Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1947-88
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
History: highlights in brief
A timeline: From ancient times to 1990
August 14, 2008
From the archives of “The Times of India”: 2008
As Jammu & Kashmir slips into another spell of anarchy, here’s a look at the history and social indicators of the scenic state that was once known for its unique syncretic culture where diverse faiths prospered in peace.
Ancient Era : According to mythology recorded in Rajatarangini, the history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the 12th century, the Kashmir Valley was formed when sage Kashyapa drained a lake. It became a centre of Sanskrit scholarship and later a Buddhist seat of learning
14th century : Islam becomes the dominant religion in Kashmir. The Sufi-Islamic way of life of Muslims here complements the ‘rishi’ tradition of Kashmiri Pandits, leading to a culture where Hindus and Muslims revere the same local saints
1588 : Akbar invades Kashmir and the region comes under Mughal rule
Early 19th century : Sikhs take control of Kashmir. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had earlier annexed Jammu. Scion of the Dogra clan, Gulab Singh, made raja of Jammu in 1820. Singh soon captures Ladakh and Baltistan
1846 : After partial defeat of the Sikhs in the First Anglo-Sikh War, Kashmir is given to Gulab Singh for Rs 75 lakh. Thus the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu (as it’s then called) is formed
Post-1857 : After the first war of independence, kingdom comes under the reign of British Crown. Gulab’s son, Ranbir Singh, becomes ruler
1925 : Hari Singh, Ranbir’s grandson, ascends the throne. His rule is generally considered unpopular
Oct 1932 : Kashmir’s first political party, the Muslim Conference, is formed with Sheikh Abdullah as president. It is renamed National Conference in 1938
August 1947 : At the time of partition, India and Pakistan agree that rulers of princely states will be given the right to opt for either nation. To put off a decision, Maharaja Hari Singh signs a ‘standstill’ agreement with Pakistan to ensure that trade, travel and communication continue
October 1947 : Pashtun raiders from Pakistan’s NWFP invade Kashmir. Hari Singh appeals to Governor General Mountbatten for help. India assures help on condition Hari Singh signs Instrument of Accession. He does, and Indian troops repulse assault from across border. UN invited to mediate and insists opinion of Kashmiris be ascertained. India initially says no to referendum until all raiders are driven out but Nehru two months later agrees to a poll. Pakistan contests accession, claims Indian army illegally entered Kashmir
Jan 1, 1948 : India declares unilateral ceasefire. Under Article 35 of the UN Charter, India files complaint with UN Security Council
Jan 20, 1948 : Security Council establishes a commission and adopts a resolution on Kashmir accepted by both countries. Pakistan is blamed for invading Kashmir and asked to withdraw its forces. A year later, UN passes resolution calling for plebiscite
March 17, 1948 : Sheikh Abdullah takes oath as prime minister of J&K
Jan 1, 1949 : India and Pakistan conclude a formal ceasefire
1949 : Article 370 granting special status to J&K is inserted in Constitution
Aug 9, 1953 : Sheikh Abdullah arrested and imprisoned. His dissident cabinet minister, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, appointed PM. Abdullah jailed for 11 years, accused of conspiracy against the state in the ‘Kashmir Conspiracy Case’
1965 : Pakistan attacks India in operation codenamed Gibraltar. Following Pakistan’s defeat, Tashkent Agreement signed
March 30, 1965 : Article 249 of Indian Constitution extended to J&K. Designations like prime minister and president of the state replaced by chief minister and governor.
1972 : India and Pakistan sign Simla Agreement, promising to respect Line of Control until Kashmir issue resolved
Feb 1975 : PM Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah sign accord. J&K made a ‘constituent unit’ of India. Abdullah becomes CM
1977 : National Conference wins the first post-Emergency elections
1982 : Abdullah dies after naming son, Farooq, successor. Allegations of rigging surface during state elections in the 1980s
1987 :Street protests and demonstrations in Srinagar against inefficiency and corruption against the state government turn into anti-India protests
1989 : Armed militancy erupts. Kashmiri Pandits flee valley. State brought under central rule next year as Army fights Pak-trained militants
1990-present : Armed militancy and terrorism, with international jihadi elements entering the arena, stalk the valley. Elections in 1996 and 2002, especially the latter, bring back some legitimacy to the democratic process but violence continues
The Times of India, Oct 17, 2011
UN intervention in 1948 gave J&K its present shape
From the Durranis and Mughals, the Kashmir Valley passed to the Sikh rulers who conquered the region in the early 19th century. Gulab Singh played a vital role in this campaign and Maharaja Ranjit Singh made him the king of Jammu. Later, Gulab Singh captured Ladakh and Baltistan and merged them into Jammu. After the first Anglo-Sikh war, the Sikhs ceded Kashmir, Hazarah and all the hilly regions between the Indus and Beas to the East India Company. In 1846, Gulab Singh and the company signed a treaty in which he purchased the Valley from the British.
