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Inception, Introspection

In History, Human Rights, India, Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 18 February, 2011 at 6:33 pm

There one skill that we, the Kashmiris, as a nation, can always claim to have: protesting.

We protested the Gujarat riots, the hanging of Saddam Hussein (who, as India’s ally and friend, always stood against Kashmir & Pakistan. 98% of the Iraqis won’t even know what or where Kashmir is). Global events or not, news or rumors, true or wrong, by our own free will or under the cloud of threats and warnings, with or without consequences for Kashmir, we have stood up for every invitation to protest by anybody and everybody who either is somebody or a nobody. We have emerged as one of the finest protesting nation in the history of the world. Kashmir, let alone the issue of Kashmir, might not be well known globally, but we have given the world the Islamic Rage Boy. In the early 90’s Read the rest of this entry »

Kashmir Strikes Back

In History, India, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 19 August, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Truth has always been relative to a people’s a belief. Truth for one nation is sacrilege for another. This has been true for Kashmir since forever. The Truth about Kashmir has taken such contours and colours for the people of India – that it is nothing less than blasphemy for the People of Kashmir. The Indian people have always wanted to see the Truth about Kashmir by eyes that have been blinded by a pride in their country, a pride that is build on rhetoric rather than reality – perhaps doing that does not weight down too heavily on their consciousness.

Kashmir = Terrorism / Kashmiri = Terrorist

Two words from a dictionary, Terrorism and Terrorists is the metamorphosis of a Nation – Kashmir and a living and bleeding people – the Kashmiris, for the Government, the People and the Media of India. The blood of Kashmiri people keeps safe the so-called integrity of the India, the largest Daemon-cracy of the World. The BLind INdian meDIA (Blindia) has always seen, heard and reported the plight of Kashmir with its blind eyes, deaf ears and biased radio waves. This all, coupled with the image of a vibrant and thriving Tourism (which has never been the largest bread-and-butter earner for a Kashmiri as has always been purported) and a (defunct) Peace Process in Place has helped the Indian Government unleash a reign of terror unseen elsewhere. Oppression, torture, disappearances, maiming, raping and genocide (Yes, Genocide) has continued abated for two decades.

Indira, The Slave of Delhi, The Peace Process And A Spark

The blame of the Kashmir problem is shared by many shoulders: the British, the Governments of the Dominions of India and Pakistan, the Right Wing Hindu Groups (ever since JanSangh), the Muslim Conference (later National Conference), Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi, Nehru, Jinnah, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah. One of these names stands the tallest. It was none other than Indira Gandhi whose earnest desire to control the State Of Jammu and Kashmir, in a similar manner as the provinces of India, that destroyed the straw-strong relationship of India and Kashmir. Her reign saw bullying and imprisonment (following the foot steps of  her father Nehru) of one of the strongest ever democratically elected Kashmiri Leaders – Sheikh Abdullah and thereafter leading an appointed and dictated to democracy in Kashmir after throwing the Kashmir State Flag to tatters (revocation of Autonomy).

Even the creation of Bangladesh, an extension of Kashmir politics, did not satiate her. Was it the fear of losing Kashmir to Pakistan that made her act this way? We will never know but indeed it was one of her progenies during the emergency who attempted to do what she did and he failed as miserably as she had (Kashmir never saw peace even after the revocation of Autonomy). Two decades behind bars may have broken the will of Sheikh Abdullah and he may have joined hands with her (Sheikh Abdullah would later consider his ‘coalition’ with Indira as the greatest mistakes of his life) but force and the nozzles of Kalashnikovs can never suppress the desire of a Nation to be free!

Oppression in different forms is the tool Congress has been using to suppress Kashmiris. When Congress dispatched its loyal than the King slave (Mufti Sayeed of PDP had laid the carpet), Ghulam – e –Dilli (Slave of Delhi, Ghulam nabi Azad), to Kashmir, its policy was in act once again and it was hopeful of reigning in Kashmir for good. The mistrust of the Kashmiri people, whose seeds were sown by Indira Gandhi, had grown into a full fledged plant and Congress, wrongly thought, that use of force and non-force in subtle and not so subtle manners was the best way to quell the rising.

