Even though I’m from Jammu and have a lot of family members and friends working in Kashmir, it hasn’t been a place I cared enough to visit. Last time I was there in 1999, I had to cut short my stay after Kargil war started. Since then, I never really gave any attention to the place except for the usual stuff it’s infamous for. But recently. me and wifey made a quick trip to Srinagar to meet some family members working there. This post is a travelogue of this trip. I am not sure if it can be called a travelogue or not, but I expect it to have a lot more rants than usual.  I didn’t take my camera with me on this trip, so all the pictures are from wife’s cellphone.

To begin with, the flight and our arrival in to Srinagar were uneventful. As we drove to the main city where we were staying, I noticed a lot of security personnel on the roads. It was a mix of CRPF, J&K Police and surprisingly BSF in some places.  There was construction of some flyover going on in middle of the city and the road was pretty much non-existent forcing us to take a detour. After a bit of rest, family took the wifey out for some sightseeing.  Their original plan was to take us to Kheer Bhawani temple. It is a pretty important temple for now displaced Kashmiri Pandits as well as other Hindus too. I had no wish to visit the temple, so I refused and preferred to read something or watch cricket match. But there was some stone pelting going on in Ganderbal area and some other localities on the way which forced a plan change and family took wifey to Chashme Shahi and a shikara ride on Dal lake.
Botanical garden

Botanical garden

Next day, we hired a local car and visited Shankaracharya Temple first. The road leading up to the temple on hill top is very picturesque and green. There were a lot of brown eagles with white spots in the tree canopy as well as road which raced the car for some distance. Theres a security check point at base of stairs leading up to the temple and you can’t take cameras and phones beside this point. There are roughly 200 steps made of stone. Even though my last trip was almost 18 years back, I was a little surprised to see the changes. The open ground in front of temple was gone and covered by some tin and wood huts built by CRPF unit deployed there. The Dal lake near base of hill was much smaller, dirtier and full of weeds, a lot worse than what I remembered. Later on, I could smell the stinking water of the lake when we got near it.  This once beautiful and huge lake is dying fast and the people as usual are too stupid to stop. Another annoying thing was that the muslim dominated J&K government was trying to rename the hill to Takht-e-Suleiman. The turds are already renaming many places in Kashmir to muslim names like Anantnaag to Islamabad and so on.
Nishat Baag

Nishat Baag

From Shankaracharya Temple, we drove to Botanical Garden near Chashme Shahi. There’s a small lake with some boats and a nice garden around it.We had some tea and snacks there before moving on to  Nishat Baag, which is one of the better places in Srinagar city. There were only a few tourists, mostly Bengalis and a few Gujaratis who usually travel in big groups. As we walked around , the gardeners working there kept offering us flower seeds. We bought some but I have little hope of them doing well in Delhi’s weather. The garden itself is big with running water and fountains which work more or less. There are some huge and centuries old Chinar trees in the garden and all around the valley.
Our next stop was Harban which has garden and a lake for sightseeing. Last time I visited it, the lake was completely dry and the garden looked half dead. This time there was some water in the lake but the area seemed to be much smaller. Garden was green with some water flowing through, massive chinar trees and nice flowers. We didn’t stay there for long and stopped at Shalimar. Our driver didn’t want to stay there for long as a lot of stone pelting incidents happen in the area.  While on road, I could see a lot of walls with pro-ISIS and anti-India slogans including a wall of Shalimar Baag. We had our lunch of Kashmiri Masala Dosa, Cheese Dosa, too salty Maggi noodles and some kehwa in a “Vegetarian” roadside restaurant in front of Shalimar Baag. The eatery even had Jain and “Half Jain” food for sale.  Since everyone in the group was vegetarian except me and all other nearby shops were closed, we had few other options.
Shalimar Baag is nice by itself, but it was noting really special after we had visited 3 other similar gardens. The water channels and fountains needed cleaning but was done in a half assed way. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and left to visit Hari Parbat. It is a old fort and has a temple, gurudwara and a mosque. The temple was looted and vandalised by muslims a few years back, like dozens of other temples in muslim majority Kashmir and idol damaged. It was repaired and family along with some Hindu co-workers arrange bhandara and puja there whenever possible. But we had to turn back as the road was blocked due to some more stone pelting going on in the area.
Walnut blossoms

Walnut blossoms

So we decided to go back home through Old Srinagar. Driver drove much faster than usual because he feared more stone pelting following end of muslim prayers. Next day he claimed that his relatives had caught one stone pelter who attacked their vehicle just outside Srinagar. According to the driver, the stone pelter turned out to be a Kashmiri policeman who was organising stone pelting in the locality. According to him Abdullah owned National Conference party was behind most such stone pelting incidents and were using policemen loyal to them in Kashmiri police to organise stone pelting and to incite the mobs. Considering what junior Abdullah has been saying on this issue, the conspiracy theory seems quite credible.
Old Srinagar seemed to be a depressing ugly place unlike most other such older parts of a city. There were some old abandoned houses which belonged to Kashmiri Hindus forced to leave Kashmir due to violence by Kashmiri muslims. Some such houses were encroached upon by probably neighbours and random shops. Nearing our place, we saw some shops in the market which had sustained damage from stone pelters.
Panaroma shot of a farm

