Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #276 - How was Kashmir Attacked
Modi and Imran Khan have exchanged letters and people are warning on both sides. "Kashmir Dispute" - they say is why they shouldn't. Whatever the merits, lets learn how Kashmir is where it is.
“music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but
you are the music
While the music lasts.” ― T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962
Survival is predicated on Prejudice. Free thought is risky.
In the diversity of creation, where there are natural foes and neutral entities, every being seeks the safety of the known. Known ally is that which conforms. Deviance is enmity. When society seeks order – it really seeks a “conformity” in a set of prejudices (which are pre-determined result-to-action rules). Enforcing “a” set of rules is dependent on the power of the core of a group.
Groups and herds help in creating strength through numbers. The tenacity of the herd is brought about by “purpose”. Purpose requires rules, morals, and laws. Laws of a group, which provide cohesion, however temporary. Actions outside of those laws – deviance – are punished. Crime is a deviation from the collective edict.
The strength of laws comes from legitimacy. Legitimacy comes from power. Power of a Tyrant. Power of an Elder. Power of a “Higher” being. Tyrant can be defeated. Elder may not be respected. But an invisible power of folk-lore brooks little revolt. God, therefore, is a perfect insurance against deviance and for conformity.
God fulfilled the role of a Higher “legitimate” power that could be installed on the pedestal from which certain group members could create laws on “His” behalf. Claims were made. Visions promised. Stories weaved of magic and miracle arousing wonder and awe. Once the picture of the Power of law was larger than life, it became an instrument of perpetuating prejudice.
The instinct for survival created the need for a God in man’s own image. Then God became the source of rules of “opting in and out” of a group. Opt-in rules were morals. Opt-out rules became crimes.
God was man’s mirror – schizophrenic, short-tempered, benevolent, loving the way humans loved. Just more powerful, invisible, and legitimate.
God’s morals are implemented through the power of the majority. The majority is defined by conformity. If those in the majority can be “converted” over to the minority by some initiation methodology and allowed to be felt “special” and thus use that power to discriminate against those who remain “different”, then conformity and thus survival could be “bought” or worse “won”! Religious legitimacy by the power of the majority became a political game at best and abuse of vanquished at its worse!
The business of majority creation through forced conformity is an especially successful venture. Nation-hood, citizenship, conversion, memberships, test and exams, are some of the tools in this business. The run to change and bring in new conformists goes on…
"until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one or that one was this one or which one was what one... or what one was who."
Humans would have been lucky if our scale of differentiation and conformity were only one-dimensional like the Sneetches [The Sneetches and Other Stories is by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)]. Dealing with the leagues of Sylvester McMonkey McBean would have been easier. But the humans, unlike Sneetches, were multi-dimensional and multi-intentional. Power over a group of complex creatures is far more satisfying than over simple ones.
To enforce conformity and eschew social deviance, vocabulary was used to segregate one action from another. Conforming actions were “Good”, Deviance was “Bad”. On the foundation of this duality, an edifice of Religion, Morals, and God thrived.
God thus became the Legislator (creates law), Executive (enforces law), and the Judiciary (interprets law) ….. doing all in absentia!
Since an imaginary entity cannot award tangible and instant judgments and sentences, innovative ways to link actions to their consequences were created. Moral equations were constructed.
God thus became the power to oversee the Good and Bad actions, an absentee one nevertheless, and pronounce judgments based on esoteric laws. Laws, that were a mere extension of a group’s collective prejudice.
First, God was a “He”, since men held power. Then, this He was not only the “Original Creator” but also fantastically an all-knowing, all-powerful, all watching, all present but somehow for some strange reason prejudiced in favor of ONLY the group which conjured it up. The farce was mind-boggling, but a rather successful franchise.
Books were written on how a set of actions could be undertaken to ensure positive outcomes. Attempts to decide the entire destiny/future of mankind were undertaken using few, static and prejudiced moral maps. Generations have spent their entire lives waiting to be judged by a God, that was a man-made entity, to begin with. A fictional story.
PM Narendra Modi wrote a letter to Pakistani PM Imran Khan saying “India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan.” (Source) The Senior Pakistani minister, Asad Umar praised the letter from Modi. Imran Khan also replied back to the letter from Modi and said that people in Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations and asked for resolution of the “Kashmir dispute.”
A made-up dispute because it was Pakistan that had illegally occupied Kashmir. Listen to this.
Many are criticizing Modi for even trying to approach Pakistan without realizing that many an overtures are for making geopolitical statements. But to think that the guys who were able to throw the shackles of Article 370 and 35A without any blood being shed would be naive enough to rake up the “dispute”?
Today, let us go deep into history to understand where we stand and why. Why was this occupation from Pakistan illegal and how did it engineer the whole thing. Who were the players and what were the events leading up to that situation?