The Peace Process, initiated by the BJP, acted as a decent cover for the Congress. The Peace Process was a celebration,  it was a time to rejoice and bask in the glory of the good relations India and Pakistan were developing. People were flying in and out of Kashmir. A lot was going down in the name of Kashmir: Indian and Pakistani actors kissing on screen were claiming to be doing so for Peace; Sufi Singers flew in, sang a song or two and talked about the essence of peace and how music helps further peace; Journalists from Pakistan flew in, talked to and listened to Kashmir University students and never wrote back what they heard; Ambassadors of exotic countries teed off at the Royal Spring Golf Course, shared a joke or two and talked about the beauty of Kashmir; Junoon’s concert in Srinagar was supposedly aimed at Peace in the South Asian sub-continent.

The blood of a hundred thousand Kashmiris had been treaded on for long by politicians; the Peace Process gave a lot more people a chance to do the same, for personal glory and fame. The Peace Process was never meant for the Kashmiri people in the first place.  The Peace Process, the Healing Touch and the Confidence Building Measures never made an iota of difference to the lives of Kashmiri people.

While all these abbreviations (CBM etc. etc.) were being thrown around the hapless people of Kashmir were seeing no real progress and no hope. The atrocities within the cities had reduced visibly but not in reality. Villages saw no respite at all, mortars turned more homes into rubble than ever, people kept disappearing and custodial death was still not news for Kashmir. As the International Media got stuck with covering Sufi Concerts, killings of an unprecedented nature took place in Kashmir:  young boys aged 8 thru 14 were shot dead; a 19 year old tortured with hot iron rods and killed; a young man was frisked and immediately shot (the personnel were later rewarded 100,000); a 75 year old man was brutally attacked by an ambush party; a handicapped person, limping his way home, was murdered. All these were dubbed Mistaken Identity Killing, but how does one mistake an 8 or 75 year old to a militant or for that matter a person limping home! While Kashmiris were killed, the CRPF and the Army was being praised, rewarded and supported by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister  once claimed that less people died in Kashmir by bullets compared to the road accidents elsewhere! He even had the audacity to compare the number of women raped in Kashmir and elsewhere. Oppression grew in a well planned manner: the killings were solitary, targeted and always of innocent people. Protests would roar and then ebb out as they were dealt with strongly. Sadly each incident was forgotten by the people. To keep the people distracted, development of no real importance was undertaken at amazing speed and the people, for some time, fell to it: an Amusement park was constructed; gardens to which entry was restricted earlier were opened up; forts were lighted up and a large (allegedly one of the largest in the world) tulip garden was laid! At the same time changes in the administration were being effected: Non- Kashmiris now held all the top executive decision making posts in Kashmir, this was akin to the pre-90’s Kashmir, when Kashmiri Pandits were appointed to all executive decision making posts. Fear was being instilled into the people’s minds and by appointing Non-Kashmiris the government was firming its grip on Kashmir. The obvious resistance indeed decreased in Kashmir.

One is reminded of Niccolo Machiavelli’s words:

“…remember that as resistance decreases, suppression increases and the peace offered by suppressive regimes is often no more than the peace of prison or of the grave…”

However a people, any people, can only be lured by fake promises of peace, of progress and of development for so long. The desperation was growing, a burst out had to happen, the people did realise that the peace offered by suppressive regimes is no more than the peace of grave, all that was needed was a spark and the Land Transfer and the Economic Blockade provided just that.

A Few Hectares Of Land

The transfer of a few hectares of land being transferred was not the issue (there were some issues associated with the land transfer which I will talk about in a later post), as I pointed out the desperation had grown to such a peak that it just needed a spark and the land transfer provided just that akin to the rigged elections of 1987. As much as the BJP, the VHP and the people of Jammu tried, they failed in giving the protests a communal colour as not a single Yatri was harmed inKashmir, unlike the burning of Kashmiris elsewhere; which in itself is a testimony to the character of Kashmiris and their real demand. The protests were so spontaneous and evolved in such a massive and disciplined manner that even the Hurriyat was taken aback and they definitely had no plan to direct the protests in the beginning. The APHC might have thought, and in some ways rightly so, that the protests would die out like all the others in the past, but that did not happen this time. Even though no strike call was given by APHC, the people spontaneously came out on streets demanding the revocation of the order. The order was revoked and the government of the day had to resign. There was jubilation in the air for some time. Since the Land Transfer was never the issue, Kashmir was back on the streets, this time arguably against the economic blockade but as the protests grew the people forgot and ignored the land transfer, the economic blockade and demanded no roads and no electricity.