Panaroma shot of a farm

We were planning an early start next morning but found it impossible to sleep till late night. It was mostly due to 3 nearby mosques near our place competing with each other to see which one could make more noise. Each started it’s loudspeakers near 8:30 pm and kept playing the noise they call prayer well past midnight. I forgot to mention it earlier, but this was a very consistent experience throughout our stay. There was no single locality during our stay in Kashmir where one couldn’t hear some noise from more than one mosque. Most of it was in Kashmiri which we didn’t understand, but atleast one near Harwan was in Urdu. The preacher seemed to be non-Kashmiri and was rambling on about injustice done to muslims since beginning of time and the usual “islam khatrey mein hai” crap. Another thing was even school going girls wearing hijab and some other dress almost like burqa, but not covering face. Don’t  know what they call them. It was never like this.
Stuff like this gives an outsider an idea how mosques were used to scare and intimidate Kashmiri Hindus to leave their homes when exodus happened. It is probably even worse now.
We started for Pahalgam next morning around 75 km from Srinagar. We also considered Gulmarg, but decided that Pahalgam would be a better choice. On the way, we stopped at a kehwa shop in Pampore. Women managed to spend a more than decent sum of money on saffron, honey and quite a few other things.
Our next stop was Martand temple which everyone called Mattan temple to my consternation. It is constructed over a fresh water spring and has a specie of medium sized fish in large numbers.  There was a sign board prohibiting feeding fish anything apart from a special feed being sold by a shop there. Hindu priests from this village used to travel all over the state and did some religious work and horoscope creation kind of work in far off places. Now Hindus are almost gone and there are only a few Sikh families living there. There was a Sikh religious ceremony going on in temple garden when we were there.
Just after rain stopped

Just after rain stopped

We then drove alongside Lidder river towards Pahalgam on a road with beautiful scenery. Some river rafting is arranged on this river but the starting point had only 3-4 tourists sitting in the rafts. There was an area with a number of big tourist resorts lined up but all were empty as tourists were keeping away. On the way driver told us about some movies which were shot in the area and seemed quite proud of it for some reason. Just before reaching main Pahalgam town he informed us that the car will not go any further because the local unions don’t allow it. There is hardly anything to see or do in Pahalgam town itself and the few points nearby which are worth seeing are a few km away. We like to hike and wanted to see those places as they seemed to be bit better than just walking around the shabby town but were not sure about the idea.
Near end of

Near end of “hiking” route in Pahalgam

As soon as we got off the car, the mule owners swarmed around us. I had no intention of riding any mule but the mule owners were very persistent, annoying and pain in the ass. I was more interested in walking to a few places of interest. But wifey was wearing some girly shoes not suitable for walking long distances, so in the end we got one mule and it’s handler to show us the way with understanding that wifey may ride it if it was difficult for her to walk. Rest of the family stayed in the town. I wish I had remembered names of the places we saw on this hike, but it was more or less a waste of time. The trail was wide as a road, full of mud due to too many mules walking on it and stank due to their crap everywhere. Another mule handler kept following us for 20-25 minutes trying to convince us to hire him to and turned back only after some getting abuse.  Wifey got on the mule we had hired a few minutes of hiking because of all the mud. I had my hiking shoes on so it was not much of a problem for me.
There was an old shikargaah of Dogra Kings on the way, a rough road led right up to it. Our first stop was a small but beautiful meadow. It had entry fee of Rs 20 and some tea shops.When we arrived, there were atleast 50 mules on the gate already. There were also a few locals with goats, rabbits, kashmiri dresses which tourists pose with for pictures. While we were there, it started raining and we had some kehwa, tea and pakoda in one of the tea shops. It was a beautiful place but experience was somewhat spoiled by the above mentioned locals and lots of children begging.  Our next stop was a point on  a ridge with couple of smaller snack shops where we had to stay a bit longer amount of time due to another heavy rain shower.  We had forgotten to bring our jackets and the rain made it very cold. Nearby mountain peaks also got a bit of snow. After rain stopped, we went downhill and made a stop at a stream going downstream which everybody was trying to pass of as a waterfall. The downhill trail was very slippery and muddy due to rains and mules destroying whatever grip the soil on hill offered.  More kashmiri locals came up to rent their goats, take pictures and similar useless services, so we left rather quickly.  Very few tourists progressed further from that 1st stop at the meadow, so the trail was mostly empty.
Panaroma shot, meadow in Pahalgam

