Shadow of Cold
developments leading to the dismissal and arrest of Sh. Abdullah in August
1953 and the signing of USA - Pak Military Pact early in 1954 were closely
linked up with the cold war politics of the two power blocs. They in their
turn contributed to a further intensification of the cold war in regard
to Kashmir which made an objective approach and a negotiated settlement
of the problem inside or outside the U.N.O. all the more difficult.
these developments were closely linked up with Sh. Abdullah's personal
ambition to secure absolute power for himself in the Kashmir valley. To
aehieve this end, he leaned first on the Communists who gave him the idea
of independent Kashmir but later moved toward the west, particularly the
USA to the great chagrin of the Communists.
to cultivate the friendship of the Western leaders and secure their sympathy
for his pet plan was provided to him by his successive visits to Europe
and the USA as a member of the Indian delegation to the United Nations.
The ruling circles in the USA had already veered round to the idea of a
partition of Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan more or less
on the basis of 'status quo' with freedom for Kashmir valley to decide
about its own future through a plebiscite under U.N. auspices. This fitted
in well with Sh. Abdullah's own ambition. He therefore, felt encouraged
to give out his mind in an interview to Michael Davidson of Sunday Observer
and New Scotsman in May 1949. He was reported to have said, "Accession
to either side cannot bring peace. We want to live in friendship with both
Dominions. Perhaps a middle path between them with economic cooperation
with each will be the only way of doing it".
of India was taken aback by this statement of Sh. Abdullah. Sardar Patel,
who had by that time integrated over 500 princely States but had scrupulously
refrained from taking interest in the handling of Kashmir problem because
of Pt. Nehru's insistence upon treating it as his close preserve, for once
thought it necessary to put his foot down on Sh. Abdullah's amibition.
His one frown made Sh. Abdullah realise that he could not take support
of New Delhi for granted.
made Abdullah uneasy and fearful of Sardar Patel who as Home Minister was
getting authentic reports. About Sh. Abdullah's activities and policies
which showed that he had scant respect for India's wider national interests
and the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions. But commitment
of the Government of India about plebiscite had enboldened him so much
that he began to act as an arbiter. He retaliated by expelling Colonel
Hassan Walia, the chief of Indian Intellegence outfit in Kashmir. It was
a direct challenge to Sardar Patel who as Home Minister was in charge of
central intelligence agencies. He summoned Abdullah to Delhi for explanation. Sh. Abdullah took his patron Pt. Nehru along with him when he met the Sardar
at his residence.
According to Sh. Abdullah, Sardar Patel gave him a bit of his mind. He told Pt. Nehru
in his presence that India had lost the game, and should better pullout
of the valley. 1
Being a nationalist
and realist Sardar Patel had better grasp of the developing situation in
Jammu and Kashmir state particularly after the publication of Dixon proposals.
If he had his way he would have put Sh. Abdullah in his place, integrated
Jammu and Ladakh regions with India and allowed Abdullah and his Kashmiri
followers to fend for themselves in the valley. Plebiscite, if held, would
have exposed secularism of Sh. Abdullah and his flock. The valley then
might have gone the way of other Muslim majority regions of the State. Sh. Abdullah would have then cooled his heels in some jail of Pakistan.
The death of
Sardar Patel toward the end of 1950 removed from the Indian scene the one
man who could have kept Sh. Abdullah's ambition in check and cleared the
mess that Pt. Nebru had made in Kashmir by his unrealistic and erratic
handling of the problem from the very beginning. Sardar Patel, himself
told the present writer when the latter requested him to do something about
Kashmir, that he would set things right there in one month, but he was
not prepared to take the initiative unless Pt. Nebru specifically requested
him to do so. Whether it was gentleman's agreement between the two giants
of the Indian politics not to interfere with each other's sphere of activity
or deliberate self-denial on the part of Sardar Patel, it is difficult
to say. But the fact remains that while Sardar Patel, was able to integrate
500 and add princely states including Hyderabad with great efficiency and
success within two years. Pt. Nehru made a mess of Kashmir in spite of
the huge sacrifices in men and material and camplete and unstinted support
of the nation to him in the matter. With the passage of time even the worst
critics of Sardar Patel have begun to admit that left to him the Kashmir
issue would have been settled long ago in keeping with national honor and
national interests. That will remain in the eyes of history, which is no
respecter of personalities. The measure of Sardar Patel's greatness as
a statesman and administrator as compared to Pt. Nehru whose handling of
Kashmir issue will go down in history as an epitome of the failure of a
man who with the best of opportunities and favorable circumstances made
a mess of everything he handled.
