Kashmir and Partition of India
Ramkrishen Kaul Bhatt
Partition and Accession
Indian leaders exhorted Maharaja to accede to the Dominion of India. As
early as June 1947 Lord Mountbatten had discussions, with the Maharaja
on the issue of accession. The Maharaja, seems to have conveyed to the
Viceroy his desire to remain independent after the British had left. He
had told Maharaja that the British Government would not recognize the State
as a Dominion, and was assured by the Governor General that if he made
up his mind to accede to one of the two Dominions before 15 August, there
would be no trouble. The Maharaja was, however, evasive and avoided to
commit himself to any of the alternatives underlined by the Governor General.
Three days before the
transfer of power, the Maharaja of Kashmir sent telegrams bearing identical
dates, asking for Standstill Agreement on 12 August 1947 to both the Dominions
India and Pakistan  to maintain the normal amenities of life such as
post office, communications and so on. The agreement, as provided in
the Indian Independence Act 1947, would guarantee that till new agreements
were made all existing agreements and administrative arrangements would
continue. Any dispute in regard to this would be settled by arbitration
and "nothing in this agreement includes the exercise of any paramountcy
functions " Pakistan immediately accepted the agreement on 15 August
through a telegraphic communication.. But the Government of India asked
the Prime Minister of Kashmir to fly to Delhi to negotiate the Agreement,
or to send any other authorised Minister for the purpose. The non-acceptance
of the Standstill Agreement  by India immediately aroused suspicion
in the minds of Pakistan and it complained that India's failure to conclude
the agreement was indicative of some plan to effect the accession immediately.
Before any Minister could reach Delhi, the Pakistan sponsored tribal invasion
had altered the situation altogether.
The tribal invasion
by Pakistan on Kashmir was as indication of the fact that it wanted to
annex Kashmir by force. Its contention that India wanted accession and
therefore did not sign Standstill Agreement, is untenable. If it would
have been her intention, she should have concluded the Standstill Agreement
posthaste as a prelude to accession proper. Pakistan thought that by entering
into an agreement it might persuade Jammu & Kashmir State to accede
to it, but totally forgot that " Standstill Agreement " was purely provisional,
facilitating the continued inflow of existing traffic and goods pending
final accession: Whereas India waited, Pakistan signed the agreement
but felt dissatified, when it came to know that "Standstill Agreement"
meant the continuation of existing arrangement.
On 4 September, the
British Chief of Staff of Jammu and Kashmir State Forces submitted a report
to the State Government that on 2 and 3 September armed Muslim residents, mainly
of Rawalpandi district in Pakistan had infiltrated into the State on
receipt of this report the Prime Minister of Kashmir sent a prompt telegram
to the Chief Minister of West Punjab on 4 September requesting him to take
prompt action. The Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpandi replied to this note
on behalf of the Chief Minister, West Punjab denying that the raiders had
moved into Kashmir. "No infiltration has been seen by any of my officers
or village officials anywhere at various points. I do not expect any trouble
of any kind."  On 9 September, 1947, the Kashmir Government in a further
communication, this time to the Deputy Commissioner, Rawalpindi, repeated
the charges, urging immediate action. Many more telegrams were exchanged,
but Pakistan denied knowledge of any invasion; it suggested negotiations
between the representatives of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan . The
Kashmir Government reiterated its demand that infiltration should stop
before any discussions could begin. The Prime Minister repeated "shall
gladly discuss matters when this trouble is controlled. But it did
not change the attitude of Pakistan, and ultimately the Government of Kashmir
conveyed to Pakistan that if raids were not stopped and blockade of essential commodities lifted immediately it would be left with no alternative but
to seek help from others to protect the life and the property of his
subjects. This made Pakistan suspect that it might ask for assistance from
India and accede to the Indian Dominion. On 19 October the Foreign Minister
of Pakistan wrote to Prime Minister of Kashmir, "We are astonished to hear
your threat to ask for assistance. Presumably meaning thereby assistance
from an outside power. The only object of this intervention by an outside
power secured by you would be to complete the process of suppressing the
Muslims to enable you to join the Indian Dominion. Qaid-i-Azam Jinnah,
Governor- General of Pakistan reiterated the same. It appears that
the Pakistan Government at this stage was attempting to apply pressure
on the Maharaja. Organised massive raid of the tribesmen took place on
21-22 October, after which negotiations came to standstill.
With the inflitration
the armed tribesmen into the State of Jammu and Kashmir the situation deteriorated,
and the Maharaja released Sheikh Abdullah and his workers on 29 September,1947.
