A fresh look on Kashmir issue

Bipin Deo

September 17, 2019


A fresh look on Kashmir issue
  • 129

Kashmir has been always a source of inspiration and stimulation for poets, artists, philosophers, and saints in the long span of human history.

It is portrayed and projected as Haven on Earth because of its composite culture and natural panorama. It has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

This place has frequently brought a storm in the tea-cup in Indo-Pak relationship. This article is an attempt to focus on Kashmir as a historical retrospection.

Kashmir, in those days, was ruled by King Hari Singh, a successor of Dogra Clan. Basically, Kashmir was unified by Gulab Singh of Dogra clan. Kashmir means Jammu and Ladakh too (JKL).

With the herald of Indian Independence, Sardar Ballab Patel took a herculean task to unify India. In pursuance of the policy of the British Empire, 560 tinny-minny provinces and kingdom were left to choose their destiny either to choose India or to choose the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or to remain independent.

Kashmir, in those days, was ruled by King Hari Singh, a successor of Dogra Clan. Basically, Kashmir was unified by Gulab Singh of Dogra clan. Kashmir means Jammu and Ladakh too (JKL).

Kashmir has a Muslim majority; while Ladakh has a Buddhist dominance. Jammu, on the other hand, has a Hindu majority.

In nurturing and nourishing a composite culture of Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandits have left an indelible imprint in the history. King Hari Singh was far away from the conflagration of the revolution led by Gandhiji.

His habit was to wallow in the life of luxury in participating in horse races in Bombay, in hunting and engaging himself to the tune of music. It may not be out of place to say in comparison to other princely states of India, the act of reformation in social life was introduced by King Hari Singh in Kashmir. For instance, untouchables were allowed to visit temples and bond of friendship between various religious communities was stronger in Kashmir.

Hari Singh wanted to see Kashmir as an independent sovereign country without mingling in India or Pakistan. The irony of fate was that it was not acceptable to the history.

With the creation of Pakistan, it started mustering its muscle to bring Kashmir under its suzerainty. As a result, the Pakistani Army infiltrated into Kashmir in the guise of tribal.

Pakistan’s plan of forcefully occupying Jammu and Kashmir and claiming it as its territory was foiled by Indian Army which achieved rapid successes in driving the invaders back.

Hari Singh was not in a position to tackle the situation. With no other alternative in place, he requested Patel for military assistance to drive away infiltrators.

Sardar Patel put forward the condition behind military assistance proposing that he signed Indian Annexation Act. Hari Singh acceded to India on 27 October 1947.

His decision in this regard was forced by an invasion of Kashmir by the Pathan tribes, and with the collusion of the government of Pakistan, Hari Singh sought military help from India on 24 October 1947.

Pakistan’s plan of forcefully occupying Jammu and Kashmir and claiming it as its territory was foiled by Indian Army which achieved rapid successes in driving the invaders back.

What shattered Pakistan’s plot further was the lack of support to the invaders from the local populace. Hence, it was only a matter of time before the Indian Army could wrest the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir back from Pakistan incursion.

It was at this critical stage that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, yielding to the pressure from Lord Mountbatten, agreed quite unnecessarily to refer the Kashmir issue to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 1 January 1948.

The UNSC passed a ceasefire resolution on 13 August 1948 calling for the withdrawal of Pakistan troops and at the same time, it requested India to conduct a plebiscite.

The plebiscite never took place because of the precondition to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which never happened.

Since then, tussle and confrontation between Pakistan and India went on continuously and consistently. India fought wars during the reign of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Bajepee defeating Pakistan.

On the issue of Kashmir, the real hero was no other than Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, then the lion of the Indian Parliament. In those days, it was Mukherjee who opposed vehemently Nehru’s policy of appeasement with regard to Kashmir under the Article of 370.

Dr Mukherjee abundantly made his point clear there must be one law, one constitution, one Prime Minister and one flag in one country making it clear that the abrogation of Article 370 was a must.

Indians of other parts of the country had to have a ‘permit’ to enter Kashmir. Dr Mukhrjee violated this law as a part of civil disobedience and got arrested.

His death in the jail of Kashmir has remained a mystery. Hindutwa politic in the name of Hindu Mahasabha, Rastriya Swayam Sewak Dal, Jana Sang (now BJP) has always made its major agenda of political debate in post-independent India.

On 27 November 1963, Nehru had in the parliamentary debate accepted the reality that Article 370, which had become a source of nurturing the mindset of separatism among a section of terrorists (instigated by Pakistan), did not have any relevance.

Under Article 19 (l) (e) and (g) of the Indian Constitution, a citizen of India is free to reside and settle permanently in any part of the country and to practice any profession.

But Article 370 deprived people from other parts of the country the right to settle in Jammu and Kashmir. It even barred girls born and brought up in Jammu and Kashmir from enjoying their rights, including property if she married a person outside from J&K, at the fullest.

In 1966 the Jana Sangh, in a resolution, passed ‘Abrogation of Article 370’ as its major agenda.

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has become both introspective and retrospective in the abolition of 370 Article which was a hurdle for investment and other developments.

It has been part of the policy of the Government of India to woo and allure tourists all over the world in Kashmir as Haven on Earth.

Diplomacy has been conducted through the lenses and filters of economic ambition of the country. It is due to this reason, neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have stood by the side of India categorically saying that Kashmir is an internal affair of India with the objective in mind that tourism and economic boom have chain effects having producing impacts on the neighboring countries.

It is in this background, the time has come for Nepal to be pragmatic to break its silence over the issue of Kashmir. To maintain neutrality in the game of diplomacy might prove counter-productive impact on national interest.

India has the credibility to have given unconditional support in all its form and manifestation in all-round development of Nepal. It is a part of moral responsibly of Nepal to put stand clear that Kashmir is an internal affair of India.

Just In