Another panaroma shot, meadow in Pahalgam

From there, we walked back to the parking through the village. On the way we were again accosted by very annoying children from village who asked us for money and even watches. If they behave like this with Indians, I can only imagine their behaviour with foreigners. The walk back was on a level road and the mule just trotted on a steady pace, so I was left far behind.  The views and weather were quite nice through a wooded area. Perhaps the word in such places travels fast. On the way, I must have come across atleast a dozen mule owners who must have asked the same thing in different words “Paidal hi aa gaya sahaib” ! A few also asked me to hire their mules for  the rest of a km long hike.  Preparations for Amarnath yatra had started already and I noticed some para-military units assigned for the security of pilgrimage setting up camps. Sad to see that Indian Hindus have to be guarded so heavily inside India from muslim terrorists and mobs.
After reaching the parking area, came to know that the other women had spent all the cash which was not a small amount shopping. After we paid mule handler some extra money as tip, the owner started bothering us for a tip too. Utterly shameless bunch of people. Total duration of the hike was  4 hours, give or take a few minutes and cost of hiring a mule for whole circuit was Rs 3000.
We started our drive back to Srinagar immediately but made a stop at house of a colleague of family near Pampore.  They were very nice and hospitable people and made us feel quite welcome in their home. Elder of the family served in Jammu region during his working years and was a little nostalgic telling us of his experiences there. Ride back to the Srinagar was uneventful and we reached there around 8:30 pm without any incident.
There’s not much to write about after this apart from usual noise from nearby mosques and the long security checks at Srinagar airport.
TL;DR for people who are planning a Kashmir trip:
Q: Is the place beautiful ?
A: A lot of beautiful places, but man made places are badly maintained and natural places poorly preserved.
Q: Is it safe ?
A: Few days before we confirmed tickets, some tourist vehicles were attacked and tourists received injuries. Another tourist vehicle owned by our driver’s family was attacked similarly while we were there. A terrorist attack happened in Anantnag almost the same time we were driving through it.  We could’t visit a few places because of stone pelting and curfews. All these incidents happened in different parts of the valley. There is very little danger from terrorist attacks though.
Q: How are people ?
A: If you know them personally, very hospitable and welcoming. But if you are a prospective customer, then majority of kashmiri tourism businesses are extremely conniving and annoying. Before you say, “it’s like this everywhere”, NO it’s not as bad as in kashmir.
Q: Is Kashmir worth visiting ?
A: Maybe, if you are willing to take risks like those mentioned above. If you really want to visit Kashmir, don’t do it during Amarnath yatra season. Everything will be very over-priced and in short supply.

Continuing from Fight For Jammu & Kashmir: Legalities

Article 370 of the Constitution is making a mockery of secularism, nationalism and the structure of unity. This temporary constitutional provision has, in fact, been providing encouragement for the establishment of Muslim nation.

Article 370 of the Constitution, which has grouped Jammu and Kashmir as a special and different state, ridicules this declaration that Kashmir is an inseparable part of India. This special status delinks the state from rest of the country. It won’t be an exaggeration if it is called constitutionally recognised separatism. On the basis of this “special status” people of Kashmir, Pakistani rulers and diplomats and intellectuals in the world raise of volley of questions in front of the Government of India. Is accession of Jammu and Kashmir complete like other states ? If the accession is complete, why then the special appeasement ? Is it so because there is Muslim majority ? Had there been Hindu majority in the Kashmir valley, would there have been this clause of the Constitution ? Does not this clause give an opportunity to the world to doubt our honesty ?
Everybody knows that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the accession papers on October 26, 1947 under which the state acceded to India. The accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India was carried out on the same pattern other states acceded to it. But as a result of the misfortune of the country, Nehru pressurised the Maharaja for handing over power to Sheikh Abdullah. The Maharaja gulped the bitter draught and exhibited his patriotism. The misfortune does not end here. On the request of Sheikh Abdullah it was decided that the State Assembly will take the final decision on the accession and it was done to appease the Muslim society in Kashmir. From here the State was given the special status. The question arose as to what should be done till the Assembly took the final decision ? For this period Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution as a temporary measure. But even when the State Assembly ratified the state’s accession to India, the Article was not scrapped. There can be no other bigger instance of treachery than the interest of the vote bank and the politics of appeasement.

With the blindfold of political interest we lent permanancy to the temporary character of the Article making our position not only ridiculous before the world but also provided a golden opportunity and solid base for separatist-oriented terrorism to grow in Kashmir. The most shameful part is that we are not ready even now to throw off the soiled blindfold. Instead we are keen to keep this blindfold as a permanent feature.

Our Government has deliberately concealed the dangers of Article 370 because it will expose the hollowness of its secularism. The exposure of its dangerous consequences will cut asunder the web of pro-Muslim policies.

It is because of this Article that the Government of India cannot enforce any law connected with Jammu and Kashmir without the approval or concurrence of the State Government. Only defence, external affairs and communications fall in the central list. Against this the Parliament has the powers to frame laws for rest of the states in the country. But Article 370 of the Constitution restricts the hands of the Union Government and the Parliament in doing this in case of Jammu and Kashmir. Its dangerous consequences have been witnessed in recent years when the law prohibiting misuse of religious places could not be extended to Jammu and Kashmir with the result the state does not come within the ambit of secularism. And even after the independence the ignoble thing happened in Kashmir where hundreds of temples were destroyed and where people belonging to a particular community were victimised and subjected to cruelties. On the question of Ayodhya nnd the consequent Babri Masjid episode the Union Home Ministry had been issuing threats to the Uttar Pradesh Government and ultimately the Government was dismissed under Article 356 of the constitution but this article cannot be implemented directly in Jammu and Kashmir.

The President of India cannot dare to issue any order under Article 356 to Jammu and Kashmir. The President has no right to suspend his Constitution in the State. The National emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution can be extended to Jammu and Kashmir to a limited extent and the financial emergency under Article 360 cannot be enforced in Jammu and Kashmir.

Under part four of the Constitution of India there is procedure for one constitutional practice, one administrative structure and one economic pattern. But under Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir has its right under its own constition to do whatever it likes. It is because of the separate flag and separate symbol that two flags flutter on the Government buildings in the state. For hoisting freely the National flag, permission has to be sought from the State flag because it is necessary to hoist the national flag with the state flag.

