Nehru hatched four conspiracies against the nation
by Hari Om on 04 Aug 2013
It is a well known fact that the nominated Governor-General of India, Louis Mountbatten, and the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, never wanted the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to become part of the Indian Dominion. Hence, I will not focus on this aspect of the anti-India role played by Mountbatten and Nehru. Suffice to say that both subverted the Indian Independence Act of 1947 by holding out a commitment that it will be for the people of the State to endorse (or not endorse) the decision of Maharaja Hari Singh on the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.
They committed to a plebiscite in the State completely overlooking the fact that the Indian Independence Act did not directly or indirectly include the right to self-determination, and that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, like all other 560-odd princely states, alone had the authority to take a final decision on the State’s political future.
The whole approach of Mountbatten and Nehru towards Jammu and Kashmir was communal. Mountbatten wanted the State to become part of Pakistan and Nehru wanted to pander to communal forces in Kashmir as represented by Sheikh Abdullah and his ilk. Since Nehru believed in the concept of two-nations, he hatched four conspiracies against the nation between October 26, 1947 and October 17, 1949.
His objective was to weaken the nationalist constituency in the State and create a situation that would help the separatist and communal leadership in Kashmir to play nefarious games calculated to end the politico-constitutional ties between the State and the Centre and enable them to establish Nizam-e-Mustafa, to the chagrin of the nationalists.
First conspiracy: Nehru hatched the first conspiracy in October 1947 itself. Using foul means and misusing his official position, he manipulated the transfer of political power from Jammu to Kashmir (read Sheikh Abdullah). Jammu had ruled over that state, which came into being in 1846, for full 101 years (March 1846-October 1947). Kashmir became part of the Jammu Kingdom in March 1846, and not vice-versa.
Second conspiracy: Nehru ordered ceasefire at a time when the committed Indian Army was about to evict the Pakistani invaders from Jammu and Kashmir territories. This was done to promote the interests of Sheikh Abdullah, who wanted to establish a “Switzerland-type independent Kashmir”. To become sultan of independent Kashmir was Sheikh Abdullah’s most cherished goal. Nehru accepted his suggestion and enforced ceasefire strictly. The mindboggling ceasefire helped Pakistan strengthen its control over the Jammu and Kashmir territories it occupied illegally after rape, murder, loot and plunder.
Third conspiracy: Nehru tried his level best to change the nomenclature of Jammu & Kashmir, and succeeded to an extent. The purpose was to undermine the significance of Jammu and Ladakh. He did this on May 27, 1949.
Fourth conspiracy: The Indian Constituent Assembly at the behest of Nehru adopted Article 306-A (Article 370) to drive the State away from the country’s mainstream politics and accord a dangerous legitimacy to the politics of separatism, based on religious fanaticism. The purpose was to tell the international community that his Government did not consider Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India, as it was a Muslim-majority state.
I will not reflect on the first, second and fourth conspiracies, as many are aware of their evil consequences, as also their adverse impact on paramount national interests. Besides, much has already been written on these three intrigues. I will deal with the third conspiracy in detail, as most people are not aware of what Nehru did on May 27, 1949 to exclude Jammu and Ladakh from the nomenclature of the state – a dubious move that created a sort of furore in the Constituent Assembly.
What provoked this furore was the motion moved by Gopalaswami Ayangar, then controlling the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, to the effect that “notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph 4 (of the Schedule to the Constituent Assembly Rules), all the seats in the Assembly allotted to the State of Kashmir may be filled by the ruler of Kashmir (Hari Singh) on the advice of his Prime Minister” (Sheikh Abdullah).
Several objections were raised against this official motion. However, the one which irritated some members the most was the omission of Jammu from the nomenclature of the State. Prominent among those who opposed the motion were Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal) and Prof. K T Shah (Bihar). Prof. Shah possessed first-hand knowledge about the State and its people as well as the kind of political upheavals it had witnessed since 1931. He remained associated with the affairs of this princely State for 15 long years and was its Planning Advisor for a few years before October 1947. He was also aware of the shape things would assume in Jammu & Kashmir in the days to come as he had a 15-day long interaction with National Conference president Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who had gone all the way from Srinagar to Mumbai to discuss with him his New Kashmir Plan.
(The NC adopted “New Kashmir” programme in September, 1944 and demanded that “the Treaty of Amritsar dated March 16, 1846, signed between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the then British Government of India, which was in the nature of sale deed and was thus an insult to the people of the State (Kashmir) must go lock, stock and barrel. This became the theme of the ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement, which was launched in early 1946 - April-May” (Report of the State Autonomy Committee, Jammu, April, 1999, P. 11).
While Pandit Maitra put question after question to know “if the word ‘Kashmir’ includes both Jammu and Kashmir”, Prof. Shah moved an amendment to the official motion and made an appeal to the Constituent Assembly to ensure that the words “Jammu and” also figure before the word “Kashmir wherever it occurs”.
