J&K: Dilemma of Accession – Part IA
by Radha Rajan on 10 Dec 2016 2 Comments

[In August 2016, Radha Rajan received a photocopy of a private note of Rai Bahadur Pandit Ramchandra Kak, Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir between June 30, 1945 and August 11, 1947. This is a first-hand account of the tumultuous events in 1946-47, written in the third person by RC Kak, deserves to be made known to the nation. A copy of the document mysteriously made its way to the India Office Library in London, where it was found by the anonymous sender. This was authenticated with a copy kindly loaned by the family of Pandit Kak.

 

The 22-page document titled, “Jammu and Kashmir State in 1946-47 - Dilemma of Accession - The Missing Link in the Story”, makes for depressing reading. The document is a treasure trove of suppressed facts, events and personages who decided the fate of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

London sent Louis Mountbatten as India’s last viceroy in March 1947 to implement two geo-strategic objectives – create the Islamic state of Pakistan as a permanent threat on India’s eastern and western borders; and create an independent Muslim-ruled state of Jammu and Kashmir, or better still, a Pakistani satellite state of Jammu and Kashmir. Mountbatten was chosen because, as Chief of Combined Operations and Supreme Commander, South East Asia during WWII, he knew how to protect the interests of the retreating Empire. Moreover, having accompanied the Prince of Wales during his visit to India in 1921-22, Mountbatten knew Maharaja Hari Singh well.

 

The following is excerpted from a detailed monograph by the author – Ed]

 

Events of 1946-47: Imperial objective of Partition

 

After the decision to send the Cabinet Mission, the decision to send Lord Louis Mountbatten as Viceroy of India when political independence seemed increasingly imminent, was the second masterstroke by the British government. Gandhi’s public statement on the eve of the Quit India movement in 1942 made it clear that he was well aware of events in East and South-East Asia – in Malaya, Indonesia and Burma during World War II, when Japan was gaining ground and the Allied forces were struggling to keep their colonial empires intact in the region. Gandhi met Indonesian soldiers in Madras in January 1946, and was aware of Mountbatten’s role in Britain’s decision to sabotage Indonesia’s fledgling independence. He enabled Indonesia’s return to her colonial masters, Portugal and Netherlands, and broke the country into several parts, leaving each part simmering in political chaos.

 

Yet Gandhi allowed Mountbatten to come to India as Viceroy without a murmur of protest. This allowed Mountbatten to vivisect the Hindu bhumi, and gave him the opportunity to control the critically important territory of Jammu & Kashmir through the agency of the United Nations. (See Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, Chapter 6) 

http://www.vigilonline.com/dynamic_includes/downloads/Eclipse-of-Hindu-Nation/Chapter-6.pdf

 

Why was/is J&K so important in British and Muslim calculations?

 

The British government’s farsighted move to paratroop Gandhi from South Africa to India yielded spectacular results; the nation was vivisected and Mountbatten succeeded in leaving with Pakistan the critically vital territory of the kingdom’s northern areas which adjoined not only Afghanistan and China but also had a small but geopolitically important border with Central Asia.

 

Mountbatten knew Pakistan would be forced to gravitate into the western orbit for American and British aid in the economic and military spheres to keep abreast of India’s abundant natural resources and proven native genius. That was the West’s leverage with the newly created Islamic state of Pakistan to control the territory overlooking China, Afghanistan and Central Asia. What remained with India of the kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, after Pakistan’s invasion and occupation in October 1947, Mountbatten nudged Nehru to take it the United Nations Security Council.

(http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2278:unravelling-the-mahatma-2&catid=55:plainspeak&Itemid=71)

 

At partition, J&K had important international boundaries: to the east Tibet, to the north-east the Sinkiang province of China and to the north-west Afghanistan. A tongue of Afghanistan territory, Wakhan, is north of Gilgit and west of the main route from Gilgit to Kashgar over the Mintaka Pass; a few miles beyond lies Russian Turkestan.

(Integration of the Indian States, pp 449-450) 

 

Gandhi – handy instrument for British objectives

 

Soon after World War II broke out in September 1939, Viceroy Linlithgow unilaterally announced that India was at war with Germany and, after the announcement, met Gandhi, Jinnah and the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes separately, seeking their co-operation in the war effort. The CWC passed a resolution resisting the idea that an imperialist war could be imposed on India against the wishes of her people.

 

In a hasty and short-sighted move, Congress governments in eight provinces resigned in protest in October 1939. Achieving state power in eight provinces was a major milestone in the country’s faltering, halting movement towards total political independence because, while the Indian National Congress won in eight of the eleven provinces, the Muslim League could not form a government in any province. Imperial London was at war and that was the time for Indians to retain political power across the country as leverage in any negotiation with London for support and co-operation in the war. But, as always, Gandhi pulled the strings of the Congress Working Committee and in what must have come as an unbelievable and welcome surprise to the Muslim League, Congress governments in all eight provinces resigned in protest and full state power returned to the Viceroy.

 

As negotiations between the Viceroy and the INC, the Viceroy and the Muslim League, and the Viceroy and the Chamber of Princes continued, London was promising immediate and full dominion status when war ended as a reward for co-operation. Jinnah’s only fear was the Congress may change its mind and Congress governments would be restored in all eight provinces again. The Muslim League hardened its stand against the Congress and, during the three-day session in Lahore from 22-24 March, 1940, passed the Lahore Resolution which presented to London and the INC the shape and contours of any future dominion. This was the future Pakistan even if the Muslim League did not mention Pakistan by name.