What happened in 1947?
After Independence, the princely states were given the option of joining India or Pakistan. The ruler of J&K, however, delayed his decision. He was a Hindu while a majority of his subjects were Muslims. In October 1947, ‘tribals’ from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, supported by the Pakistan army invaded J&K, instigating communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the state. Unable to control the situation, the king requested India for armed assistance.
1947, Oct 23-26
Source : Kashmir in Conflict by Victoria Schofield, The Story of the Integration of the Indian States by VP Menon
1 RAID ON KASHMIR (the final week of October 1947)
The attack on Kashmir by Pathan tribesmen was masterminded by Pakistan army and led by senior Pakistan army officer Akbar Khan. The British had succeeded in forging an uneasy peace with the tribes of the North-West Frontier but after the British withdrew, Pakistan incited the tribesmen into launching their attack. By the last week of October 1947, about 5,000 had entered Kashmir
2 INVADERS’ ROUTE (October 23)
The tribesmen transited through Pakistan carrying modern military gear. The first standoff was at Muzaffarabad where they faced a battalion of Dogra troops, capturing the bridge between Muzaffarabad and Domel, which itself fell to the attackers the same day. Over the next two days, they took Garhi and Chinari. The main group of attackers then proceeded towards Uri
3 THE GALLANT 300
At Uri, Brigadier Rajinder Singh, who led J&K state forces, was killed. “He and his colleagues will live in history like the gallant Leonidas and his 300 men who held the Persian invaders at Thermopylae,” writes civil servant VP Menon. The battle at Uri holds significance as it likely helped Maharaja Hari Singh avoid capture and bought the Indian government valuable time to bring in more forces. After the battle, the tribesmen travelled down the Jhelum river to Baramulla, the entry point into the Valley
4 THE FLIGHT OF HARI SINGH (October 24-25)
On October 24, the maharaja made an urgent appeal to the Indian government. He waited for a response, while the Cabinet’s defence committee met in Delhi.VP Menon, administrative head and secretary of the states department, was instructed to fly to Srinagar on October 25. Menon’s first priority was to get the maharaja and his family out of Srinagar. There were no forces left to guard the capital and the invaders were at the door. The king left the Valley by road for Jammu
5 TROOPS INDIAN FLY INTO THE VALLEY
On October 26, after a Cabinet defence committee meeting, the government decided to fly two companies of troops to Srinagar. Menon himself took a plane to Jammu where the king was stationed
6 SIGNING OF INSTRUMENT OF ACCESSION (October 26)
Governor-general Mountbatten had contended it would be the “height of folly” to send troops to a neutral state without an accession completed “but that it should only be temporary prior to a referendum.” Neither Nehru nor Sardar Patel attached any importance to the “temporary” clause, but Menon was carrying a message for the maharaja: he had to join the Union if he wanted to ward off the invasion. The king was ready to accede. In fact, according to Menon’s memoirs, he had left word with an aide that if Menon did not return with an offer, he was to shoot the king in his sleep. Hari Singh signed the accession letter regretting that the invasion had left him with no time to decide what was in the best interest of his state, to stay independent or merge with India or Pakistan
7 FINAL ACT (October 27)
Menon returned to Delhi on October 27 with both the letter and Instrument of Accession. The Cabinet defence committee accepted the accession, subject to a provision that a referendum would be held in the state when the law and order situation allowed it. Sheikh Abdullah took charge of an emergency administration in Kashmir. Nehru appointed the former Kashmir PM N Gopalswamy Ayyangar as a cabinet minister to look after Kashmir affairs. Ayyangar was one of the chief architects of Article 370
When did the Indian army intervene?
The government of India offered a temporary accession and promised to carry out a referendum later on, ensuring that India would control external affairs, defence and communications in J&K. Indian troops were airlifted into Srinagar on October 27, 1947. The fighting continued for over a year and in 1948 Jawaharlal Nehru asked the UN to intervene.
