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Symbol of Unity

 
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National Demand
1938

Legal Document No 62

As is now well known there is a nation-wide movement afoot among the people of Jammu and Kashmir State, to bring about a complete change in the social and political outlook of the people. This Movement is not confined to any particular community or section of the public but all classes of people have begun participating in it with the fullest consciousness of the issues it involves. But we do make it perfectly clear at the very outset that our loyalty to His Highness' person and throne is unswerving and needs no reiteration.

The ultimate political goal of this movement is the achievement of the complete responsible government under the aegis of His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur. But as sponsors of this national movement, we feel that it is our bounder duty to acquaint all our countrymen as also others who are interested in it of the immediate objective we have in view.

Our Movement is essentially a movement of peace and good-will. Immediately, it aims at securing the elementary -and basic rights of citizenship. It shall certainly try to bring about such a state of affairs in this country as would make it possible for even the humblest subject of His Highness to contribute to the making of his own destinies. Our demands are modest, but they have the force of reason and justice behind them. Not that we are not conscious of our limitations; not that we are not fully aware of the fact that the Government knows its mind and has resources as its disposal to enforce its w ill. But in the soul-stirring words of Pandit Moti Lal Nehru: "However much we may be enfeebled in body, our souls have never been nor will ever be killed." Our Movement has a gigantic urge behind it. It is the urge of hunger and starvation which propels it onwards in most adverse circumstances.

The ever-growing menace of unemployment amongst our educated young men and also among the illiterate masses in the country, the incidence of numerous taxes, the burden of exorbitant land-revenue, the appalling waste of human life due to want of adequate modern medical assistance, the miserable plight of uncared-for thousands of labourers outside the state boundaries and in face of all this the patronage that is being extended by the Government in the shape of subsidies end other amenities to outside capitalists as also the top-heavy administration that daily becomes heavier, point to only one direction that the present conditions can never be better as long as a change is not made in the basic principles that are underlying the present system of Government.

Our cause is both righteous, reasonable and just. We want to be the makers of our own destinies and we want to shape the ends of things according to our choice, of course, under the august patronage of His Highness. This we cannot do, so long as a healthy change is not effected in the present system of Government. We have also come to the conclusion that without such a change it is impossible for the communities individually or the country collectively to progress. We are, therefore, of this firm belief that the Government of His Highness should, before long, be modified on the following li yes:

  1. the present system of administration i n the State shall be replaced by Responsible Government subject to the general control and residuary powers of His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur as hereinafter mentioned;
  2. the Ministry shall be responsible to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature and shall have, subject to such responsibility power to control the expenditure of the revenues of the State and also to make such grants and appropriation of any part of those revenues or of any other property which is at present under the control or disposal of the Council as reserved expenditure, save and except the following which shall remain under the control of His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur: (1) Expenditure of the Military Services (2) Expenditure classed Political and Foreign (3) Payments of all debts and liabilities hitherto lawfully contracted and incurred by His Highness-in-Council on account of Government of Kashmir (4) The Dharmath Trust;
  3. the principle of responsibility to the Legislature shall be introduced in all the branches of administration of the Government subject to general control, reservations and residuary powers vested in His Highness in respect of control of Military, Foreign and Political Affairs etc., provided that the proposal of His Highness for appropriations of any revenues or monies for Military or other expenditure for Foreign and Political purposes shall be submitted to the vote of the Legislature, but that His Highness shall have power notwithstanding the vote of the Assembly to appropriate up to a fixed maximum any sum His Highness may consider necessary for such expenditure;
  4. the Legislature shall consist entirely of members elected by constituencies formed on the system of the adult franchise. Provision should be made for the representation of labour, trade, landlords and educational interests in the Legislature by means of election;
  5. the election to the Legislature shall be made on the basis of joint-electorates; seats should be reserved for the minorities, and all other safeguards and weightages should be guaranteed to them in the constitution for the protection of their legitimate linguistic, religious, cultural, political and economic rights according to the principles enunciated, accepted or acted upon by the Indian National Congress from time to time. In addition to the above the religious rights and sentiments of all the communities should always be respected and not interfered with;
  6. all the subjects of the State, without distinction of creed and caste shall be admitted for services in all armies of defence and for that purpose His Highness shall be assisted by a Minister responsible to the Assembly; and
  7. no subject of His Highness shall be liable to suffer in liberty, life, property or of associations and free speech or in respect of writing except under sentence by an ordinary court of justice and as a result of lawful and open trial.
All this cannot be given for the mere asking. It requires wise statesmanship from the side of the Government. Our earnest desire is to avoid a strife. Let the Government make an announcement accepting the above principles and if His Highness' Government is pleased to discuss these principles with us we shall certainly and whole-heartedly co-operate for this purpose. We are sure that if this is done there will reign peace all around.

(Sd.) Sh. Mohammad Abdullah, the President of the Kashmir Muslim Conference
(Sd.) M.M. Sayeed, Member Kashmir Assembly
(Sd.) G.M. Sadiq, Member Kashmir Assembly
(Sd.) Main Ahmad Yar, Member Kashmir Assembly
(Sd.) M.A. Beg, Member Kashmir Assembly
(Sd.) Pandit Kashyay Bhandu, Editor, The Kesari
(Sd.) Pandit Prem Math Bazaz
(Sd.) S. Budh Singh
(Sd.) Pandit Jia Lal Kilam
(Sd.) Ghulam Mohammad Bakshi
(Sd.) Pandit Sham Lal Saraf
(Sd.) Dr. Pandit Shambhoo Nath Peshin

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