 

“3. Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designated on the following basic principle, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.” (GD Khosla, Stern Reckoning, Oxford India Paperbacks, Second Impression, 1999, page 23)

 

At the end of the Viceroy’s discussions with the three major political formations in India – the INC, the Muslim League and the Princely States, a White Paper, India and the War, was issued on 10th April, 1940.  During the debate on the White Paper in the British Parliament on 18th April, the Secretary of State made the astounding statement:

“I cannot believe that any government or parliament in this country would attempt to impose by force upon, for example, 80 million Moslem subjects of His Majesty in India a form of constitution under which they would not live peacefully and contentedly.” (Integration of the Indian States, page xxxiv)

 

This would take definite shape in the Cabinet Mission proposals which were made public on 16th May, 1946, in what is called the State Paper of May 16. The proposals contained therein would culminate inevitably in the creation of Pakistan.

 

Ramchandra Kak Paper tells us how London achieved these objectives

 

The RC Kak paper I received is a scanned copy of the document (reference MMS Eur D 862) kept in the India Office Library and Records, London. This in turn is the re-typed copy of Prime Minister Kak’s original narrative; the India Office Library copy specifies Copy of Note by R.C. Kak, and incorporates in the main text the corrections made by Pandit Kak in the margin of the original text but otherwise is identical to the original text. After some efforts, RC Kak’s family kindly provided a clear and legible scan of the original paper.

 

Curiously, there is not even a whisper of the events, as written down by Prime Minister Kak and which influenced Maharaja Hari Singh against accession to India in 1946 and again in 1947, in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi which otherwise is full of details of Gandhi’s political and public ‘private’ life. There is no hint of the extremely significant happenings in the State in VP Menon’s Integration of the Indian States (1955), particularly the relentless persecution of Kak by Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the INC which forced Ramchandra Kak, an able and stern administrator, to step down on 11th August, 1947. There is also no mention of the role of Swami Santdev, who appeared in Srinagar in 1944 and by 1946 had convinced Maharaja Hari Singh that he was destined, after the British retreated from India, to rule over not just the State of Jammu and Kashmir but over newly-acquired territories from what is today Himachal Pradesh.  

 

These omissions are surprising, not to say suspicious, because VP Menon who was Cabinet Secretary in 1945, Reforms Commissioner from 1942 to 1947, and who, as Secretary in the States Ministry headed by Sardar Patel, met Ramchandra Kak sometime between 23rd and 27th July, 1947. Besides, Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the INC were actively fomenting instability and revolt in J&K against the Hindu king, and mounting an increasingly vicious campaign against the Prime Minister, seeking his dismissal.

 

This makes Ramchandra Kak’s account of the events in 1946-47 in Jammu and Kashmir the missing link in the narrative of why and how Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the Indian National Congress knowingly and intentionally alienated not only the King but also his Prime Minister at this critical juncture of the country’s history. I am left with the troubling question about why both Sardar Patel and Rajaji never publicly broke their silence and stopped Gandhi and Nehru in their tracks when they were leading the INC and the Hindu nation towards certain and irreversible catastrophe.

 

The upheaval in J&K in 1946 is linked to the violence following the Cabinet Mission

 

The writer has previously written (Kashmir’s Jihadi Cauldron: Gandhi, not Nehru lit the fire) that that the secessionist fire raging in Kashmir today was lit in 1946 by Gandhi who instigated Nehru to interfere in the affairs of the Hindu kingdom as if the Hindu nation was Gandhi’s patrimony and the kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet was Nehru’s fiefdom. Gandhi also forced the Congress Working Committee to position itself against Maharaja Hari Singh while simultaneously legitimizing the opportunist rise of Sheikh Abdullah in the kingdom’s polity during the turbulent period following the failure of the Cabinet Mission. The Cabinet Mission failed (if it indeed failed) because after enthusiastically welcoming the proposals for transfer of power by the Cabinet Mission within three days of its arrival in India, Gandhi proceeded to sabotage the Mission’s twin proposals for interim government and constitution-making step by calibrated step.

http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2278:unravelling-the-mahatma-2&catid=55:plainspeak&Itemid=71

 

The only change to be made after reading the RC Kak Paper is that preparations for the secessionist fire began in 1938 when Gandhi and Nehru propped up Sheikh Abdullah against the Maharaja; the fire itself was lit by Gandhi in 1946. Gandhi’s sabotage of the Cabinet Mission proposals for peaceful transfer of power and the resulting jihadi violence unleashed by Jinnah’s Muslim League against Hindus provided the perfect cover and context for Sheikh Abdullah and the National Conference during the Quit Kashmir campaign to unleash targeted violence against Abdullah’s political opponents and their families and against the minority Hindu community. Jihadi fire burning across the country also provided the perfect cover for the INC and National Conference when they set about undermining the political authority of Prime Minister RC Kak who stepped down in August 1947; it eventually forced the Maharaja to step down too, making it easy for Sheikh Abdullah to seize control of J&K.

 

Jihadi violence unleashed against Hindus by the Muslim League following Direct Action and the political turbulence in J&K in 1946 presented Mountbatten the perfect cause and context to vivisect India within five months of his arrival in March 1947.

 

In retrospect, it must be concluded that events in Jammu and Kashmir between March and November 1947 unfolded as they did because Gandhi, Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah and Mountbatten acted in tandem and with well-coordinated unity of purpose.

 

(To be continued…)

Based on Part I of Radha Rajan’s detailed monograph, which may be read here:

http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2339:jammu-and-kashmir-dilemma-of-accession-a-historical-analysis-and-after&catid=95:pictures&Itemid=142

Pandit Ramchandra Kak’s paper may be read here:

http://www.vigilonline.com/downloads/2016/RCK_MissingLink_Full_1.pdf   

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