Letters and Editorials 4920 Views by Ameer Tarin

I wish to be independent: Kashmir Maharaja

American historian Stanley Wolpert records first Indian Ambassador to Pakistan Sri Prakash´s statement that India should hand over Kashmir to Pakistan. Nehru´s, Wolpert mentions, sharp reaction saying "If we did anything of the kind our government would not last many days and there would be no peace....it would lead to war with Pakistan because of public opinion here and of war-like elements coming in control of our policy". Pandit Nehru, a visionary was wary of the danger for perpetrators of Gujarat carnage and Gandhi’s assassins to come to power in India.

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in his article Independence Day for Kashmir published by Times of India states that "On August 15, India celebrated independence from the British. But Kashmiris staged a bandh demanding independence from India. A day symbolising the end of colonialism in India became a day symbolising Indian colonialism in the Valley (Kashmir)". Aiyar further adds "We promised Kashmir a plebiscite six decades ago. Let us hold one now, and give them three choices: independence, union with Pakistan, and union with India. Almost certainly the Valley will opt for independence. Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India and Pakistan".

Kashmir at the moment is not fighting India but the mindset guided by hindutva nostalgia. But Kashmir believes India to be a home to majority of Jaiprakash Narayans, Justice Tarkundes, Arundhati Roys, P Chidambarams, Digvijay Singhs and millions more who believe in human and political rights of people at large. Since there is no dearth of right thinking people in India with an honest perception of Kashmir quandary, more are joining in to stress the point that basic political rights of the people of Kashmir must be respected and their legitimate rights accorded as per promises made by the international community, UN and political leaders of India.

It is generally believed that if Sheikh Abdullah were a seasoned politician and would not put all his eggs in Nehru´s basket; would wait to keep Maharaja engaged in domestic politics allowing him to rule as sovereign head of the state especially when international support was visible. Maharaja continuing as head of the state, a strategy evolved would culminate into a situation that would leave Kashmir undisturbed both by India and Pakistan and Pathan invasion, as believed, would have been out of question. As is evident Maharaja Hari Singh was sacrificed to rope in Sheikh Abdullah and at the same time retained Maharaja´s heir-apparent Yuvraj Karan Singh who delivered initially as Sadr-e-Riyasat (President) and later as Governor of Kashmir.

Ved Pratap Vaidik Indian journalist, a freelance columnist joining millions of other Indian like minded philanthropists stated that "there is no harm if Kashmir is made an independent nation". Braving the wrath of hardliner extremist forces, Vaidik said that "both India and Pakistan should stop fighting over Kashmir, should work to build a bridge rather than a gorge and make it an independent nation".

In an open letter to Prime Minister Modi, another well known journalist Santosh Bhartiya, accompanied by associates the likes of journalist Ashoke Wankhade, senior political journalist and a research scholar Prof. Abhay Dubey, on his recent visit to Kashmir gives an account of his shocking experience and describes what he observed in the following words: "I am in a state of restlessness after returning from the Valley (Kashmir). No matter the land of Kashmir is with us and as in our army´s control but the people of Kashmir are not with us. I believe this situation would lead us to the disastrous massacre situation.

Bhartiya further adds "To my understanding, there is no such thing called as "Separatists Movement", it is actually a revolution of every common man of Kashmir that has taken a shape of mass-movement. During night people sleep with the doubt of pathos that anytime the military and security forces will enter their homes to pick them up, and they will never ever return to their homes. Such a situation was never witnessed in our history, not even during the times of British Rule.

If people of Kashmir are not with us then what are we going to do with bare land of Kashmir. Do you ever assume that you will be remembered as a ruthless Prime Minister who didn’t bother to stop the massacres? Why the pellets and bullets are shot above the waist in Kashmir only? Why you need to shoot a six- year-old child? Why a six-year-old child and our own local police are against us? We actually wept by seeing the bleeding condition of Kashmir".

The official position of United States, other world powers and United Nations have always been that Kashmir is an issue needing a solution but India´s sensitivities based on unreasonable arguments makes it rather hard to bring her on the negotiating table. International community hesitates to force third party mediation as long as, under the circumstances, India rejects it.

Prime Minister Modi believes that world community approves or even ignores the inhuman methods like rampant killings; pellet guns blinding hundreds, rapes, torching paddy fields, orchards and razing properties. Turning Kashmir upside down has not broken the will of people and the ongoing resistance is worrisome for Modi govt; forcing it to introduce newer forms of atrocities to subdue the hapless populace.

Lord Mountbatten visited Kashmir in June 1947 to persuade Maharaja Hari Singh to join any of the two dominions India or Pakistan and in this connection Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre in their book Freedom at Midnight on page 209 record the following conversation between Lord Mountbatten and the last ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh.

´I don‘t want to accede to Pakistan on any account,´ Hari Singh answered. Well,´ Mountbatten said, ´it is up to you, but I think you should consider it very carefully since after all 90% of your people are Moslem. But, if you don´t, then you must join India. In that case, I will see that an infantry division is sent up here to preserve the integrity of your boundaries.´

´No,´ replied the Maharaja, ´I don’t wish to join India either. .´


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