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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Speech made by Pandit Fotedar on Kashmir

Debate on 7/8/1952

Pandit Fotedar (J&K)

With your permission, Sir, I rise to contribute my estimate on the speech of the Prime Minister regarding Kashmir and submit the same to the wisdom of this Parliament to be considered in a most cool, calm and calculated manner. Before I bring myself to the points raised by my hon’ble colleague Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, I would like to say...

Mr Deputy-Speaker: The hon’ble member may stop a while, for a couple of minutes. There is too much of noise in the House. Order, Even the smallest noise is carried over by the mike. The hon’ble member may come to the front.

Pandit Fotedar: It is lamentably disquieting to observe that at a moment when we have got to reckon with an unscrupulous enemy to whom nothing is sacred, at a moment when the war-clouds are again threatening on the horizon, at a moment when every endeavour ought to be made by all the parties in India to consolidate their ranks and to forget their differences in order to develop our country, at a moment when our case is being discussed at the very top level at Geneva, at a moment when our Armies are facing each other, and at a moment when we are on a war path, it is most lamentable to observe that the floor of this great Parliament should be converted into an arena for the creation of fissiparous tendencies and an emotional atmosphere which after all, is not going to do good to the cause for which we stand, cannot be conducive to the development of those sacred principles for which India and Kashmir stand, of the sacred principle of secularism for which we have struggled and suffered.

It is going to do no good, but it will only help and support Pakistan and our enemies. Jinnah, during his life time, in fact after the year 1944, when he was very much maltreated in Kashmir by the Muslims for his idealogy, wanted two things about Kashmir. One was, a isolation of Kashmir from India. The second was liquidation of Abdullahism. What Jinnah failed to achieve during his life time, what the Muslim League and Pakistan failed to achieve even through aggression, what they have all along been failing to achieve in spite of their tremendous efforts to get Kashmir away from India, today I find here in this Parliament, in the name of democracy, in the name of Hinduism, in the name of Bharat, all this is being achieved for Pakistan, and a homage of hearty flattery is being paid to Mr Jinnah and his revered memory. In this connection, I quote a couplet from a Persian poet who has said:

"Dil Kay Phapholey Jal Uthay Sinay Kay Dagh Say

Is Ghar Ko Aag Lag Gai Gar Kay Chiragh Say"

This great Parliament of India which is representatives of the teeming millions, owes to the nation, and to the country as also to the rising generation to give the right type of lead to the people at the most crucial hour of our evolutionary history. At the present moment, if we fail to discharge our duties towards the people, we will go down to posterity as people having committed political suicide, while of an unsound mind. I would like to refer this great Parliament to the struggle which the Kashmiris have put in for removing exploitation for feeding the poverty-stricken people and for doing away with autocracy for the last 20 years, and in this great struggle the people of Kashmir were helped, assisted and inspired by the India nation and particularly the Congress.

They had the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, and the guidance of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. When partition became a reality and when the tallest among us, my hon’ble friend Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee included, much against their wishes and under the storms and stress of circumstances bowed before the two-nation theory, there was only one place in India which stood in solitary glory and that was Kashmir which gave a challenge to the two-nation theory and also the diplomacy of the Britishers. When the two Punjabs and the whole of North India had flared up and the people indulged in activities which would degrade even the brute, and the communal tension mounted like an eruption where a human being could not recognise another human being, it was Kashmir alone which maintained communal harmony, there not even a single person was touched, although it became a sort of rendezvous for the refugees from the West Punjab and also the East Punjab.