There is only one system of citizenship for the people of the country but in case of Jammu and Kashmir, it is dual citizenship, one of the state and the other of India. The citizens of Jammu and Kashmir are citizens of India but the citizens of the rest of India cannot be citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. He does not have the right to have property and the right to vote in Jammu and Kashmir. If a girl belonging to Jammu and Kashmir marries a boy from outside the state, who is not a state subject, she loses all her rights in the state. Even the wealth tax cannot be imposed in the state. The Urban Land Act, 1976, which is in force in the entire country is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. The result of it is that rich landlords, belonging to the majority community in the Valley, indulge in economic exploitation of the poor and the Indian citizens, who are non-state subjects and living in the valley, cannot even secure loans from the financial institutions.

It is because of Article 370 that political groupism receives encouragement and no local nationalist Government can remain durable if it is not the product of anti-national elements. The state Government did not accept the Anti-defection law adopted in the country and instead made several amendments. Here the decision on defection is not taken by the speaker of the Assembly but by the leader of the connected political party. This gives constitutional legitimacy to the unbridled authority of the leader of the party. Since the Governor usually is not a citizen of the state, he has no right to vote, the separatist elements treat him an outsider and equate themselves with slaves. During the 80’s the Wazir Commission had recommended measures forpolitical reforms in Kashmir but due to Article 370 these recommendations have not been implemented.

Burning of the national flag is not a cognizable offence in Kashmir because there cannot be proper arrangement for the basic duties enshrined in the Constitution under which the tricolour, the national anthem and the national symbol have to be shown due respect. Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state. The Union Government implements international agreements and accords under Article 253 of the Constitution but Jammu and Kashmir is beyond its jurisdiction. Muslims from other parts of the country become successful in getting the citizenship of the Jammu and Kashmir but about one lakh Hindus, who had been uprooted in the neighbourhood at the time of the partition, have not been given citizenship so far. Under the umbrella of Article 370 the fundamentalists have received strength in their campaign for Islamisation.

Article 370 revives the two-nation theory and secures security for it in the future. On one side we proclaim in the world that in India their is no discrimination on the basis of religion, community or sect, on the other hand special facilities are being given to Kashmir because there the Muslims are in majority. If these special privileges are being given on the plea that Kashmir is a backward area, is there no other place in india where backwardness and poverty are less important ? In fact several thousand crores of rupees have been spent in Kashmir and the result is apparent. Anti-national elements are active. Instead of bringing the people to the national mainstream, we have, in comparison to other states, given unlimited rights to the people which have made them a pampered lot. People of Kashmir became suspicious about the accession and the anti- national elements got an opportunity for launching an open disinformation campaign against India. Pakistan supported these separatist organisations. The result was that Kashmiri youths picked up arms against India and forced over three lakh Hindu patriots to leave their houses and property in Kashmir and live in the plains a life of penury and misery.

Our Constitution gives equal rights to all citizens but this right is not available in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the tale of local versus non-local who are not state subjects. They do not enjoy any political and economic rights. Their wards cannot get admission in the colleges in Kashmir. Article 370 has violated the principle cf Indian citizenship. The maker of the Constitution of India, Dr. Ambedkar, had cautioned Nehru on the plea that it can create difficulties in full integration of the state with India. This Article would sow the seeds of separatism in the Valley. At least Dr. Ambedkar’s warning can be understood now but the politics of vote appeasement does not allow it.

It is quite evident that Article 370 has not integrated Jammu and Kashmir with India but it has delinked it. There in Kashmir is no place for secularism and nationalism in the mind of the youth. The feelings of regionalism, communalism and separatism have been developed in their mind. Instead of coming closer to the national mainstream, they have distanced themselves from it and have now started raking up the question of independence. On April 7, 1958 the Plebiscite Front, of Sheikh Abdullah adopted a resolution and the wording of the resolution clearly indicates how Kashmiri leaders have been working for making the Muslim society anti-India and pro-Pakistan and for this the leaders took the refuge under Article 370. The resolution had made a mention of this Article and said:

“Jammu and Kashmir state has not yet acceded to any of the two dominions, India and Pakistan. Therefore, it will not be right to call Pakistani invasion on Jammu and Kashmir as an attack on India.”

Under Article 370 Kashmiri Muslim leaders have been opposing any welfare schemes formulated by the Government of India. No scheme relating to family welfare, formulated by the Government of India, is in force in Kashmir. The programme was implemented in the Jammu region becawe of being a Hindu majority area. A former Chief Minister, G.M. Shah, had said that the aim of the Government family planning programme was to convert the Muslim majority into a minority. Such type of false propaganda has given birth to separatism which received shelter under Article 370.

According to a former Governor, Jagmohan, Article 370 should be scrapped because it has become an instrument of injustice and inequalities. It waters the roots of corrupt elements. It nourishes narrow-minded and reactionary forces. It fully accepts the principle of two-nation theory. It fills the mind of the youth with the garbage of false desires. It gitres birth to narrow lines and narrow faith. This encourages and nourishes regional tensions.