in the internal situation of the State after that was as rapid as it was
disconcerting for India. Elections to the Constituent Assembly of the State
were held in 1951. But they were so conducted that most of the candidates
of the Praja Parishad, the only Opposition party in the State, were eliminated
at the nomination stage by rejecting their nomination papers. The rest
were forced to withdraw for want of assurance that elections would be fair
and free. As a result, all the 75 nominees of Sh. Abdullah's National Conference
got elected unopposed.
Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was supposed to ratify the accession of the
State to India and adopt the Indian Constitution, in the rnaking of which Sh. Abdullah and three other representatives from the State had an equal
hand, for the State as well. But Sh. Abdullah gave it quite a different
idea of its powers and scope from the very beginning. He told it that it
was "one hundred percent sovereign" and that "no Parliament, be it that
of India or of any other country, has authorization here." Referring to
independence as a possible solution he observed on March 25, 1952, "suppose
for the sake of argument that the people do not ratify this accession the
position that will follow, would not be that as a matter of course Kashmir
becomes a part of Pakistan. No, that would not happen. That cannot happen
legally or constitutionally. What would happen in such eventuality would
be that the State would regain the status which it enjoyed im mediately
preceeding the accession. Let us be clear about it."
he began to speak in the same strain outside the Assembly. His main object
thus appeared to be to put pressure on the Government of India to make
definite commitment about same sort of independence for Kashmir before
the Constituent Assembly ratified accession. Thus he secured a free hand
to abolish the Dogra ruling dynasty and have a separate flag and Constitution
for the State. Accordingly the hereditary Dogra ruler as the head of the
State was replaced by an elected president called Sadar-i-Riyasat, the
red flag of the National Conference was adopted as the State flag and machinery
was set up for drafting a separate Constitution for the State while the
question of ratification of accession was kept pending.
moves and utterances of Sh. Abdullah sent a wave of resentrnent in Jammu
and Ladakh as also in the rest of India. The Praja Parished launched a
movement for the integration of the State with the rest of India like other
acceding States with a ccmmon Constitution, a common President and a cc
m mon flag. The popular discontent against discriminatory economic and
administrative policies of Sh. Abdullah's Government with regard to Jammu
added strength to this movement which spread to every nook and corner of
Jammu region. Thousands of people courted arrest and about two score persons
were shot dead for hoisting the Indian tricolour on the State buildings
in Jammu and for raising the slogans-
"Ek Desh Men
Ek Desh Men
Ek Desh Men
Nahin Chalenge-Nahin Chalenge."
two Presidents and two Flags in the same country will not be tolerated.)
sufferings of the people of Jammu found sympathetic response from nationalist
India spearheaded by the late Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerji who, ever since
his resignation from the Nehru Cabinet in April 1950, had been unofficially
acclaimed as Leader of the Opposition even though his own party, the Bharatiya
Jana Sangh, could return only three members to the first Parliament of
free India elected in 1952. He took up the cudgels on behalf of the Praja
Parishad inside and outside the Indian Parliament. Having failed to persuade
Pt. Nehru to sit round a table with the representatives of the people of
Jammu and Laddakh and meet their gnuine and patriotic objections to the
separatist policies of sh. Abdullah, he decided to extend the Satyagraha
started by the Praja Parishad in Jarnmu to the rest of India.
who had the full backing of Pt. Nehru, instead of relenting became more
obdurate and aggressive. He intensified repression and many people were
killed for hoisting the national flag. As the reports of this repression
travelled out of the State, Shyama Prasad Mookerji decided to visit Jammu
and see things for himself. He asserted that as a citizen of free India
and a Member of the Parliament he was free to go anywhere in the country
without any kind of permit and, therefore, proceeded toward Jammu without
an entry permit in May 1953. It was expected that he would be arrested
by the Government of India for this defiance. But instead he was allowed
to cross the Ravi bridge at Madhopar and enter the State to be arrested
by the State authorities. This was arranged deliberately to keep him out
of the jurisdiction of the Indian Supreme Court which would have surely
released him on a reference being made to it.