UN intervention in 1948
A UN ceasefire was declared from December 31, 1948. By now, two-thirds of the state was under the control of India, while one-third came under Pakistan’s control. The ceasefire was laid out by a UN resolution requiring Pakistan to withdraw its troops while India was allowed to keep its forces to maintain law and order in the state. A plebiscite was supposed to take place once peace was restored.
1947-49: India keeps the UN out
November 1, 1947
NEW DELHI: In a throwback to the past, it is important to note that on November 1, 1947, at a meeting of Governors General of India and Pakistan at Lahore, Mountbatten offered to resolve the J&K issue by holding a referendum. Rejecting the Mountbatten formula, Muhammad Ali Jinnah remarked that a plebiscite was "redundant and undesirable."
HV Hodson has recorded in his book, The Great Divide, that Jinnah "objected that with Indian troops present and Sheikh Abdullah in power the people would be frightened to vote for Pakistan." Jinnah proposed a simultaneous withdrawal of all forces -- the Indian troops and the invading forces. Here it is interesting to note that when he was asked how anyone could guarantee that the latter would also be withdrawn, Jinnah replied, "If you do this I will call the whole thing off."
In connection with the steps to ascertain the wishes of the people of J&K, Mountbatten was in favour of a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations while Jinnah proposed that he and Mountbatten should have plenary power to control and supervise the plebiscite.
As far as UN resolutions go, there are many on Kashmir, including the appointment of a Mediator in Sir Owen Dixon. But east was east and west was west and never the twain shall meet and Kashmir fell between two stools. Pakistan has to realise that the ship has sailed for UN intervention in Kashmir. The UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) failed to make any headway. It had even named Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz as the Arbitrator. The pressure at that point in time for arbitration was intense with a catalogue of correspondence flying around.
August 31, 1949
On August 31, 1949, US President Harry Truman sent a message to Pandit Nehru through US Ambassador in Delhi Loy Henderson. In what was clearly a calibrated and coordinated move, British PM Clement Atlee dashed off a similar sounding letter to Nehru. Nehru, showing great foresight, negated the manoeuvre by replying to Truman with a feisty letter saying that the Truce Terms were unacceptable. He took a very strong line on Kashmir saying that the Government of India could not accept the proposal for arbitration presented by UNCIP until they were "just and well defined.. and the basis and terms were satisfactorily settled, we consider it premature to discuss with the agency to which the arbitration should be entrusted."
Why did Nehru, always a pacifist, take such a strident line and scupper the plan for arbitration? At the very kernel of the tough line was J&K Government junior minister D. P. Dhar's top secret and personal note dated September 2, 1949 for the PM's eyes only after extensive meetings with UNCIP's Dr. Ing Oldrich Chyle. Chyle felt that once an Arbitrator came into being, he would no longer function under the aegis of the UNCIP, but would lord over it and also over India and Pakistan. Moreover, the position of J&K would be naturally eroded and become one of abject pity. The rationale offered convinced Nehru that it was time to stall for Dhar's arguments were cogent:
"The appointment of an Arbitrator would take away the Kashmir issue from the orbit of the UN Assembly and thereby subject the final decisions on it to the vagaries and whims of one individual. In the present set up, however, any award that the Arbitrator may give will not be so much in relation to the realities of the situation but will only reflect the policy of the Anglo-American Bloc."
"That there are solid blocks of divergent opinion and ideologies in the world today and in the event of matters tending to go against India, the voice of dissent, whatever be its character or nature to the Anglo-American opinion would be advantageous."
"The appointment of an Arbitrator would negate the great advantage that India has secured in the UNCIP's proposals by securing recognition of the J&K Government as the only authority competent to appoint a Plebiscite Administrator. This advantage can be at the proper time utilised to feed an attitude of obstinacy which sometimes becomes necessary in international bargaining. The new proposals, if accepted, would efface the limited recognition granted to the J&K Government as a third party whose importance could be employed at the right time."
"Dr. Chyle believed that there were two methods of resisting the new proposals of the Commission. He was aware of the fact that the Commission's latest proposals could no longer be trusted with the same ease by India or Pakistan because of the appearance of the unexpected support that the governments of Great Britain and America had lent to them. He, however, suggested that for the sake of arguments the consideration of the present proposals should be divorced from the combined enthusiasm expressed by Anglo-America in this connection. In other words, one possible method of resistance would suggest the employment of purely legalistic arguments for this rejection."