The decision of the Maharaja was dictated by the fact that to throw back
the invaders successfully it required the whole-hearted co-operation and
support of the masses represented by their popular political organisation,
the National Conference. The ensuing months proved that it was a wise decision.
On 22 October large bands of armed raiders entered Kashmir via Abbottabad
road near Muzaffarabad. Within a couple of days Pakistan army mounted offensive
all along the borders of the State. The few Dogra battalions which were
posted at the frontiers offered heroic resistance but were over-run without
much difficulty. The Maharaja, therefore, finally decided to ask for help
from India, on 24 October. The request of the State Government for military
assistance was considered by India's Defence Committee on 25 October. The
meeting was presided over by Lord Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten's final
advise was that Indian troops should not enter into an independent country
but should do so only when the State had acceded to India. And after the
raiders had been repulsed, the will of the people was to be ascertained.
Accordingly V.P. Menon
flew to Jammu where the Maharaja had come from Srinagar, to convey him
the decision of the Government of India. In his letter to lord mountbatten
the Maharaja requested him for military assistance and signed the Instrument
of Accession. Meanwhile, Maharaja made Sheikh Abdullah the Head of Emergency
Administration. The Instrument of accession which was signed by the Maharaja
and accepted by Lord Mountbatten on behalf of the Government of India,
was duly endorsed by the Head of the Emergency Administration Sheikh Abdullah
on behalf of the state people and Meherchand Mahajan, Premier of the state.
Thus the state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India on 27 October, 1947.
had his own compulsions. His prejudices and ego over shadowed his political
expediency. Acceding to India, meant to compromise and share power with
his arch enemy Sheikh Abdulla. About Pakistan he was not sure what would
be the position of minorities under the rule of Muslim theocratic Government.
Also he was under tremendous pressure from Hindus of the State in general
and kiths and kins in particular, not to accede to Pakistan. Only alternative
left was to remain Independent.
2. Krishna Menon's speech
in Security Council, 8 February, 1957, p. 116. (Government of India Press,
3. Security Council's
Official Recurds,1009 meeting,3 May,1968, para 83, p.25
4. V.K. Menon, Kashmir:
Speeches in the Security Council, January- February, 1957,(publication
Division, l958), pp8-9.
5. White Paper on J&K
State (Ministry of States, Govt. of India,1948),p.20
6. Secretary Govt. of
Pakistan, Karachi to Prime Minister of J&K State, dated 15 August,1947.
7. World To-Day, Kashmir
Dispute After 10 years,Vol.14, February 1958 p.63.
8. J. B. Dasgupta, Jammu
and Kashmir, p.80.
9. White Paper on Kashmir
(Ministry Of States, Govt of India,1948), pp.2-3.
10. J.B. Dasgupta, Jammu
and Kashmir, p.90.
11. G.P. Shrivastav,
Background of Dispute, U.N.& Kashmir Problem, Modern Review, Vol.103
12. Copy of a report
submitted by the Chief of the Staff, J&K State Forces Major General
Scott, on 4 Septcmber,1947 to the Deputy Prime Minister of the State.
13. White Paper on J&K
State,1948 (ministry of States, Govt. of India). Telegram dated 6 September,1947
from the Deputy Commissioner Rawalpandi to the Prime Minister, Srinagar,
14. Ibid., p.7.Telegram
dated 9 September, 1947, from the Prime Minister of Kashmir, to the deputy
15. Ibid., p.7., Telegram
dated 2 October,1947, from Foreign minister, Karachi to the Prime Minister,
16. Ibid., p.8. Telegram
dated 8 October ,1947 from the Prime Minister, Srinagar, to Foreign Minister
17. Ibid., p.9. Telegram
dated 18 oct. sent to premier, Pak Dominion, Karachi and His Excellency
the Governor-General, Pak, Karachi.
18. Ibid., p.10. Telegram
dated 19 Oct.,1947 from Foreign Minister, Karachi to the Prime minister
J&K State, Srimagar.
19. Ibid., p.11. Telegram
dated 20 October,1947 from Qaid-i-Azam, Governor General of Pakistan, Karachi
to His Highness the Maharaja of J&K, Sgr.
20. P.N.K. Bamzai, Kashmir
and Power Politics, New Delhi,1966, p.79.
21. Mac. R. Jhonson,"
To Solve the Kashmir Deadlock," New York Herald Times, U.S.A.,3 March,1956.
22. V.P. Menon, The
Story of the Integration of the Indian States (Bombay ,1969), p.381.
23. Maharaja's Accession
offer to India; Letter from Hari Singh to Lord Mountbatten, dated 26 October,