The people demanded just one thing: Freedom. And its hundreds of thousands of people out on streets day and night.

A group of people, holding a big banner inside the TRC ground, had a clear message that was making rounds inside the ground: “No jobs. No roads. No gardens. No financial packages—we want freedom.”

Perhaps the most telling placard carried by a quiet youngster, sitting in one corner of the ground, had a message of revolution in Kashmir. “You can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill a revolution”.

Greater Kashmir

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Not Even An All Weather Road Existed!

In History, India, Kashmir, Politics on 12 July, 2007 at 7:28 am

A comment by Umar Sheikh on the Jashn-e-Azadi blog:

Recently I was invited for dinner by a very hospitable Kashmiri Pundit family and while discussing Kashmir issue, their grandmother, who was around 80 years, broke down in tears and said to me that she will prefer to be in Kashmir in whatever condition rather than in India, she further added that we have nothing in common with India.

These words resonated in my mind and reminded me of a great Kashmiri Pundit leader, Ram Chandra Kak, a great Archaeologist and Prime minister of Kashmir who laid the foundation stone for Independent Kashmir and always advised Maharaja against joining India. He wanted Kashmiris to be free, independent, and masters of their own destiny.

After Maharaja signed Instrument of Accession under duress, he was charged for treason by the Indian Government and immensely humiliated during his court hearings and sent to jail for several years. After his release he retired from politics but always dreamt of Independent Kashmir. His political contribution towards Independent Kashmir is conveniently glossed over by Kashmiri Pundit scholars.

I found many in this forum asserting that Kashmir was always part of India without realising the fact that before 1947 Kashmir was not even connected to India by all weather road.

You may also want to read How Mahatma Gandhi Stalled Kashmir’s Independence.

Is Hope Still Alive?

In History, Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, People, Politics on 28 February, 2007 at 12:16 pm

The surfacing of the reality behind the recent fake encounter was not news for Kashmir. It’s been happening since 1989. The wounds of the Gaw Kadal massacre, the Sopore massacre and the Paribas Killings are still fresh in the minds of Kashmiris. Though Indians have shown sympathy towards the exodus of Kashmiris Pandits, which was a human tragedy, but they have always considered the wailings of the Kashmiris as propaganda. We are not talking about militants killed in an encounter. We are talking about innocents like Ghulam Hassan Padroo One Of The Four Boys Killed In Feb 2006 By The Army. Later Tagged As Mistaken Identity and the 19 year old boy who have been killed for the crime of being Kashmiris. In India it has become a crime to be a Kashmiri. God save a Kashmiri if he is unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. A year back, on 24th February, four innocent children aged 8, 10, 18 and 18 were shot dead by the army in Kupwara. Somehow, as usual, the Indian media missed the news and as usual the army tagged the deaths as mistaken identity? How can a four year old be mistaken for a militant in broad day light? Quite recently a handicapped singer was shot on spot, without any provocation, by an army personnel, who later on claimed something to the effect that it was his (the singer’s) time to die! Just like Bush, God spoke with him too. This is the reality that Kashmiris have to live with and they do.

Sakooter writes about the epidemic of fake encounters that plagues Kashmir:

Over the past 18 years in Kashmir, thousands of people — civilians, who had no arms, vulnerable and weak — have disappeared. Many many amongst these have been killed in the so called “fake encounters” where in lieu of promotion, pride, power — men have killed men.

And the ones that are killed die.

Leaving dead and dying lives

What if the dead could rise up and open up the dark secrets that the murderers keep?

A sense of despair overwhelms one on seeing an entire nation turn blind to the sufferings of millions of people. However, somewhere in the dark, sometimes, one sees a tiny glimmer of hope. Hope indeed is never dead.

Pamela Philipose, of Indian Express, in her article J&K’s bodies of evidence has dared to pose a question to India

If Nithari, a village in Noida, has today become a byword for evil and institutional culpability, why should the anonymous villages of south Kashmir not hold a similar resonance?

She writes about the Gaw Kadal massacre and also nullifies Azad’s claim that Paddar’s killing was revealed because the government had already promised to punish all those found involved in innocent killings

The Azad government boasts that it took these vows extremely seriously and that is why incidents like the Paddar murder have come to light. In actual terms, if it weren’t for the persistence of Paddar’s family in trying to trace him, and the overconfidence of his killers who sought to pocket his mobile phone, this case too would have rested quietly in the grave.