When they passed through our State, nobody was touched and I know it for certain that nobody was touched. When our own borders flared up and Pakistan inspired Titanic hordes of medieval Barbarism were let loose on us, when the Maharaja left us not recognising his responsibility if not towards the Muslims at least towards the Hindu population, and left bag and baggage, with 85 lorry-loads of Rajputs and all his kith and kin, and his property, gold and other things, when the administrative machinery collapsed from within, and not a sentinel was to be seen anywhere, when the enemy was battering at our gates, when there were Muslims inside and Muslims outside, I would like to refer my hon’ble friend Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee to those three historic hectic days unparalleled in the history of the world, and put to him this question-what happened? How is it that the Muslims of Kashmir were kept back from falling into the lapse of Pakistan? What was it that prevented them from doing so? Today Sheikh Abdullah’s bona fides are being challenged and we are being called communalists and turncoats. It may be, but I would like to have the explanation, after discussing things. History does not repeat itself every time and often. It happened once, and it will go down in history in letters of gold that if there was on nation which was free from communalism under the current of India’s secularism, that was Kashmir and Kashmir alone. I would like to pose this question to my hon’ble friend: Was it the temptation of money from India? The Kashmiris were fighting for a doubtful cause. We had only one link with India, namely the air link. It is just possible that within 20 minutes, that link could have been captured. Then we would have been no more. My hon’ble friends Mr Chatterjee and Mr Deshpande would have seen that my sisters, daughters and mothers would have been sold for a pittance in the bazaars of Rawalpindi and Kisakhani.

It was not Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee or Mr Chatterjee or any Hindu stalwart that saved the chastity or my daughters and sisters in Kashmir. Sir, those days were memorable days. Those three days when the Indian soldiers had not touched the soil of Kashmir were hectic and memorable days. At that time we looked to the high sky thinking that an aeroplane would come, believing that Kashmir had always the blessings of India through the Congress. We looked to Sheikh Abdullah and the Hindus and Muslims clustered round him "Mere Kashmir Zindabad".

Those were days when any ordinary leadership would have collapsed. But then Sheikh Abdullah was there, a Muslim, why did he not go to Pakistan? Why should be come to Hindustan? There were 15 lakhs of Muslims there. And if the enemy would have got Kashmir, crossed Banihal and gone right into the heart of Jammu and reached Gurdaspur, then Gurdaspur would have been our borders, and not Uri and then your would not have had talks of Kashmir or Ladakh or Jammu very glibly as you do now. It is very easy to talk glibly of them now.

It is always very easy to be very wise after the event. But I would like to pose this question to my hon’ble friend. Why is it that Kashmir did not go to Pakistan? What kept it back from doing so? Was it the temptation of money? Was it to wreak a vengeance on Pakistan, was it madness? It was the love for secular democracy and our great experiment in the human philosophy which was going on in Kashmir for the last 20 years, it was our faith in the efficacy of the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi and in our economic programme and not the vituperations of the gravest kind, advanced by Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, it was our faith in the path shown by Gandhiji which was responsible for keeping back Kashmir from falling into the lapse of Pakistan that saved Kashmir which Kashmir has acceded to secular India and I may assure you that no amount of fulmination, no amount of intimidation or coercion will deflect us from that path which has been down to is by the Father of the Nation. Come what may, we will lay down our lives, but not leave that path of righteousness, truth and humanity.

Then I would like to refer to certain issues raised by my hon’ble friend, for whom I have great respect and regard, Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. He said some thing about giving Kashmir a special status, and very late in the day he though of it. In the year 1950, on the 25th January when you completed your constitution, you had a chapter on Transitory Provisions and Article 370 incorporated in the constitution, where you gave a special status to Kashmir. While it as said that the Congress and Panditji have always sold the conscience of Hinduism and Hindustan, I believe it was my hon’ble friend Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who gave this special status to Kashmir, during the making of the constitution. That special status was with regard to constitution-making. Have you conceded that right to any other state?

If not, what were the special consideration and weighty reasons which compelled even a person like Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who is so wise, so over-zealous a patriot and who seems to claim the monopoly of world’s patriotism to allow that clause to remain in the constitution? When you give me the right to make my own constitution, I become a sovereign for my own affairs. I would like to make known my own position once and for all; my position is like that of a daughter, who is a daughter in her mother’s house, but a mistress in her own, vis-a-vis the Republic of India and the Indian Constitution. It may be said that we may apply the entire Indian Constitution to Kashmir, and have all the fundamental rights. In fact, I would love such a thing.

