Skip to main content

Kashmir: Why 22-year-olds still speak of plebiscite and referendum, ignorant of their own history


By Rajiv Tyagi*
Because the Government of India has abdicated its responsibilities in Kashmir right from the beginning, we have a State of the Union today, where almost 7 decades after it became irrelevant, 22 year olds still speak of a plebiscite and a referendum, unmindful of the amount of water that has flown down the Jhelum since 1947.
For my Kashmiri friends who are still ignorant of their own history and glean their history from the semi literate lumpen, by chance or design, here is your history, shorn of emotion. For to live life without a notion of your own History or worse, a twisted notion of it, can make for the kind of pain our brothers and sisters in J&K live with...
1. 1947. A little over a month after Independence, Pakistani Army regulars and tribals from Waziristan, overran Kashmir and tried to capture Srinagar. However, they got delayed at Baramullah as they decided to engage in looting. Raja Hari Singh, the ruler, asked for help from India and signed an Instrument of Accession with India. A ceasefire was signed in December between India and Pakistan. By this time, India had recovered a major portion of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan. Pakistan was still in control of the regions of Gilgit and Baltistan. On the ceasefire, the border was declared a provisional Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan.
2. Meanwhile, India had taken the dispute to the UN. In April 1948, the UN Security Council, in its resolution number 39 created a Council for the resolution of the dispute. Following this, under resolution 47 of 21 Apr 1948, the UNSC asked India and Pakistan to decide the future of Jammu & Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite. For the conduct of the plebiscite, conditions were spelt out...
* Pakistan was to completely withdraw all troops and irregulars not ordinarily resident in the state of J&K
* Thereafter, India was to withdraw troops, keeping a minimum number in J&K for aid to civil power, to the satisfaction of the Council.
After the above two conditions were met, the Council would conduct a plebiscite on behalf of the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile Nehru, ever the democrat, elated that a solution to the dispute was within sight, informed citizens of Jammu & Kashmir at a meeting in Lal Chowk in Srinagar, that a free and fair plebiscite would soon be held to decide the future of J&K
Pakistan however, failed to withdraw its troops from the areas under its control, thereby rendering the plebiscite impossible to conduct, as the first condition of holding the plebiscite had not been met.
3. Life carried on apace, with the LoC as the de facto border in Kashmir, between India and Pakistan.
4. Meanwhile, India's Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India on 26 Jan 1950, inserting Article 370, granting special status to J&K.
5. Thereafter, J&K constituted a Constituent Assembly, firmed of citizens of J&K, in 1951. In 1954 the Constituent Assembly cast a unanimous vote in favour of permanent accession with India, without a single abstention. In 1956 the draft of the Constitution of J&K was ready and it was adopted by the State of J&K on 26 Jan 1957, a full 10 years after the dispute began. The adoption of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, is the legal end-point of the 'dispute' that started in 1947. For anyone to speak of a plebiscite even after the adoption of a Constitution, reeks of a lack of education in the History of J&K.
6. This was however, not the end of the story. Not content with control over Gilgit and Baltistan and the failure of the plebiscite, Pakistan attempted successfully for three days, during the 1965 war, to cut off Ladakh from J&K, by gaining control over the Zoji La (Zoji Pass), effectively blocking Indian access. The pass was retaken and communications restored.
I hope my young and older Kashmiri friends will use the short history I have recounted, as the basis of further personal research into their tortuous history.
It is important to research this personally, to save oneself from the trap laid by separatist Pakistani ideologues in the Kashmir Valley. The separatists have had the best of both worlds - they are paid by the Pakistani establishment to foment trouble and by the Indian Government for keeping shut and lying low. Their children are settled in comfort outside of Kashmir while they incite young Kashmiris to violence, with stories that are vastly different from fact.
In the intervening years of the 1980s, the notion of choice via plebiscite on the basis of Kashmiriyat, was turned on its head by the separatists, by creating conditions of fear and terror for the Hindu residents of the Kashmir Valley, culminating in the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, who exited Kashmir in fear, abandoning homes and memories in their flight to safety. Kashmiriyat, the product of a syncretic Hindu culture and a Sufi Islam, had been replaced by an ugly communalism. Yasin Malik was accused of murdering three Air Force officers standing by the roadside, waiting for transport. The case is still sub judice.
In the last few years, the separatist narrative has steadily been overtaken by a new ideology from across the border -- a rabid and violent Wahhabi/Salafist ideology that seeks to establish by violent force, the pan Islamic, supra national entity of an Islamic State, a throwback on the Islamic Caliphate that was dismantled after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in WW-I.
Burhan Wani, a young man who could have had, who should have had a different future, fell to the rabid ideology and transmitted its aims across the ether via video messages. In a rapid descent to the bottom of an endless pit, today's youth, completely broken in spirit and hope, after decades of violence and Government apathy, is ironically looking up to a character like Burhan Wani, as a heroic role model.
One of the biggest contributions to the waywardness of Kashmiri youth has been that of the Government of India. Instead of seeking solutions in education, commerce, health and the future of a generation of youth, it has repeatedly jumped in with the disgruntled, in an endless cycle of adversarial confrontations. The anger over all the mess caused by Government apathy, is taken out by the Indian citizen and the Kashmiri citizen upon the only visible component of state power in Kashmir today, the Armed Forces and the Police, while the political and bureaucratic establishments strike deals with all sorts of players in the Valley.
---
*Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.