Moving the amendment, Prof Shah said: “…There is some significance in this matter, which makes it more than ever necessary that you (Ayyangar) should not omit the other part (Jammu), and, if one may say so, the first part of the title of that ancient State. By calling it the State of Kashmir only you are perpetrating an error… May I ask… if we have made a mistake in the first instance, if we have been carried away by the importance of one sect (Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims) of the State, by the importance of personages (the Sheikh and his colleagues) connected with that part of the State, is that any reason why we should forget the other side and no less important part of the State; and in this formal document continue to perpetuate that mistake and speak only of Kashmir, when we really mean Jammu and Kashmir? It is a fact not denied by the mover that is the correct name of the State”.
Prof. Shah told the Constituent Assembly that the relations between Kashmir and Jammu were not very cordial. He said: “Those at any rate who remember the campaign of the present Prime Minister (Sheikh Abdullah) of the State in connection with (the 1946) Quit Kashmir movement will realize that in the sequence of events that have happened, it is liable, if you describe it in this manner, to be gravely misunderstood wherever such nomenclature is allowed to be used; and our public records will be disfigured to that extent… The State of Jammu and Kashmir is correctly described as Jammu and Kashmir, so to say, there are two States in one kingdom, just as Scotland and England were two States under the first of the Stuarts. The king was the King James the Sixth of Scotland and King James the First of England. There were two crowns worn by one person. In regard to the State of Jammu and Kashmir until about the communal rising in 1931, it was for all practical administrative purposes actually divided into two provinces more or less distinct, though under the same ruler…”
He did not stop there. Prof. Shah cautioned the Constituent Assembly, “the matter of nomenclature is not merely a matter of verbal emendation that it has behind it a significance, a significance, in the sequence of events, not confined only to this House or this country. It has repercussions outside this country… Therefore, we must be careful in every word that we use, so that our expression, our nomenclature, our whole wording is in conformity with the situation and the correct facts”.
In reply to Pandit Maitra, Ayyangar said: “Kashmir means Jammu and Kashmir”. He also justified his motion saying “in the Draft Constitution, the Schedule mentions the State of Kashmir” and “in the list that is attached to the Constituent Assembly Rules, it is already described as Kashmir”. He urged the members not to make this an issue and “let this description of the State of Kashmir stand, because if you change it, we will have to change other things which are already in our Statutes and Rules”. In other words, Ayyangar expressed his unwillingness to insert the words “Jammu and” before Kashmir for reasons better known to him and which failed to carry conviction with Pandit Maitra and Prof. Shah. This is evident from the questions they raised in response to the lengthy statement of Ayyangar on the nomenclature of the State.
Convinced that Ayyangar would not be in a position to convince Pandit Maitra and Prof. Shah, Nehru himself took the stage. He defended Ayyangar and said that his stand was “correct”. He said, “I have been connected with Kashmir in many ways, and, in a sense, I belong to Kashmir more particularly than to any part of India. I have been connected with the fight of freedom in Kashmir… And so, if I venture to say anything in this House, I do so with greater authority than Prof. Shah can presume to have on the subject…”
He then made a lengthy statement to counter the arguments of Prof. Shah and in praise of Sheikh Abdullah, his party and the Quit Kashmir Movement. At the same time, he suggested “a small change in the wording of the motion” with a view to “removing” what he called “a slight confusion in the people’s mind”. What he actually suggested was that the “State be described as Kashmir State, and then putting within brackets, the words otherwise known as the State of Kashmir and Jammu”.
It needs to be recalled that the State at no point of time during 1846-1949 was styled as the “State of Kashmir and Jammu”. It was always known as the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with Jammu as its permanent capital. It should also be underlined that the practice of moving the State Secretariat from Jammu to Kashmir and back was started during the time of Maharaja Ranbir Singh (1857-1885) for reasons political, the most noteworthy being the British design to cause an anti-Maharaja stir in the Valley and establish their foothold there and in and around Gilgit in order to check Russian activities across the border.
Mercifully, the Nehru’s formula did not click. Nor did it discourage Prof. Shah in his efforts to enlist the support of the Constituent Assembly in favour of his amendment. So the deadlock continued. Ultimately, Ayyangar moved an amendment to his motion and suggested that the name of the State be read as the State of Kashmir (otherwise known as the State of Jammu and Kashmir)”. The Constituent Assembly adopted the amended motion.
Thus, Jammu, which had ruled over Kashmir for 101 years, found space in the nomenclature of the State, though within brackets. This happened primarily because of the efforts put in by the unyielding Prof. Shah, with Pandit Maitra extending him full support. Had they, like other members of the Constituent Assembly, remained mum or toed the official line, Jammu would have totally disappeared from the nomenclature of the State (Constituent Assembly Debates, Book No 3, Vol. VIII, May 16, 1949 to June 16, 1949, Reprinted by Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1989, pp. 357-373).
It is not difficult to conclude, from what transpired in the Constituent Assembly, that Nehru did his best to muddy Indian waters in Kashmir and help Sheikh Abdullah communalise the polity there.