But how is it going to constitute a solution for that great and basic position of ours, namely, that of determining the will of the people? If we do so, we would be raising a structure without completing the basis, which is the will of the people and staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.

Whether it was right or wrong, somehow the Instrument of Accession is there. The will of the people must be ascertained. We are committed before the people. My hon’ble friend Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee referred to Hyderabad. We may have made commitments, and I do not know whether we have kept us those pledges of ours or broken them up.

But with regard to Hyderabad, there was no other party with whom we had to reckon. In the case of Kashmir, the initiative is not only with us. It is there with Pakistan, and so it is with Kashmir and the United Nations. The Kashmir question is indissolubly linked up with the world affairs today that if you have to examine very calmly and coolly the Kashmir situation, you must try to understand the present day world politics. It has become an object of international attention and importance. We talk about Jammu glibly as we do here.

Pakistan may say ‘Now I would like to have Jammu, the whole of this thing or that thing’. ‘If you indiscreetly talk like that and say ‘We would like to have Jammu and we would like to have Ladakh and so on’, you are only, indirectly though, suggesting ‘let us make a gift and present of Kashmir valley to Pakistan’. I would like to know how many Indians there are, howmany patriots there are in this country who would like to make a present of the Kashmir valley to Pakistan. I assure you that the Kashmir issue today is such a tremendous knotty and delicate subject that any indiscreet handling and any lack of proper appreciation of the basic things involved in the Kashmir affair may not only lead us into great chaos, but I may tell you it may imperil the peace not only of India and Asia, but may endanger the peace of the whole world.

Now, the hon’ble Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, of course at whose feet, I love to learn many a thing and for whom I have very great respect, who is one who should have been a great leader of a great national organisation in India, with an economic programme be the head of sectarian body which is harmful. Should we not have our economic programme, should we not have freedom from privation, freedom from want, freedom from scarcity and freedom from troubles? Sir, he said just now something about the population of Jammu. Only about five months ago, he said: ‘Why don’t you conquer and get back the territory which has been taken away by Pakistan?’ Possibly he may be knowing of a document, the aide memoir wherein India had made it clear to Lozzano, that unless four conditions were fulfilled, India was not going to be a party to any sort of negotiation or settlement.

One was the rehabilitation of 7 lakhs of refugees living in Pakistan. We have been saying it and demanding it time and again that we must get back that territory, but when it suited him, and now believing in cutting nose to spite the face he takes a somersalt and says that the population of Jammu is only 7 or 8 lakhs, the rest is with Pakistan. One should not talk hot and cold in the same breath.

Sir, I will tell you that by such things we have not been able to create a friendly atmosphere, to create that goodwill which is very much essential for achieving a most difficult thing. I do not say that the Kashmiris are not with India; Kashmirs are with India, and Kashmir is an integral part of India, but the main question is there. It is the question of ascertaining the will of the people for which you stand committed here, there and everything. I would like to make an appeal to Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who is really a great patriot, who is very wise, who can lead us, who can guide us, that he should take an impersonal, dispassionate view of this whole thing and try to analyses and know whom this whole storm that has been created is going to help.

The second point, Sir, is this. It is most uncharitable, it is most unfair, I would say it is almost an outrage against political morality, to try to put a person to test who has been put to test at a time when he was confronted with odds, a person who stood by the side of India and by the side of Kashmir at the hour of India’s and Kashmir’s sorest trial. If we take the population point of view, wherever there was Muslim majority, that place went to Hindustan. Kashmir is the only place which is having this experiment in human philosophy and with a Muslim majority has acceded to India. Kashmir is fighting against odds in the furtherance of this ideology.

Kashmir is the only place where the Hindus and Muslims lived amicably against odds and we want Kashmir to be administered in that friendly atmosphere, and I trust our hon’ble Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee will see sense and lead us in this behalf as also in many other things.

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