The following facts could be quoted to our advantage:
That while making the present proposals, the UNCIP has transgressed the powers which belonged to it under the terms of its appointment.
That the role that was assigned to the UNCIP by the Security Council was one of mediation. The causes that led to the failure of its attempt at mediation should be confided to the public opinion of the world. It will be obvious that the refusal of the Commission to make public the causes which led to the failure of arranging a meeting between India and Pakistan very clearly points that they are not interested in placing the blame for the failure of the joint talks on Pakistan because a body of mediators has the absolute right of choosing a discussion on the subjects on the subjects which they consider to be relevant to the dispute. It is illogical for any party to the dispute to appropriate itself the authority of choosing the subjects on which a discussion should take place.
In other words, the Commission has abandoned its inherent right of making the choice of an agenda for discussion between the two countries in favour of the intransigence of one or the other party.
Even if the Commission is averse to the idea of making public confession of the causes of its failure, they should at least go back to the UN and present a proper report to them so that the next step could be considered on the level of the UNO.
D.P. Dhar's note
Nehru very clearly did not want to get entangled in any form of bloc politics and as was his wont steered clear of both the fronts in the Cold War, instead opting for non-alignment as a foreign policy credo. For him there was no 'unfinished part of the partition', something that Pakistan has been persisting as an idiom for Kashmir over these last 70 years. D.P. Dhar's note and Nehru's resolve scuttled the Anglo-American design for an Arbitrator who would function as an agent provocateur.
While expostulating on his argument, Dhar referred to a recent article in the London Times in which suggestion of a similar nature had been offered:
"The solution of the problem is not the appointment of an Arbitrator but reinforcement of the powers at present exercised by the UNCIP. In such an event, the size of the Commission would probably be shorter than it is at the present moment.
"If such a course is to be adopted, the possibility of proving India as the intransigent party to the dispute would be eliminated.
"The other method of resistance would be to reject outright the very idea of arbitration. Such a straight rejection without taking advantage to the legalistic arguments in favour of India would not appear palatable."
One needs to add that the Czechoslovak representative of the UNCIP, Dr. Oldrich Chyle (Chyle took the post after resignation of Josef Korbel father of Madeline Albright who went on to become US Secretary of State) criticised the UNCIP's work. According to him, the arbitration move was a pre-planned attempt on the part of the USA and UK to intervene in the dispute.
September 5, 1949
Signing off negatively on the same arbitration proposals was Bakshi Ghulam Mohd., one of Sheikh Abdullah's key lieutenants. Writing to Sheikh on September 5, 1949, Bakshi stated:
"We stand for the total rejection of these proposals and any stand that modifies our views will not be acceptable to us. In no event shall we surrender the destiny of our country to a course of action which is designed to annihilate us."
"We feel very strongly on this question and we beg you to communicate the strength of our feeling to the Government of India."
"I would also like to draw your attention to the recent statements of Admiral Nimitz which have been appearing from time to time in the world press. The examination of the views he has expressed particularly with regard to the feasibility of restricting the franchise in the event of the Plebiscite is a clear indication of the fact that he has even before his appointment prejudged the whole issue. In view of this, it will not be possible for the Government of J&K to consider his formal appointment because his utterances have thrown a great cloud over his impartiality."
This was followed by an even stronger note from the Government of J&K to the Government of India which left no doubt in anyone's mind as to where Sheikh Abdullah and Co stood. It was a matter of life and death.
"An Arbitrator who in fact will be a nominee of the Anglo-Americans cannot but reflect the tendencies of partiality in his judgment. Apart from this, questions which are so vital to our very existence cannot and must not be handed over to the whim of an individual, howsoever highly placed he may be."
"Pakistan being conscious of the basic weakness of its position as an aggressor is interested in hurrying, so that the issues are sufficiently confused. In this way, the keen desire of Pakistan to get the Plebiscite through in a state of bewilderment and confusion has been so faithfully endorsed by the latest proposals of the UNCIP."
"...it was Pakistan who always exhibited the tactics of an intransigent bully and every time the Commission bowed to her intransigence. It always called on us to give and acquiesce every time in favour of desire to grab. An agreement on the ceasefire lines was possible only because India conceded generously to the demands of Pakistan."
UN’s stand in 2019
Late on Thursday night [8 August 2019], UN secretary General Antonio Guterres spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said - The Council's Resolution 47 adopted on April 21, 1948, said Pakistan should withdraw its nationals from Kashmir before a plebiscite can be held. Pakistan, however, continues to occupy a significant part of Kashmir making a plebiscite impossible.