Kashmir - a history lesson on the origin of the issue
Muhammad Saeed Asad wrote a book in Urdu titled “Yadon kay Zakhm.” This book had interviews with the people who had witnessed the carnage by the Pakistani forces and the tribals they had enlisted for attacking Kashmir.
It was later translated in English and published by the Institute of Kashmir Affairs as “Wounded Memories.”
It was later banned in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. (Source)
The devastation that happened in Kashmir was mind-boggling. It is rarely ever discussed beyond the attacks on the nuns.
Before we go further, let us look at the origin of the attack on Kashmir by the Pakistan Army along with Tribals. Why did it even occur?
Jinnah and his BIG ego
Jinnah had been to Kashmir before independence at least four times - 1926, 1927, 1936, and 1944. In 1927 in fact, Maharaja Hari Singh was not even informed and he came to know via the news report published in the daily Pratap, Lahore on 11 May 1927. (Source) Interestingly, in 1938, when Jinnah had gone to Srinagar, two local leaders had met him - Maulvi Yusuf Shah and Sheikh Abdullah. They had left the “Muslim Conference” and created their own “National Conference by then. These two guys presented a garland of old shoes to Jinnah to spite him because of the rejection of Abdullar’s absolute authority in deciding Kashmir’s fate.
Jinnah’s felt that Abdullah would side with India and not Pakistan. Events that transpired later added to his baggage of hurt over Kashmir and so, the idea of forcibly taking Kashmir took shape.
The real kicker was the attempt by Jinnah to use Kashmir for resting when was sick.
Jinnah’s desire to again visit Kashmir in 1947 was not met with favourable response from the Kashmir Government. On the eve of the Partition, while several prominent politicians of India including Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Kriplani, then President Indian National Congress and Sikh rulers of Kapurthala, Faridkot and Patiala states visited Maharaja Hari Singh, Jinnah’s wish to visit Kashmir was turned down by the latter. In the words of Chaudhri Muhammad Ali, “The Quaid-e-Azam himself wanted to go to Kashmir about the middle of September; he hoped to have a friendly talk with the Maharaja, but the Maharaja did not want him to come.” From August, the situation in Kashmir changed fast. On Gandhi’s intervention, Prime Minister Ram Chander Kak, a votary of an independent Kashmir, had been removed and a pro- India Mehar Chand Mahajan was in his seat. After the Partition, as the situation in Kashmir was fluid with Hari Singh still being undecided about the accession of Jammu & Kashmir with either of the two newly created States, Jinnah asked his military secretary, Colonel William Birnie, to go to Kashmir and arrange for him to spend a couple of weeks there. Birnie returned after five days to convey that the ruler of Kashmir did not agree to his visit. “The turn of events in Kashmir had an adverse effect on the Quaid-e-Azam’s health. At the time of Partition he had been confident of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan because of its Muslim population and geographical situation…Now he felt deceived, and his earlier optimism gave way to a deep disappointment”, writes Ali. One of his close aides quoted him saying, “We have been put on the wrong bus.” (Source)
Hari Singh did not want Jinnah in Kashmir and Jinnah like most Pakistanis thought that Kashmir was his. It was the duel between these two egotist personalities that began the downfall of Kashmir. As Navratri – the Hindu religious festival was approaching – in September of 1947, Liaqat Ali Khan huddled together in a secret meeting in Lahore. A multi-pronged approach was hatched to annex Kashmir by coercion or force.
A devious plan was in the making.
Plan to attack Kashmir
When the ideas were being discussed, the enthusiastic Colonel Akbar Khan suggested a method that has become the pet strategy for Pakistanis against India - arm and fund the Indian Muslims.
But there was another proposal - from Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, the Chief Minister of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) - Use the tribals as the attacking hordes under the leadership of the Pakistani Army.
The funds were to come from the Pakistani treasury but via the office of the Chief Minister of NWFP.
Major Khurshid Anwar was to arouse the Pathans and make them emotionally invested in the attack. He explained how the infidel Hindu Maharaja was to join India and that would mean India occupying the land of the Muslims, who would be under Hindu rule. This was a Holy War and had to be fought as such. In the next few days chickpeas (chanas) and gur were being picked up in large amounts - a meal for the Tribals on their jihad journey.
The attack and plunder by barbarians
Sairab Khayat Khan was to be in the advance unit to attack Hari Singh’s palace. But as they reached Muzaffarabad, the tribals went off to loot and plunder.
Dr. Shabir Choudhary writes in his book “Tribal Invasion and Kashmir” (Source)
It all started on October 21st, 1947 at night. Hundreds of Pathans – always easy cannon fodder for the Pakistani establishment – were gathered and lined up against the border as the world was in darkness and the Hindus in Kashmir started their celebrations of Navratri (9 nights of celebrations).