On the Indian blogosphere also there are now quite some Indians who are daring to be different. Who are seeing beyond what the government would want them to see. Sujai has blogged extensively about Kashmir and has also come up with a solution to the Kashmir problem. Horizon Speaks and Manas are actively discussing Kashmir the way it should be: with an open mind.

Horizon Speaks writes about the recent fake encounter

The news of Fake Encounters really shaked my heart. From today onwards, I won’t be at the same mood seeing ‘routine’ killing of militants in Kashmir. As it was in the case of ‘Abu Hafiz’, the LeT Commander. Army sources told us that he was killed an ‘encounter’ with SOG (Special Operations Group) on 8th December. And the person who actually killed him, got an award of 120,000Rs (almost US$ 2700).

The conflict in Kashmir has been dragging on for 17 long years and very rarely have we seen an Indian feeling the pain of Kashmir as Pamela observes

Events in Jammu and Kashmir are perceived by the rest of the country as if through the wrong end of the telescope. The existing distance between the country and the state always ends up magnified, and crucial developments playing out in the region appear emptied out of their significance.

This has held true for Kashmir for too long. Maybe it will change. Maybe the change will remain limited to a small minority. Another Indian Blogger, Pr3rna , has also blogged about Paddar’s fake encounter. Even though Pr3rna has condemned the incident but Pr3rna expresses the same view, which most Indians, wrongly, hold.

The root cause of Kashmir issue was and we still believe, is- foreign militants or militants trained by Pakistan.

The present state of Kashmir is a consequence of its history. If the root cause of the Kashmir problem were the militants trained by Pakistan, the 0.7 Million strong army of India should have had no problem in containing and terminating the 2000 or so militants that presently operate in the valley; as Paul rightly comments in response to Pr3rna

I think the ‘root cause’ of Kashmir problems is not militants, that is an effect of the cause

Kashmiris Propaganda?

Pr3rna thinks that Manas has fallen into the Kashmiris Propaganda trap.

You have also fallen to the Kashmir propaganda.

1942 Soviet propaganda poster by Viktor Koretsky [public domain picture]

For quite some time now, the term Kashmiris Propaganda has become popular. This blog has been branded a propaganda machine for highlighting the innocent deaths. Maybe Kashmiris should suffer the death of their people in silence, maybe that’s what a lot of people want. But it is not going to happen. This blog (and blogroll) is an attempt to tell the truth, to whoever is listening.

According to wikipedia the techniques of propaganda transmission include

Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters.

Let us ask some questions and attempt to answer them.

How much time does an Indian spend on reading newspapers published from Kashmir in a day?

Not a second. Majority won’t know of the existence of newspapers published from Kashmir, let alone read them. If they did, they would know a lot more about the army in Kashmir than what the Jai Jawaan program tells them. They would know a lot more than just knowing that Shah Rush Khan was performing in Kargil. They would know about the bullets that destroy innocent homes.

How much time does an Indian spend on listening to the news blasting from Kashmiri/separatist owned radio stations or watching the propaganda ads, movies and documentaries playing 24X7 on Kashmiris separatist owned television channels?

Not a second, since the Kashmiris/separatists own/control no such media.

W hen was the last time an Indian student read about the history of Kashmir doctored by the Islamists Militancy Inc. of Kashmir?

Never. None exist.

H ow many leaflets and posters does an Indian come across that spoke of the atrocities of the army in Kashmir?

Never.

All an Indian reads, watches, discusses is what that the Government presents to him. The Indian newspapers, the Indian media, the Indian Bollywood, the Indian channels and the Indian books! We can also safely make the observation that an Indian never comes across Kashmiris propaganda through the aforementioned sources. What could then be the source of this Propaganda? It could either be the sixth sense that the Kashmiris have or the Kashmiris could be capable of producing invisible waves which infect the minds of Indians with Kashmiri propaganda. Take your pick!

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New Strategy: The Solution Of Kashmir!

In History, Human Rights, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 27 January, 2007 at 4:31 pm

The end of armed struggle

As a good will gesture for the increased army deployment, continuing human-rights violations, custodial and enforced disappearances, massacres , rapes, daily humiliation and increased frisking of the Kashmiris (even women) by the Indian forces in Kashmir, the Mirwaiz has offered ‘to end the armed struggle.’