Historical facts reveal that prior to this Article, both Hindus and Muslims were part of the national mainstream. There was no animosity or hatred. During the 1947 Pakistani aggression on Kashmir, Kashmiri Muslims not only welcomed the Indian Army but also assisted them in nabbing the infiltrators. Then why the same Muslim society is launching an attack on the Indian Army at present? This is the result of the poison of Article 370. On seeing the Poisonous impact of this Article on the Kashmiri mind that a former External Affairs Minister, M.C. Chagla, had told the United Nations that the Article was a temporary measure. This Article should be abolished. The two former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and G.M. Sadiq, too wanted this Article to be repealed. The Government of India too had assured people that when the time comes, the Article would be scrapped. But our political interests and the mean and directionless politics of vote bank based on appeasement have not allowed this to materialise. By duping people in the name of secularism, removal of poverty and promotion of equality our leaders have abolished the Privy purses but it is difficult for them to abolish Article 370 for the sake of the integrity of the country. Who will make these leaders understand that after having tasted the bitter fruit of Article 370 let them watch the other side of the coin by abrogating the Article. The armed struggle for liberation is not something separate from the demand for plebiscite and self-determination.

This Article, meant to be a temporary clause in the Constitution, has become a special barrier which is promoting and encouraging Muslim state in the Kashmir valley. This anti- national Article has strengthened its roots because of our weak policies, wavering decisions and growing Islamic fundamentalism and this Article cannot be abrogated so long Governments, favouring the policy of appeasement, remain in power in the centre. This Article opens the door for subversion in the country. The basic idea behind the Anandpur Sahib resolution of the Akalis is the same Article 370. This Article is not a constitutional necessity. The special status given to Jammu and Kashmir is an insult to the people of all other states in the country. There are innumerable facilities, under this special status, for the people who have begun their revolt against India and who are conspiring for Islamisation of entire India, against helplessness and suffocation for people who are nationalists and are one with the ups and downs of India. Article 370 is like a piece of bone stuck in the gullet: if it is swallowed, it may lead to death and if not, still death is there. But when the bone has become dangerous for the existence of the body. it is better to throw it out. There is now need for the abrogation of Article 370 in the interests of security and integrity of the country. It is the need of hour to fully integrate the state with India by abolishing the special status and by abrogating its own consitution.

A political section is of the opinion that this Article cannot be abrogated. But according to Dr. Babu Ram Chauhan, an expert on international law and the Constitution of India, this Article can be scrapped even without the concurrence and approval of the state Assembly The President of India and the Indian Parliament can repeal it. It is clear from Articles 3 and 5 of the State Constitution that Jammu and Kashmir state will remain an “inseparable” part of India. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir has been framed under the Constitution of India. Why cannot the Government abrogate the Article in the interest of the nation when the same Government has allowed the State to frame its constitution ?

The utility of Article 370 has been finished now. Its utility has ceased with the people in Kashmir having launched an open revolt and with their guerrilla war against the Indian Army. It is nothing but ridiculous to tell a man, who has come to kill you, to slap you and forge an agreement. What is the meaning af the bait af Article 370 for those who are fully equipped with arms to secure independence for Kashmir? Will a glutton feel satisfied with a crumb ? Now only one way is left: launch a full military campaign against the anti-national elements for finishing them and start, on a war footing, measures for bringing the remaining Kashmiri society to the national mainstream. For this there is need for a search of nationalist leadership among the Kashmiri youth, particularly the Muslim youths. This plan can fructify only after giving up the politics of narrow-mindedness. This is certain that it can pave the way for the national plan of abrogating Article 370.

Continuing from Fight For Jammu & Kashmir: Indian side of state

The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, signed the accession papers and sent them to the Government of India on October 26, 1947; “Now, therefore,’ I, Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singh Ji, Jammu Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipathi Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir state, in the exercise of my sovereignty in and over my said state do hereby execute this my instrument of Accession”. This way the Maharaja submitted his accession papers which were accepted by the then Governor General, Mountbatten, on October 27, 1947.

Maharaja Hari Singh

Maharaja Hari Singh

After this accession, even India had no right to talk with short-sightedness. Such a purposeless talk had not only insulted the accession proposal of Maharaja Hari Singh but also violated the Independence Act. Under this Act the rulers of the State had been given the right for accession. Nothing had been said about the right of self-determination for the people of the State. In fact Mountbatten was desirous of keeping the fate of Kashmir hanging and he performed this act through Pt. Nehru and R.C. Kak. The Constitution of India was adopted on January 26, 1950 and there was no provision kept for self-determination in the Constitution. Therefore, the Government of India too had no right to talk about this plan. When the Constitution of India has not given the right to Government of India to review the questions of self-determination and accession, it is unconstitutional and illegal for any international organisation to talk anything in the context of India.

The entire dispute should have ended with the ratification of the accession by the Constituent Assembly on November 17, 1956. Both Pakistan and the Security Council have lost any right to talk anything about Kashmir or do anything about it.The people to whom was connected the question of self-determination were the same people who had elected the Constituent Assembly which had accepted the accession. This Assembly adopted the Constitution of the State. The clause three of this Constitution makes it clear “Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain inseparable part of India.”

The clause four of the Constitution is: The entire area, which was under the control of the ruler of the State till August 15, 1947, will remain withir. the territory of the State.

On August 15, 1947 the Pakistan held Kashmir was also under the control of the ruler of the State. Therefore, it is evident that the entire Jammu and Kashmir State is an inseparable part of India. The Maharaja had acceeded this undivided state to India. As such occupation of even an inch of the territory of Kashmir by Pakistan will be treated as aggression on India. This clause of the Constitution is further strengthened and shielded by clause 147. According to this clause, clause four cannot be nullified. And the Security Council too loses its right to give guidance and direction to India on matters connected with Kashmir. The Security Council can only advise Pakistan to vacate the Indian territory. And if Pakistan does not accept the suggestion ofthe Security Council, it can adopt a resolution against it and ask other countries to snap ties with Pakistan. But the Security Council has become a wrestling arena for political groups and as such it will not be wisdom to have any expectations from this powerless and lifeless international body.

