True Reason Behind The Kashmir Issue

The five characters responsible for J&K problem were Maharaja Hari Singh, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lord Mountbatten, Sheikh Abdullah and Mohammad Ali Jina. But in every case the buck stops at Pt. Nehru.

In the first part of this article, Maharaja Hari Singh’s role in creating the J&K problem was discussed. His indecision to cast his lot with Indian dominion before the deadline of 15th August 1947 did complicate the matter and created the Kashmir problem, which we are facing till today. But his initial indecision and hesitation to accede to his state with India were due to Pt. Nehru’s hostility and attitude of vengeance against him. Nehru’s insistence that power in the state should be transferred to Sheik Abdullah, before the Indian dominion accepts J&K accession and Maharaja’s distrust of Sheik Abdullah and fear of his own abdication were responsible for the Maharaja’s initial hesitation

The last British Viceroy of India and the first Governor General of Indian dominion, Lord Mountbatten was another character whose duplicity leads to creation of Kashmir problem and the imbroglio prolonging till date.

In keeping with his main loyalty to the British imperialism and to further their interests, Lord Mountbatten, who had a big sale in deciding the future of princely states in India, was at heart for Pakistan. British imperial interests could be better served by supporting and propping Pakistan, he visualised. Particularly so far as Kashmir was concerned the future British imperial interest could be better served, if it became part of Pakistan rather then of India. The British had in particular interest in Giligit, to watch their imperial interest against Russia. With Kashmir including Giligit being the part of Pakistan, the British could better safeguard their political and strategic advantage against Russia. India was more inclined towards Communised Russia. Dragging of Kashmir problem into the Anglo-Russian blocks cold war amply proves this angle.

Though theoretically the Mountbatten plan which propounded the principle of partition and laid down its procedure, and conceded independence to all princely states, after the laps of British paramouncy came to an end, it advised them in their own interest as also in the interest of the new dominions of India and Pakistan, to join either of the two before 15th August. The geographical contiguity was laid down as the main factor guiding their choice of dominion for accession. This put Maharaja Hari Singh in a state of dilemma. The J&K state was more contiguous to Pakistan than to India. At that time the

only link of the state with India was from Jammu to Pathankote via an unmatteled, highly rough road. But with Pakistan there was a road and rail line between Jammu and Sialkot as well as between Srinagar and Rawalpindi via Muzaffrabad as well as Mirpur and Poonch areas having close proximity with the parts in Pakistan. The overall population of state was also overwhelming the Muslim majority. Mountbatten even when he was the Viceroy of undivided India, was pro-Pakistan although the rulers of the princely states were given the sole authority of choosing to join India or Pakistan, Lord Mountbatten, during his visit to in June 1947 to Srinagar, in his advice to the Maharaja suggested that his decision should be qualified by the geographical contiguity of the state as well as its communal composition. He also suggested holding of plebiscite, if necessary, to ascertain the will of the people. It is ironical that the person who drafted the June 3, 1947

plan on which was based the Indian Independence Act of 1947, under which the option of joining one dominion or the other or that of remaining independent rested entirely on the ruler of the states, should a month later suggesting of limiting the rulers decision to just signing on the dotted line of accession with the wishes of his people. This suggestion by Mountbatten was certainly intended to favour Pakistan. Further, in order to bind the Maharaja to single option of joining Pakistan, he advised him not to declare independence under any circumstances, even if it meant disregarding the wishes of the people. Then to make it easier for the Maharaja to swallow his implied advice to him to join Pakistan, Mountbatten pulled out an undertaking from the newly created States Department of the Indian dominion to the effect that if Kashmir acceded to Pakistan, the Govt. of India would not regard it as an unfriendly act. It was under this background that the Maharaja pretended colic pain to avoid meeting Mountbatten on last day of his visit, to convey his decision in the matter.

The decision of the Indian leaders, particularly Prime Minister-designate Jawahar Lal Nehru to invite Mountbatten to become the first Governor General of independent India, has an element of irony. As was obvious the Indian offer was welcomed by not only the British but also the leaders of Pakistan. In his comments on the proposal, the British

Prime Minister Vincent Churchill conveyed to the Viceroy “A constitutional Governor-General retained an unlimited right to receive information, to give advise and that on this basis Mountbatten could give the new Govt. aid which he should not withhold”. Mountbatten made the best use of his position to render his advice to the Indian leaders but this advice particularly that pertaining to Kashmir, invariably turned out to be against Indian interests.

Some critics of Nehru have even suggested that the decision to offer Lord Mountbatten to become the first Governor General of independent India, was motivated by Nehru’s weakness for Lady Mountbatten and even Lord Mountbatten’s daughter Pummi Mountbatten for whom he had special liking. Even if this allegation is rejected, it is fact that Lord Mountbatten’s judgements and advice in every sphere had great bearing on the decision taken by the Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and his Government. It was on the advice of Lord Mountbatten that Nehru offered to ascertain the opinion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, through a fair a free referendum to be held after the peace

comes back to J&K and after Pakistan vacates the aggression. Again, India’s decision, precisely the decision of Prime Minister Nehru, who also held External Affairs Ministry as well as affairs concerning Kashmir directly under him, to take the complain of Pak aggression in J&K, which had acceded to India, to the United Nations, which further

complicated the situation and internationalised the issue. The ceasefire resolution passed the U.N Security Council in J&K was also accepted and immediately implemented by Nehru on the advice of Lord Mountbatten. The ceasefire was implemented at a time when Pakistani aggressors were on the run and Indian force were fast advancing and getting the accession vacated.

In nutshell for the responsibility of Lord Mountbatten also for creating the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, the buck ultimately stops at Nehru, whose choice for Mountbatten as the Governor General of India was and who put blind faith in the judgement and advice of Mountbatten, despite the same invariably going against the Indian interests.

SOURCE – The Telegraph

Md Sahabuddin Mondal

Junior Advocate, Calcutta High Court

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