“We have already seen the results of our fight on the political, diplomatic and military fronts which have not achieved anything other than creating more graveyards.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

A bold and unpopular decision

Earlier, in a meeting breakfast with the APHC leaders, PML chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said: “Time has come for a bold decision, even if it is an unpopular one.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

An unpopular decision for whom? An unpopular decision for the people of Pakistan and India will be acceptable but an unpopular decision for the people of Kashmir is not a bold decision but a sell out. A sell out which will have far reaching consequences.

The new strategy

The Mirwaiz has claimed that political, diplomatic and military fronts have yield nothing. True. By saying so, the Chairman has accepted the failure of Hurriyat as it is Hurriyat which has always been claiming to be the political and diplomatic front of the Kashmiri struggle. A graceful solution for their failure would be to step down but since their personal interests reign supreme they won’t do that, instead they have offered a new solution. The solution is packed in a box called ‘new strategy,’ earlier it was packed in a box called United States of Kashmir.

He said with their new strategy they would convince India to arrive at a more agreeable settlement.

courtesy of greater kashmir

The new strategy involves forming of two working groups on both sides of the loc to facilitate the peace process.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the government of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) on Saturday decided to set up two working groups, one each on both sides of the Line of Control (loc), to facilitate the peace process.

courtesy of greater kashmir

Forming of working groups does not sound like a military solution but it sure does sound like a political and diplomatic method. So, what’s different in it? Confidence Building Measures are already in place between India and Pakistan and those have brought no respite to the common Kashmiri. Even a cursory look at the events will show that life for a Kashmiri has become tougher ever since India and Pakistan have shook hands. Not only is life tougher for a Kashmiri in Kashmir but it has also become difficult elsewhere in India with a Kashmiri being arrested for every possible ‘terrorist’ crime and that goes well with the Indian media and the people of India, who have chosen to blind their eyes to the truth about Kashmir. The only truth about Kashmir they are ready to listen to is the Indian Army’s version of the truth in Kashmir.

The Mirwaiz has already declared the failure of these methods in the past and the same should be expected of the latest strategy, as it is just another road map for the solution of Kashmir. India can never be convinced without massive opposition from the people of Kashmir. Kashmir needs a powerful mass uprising from the people to end this debacle.

The opposition

The UJC has voiced some sensible opposition. What is surprising about the UJC is that they have chosen to rope in Sheikh Abdullah and have even called him the most popular and towering personality of Kashmir. Forever he has been called a traitor by these people, why a change of heart? Maybe they now realise that Kashmir has never and probably will never see a leader like Sheikh. Maybe now they understand that Sheikh was not the traitor they have always painted him as.

When GoI could push the most popular and towering Kashmiri politician like Sheikh Abdullah to the wall, then what is the worth of Hurriyat (M)

courtesy of greater kashmir

Shabir Ahmad Shah, Chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP): “I don’t agree with Mirwaiz Sahib saying that gun has not given anything to us. It is due to the sacrifices of Mujahideen that Kashmir issue has been highlighted.”

The kudos

Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Sunday congratulated Mirwaiz Moulana Umar Farooq and his colleagues for ‘their bold statement against violence and in favour of peace and dialogue’

Ali Muhammad Sagar, former minister and senior National Conference leader: “ It seems they have realized that nothing will come out from the game of death and destruction, and Kashmir issue can only be resolved through a dialogue.

Ghulam Hassan Mir, former minister and senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): “We welcome Mirwaiz’s statement. It is definitely a positive change and it will prove fruitful for the people of Kashmir. We have always maintained that gun won’t solve the Kashmir issue and it seems separatists too have realized it.

India’s continued hypocrisy

Pointing towards the Sunday’s statement of the chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad wherein he had hailed Mirwaiz’s statement asking militants to give up arms, Sagar said, “If some one is showing sincerity and honesty, he should be responded with honesty and sincerity. He has given number of statements which are correlated and you should not pick and choose the statements in accordance with your own interests.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

The euphoria

In his euphoria, the Mirwaiz has forgotten the Gaw Kadal Massacre in which fifty-two unarmed civilians were shot dead by the Indian forces and nearly 250 were wounded. One young man, Abdul Rauf Wani, took the bullets of an entire magazine from a soldier in a heroic attempt to save a few lives.