Hide and seek of the Security Council

When India wrote to the Security Council about Pakistani aggression, it could do nothing except behaving like a spectator. It kept on adopting one resolution after the other but it could not prevail upon Pakistan to vacate the Indian state after declaring it an aggressor. Had not India unilaterally ordered cease-fire, it would have not only regained its two-third area of Kashmir but the Indian troops could have entered into the Pakistani territory ? At that time the Indian Prime Minister was neither any strong-willed Sarvarkar, nor any Subash or Dr. Hedgewar. Had Sardar Patel been appointed as the Prime Minister he would have finished the artificial line of partition by directing the Indian Army to march forward. The British had left India and the entire Army was under our control and this way the Congress would have washed away the blot of partition on its forehead. But the Oxford graduate, Nehru, lacked diplomacy and political wisdom.

The settlement of Kashmir became an object for the Security Council for playing hide and seek. On July 4, 1948 the Security Council sent a commission to have an on the spot assessment of the situation. On reaching Karachi, the Commission was told by one Pakistani officer, Sir Zaffarullah Khan, that three brigades of Pakistani Army had been deployed on the Kashmir border. But he called it part of self-defence plan thereby trying to prove that India was an aggressor.

After two years, in September 15,1950, a similar Commission, headed by an expert on international law, Owen Dixon, came to the following conclusion as a representative of the United Nations.

“When the rebel elements entered into the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, it was violation of the international law. When in May 1947 Pakistani Army entered into this state, it too was a violation of the international law”.

This Dixon had charged Pakistan with the open violation of the international law. In reality the Security Council too has accepted Kashmir’s accession to India. One American representative of the Security Council had given a statement on February 4, 1948.He had said: “The external ruler of Kashmir is not now under the control of the Maharaja. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India this right has been vested in the hands of India and on the basis of that right India has placed this question here”.

The Security Council deployed UN observers on both sides of the cease-fire line. After that it adopted a resolution calling upon Pakistan to withdraw its troops, citizens and tribals from Kashmir. This way the United Nations accepted the defence aspect of India. But Pakistan, till date, has been violating this direction and resolution. Even after this, Pakistan has turned down the parleys between India and Pakistan. In August 1953 talks between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan took place where it was agreed to withdraw their troops from Kashmir. But again Pakistan adopted obstinate attitude.

The United Nations has always failed to control such attitude of Pakistan. Pakistan declared open war on India twice and the United Nations succeeded in halting the war but it remained incapable of resolving this dispute. The Security Council did not concentrate on the basic complaint of India which it had submitted to the Council in January, 1948.


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Continuing from: Fight For Jammu & Kashmir: Pakistan’s Gains 

Even though the gains of aggression to Pakistan were valuable and important, the territory still left with India was of much greater extent, value and importance. It included Kashmir Valley and parts of Uri and Titwal sub- divisions of Muzzafarabad district in Kashmir province, four eastern districts comprising the Duggar region of Jammu province together with the town of Poonch and some neighboring territory along the Cease Fire Line which belonged to the Punjabi speaking Western Zone, most of which had been occupied by Pakistan, and the whole of Laddakh and Kargil area lying between Laddakh and Baltistan proper across the Zojila Pass.

The total area of this territory was about 50,000 sq. miles including about 33000 sq. miles of Laddakh, about 12000 sq. miles of Jammu, about 3000 sq. miles of Kashmir Valley and about 2000 sq. miles of Uri and Tithwal area.

From the population point of view the Kashmir Valley with its 30 lakh population of which about 27 lakhs are Muslims is the most populous. Next comes Jammu with a population of about 30 lakhs of which about 20 lakhs are Hindus. The Muslim population of Jammu region is mainly concentrated on the West along the Cease Fire Line. Laddakh with a population of about two lakhs of which Buddhists form a large majority is the most sparsely populated.

Jammu and Laddakh being directly contiguous to each other as also to East Punjab and Himachal Pradesh form a compact bloc of about 45,000 sq. miles with a predominantly Hindu or Buddhist population. Kashmir valley and the adjoining areas of Uri and Tithwal form the only compact Muslim majority area on the Indian side of the Cease Fire Line.

Strategically, though not comparable to Gilgit because of its being the meeting ground of international frontiers of Afghanistan, USSR, Communist China and India, the territory held by India is yet of immense importance to her. Being the only link between India and the rest of the State including Kashmir Valley, the Jammu region has the greatest strategic importance for India. Its warlike Dogra population and hilly terrain make it an ideal frontier area separating Indian Punjab from North Western parts of Pakistan and Pakistan held territories of the State.

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Continuing from Fight For Jammu & Kashmir: Causes of India’s Failure at U.N.

The gains made by Pakistan in the first Indo-Pak war were considerable and significant- from every point of view. Militarily, she could claim to have scored a tactical victory over a much bigger and stronger India. At a much less cost in men and material she was able to add to her dominions a territory roughly equal in size to East Punjab. It was quite a rich dividend for her unprovoked aggression. It confirmed the impression created in the minds of her leaders by the past policy of appeasement and surrender on the part of Indian leadership, that India could be bullied and bluffed into acquiescence and acceptance of any demand however unreasonable it might be if it was backed by adequate force. This created a new confidence and psychology of aggression in Pakistan which has marked her dealings with India on all questions ever since.

