hindus and Muslims of Jammu and Ladakh. According to Gourinath Rastogi, "what to speak of India, the Sheikh was not even interested in the protection of the entire state. His sole aim was to protect the Kashmir valley. The events of Gilgit, Kotli, Baltistan, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Bhimber lend evidence to it. Soon after the state's accession with India on October 27, 1947 the Indian Army had reached Srinagar by air. The Indian troops had liberated the entire valley from the occupation of Pakistani invaders within 10 days upto November 7. The troops had to march ahead to liberate the remaining areas of the state. The Military Governor of Gilgit, Brigadier Ghansara Singh, people of Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli and Muzaffarabad and the Hindu leaders of the Jammu region were imploring in front of the officers of the Indian Army, requesting the troops to liberate these areas from the clutches of Pakistanis. But the Indian forces were not allowed to move forward. The Army commander of Jammu province, Brigadier Pranjaype, told Hindu leaders of Jammu the reason behind this, saying "Nehru had given the overall command of the Indian Army to Sheikh Abdullah and, therefore, the Army cannot move forward without his orders".
While giving information about the fundamentalist and conspiratorial attitude of Sheikh Abdullah Maharaja Hari Singh wrote a long letter to Sardar Patel. The Maharaja had written that even after the elapse of two months, the Indian troops were still in Uri. The main spots of Mirpur and Kotli have been lost after a defeat and the defeat "is a major blow for us. It has wounded the image of the Indian soldiers. Till now the Indian troops have not captured even a single town... In this context my position is precarious".
The Maharaja wrote to Patel that he had supported the Indian Union under the belief that the Indian Union "will not allow us to stoop". There was no purpose of keeping the State with India if the Indian Union is not able to restore "to us our lost territory and if it is prepared to hand us over to Pakistan under the Security Council resolution". He even told the Sardar that he was prepared to take the command of the Kashmiri and the Indian troops because the country that cannot be understood by "your generals for months and years is better known to me".
This letter indicates Maharaja's pitiable and dishonourable condition. He was pained and troubled over the plunder, destruction and defeat of his state. He was hurt by the compulsions of the Indian Army, anti-national actions of Sheikh Abdullah, intrigue of Muslim soldiers in Kashmir Army, unstable policy of the Government af India and the procrastination of the Security Council. But he was helpless. His mind was in tears on seeing his people in difficulty.
Mehar Chand Mahajan's communciation to Patel
Mehar Chand Mahajan too wrote a letter to Sardar Patel informing him about the plight of the Maharaja. Describing the Sheikh as a feelingless creature, he informed Patel about his (Shiekh's) fascist misrule. He wrote in his letter that the feelingless Sheikh, who had pledged faith in the Maharaja of Kashmir, was now wishing to drag the Maharaja to the court and was demanding his resignation. His new outlook is that let the Maharaja retain Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur and handover the rest of the geographical area to Pakistan. Now he was trying to meet the leader of the Muslim Conference Party, Ch. Abbas, in Jail, in order to secure his approval to his proposal.
Mr. Mahajan, in his letter, informed Patel that a situation had reached a stage when Sheikh Abdullah was openly insulting the Maharaja and was daily giving display to his communal bent of mind". "If you permit, I could submit comprehensive details and material which can throw light on the administrative capacity, communal bent of mind of Sheikh Abdullah and his open insults to the Maharaja through the assistance of the National Guards. He has come to realise that he can do whatever he likes. After receiving your reply I shall submit, for your perusal, important examples on the corrupt administration of the Sheikh and on his fascist misrule".
The two letters of the Maharaja and Mehar Chand were thrown in the dustbin because of the obduracy of Nehru. In front of Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah was the only saviour of Kashmir and the nationalist and the rest of the nationalist Muslims and Hindus, including the Maharaja, Mehar Chand Mahajan, Patel, Acharya Kriplani, Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, Pandit Premnath Dogra, were all unwise.