Elsewhere, the state BJP chief has asked that the flag of Kashmir be brought down . The flag of Kashmir is the last symbolic proof of Kashmir’s special status.

Kashmir needs a Shiekh Abdullah!

How Mahatma Gandhi Stalled Kashmir’s Independence.

In History, Kashmir, Politics on 25 June, 2006 at 7:12 pm

M. K. Gandhi, pioneer and perfector of Satyagraha – the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, played a very shadowy role in the politics of Kashmir. He was successful in preventing the Maharaja of Kashmir from declaring independence and thus paved the way for a forceful accession of Kashmir.

The events of the summer of 1947 reveal astonishing facts about Gandhi and thus his role in the present conflict of Kashmir, a conflict that has the potential of sparking a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Hari Singh, the Maharaja (King) of Kashmir, loathed the Indian National Congress and wanted to stay independent of both India and Pakistan. He asked for a standstill agreement from India and Pakistan so as to be able to pursue his goal of an independent Kashmir. Pakistan signed the standstill agreement but India did not, giving an indication of India’s intentions on Kashmir.

Nehru acutely aware of these facts wanted to visit Kashmir to be able to pressurize the Maharaja to accede to India. Nehru claimed that he wanted to visit Kashmir to obtain the release of Sheikh Abdullah, who was put under arrest by the Maharaja. However, Joseph Korbel gives us matter for thought:

But, one wonders whether Nehru was interested in Abdullah’s personal welfare – devoid of political implications – at a time when the Subcontinent boiled with insurrection and thousands of people were being killed.

Joseph Korbel, Danger in Kashmir, p. 60

Lord Mountbatten, the Viceroy of India, did not approve of Nehru’s visit and offered to visit himself. He visited Kashmir on 18th June 1947, and stayed there for four days. Lord Mountbatten was unable to have a proper discussion with the Maharaja, as the Maharaja did not wish to be influenced and advised about the fate of his land and people. It is strange that the Dogra King, whose reign was one of the cruelest, did not accede to India immediately, based on his religion, but tried to stay independent. Was this an attempt to give back something good to his people? or were his intentions purely selfish?

Lord Mountbatten’s visit was followed by the visit of Lord Haslings Ismay, who was the Chief of Staff to Lord Mountbatten. Both of these proved an utter failure as far as obtaining a surety from the Maharaja that he would not declare independence. This upset Nehru and he wanted to visit Kashmir himself. Sardar Patel strongly disapproved of this visit but on Nehru’s insistence, he agreed to let Gandhi visit Kashmir, which he thought would be ‘lesser of the two evils.’ Mistrust of Gandhi was already on the rise among the Muslims of India.

As Campbell Johnson noted:

Both Nehru and Gandhi have been very anxious that the maharaja of Kashmir should make no declaration of independence.

Campbell Johnson, Mission with Mountbatten, p. 117

To clear this anxiety Gandhi visited Kashmir by the end of July, 1947. The windows of his car were shattered in Baramullah, where an angry crowd protested his visit. Nevertheless, he was to go ahead and obtain a cure for his and Nehru’s anxiety: a guarantee of Maharaja’s accession to India.

The Times, London, reported:

“… But the Union of India has been taking a lively interest in the subject and indications are that the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, Sir Hari Singh, has lately been much influenced by representations made by Gandhi who visited Kashmir three months ago and by other congress leaders.”

The Times, London, October 25th 1947

What exactly did Gandhi tell the Maharaja? We will never know, but the chain of events that followed his visit is an indicator of what must have happened. After his visit, the Prime Minister of Kashmir, Ram Chandar Kak, who had no inclination towards India was replaced by Janak Singh and then by the Indian loyalist, Mehr Chand Mahajan. The British officers in the Kashmir Army and Police were dismissed including the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of the General Staff. Orders for construction of a bridge over the Ravi River, near Pathankot, to allow connectivity between India and Jammu and Kashmir were issued. The road between Jammu and Kathua was improved and a telegraph line was constructed between Jammu and the valley. This was all possible because of assistance from India.

Gandhi obtained the cure for his anxiety, but the people of Kashmir have suffered anxiety ever since. Gandhi, the man of peace, brought misery to the men of Kashmir. It is interesting that after all this lobbying; the Maharaja still did not sign the instrument of accession. The British Historian Alistair Lamb, in his book, falsifies the Indian claim of the signing of the instrument accession by the Maharaja.

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