Politically, Pakistan had made a mockery of the lawful accession of the Jammu & Kashmir State to India by Maharaja Hari Singh and asserted her claim to have a say in the future of that state. While she had obtained control over nearly half of the State by force, she had got the way cleared for getting the rest of it, or, at least the Kashmir valley, through other means by getting India committed to plebiscite under the supervision of the U.N.O. Knowing the Muslim mind, as she did, she was reasonably confident of the outcome of a plebiscite whenever it was held.

Diplomatically, she had scored a resounding victory over India. Taking advantage of Pt. Nehru’s bungling and indiscreet statements she had succeeded in putting India, the aggressor and the complainant, on the defensive at the U.N.O. and at the bar of world opinion and had won valuable friends and allies. Having foolishly minimized and underplayed the fact of accession by the Maharaja, which was the only real and legal claim of India to be in Jammu and Kashmir, for reasons which would have made the architect of India’s Kashmir policy liable to impeachment in any other country. India was reduced to the pitiable position in which she depended more on the good graces of Sheikh Abdullah and votes of the Communist Bloc rather than on the unassailable right derived from accession and the heroic defence of Kashmir by her armed forces.

This, had the effect of swelling Sheikh Abdullah’s head on the one hand and throwing India more and more into the lap of the Communist Bloc to the chagrin of the Western countries, on the other. The dangerous shift that this situation gave to India’s foreign policy directly led to her virtual isolation and the Chinese aggression in 1962 which humiliated India in the eyes of the whole world.

Pakistan’s gains in terms of territory, human and economic resources and, above, all achievements of important strategic objectives were immense.

The area of the State territories now held by Pakistan comes to about 34,000 square miles out of the total area of 84,471 square miles for the whole State. It includes about 17,000 sq. miles of Gilgit, about 12,000 sq. miles of Baltistan and about five thousand square miles of the Mirpur-Poonch-Muzaffarabad Zone. The total population of this Pakistan occupied part of the State was about 11 and a half lakhs out of a total of 40 lakhs for the whole State according to the 1941 census. It included the population of Gilgit which stood at 1,16,000 in that year.

Though these population figures are not very imposing yet they were important to Pakistan. The Poonchis, Mirpuris and Gilgit’s provide fine fighting material. They make good soldiers and seamen. In fact, military service is the main occupation of these people. There were at that time a lakh of demobilized or ex-soldiers in Mirpur and Poonch area. Thousands of them were employed in the Indian navy and mercantile marine as naval ratings or stokers. Being comparatively backward educationally and politically, they were considered to be more amenable to army discipline. This warlike manpower has since been an asset to Pakistan.

Apart from this manpower, Pakistan was able to achieve a major part of its objectives in the State by the occupation of these territories. Pakistan’s main contention about the State was that being a Muslim majority unit, it should accede to Pakistan. But the more realistic Pakistani leaders realized the difficulty in obtaining for Pakistan the Hindu and Buddhist majority parts of the State which are directly contiguous to the Indian Union. They, therefore, favored a division of the State on the same basis on which Punjab had been partitioned. Such offers in fact were made by the Muslim Conference leaders to the Dogra leaders of Jammu long before the troubles started there. But the division of the State on the basis of religion was disapproved by the Dogra people of Jammu for that would have meant loss of the Kashmir valley to them. The Kashmiri leaders like Sheikh Abdullah were also opposed to partition of the State on the basis of religion because that would have led to ascendancy of the Muslim Conference and the Punjabi Muslims in Kashmir valley as well.

Pakistan had now virtually brought about a division of the State. Three Muslim majority zones of the State were held by her. The only Muslim majority part of the State that still remained out of her control was the Kashmir valley.

From the strategic point of view she had obtained all that she could reasonably hope to get. The first objective of Pakistan in this regard was to cut off the State which she feared might accede to India any day from the N.W.F.P., the tribal area and Afghanistan so that no link up of Pathan home-land with India might be pcssible. The anxiety of Pakistan to prevent this link up was great because of the growing demand for Pakhtoonistan and the keen interest that was being evinced by Afghanistan in it. Though the Indian leadership had let down the Khan brothers; Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan better known as Frontier Gandhi, who was then in Pakistan’s jails and his brother, late Dr. Khan Sahib, who headed the Congress Ministry of N.W.F.P. at the time of Partition-the sympathies of the Indian Public were with the Pathans who had worked shoulder to shoulder with the Indians in their fight against the foreign rule. A direct link between India and Pakhtoonistan and Afghanistan, therefore, would have become a headache for Pakistan. That possibility was removed by the ‘de facto’ control of Gilgit and the Krishan Ganga basin by her.

Pakistan’s control over Gilgit besides preventing a direct contact between India on the one side and Afghanistan and USSR on the other, provided Pakistan with a bargaining counter to secure the sympathy and support of the USA and Britain for herself. Because of its strategic location, Gilgit was of vital importance to the USA in her world wide strategy of containing international communism. That explained the deep interest of USA and Britian in favor of Pakistan retaining control of Gilgit and securing control over Kashmir valley, which also could serve as a major supply base for the advance bases in Gilgit. For the same reasons, the USSR was determined to prevent Kashmir valley passing into Pakistan’s hands. Her support to India over Kashmir in the Security Council had been actuated more by her self interest than by sympathy for the Indian point of view.