Prasad Mookerji along with Vaidya Guru Dutt, a leading physician and well
known writer, who accompanied him as his personal physician were taken
to Srinagar and detained there. After about a month, on June 23, 1953,
Dr. Mookerji died there in mysterious circumstances. Unofficial probe pointed
to medical murder. It sent a wave of resentment all over India.
In the meantime
within the National Conference as also in Sh. Abdullah's Cabinet a rift
was developing. The pro-Communist elements which had been the staunchest
protagonists of the independence for Kashmir had been alarmed by Sh. Abdullah's
tilt toward Anglo-American camp which had become very marked after his
last visit to Paris toward the end of 1951. Sh. Abdullah, it appeared,
had realized that his dream of an independent Kashmir was more likely to
come true with the help of the Anglo-American bloc which dominated the U.N.O. and the Security Council than the Communist bloc. He had therefore,
begun to shift his allegiance from his Communist friends inside and outside
Kashmir to the Western countries. As the Praja Parishad movement for fuller
integration of the State with the rest of India gathered momentum, he began
to rouse the communal sentiments in Kashmir in the name of Kashmiri nationalism
and demonstrate his indifference and disdain for the susceptibilities of
the people of Jammu and the Government of India in different ways. The
trend became particularly evident after the visit of Mr. Adlai Stevenson
to Srinagar early in May 1953. This alarmed the pro-Communist Ministers
of his cabinet. They now turned against him. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, the
right-hand man of Sh. Abdullah, joined hands with them. These internal
developments coupled with the pressure from outside resulting from Dr.
Mookerji's martyrdom made Sh. Abdullah desperate. But before he could show
his hand by dismissing the dissident Ministers and making a formal declaration
of his plan about independent Kashmir, Yuvraj Karan Singh, the only son
of Maharaja Hari Singh, uho had been made 'Sadar-i-Riyasat' - head of State
- after the abolition of the hereditary rule of the Dogra dynasty dismissed Sh. Abdullah and commissioned Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed to form a new Cabinet.
Sh. Abdullah was soon after arrested under Defence of Kashmir Rules.
turn of events took by surprise both Pakistan and the USA which had begun
to lay great hopes on Sh. Abdullah for a solution of the Kashmir problem
suiting their ends. Their chagrin was clear from the hostile comments in
inside India and outside, on the other hand, hailed the overthrow of Sh.
Abdullah as a victory for themselves and started denouncing the USA in
the strongest terms. They thus successfully exploited the popular feeling
roused by the Jan Sangh and Sh. Abdullah's separatist policies for creating
an anti-A.nerican hysteria in India.
bias of India's neutralist foreign policy and the persistent support given
by the USSR and other Communist countries to India's stand on Kashmir in
the Security Council coupled with the failure of Indian external publicity
to properly educate the American public opinion about the justice of India's
case contributed to Pakistan's success in creating a powerful anti-India
lobby in the U.S. press and Congress. Many Americans genuinely began to
feel that India was moving toward the Communist bloc and that Pakistan
could be an asset, particularly because of the strategic situation of Gilgit
for containing the spread of Communism in Asia if it could be persuaded
to join the Baghdad Pact which was later re-Christened as Central Treaty
At the same
time there was a visible pro-American shift in Pakistan's foreign poliey
particu1arly after the assassination of its Prime Minister, Mr. Liaqat
Ali Khan in 1952. Even otherwise, the very genesis of Pakistan demanded
that her foreign policy should rlm counter to that of India. Having been
born out of hatred for the Hindus and Hindusthan, Pakistan's very existence
required that India was presented to her people as their chief enemy and
everything was done to strengthen Pakistan vis-a-vis India.