Mahura Power Station exploded with dynamite and the entire area from border areas with Pakistan to all the way near China went into total darkness.
On the other side, the Muslim army soldiers in Maharaja Hari Singh’s Army killed their commander, Col. Narain Singh, and lit the flares to give the signal to their Pakistani contacts and Pathans that all was well and attack could be resumed.
While Hari Singh and his family were busy celebrating Navratri, Kashmir was under attack. Col J P Singh, Retd writes in an article about how the Commanding Officer of Maharaja’s Army was killed, along with the Hindu officers and jawans by the unit Muslim companies.
Two Muslim companies of 4 J and K Infantry defending Muzaffrabad switched sides, killing their commanding officer Lt Col Narain Singh Sambyal and all other Hindu officers and Jawans. Very few survived to tell the tale. It was a severe treachery and a great blow to the defence of J&K which was to have a far reaching affect on the battle of Uri. (Sources)
Yes, the biggest battle was fought at Uri. The place which led to the surgical strikes by India recently.
On 22nd October Brig Rajinder Singh collected whatever troops were available in Srinagar Cantonment and proceeded towards Uri with a small force of 100 men. He reached Uri at midnight. Next day the first engagement took place at Garhi where he inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy but lost a platoon in the battle. This bold and determined action put a severe caution on the enemy which enabled him to organise his defences at Uri and get some reinforcements. At this time Maharaja, realising the gravity of the situation, issued the historic order, “I command Brig Rajinder Singh to hold the enemy at Uri at all costs and to the last man”. Realising the importance of Uri Bridge to the invaders Brig Rajinder Singh blew it up on 24th October. It was a masterly stroke of the delaying operation that saved the Valley. The destruction of the Uri Bridge drastically slowed down enemy advance. The invaders however followed up on foot and Brig Rajinder Singh commenced a fighting withdrawal towards Baramula. After delaying the enemy at Mahura on 25th October, he took a defensive position at Rampur Buniyar where he fought them like a lion till 1 AM on 27 October. Since this small force came under very heavy pressure, it was forced to withdraw due to mounting casualties. Brig Rajinder Singh was himself hit in his right arm and legs in the ambush while withdrawing to the next position. Despite his bleeding wounds he continued to inspire his men to fight on and subsequently lost his life while defending his country against great odds. (Sources)
The British Commander-in-Chief Major General Douglas Gracey came to know of the attack much later.
On October 27, 1947, Jinnah ordered General David Gracey to mobilize troops in Kashmir Valley. Gracey declined with a note that all British officers had a “stand-down order” from Supreme Commander Claude Auchinleck of British forces in India and Pakistan in the eventualities of war and conflict between the two countries. (Source)
The calculating, vacillating and clueless Maharaja
On October 24th, Maharaja Hari Singh asked for help from the Government of India. We have to remember here that before Jinnah had his government unleash the fury of the lashkars and Pak Army, Pakistan and Government of Kashmir had signed a Standstill agreement.
Of the 565 princely states, a few chose to remain independent. Kashmir was one of them. Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to rule his own kingdom. Between India and Pakistan, it was the latter, ironically, which interacted with the Kashmir’s Maharaja as the sovereign ruler of the state by signing the “Standstill Agreement”.
Pakistan’s reply meant that the Government of Pakistan recognized that the entire Kingdom of Kashmir (both Indian Kashmir and PoK of today) was an independent sovereign. That is why Pakistan was ready to deal with it in that respect. India, however, had not accepted Kashmir as an independent sovereign “country”.
On October 26th, 1947, the Maharaja left from Srinagar to Jammu.
As the Maharaja departed to Jammu, V.P. Menon went to the state guest house to get some sleep, but he did not sleep. He narrated: just as I was going to sleep, the Prime Minister Mahajan telephoned me to say that it was unsafe to stay any longer in the city. Both Prime Minister Mahajan and Menon went to Delhi on the first flight on the morning of October 26, and reached Safdarjung airport at about 8:00 am. V.P. Menon straight went to the defence meeting which started at 10:00 am. The Prime Minister Mahajan went to rest at the house of the then defense Minister, Baldev Singh. At about 12:45 pm, Defense Minister Baldev Singh came with the news that the decision had been taken to send two companies of Indian troops to Srinagar. V.P. Menon and Prime Minister Mahajan, soon after the meeting, took the plane to Jammu. On his arrival in Jammu, Menon found that Maharaja was still asleep. Menon woke Maharaja up and informed him about what happened at the Defence committee in Delhi. The Maharaja was ready to accede at once. (Source)
But Maharaja still wanted to play games. So he wrote a letter to Mountbatten telling him the sad state of Kashmir and how he wanted to take his time to decide. But the condition that Montbatten laid out before Hari Singh was “Accession before Assistance”. So that day - October 26th 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession.