Article 370 gives constltutional validity to separatism
Now Jenab Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah got engaged in the task of giving practical shape to his efforts for total Islamisation of Kashmir and its complete independence. The Sheikh was the Prime Minister and not the Chief Minister of the State. The State was governed by its own constitution and not by the Constitution of India. The National Conference flag was the State flag and not the tricolour. The Indians needed a permit for visiting Jammu and Kashmir. There were several other such separatist concessions and customs which Nehru offered, as his gift, in connection with the delight on Sheikh becoming the Sultan of the State. But the Sheikh was not satisfied with it. There was one special reason behind this dissatisfaction of Sheikh Abdullah despite having the blessings from the Prime Minister of India, support of the UN Security Council and Pakistan. He had fears that Hindus of India may come and settle in the land of Kashyap Rishi. He had fears that the Kashmiri Muslims may be swept by the national mainstream. He had fears that Kashmir may be recognised on the basis of its ancient culture, Kashmir may be amalgamated like other states in India after Pt. Nehru. Such fears would spoil his sleep. In order to realise his dream of total independence for Kashmir, it was necessary to keep Jammu and Kashmir away from India permanently. He needed such an instrument through which he could protect the seed, he had sown, of separatism in Kashmir. He again took Nehru for a ride and brought him under the clutches of his schemes. By incorporating Article 370 in the Constitution of India, Nehru offered him that instrument.
Article 370 of the Constitution gave constitutional validity to Abdullah's separatist ideas and international intrigues and gave a special position to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It also affixed stamp on the historical fact that the Muslim majority region cannot remain with India. The details of this Article are given in the succeeding chapters.
The Sheikh started giving practical shape to all his antinational ideas and activities. Many schemes were implemented in broad daylight which related to the recruitment of members of the National Conference and the Peoples United Front, in the Government services, full support to the activities of Jamait-e-Islami, anti-India teachings in schools, secret links with Pakistsni leaders, atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits, development of Kashmir region at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh provinces. Pt. Nehru received information about it but he adopted "I do not agree" policy. When there was no other alternative, the nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir launched a powerful agitation under the leadership of Pt. Premnath Dogra. The agitators formed Praja Parished which launched the agitation for three years. The Sheikh broke all the records in crushing this peoples' movement. People sacrificed, filled the jails, tolerated atrocities from the Kashmir police but kept alive the flame ofthe struggle. But all this did not open the eyes of Nehru.
Sheikh exposed and Nehru slightly yielded
Many other leades informed Nehru about the split personality of Sheikh Abdullah. Those very days a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly. Sh. M.L. Chottopdhiya, went to Kashmir for rest along with his colleague, Dr. Raghuvir. They prepared a comprehensive report about the Sheikh after holding discussions with representatives of people, social and religious leaders in the state and submitted that report before a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of the Congress. This report carried an account of the Sheikh's scheme of having an independent Kashmir. According to Gourinath Rastogi, the Sheikh himself had givsn a proof of his desire for carving out an independent Kashmir during hiis interview with two British Journalists, Michael Davidson and Ward Price. When reports about it were published in the newspapers, Sardar Patel summoned Sheikh Abdullah and pulled him up and the Sheikh assured him that such a mistake will not be repeated. But in reality there was no change in his intentions. And the intelligence officer who had reported the matter regarding the interview was forced to Quit Kashmir. In November 1952 the defeated Democratic Party candidate, in the Presidential elections in the United States, Steevenson, had close links with Sheikh Abdullah and the two together were preparing the scheme for Independent Kashmir.
Prime Minister Nehru visited Srinagar in May 1953. By chance, that time the five-day convention of the National Conference was going on. The report about the Sheikh's anti-India, pro-Pakistan, and separatist speeches at the convention reached Nehru. Nehru invited top leaders of the National Conference to his place. The Sheikh too was present. Nehruji tried to bring them on the right path by talking about the history of India, heritage of Kashmir and the unity of the country. Instead of accepting the guidance of Nehru, the Sheikh tried to ridicule him. The Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr. G.K. Handoo, who had accompanied Nehru to Srinagar as his security chief, and the Union Home Minister, Mr. Kailashnath Katju, submitted several secret documents to Nehruji. After perusing these documents Nehru told the Sheikh "Sheikh Sahib till now I was behaving with you as Jawaharlal Nehru but henceforth I shall be behaving with you in the capacity of a Prime Minister." It means Nehru himself had admitted that till then all the decisions on Kashmir were taken by Nehru in the capacity of a friend of Sheikh Abdullah and not as Prime Minister of India.
After this, Nehru sent Maulana Azad to Srinagar to bring the Sheikh on the right path. Even being unwell, Maulana came to Srinagar on the suggestion of Nehru. Maulana tried to make the Sheikh understand things during his long meeting with him. He had told him that the welfare of Kashmir lay in being with India. The Muslims and their religion were safe in India. The Sheikh dubbed a great leader like Maulana Azad as an enemy of the Muslims and a stooge of Hindus. On returning to Delhi, Maulana Azad conveyed his experiences to Nehru and suggested to him to dismiss the Sheikh immediately.
A member of the UNCIP mission, Joseph Karbel, in his report "Danger in Kashmir" has given a correct and meaningful account about the Sheikh.