Control over Gilgit and Baltistan also brought Pakistan in direct touch with SirLkiang province of the expanding Communist Chinese empire. Communist China became interested in securing control over Laddakh after her forcible occupation of Tibet. This has since created a com munity of interests between Pakistan and China in the dismemberment of Jammu and Kashmir State in such a way as may give Laddakh to China and Kashmir Valley to Pakistan. That explains the Communist Chinese attitude to the Kashmir questions ever since its inception and hobnobbing between her and Pakistan. Thus strategically the territories acquired by Pakistan have proved to be of immense importance to her.

From the economic point of view too these territories have proved to be of great importance to Pakistan. The Mangala headwork of the Upper Jehlum canal, which irrigates a large part of the West Punjab, lies near Mirpur. It flows for about 20 miles within the State territory before entering West Punjab. The economic life of a good portion of West Punjab could be strangulated by the destruction of these headworks. Even a breach in the right bank of the canal which flows parallel to the river could render the canal useless to Pakistan. Now, the headworks and the area through which the canal flows came under the direct control of Pakistan. Therefore, the real or imaginary fear of Pakistan about economic strangulation by India was removed.

The economic importance of Mangala, a name derived from goddess Mangala whose temple stands on the top of a cliff surmounted by a fort, has since been further enhanced by a high altitude dam on the Jehlam built with US help. It has become the greatest single power-cum- irrigation project in Pakistan.

Besides the Mangala Project on the Jehlum, the waters of the Krishan Ganga and the Poonch rivers, the major tributaries of the Jehlum flowing through Jammu and Kashmir State, can also be harnessed for producing hydro-electric power at a number of sites.

Furthermore, these territories brought Pakistan in possession of rich sources of timber as well as means of bringing it to the plains. All the rich fresh wealth of Kashmir and Karen is carried to the plains by the Jehlum. This was an important gain in view of the fact that Pakistan has few forests of good timber. The control of these forest areas has assured Pakistan of a regular supply of raw material for her Rosin Factory at Jallo near Lahore, and of other kinds of forest produce. Pakistan, in fact, obtained almost a monopoly of “Kuth”, a fragrant medicinal herb, which grows in the forests of Karen and Chilas.

As far as minerals are concerned, little is known so far about this area. But a geological survey is bound to reveal the rich mineral potentialities of these thirty four thousand square miles of mountainous territory. The surveys so far made have revealed the existence of mineral oils in the Poonch area. Lime stone suitable for cement and different types of valuable clays are also known to exist in abundance in these parts.

These gains of Pakistan have proved to be sure and permanent. The people of the occupied areas, who have close linguistic social and cultural ties with the people of the adjoining districts of West Pakistan, have been fully indoctrinated with Pakistan’s ideology. They are, therefore, sure to stand by Pakistan in peace or war. The question of plebiscite which has since lost all relevance to the situation has, therefore, never been a headache for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s military build up in these areas with the help of warlike and well-trained local population coupled with favorable geographical factors has made the possibility of the reconquest of these areas by India very remote. No local action confined to Jammu and Kashmir State can possibly succeed in dislodging Pakistan from Gilgit which she had since linked with Peshawar by a motorable road. Control of Burzila Pass by Pakistan has made the task of the Indian army in this respect doubly difficult.

Pakistan was not at all bothered by U.N. reactions. She had, in fact, from the beginning used that forum to malign India with total impunity. The fact that she had violated the U.N. Charter by crossing into the territories of Jammu and Kashmir State did not in any way compromise her position at the U.N. She was not bothered about her weak legal position or world opinion, so long as she was in firm possession of the territories concerned. As later events have proved, world opinion or legal quibblings matter only for the weak. The strong who can present the world with a ‘fait accompli’ can get away with it unless the victim of aggression can mobilise a bigger strength to undo the wrong.

Therefore, she went ahead with consolidating these gains untrammeled by any extraneous considerations or inhibitions. She established her direct control over the northern strategic areas of Gilgit and Baltistan which has since continued to be centrally administered units of Pakistan. In the Western districts of Mirpur-Poonch and Muzaffarabad she had already set up a puppet regime for the purpose of tactical maneuverability at the U.N. She gave this area the name of “Azad” (Independent) Kashmir even though it had nothing to do with the Kashmir region of the state which is cut off from the rest of the State by high Himalayan ranges. She has been systematically Islamising these areas and erasing their Hindu part. For example the name Krishan Ganga river has been changed to “Neel Darya.” She has raised many fully trained and equipped new battalions from among the local people which constitute the real striking force of Pakistan in the State.

Having thus acquired and consolidated her position in three out of the four Muslim majority regions of the State, Pakistan began to prepare for the control of the rest of the State. The cessation of hostilities and restoration of normal conditions in the valley enabled her to start a propaganda offensive inside the valley through her numerous agents in the State administration and the Mullah class to rouse communal feelings in the people there.

The state of affairs in the India-held part of the State, in spite of the sound legal and constitutional position of the Government of India, has been just the opposite. The developments there and the policy of the Government of India regarding them have further compromised and weakened the position of India both internally and externally.


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