An Unresolved Case, Initiated on July 19, 1947 – III
If one critically looks into the Kashmir quandary, it would be quite evident that the problem aggravated merely due to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s hypocrisy and politics. He was the one who, on one hand, gained time to ensure a strong hold on Kashmir while on the other hand kept assuring the world about extending the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris and kept beating the ethics and morality’s drums.
Pandit Nehru was a book, whom most of the world judged through his outer cover. His statements about Kashmir were so convincing that they would make anyone believe about his sincerity. His on record statements convinced the world that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the most sincere, progressive and reasonable person, who wanted to solve the issue of Kashmir in a egalitarian and idyllic manner, according to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Unfortunately it was just the head side of the coin; the outer appearance of the first Prime Minister of India. The tail side was indeed a sorrow tale, which was Nehru’s inner side, and that was dark indeed.
What any Pakistani would say or write about Nehru would be termed as a mere propaganda but what about that which his best buddy and follower, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who, before tamed by cunning Pandit, was called Sher-e-Kashmir or the Lion of Kashmir by his people, said about him? But let’s keep that pending for some appropriate space in the coming paragraphs and discuss here only Pandit Nehru’s on record statements and assurances to the world about extending the plebiscite right to the Kashmiris.
God knows what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have done had he been alive. Unfortunately he didn’t survive long, nevertheless, what he said about the fate of Kashmiris carries lots of weightage as he had a much taller political size than Pandit Nehru and that’s why he was titled ‘Mahatma’ (the greater soul) by the Hindus. Even he believed that Kashmir was one day going to become a Muslim State.
A renowned Kashmiri historian and journalist, Pandit Premnath Bazaz, in 1934, wrote a letter to Gandhi and enquired that what the Maharaja of Kashmir should do, when majority of his subjects were Muslims. Gandhi’s reply dated 5th May, 1934 was, “Knew that Kashmir is predominantly Mussalman, it is one day bound to become a Mussalman State. Therefore, a Hindu prince can rule it only by not ruling i.e., doing as the Mussalmans want him to do or by expedient is more than one can judge.”
(From the History of Struggle for Freedom in Kashmir by Pandit Premnath Bazaz, published by Kashmir publishing Company, 122 Kotla Mubarikpur, New Delhi, page 343).
What a joke it was that while the first three Dakotas of No 12 Squadron of RIAF (Royal Indian Air Force) took off from Willington (Safdar Jung) airfield at 5 AM on 27 Oct 1947 with troops of the 1st Sikh Regiment, within hours of the signing of the Instrument of Accession, almost at the same time Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was sending 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.”
Pandit Nehru was a worshipper of the old Indian political theorist Chanakya, the author of the book Arthashastra, in which the latter has described the tricks and strategies of politics and diplomacy. Pandit Nehru had 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. Same has been mentioned by his most trusted and tamed ‘Lion’ Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in his autobiography (page 350-355) where he revealed the true face of this 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 Semaj).
Having said so this, let’s see what this hypocrite and a hardliner politician had been saying regarding the right of plebiscite for the Kashmiris, at different forums. What he did otherwise is well known to all and sundries. The statement he gave on October 26, 1947, a day before moving the Indian forces into Valley says:
“We have received urgent appeal for assistance from Kashmir Government. We would be disposed to give favorable consideration to such, request from any friendly State. Kashmir’s Northern frontiers, as you are aware, run in common with those of three countries, Afghanistan, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China. [….] Helping Kashmir, therefore, is an obligation of national interest to India. We are giving urgent consideration to question as to what assistance we can give to State to defend itself.”
At the same time while sending a telegram dated 26 October 1947 to the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee and repeating the same telegram (Telegram 402 Primin-2227) on October 27, 1947, to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he wrote:
“I should like to make it clear that question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India.”
[Unfortunately, on the very same day the Indian army was officially intruding in Kashmir!]
Better to take a look at some other statements given at different times and different occasions, chronologically. That will definitely help in analyzing the double standards and the hypocrisy of the Indian Prime Minister.
October 31, 1947
“[….] our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order is restored and leave the decision regarding the future of the State to the people of the State is not merely a promise to your Government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world.”
(Jawaharlal Nehru, Telegram No. 25, October 31, 1947, to Liaquat Ali Khan, PM of Pakistan)
November 2, 1947
In a broadcast to his nation, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said 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. [….] 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.”
November 25, 1947
While making a statement about Kashmir in the Indian Constituent Assembly, he, 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.”
On 31st December 1947, Indian Government referred the issue to the UN Security Council and prolonged discussions on it took place.
March 5, 1948
In between, Pandit Nehru addressed the Constituent Assembly of India 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 Nehru’s promise of plebiscite was repeated, “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.”
February 23, 1948
“As the Security Council is aware, the Government of India is fully committed to the view that after peace is restored and all people belonging to the State have returned there, a free plebiscite should be taken and the people should decide whether they wish to remain with India, go over to Pakistan or to remain Independent if they choose to do so.”
(Indian representative Gopal Swami Ayvanger, “UN Security Official Records”, 239th Meeting, February 23, 1948)
16th November 1949
“If you rule out mediation, then the only two things that remain are either continuation of the deadlock or war. So far as we are concerned, and I have said this repeatedly, we want to rule out war….. A deadlock, of course, will continue until there is settlement. Therefore, mediation is the only way out.”
(On 16th November 1949, Press conference in New Delhi, Pandit Nehru, Prime Minister of India)
18th January 1951
“India has repeatedly offered to work with the United Nations reasonable safeguards to enable the people of Kashmir to express their will and is always ready to do so. We have always right from the beginning accepted the idea of the Kashmir people deciding their fate by referendum or plebiscite. In fact, this was our proposal long before the United Nations came into the picture. Ultimately the final decision of the settlement, which must come, has first of all to be made basically by the people of Kashmir and secondly, as between Pakistan and India directly. [….] It is an obvious fact that even without our agreement no country is going to hold on to Kashmir against the will of the Kashmiris.”
(Excerpt from Nehru’s press conference in London, on 16th January 1951, as reported by daily The Statesman, on 18th January 1951)
12 February 1951
“We have given our pledge to the people of Kashmir and subsequently to the United Nations; we stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide.”
(Nehru’s statement in Indian Parliament, 12 February 1951)
July 6, 1951
“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 its people must be the final arbiters of their future.”
(Addressing the All India Congress Committee on 6th July 1951, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India)
January 2, 1952
“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.”
(Pandit Nehru made a statement, as reported by Amritbazar Patrika, Calcutta)
Although there are dozens of more statements by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on Kashmir issue, however, to avoid monotony just a last one is given below, as reported by the Times of India, Bombay on 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. [….] 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.”
Friends! Amid these assurances the Indian government kept consolidating her forces in the Valley and a stage has come when no other option except an armed struggle seems workable for the liberation of the Chinar Valley. It’s high time for the custodian of the world peace to pay a solid heed to cry of the children of a lesser god. The Kashmiris have nothing more to lose but what will happen when the oppressors are confronted to make a choice? Are they prepared to face the music?