"In May 1949 Sheikh Abdullah had assured Jawaharlal Nehru that 'I want you to believe that Kashmir is your's. No power in the world can separate us. Every Ksshmiri feels that he is an Indian and India is his motherland'. From time to time he made a repeated mention about the total independence of Kashmir and on other occasions he announced that the idea of independence was not practicable. In 1952 he declared that 'our state is neither under the legal domination of the Indian Parliament nor that of any Parliament from outside the state. India or Pakistan, any country cannot be a spike in our wheel of progress'. After some days he described Ksshmir as such a bridge between India and Pakistan that can unite the two in one country. Two days later he said that the relations between Pakistan and India were strong and stable and no power on the earth can separate us. Again he made an announcement that 'Kashmir's existence does not depend on India's money, trade or security forces snd he does not attach any importance to the strings of Indian assistance. He cannot be forced to stoop by threats'. The fsct is that he, while raising Kashmir, step by step, carried it far away from India. One of his political rivals has described him as communal in Ksshmir, communist in Jammu and a nationalist in India."
In the description of Joseph, the real face of Sheikh Abdullah is magnified. He gave a display of this character while crushing the Praja Parishad movement. By then the movement had received support from India. Nehru too was apprised of the dictatorial behaviour of the Sheikh and his black laws. Nehru was caught in two minds. When Dr. Shyamaprasad Mookherjee violated these black laws and reached the Jammu barder, he was arrested and sent to Srinagar Jail where he died in mysterious circumstances. The entire country was rocked by this sacrifice. When the flames of revolt against the Sheikh and the murder of Dr. Mookherjee rose from all corners of India, it opened the eyes of Nehru. In order to assess the situation in Kashmir Nehru reached Srinagar. The result: Sheikh was imprisoned.
National character of Nehru ?
Here many questions arise. Why was it that a leader like Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru did not know the anti-national inclinations of the Sheikh for so many years ? If he had known it, why he kept on tolerating disservice to the nation ? Why did he deliberately adopt such a policy through which Kashmir has become a permanent problem ? Did he give more importance to personal friendship than the country ? Was he too willing to see Kashmir as an independent state ?
The then Deputy Chief of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr. B.N. Malik, has lifted the curtain from it in his book "My days with Nehru". He writes:
'Then suddenly to our utter surprise Pandit Nehru started talking bitterly against Sheikh Abdullah's communalism. He traced the Sheikh's history from 1930 onwards and mentioned how he had started his career with the Muslim Conference, which was an out and out communal organisation. He said that as a result of pressures from outside and also seeing the development of the People's Movement in the rest of India and for purely tactical reasons and probably under the advice of some of his more liberal followers, the Sheikh had converted the Muslim Conference into the Political Conference to give it a non-communal appearance. At this time Pandit Nehru suddenly looked at me and enquired whether I had come across some information of possible British connivance in that movement. I replied in the affirmative. He continued his talk against the Sheikh and mentioned all his communal activities throughout the period he had acted as the National Conference leader. It was the Pakistani aggression which had mellowed him a little for a short time, because the tribals had committed gruesome atrocities on the Muslim population in the valley. But, as soon as he became the Prime Minister, he came out in his true colours once again and started his anti-Hindu activities. In contrast, he praised Bakshi and Sadiq for their completely non-communal outlook and said that these two were really secular-minded persons who required all support from India. Pt. Nehru said that all trouble in Kashmir was due to the Sheikh's communal outlook and it was he who was not allowing the state to settle down to peace and stability. The Sheikh always talked about the rights of the Muslims, forgetting that the Hindus also formed nearly 35 per cent of the population of the state and he never showed any consideration for them. Pt. Nehru mentioned thal politically he and other Indian leaders had to go along with the Sheikh for a considerable period and they had also helped him and played him up hoping that by coming in contact with secular India, where Muslims and Hindus and persons of all other denominations were living together and enjoying a peaceful life. Sheikh Abdullah would be able to get rid of his communalism; but communalism was a disease with him and he could never get rid of it and his entire outlook and behaviour were based on the fact that Kashmir valley had a Muslim majority. Therefore, he was not at all surprised that the Sheikh had conspired with Pakistan to overthrow the non-communal and secular Government of Bakshi and Sadiq. What Pt. Nehru said was factually correct and was similar to what Sardar Patel had stressed to me in 1949. At the end he wished G.S. Pathak a success and concluded by saying that he himself was allergic to these protracted political trials and he suggested that every effort should be made to expedite it."
The above revelation from Malik has tied Nehru's entire life, his mind and national character to a deep question mark.