Since then, India has said a plebiscite was moot because of Pakistan's continued occupation and because Kashmiris have had their say in state and national elections.
"The Secretary-General also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations" Dujarric said.
While calling for maximum restraint, "the Secretary-General is also concerned over reports of restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir, which could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region, he said.
The Charter provisions directly applicable to the India-Pakistan situation require members to settle their disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any nation.
The Charter also says that UN cannot "intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. This is a slam dunk against a prospective Pakistani expedition to fish in troubled waters and a win for Indian diplomacy.
Why did the plebiscite never take place?
Both sides blame each other for that. While Pakistan blames India for not carrying out the referendum, India counters by saying that Pakistan never withdrew its forces, thereby making it impossible for India to hold a referendum in the entire territory.
Sangh’s stand on J&K plebiscite
A month-long exhibition on J&K, which opened at the National Archives on Thursday, seeks to highlight just how the founding president of Jan Sangh, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, warned former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah about the far reaching consequences of the signing of Kashmir’s Instrument of Accession.
Drawing from documents and videos obtained from the ministry of defence, the films division and the British Pathe, the exhibition includes rare documents like The Treaty of Lahore of March, 1846, The Treaty of Amritsar, and the Instrument of Accession signed in October 1947. The exhibition also contains a section titled ‘Syama Prasad Mookerjee on J&K issue and on the agitation which sought full integration of the state with India’.
Four letters written by Mookherjee, two each to Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, are also on display. In one such letter to Nehru on January 9, 1953, Mookerjee wrote, “It is high time that both you and Sheikh Abdullah should realise that this movement will not be suppressed by force or repression...The problem of J&K should not be treated as a party issue. It is a national problem and every effort should be made to present a united front.”
Warning against the dangers of a “general plebiscite on a highly controversial issue”, Mookerjee also predicted the rise of communal passions in J&K. His letter to Abdullah also exposes the schism between the Jan Sangh and the National Conference over the rule of J&K shifting hands from the ‘Hindu Dogras’ to the ‘Kashmiri Muslims’. In a letter dated February 13, 1953, Mookerjee refers to Abdullah’s opposition to Praja Parishad, a political outfit with close ties with
the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and which campaigned for the integration of Jammu & Kashmir with India, and opposed the special status granted to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
Inaugurating the exhibition, culture minister Mahesh Sharma said the purpose of curating the exhibition is to educate the youth about how Kashmir became a part of India. “Maharaja Hari Singh, when he signed this instrument (of accession), only after that, I repeat, only after that, the Indian forces went to that area. This needs to be showcased,” Sharma said.
The Times of India, Aug 15 2016
How India, Pakistan describe parts of J&K under Pak control
What India calls PakistanOccupied Kashmir (POK) is part of the former princely state of J&K -areas under Islamabad since Oct 22 1947, after Pakistan-backed tribal militia invaded and Hari Singh acceded to India. Islamabad divided this region into GilgitBaltistan (G-B) and the areas south of it, including Mirpur and Muzaffarabad.
How is POK in the Mirpur sector administered?
Before 1970, the MirpurMuzaffarabad sector had different administrative arrangements. In 1970, voting rights were introduced, a presidential system adopted.This worked for four years.Then, through legislation, a socalled parliamentary system was brought. This, with amendments, is in place. Since 1975, the region has elected a `prime minister'. It also has a 6-member council chaired by the Pakistan PM. Three are ex-officio; five nominated by the Pak PM. In theory, the council's assigned functions like defence, security, foreign affairs, currency, to Islamabad. Experts often question the pretenseautonomy in these places.
What about G-B?
Pakistan considers the regions disputed territory; G-B's status was vague until recently. To protect its claim in global fora that it supports freedom of the people in this region that it occupies, Islamabad couldn't declare G-B as its territory.For long, this region had no specified status in Pakistan's constitution. Through the “G-B Order, 2009“, a governance model similar to that in the Mirpur-Muzaffarabad sector was set up. The region is a defacto Pakistan province, but doesn't participate in electoral politics.
The Indian experts' view
India's IDSA says administration of POK only nominally under “elected“ govts. Real power is with Islamabad; army presence is overwhelming. When Islamabad ceded large tracts of POK territory to China, it undermined the pretense of the region's autonomy. The area has seen demographic changes, with Pakhtuns encouraged to settle here.
Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1947-88