If you see - Kashmir’s situation was a play of many actors. All of them acting out of their egos - Jinnah, Hari Singh, and Nehru. The lesser actors like VP Menon had their own game going.
Sardar Patel: a tale of reluctant but brilliant Iron-man
India is where she is today not because we did not have intelligent and powerful people but because those powerful people - like Sardar Patel abdicated the use of power when it was so necessary. Whatever the Sardar touched was made right. But he did not push himself enough to take charge of things. For example, even the decision to send troops to Srinagar was not being taken until Sardar Patel just closed the whole decision by giving his orders while Nehru kept looking on. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw has shared what happened in the Cabinet Meeting.
"At the morning meeting he handed over the (Accession) thing. Mountbatten turned around and said: "come on Manekji (He called me Manekji instead of Manekshaw), what is the military situation?'' I gave him the military situation, and told him that unless we flew in troops immediately, we would have lost Srinagar, because going by road would take days, and once the tribesmen got to the airport and Srinagar, we couldn''t fly troops in. "Everything was ready at the airport. As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God almighty, everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said, ''Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir, or do you want to give it away''. He (Nehru) said,'' Of course, I want Kashmir (emphasis in original). Then he (Patel) said ''Please give your orders''. And before he could say anything Sardar Patel turned to me and said, ''You have got your orders''."I walked out, and we started flying in troops at about 11 o''clock or 12 o''clock. (Source)
That is how Kashmir was saved! Of whatever could be.
When one is in a war, as most in politics are then it is not enough to be good or strong or influential. It is also important to be ruthlessly overpowering and strong. That is how Lee Kuan Yew salvaged Singapore.
That is why when people get all wound up about the concentration of power in Modi and Shah - remember, that if only Sardar Patel had had that sagacity, we would not have been in this situation at all. There is a time for respect and playing well and there is a time to take charge in a cesspool of egotistic idiots who can sell the country for their own interests.
How Hari Singh was treated and thrown away while Sheikh Abdullah was put on the pedestal in Kashmir amounts to betrayal of the erstwhile Maharaja, but the character of the Dogra Kings was not that great either. They effectively gutted an entire civilization for their own interests which they weirdly thought that they could save without being gulped by Pakistan.
For Pakistan to change its DNA on Kashmir is impossible. It started its first few days of independence with the belief that it was entitled to Kashmir, which it did not have.
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Tirupathi plans for Kashmir: The Administrative Council (AC), which met in Srinagar, under the chairmanship of Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, approved the proposal to allott 496 Kanal 17 Marla to the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) for the building of a Temple and its allied infrastructures, pilgrim amenities complex, Vedapatasala, spiritual/meditation centre, office, residential quarters and parking; on lease basis for a period of 40 years. In the future, there would be medical and educational facilities also in the campus. TTD, a board established by Government under the TTD Act, 1932 is a charitable organization of international repute with a proven track record of activities in the spiritual, cultural, social, and educational sphere. Its arrival in J&K will tap the tourism potential particularly pilgrim tourism in Jammu, the City of Temples, besides enhancing economic activities. (Source)
Delhi-Meerut Expressway: Those who travel between Delhi and Meerut are going to get some relief as the journey will be reduced to just 50 minutes. The Delhi-Meerut expressway will be opened for the public from April 1. Delhi-Meerut Expressway will pass through several cities of western Uttar Pradesh. People travelling from Delhi to Meerut, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, as well as people of Uttarakhand will also be able to take advantage of this. This expressway will connect Delhi Akshardham to Noida Mor, Ghazipur Murga Mandi- Indirapuram, Duda Heda, Dasna and the Eastern Peripheral expressway. (Source)
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SGPC on RSS: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) passed a resolution against Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh on Tuesday. In the resolution, SGPC alleged that RSS is suppressing the freedom of other religions and minorities. It further added that RSS wants to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, and condemned the alleged attempts of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh to make India a Hindu Rashtra. The resolution passed by the SGPC said that “for a long time now, religious freedom of other religions has been suppressed in the wake of the RSS’s move to make the country a Hindu Rashtra. Minorities are being targeted through direct and indirect intervention.” The resolution asked the Centre to protect all the religions in the country. (Source)
I highly value the views of this one thinker on Asian geopolitics - Kishore Mahbubani Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy , Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Here is his 2015 Albert H. Gordon Lecture at Harvard University on the topic “What Happens When China Becomes Number One?” It gets nauseatingly repetitive to listen to the “experts” from US and the West on the global geopolitics. For, there are different view points. And Mahbubani is refreshing.
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