By the end
of 1953, it became evident that negotiations for a military pact between
Pakistan and the USA were moving toward a successful conclusion. The signing
of the pact was formally announced early in 1954.
very strongly to this pact which meant substantial augmentation of military
strength of Pakistan with free supplies of armaments from the USA Pt. Nehru
referred to this situation in his letter of March 5, 1954, to Mr. Mohammed
Ali, the Pakistan Premier. He wrote "the U.S. decision to give this aid
has changed the whole context of Kashmir issue and the long talks we have
had about this matter have little relation to the new facts which flow
from this aid...." It changed the whole approach to the Kashmir problem.
It takes it out from the region of peaceful approach for a friendly settlement
by bringing in the pressure of arms."
its part strongly resented the declarations of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed after
his assumption of power that accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to India
was full, final and irrevocable. The actual ratification of accession by
the Kashmir Constituent Assembly soon after further irritated her.
A s a result,
the area of disagreement about the Quantum of forces to be retained by
either side which appeared to have been considerably narrowed by the direct
talks of the two premiers became wider than ever before. Pt. Nehru insisted
that in the new situation created by the abundant supply of military aid
to Pakistan from the USA, "what we said at a previous stage about the quantum
of force had little relevance. We can take no risks now as we were prepared
to take previously and we must retain full liberty to keep such forces
and military equipment in the Kashmir State as we may consider necessary
in view of this new threat to us."
having thus foundered on the rock of U. S. Pak Military Pact, Pakistan
Premier, Mr. Mohammed Ali, informed Pt. Nehru in his letter of September
21, 1954, that "in the cireumstances I am bound to conclude that there
is no scope left for further direct negotiations between you and me for
the settlement of this dispute. This case, therefore, must revert to the
took two and a half years after the failure of direct negotiations to request
the Security Council to take up the Kashmir issue once again. The request
was made by Malik Feroz Khan Noon, the Pakistan Foreign Minister cn January
2, 1957, and the Security Council resumed debate on Kashmir an after interval
of nearly five years on the 16th of the same month.
the situation inside the State as also the attitude and approach of both
the countries to the proble m had undergone a lot of change. Within the
State, the most significant development was the unanimous decision of the
Constituent Assembly to ratify the accession and the specific declaration
in the Constitution adopted by it on November 17, 1956, that "the State
of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral pnrt of the Union of India."
This strengthened the hands of the Government of India which could assert
with justification that the people of the State had given their democratic
verdict in favor of accession to India.
While the unanimous
decision of the Constituent Assembly strengthened the Indian position,
the re- organization of "Plebiscite Front and Political Conference" by
pro-Abdullah elements in Kashmir valley and their open demand for a plebiscite
and accession to Pakistan strengthened the hands of Pakistan politically.
Militarily, her position had vastly improved because of the massive flow
of the latest armaments of all types together with military experts from
the USA. As a result, the attitude of the rulers of Pakistan became more
aggressive. Apart from carrying on a diplomatic offensive against India
all over the world, they began to actively organize and encourage acts
of sabotage through their agents within the State.
As a reaction,
India began to lean more and more upon the USSR and her satellites which
gave a further pro- Communist tilt to her foreign policy. The visit to
India of Marshal Bulganin, the USSR Premier, and Mr. Khruschev, the First
Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, toward the end of
1955 and their open declaration at Srinagar of December 10, 1955 "that
the question of Kashmir as one of the States of the Republic of India had
already been decided by the people of Kashmir" made the alignment of the
USSR with India on the question of Kashmir as explicit as that of the USA
with Pakistan. The cold war had now entered Kashmir itself. It began to
be looked upon as one of the storm centers of the world like West Berlin
where the interests of the two giants clashed directly.
forced Pt. Nehru to do some re-thinking about the stand he hac taken regarding
Kashmir. Doubts as said earlier, had already begun to assail him about
the wisdom of the offer about plebiscite which was bound to be influenced
by religious considerations whenever and however it was held. The behavior
of Sh. Abdullah also shook him. The tone of his utterances about Kashmir
therefore changed. He began to voice his opposition to plebiscite openly
and the Indian Home Minister, late Pt. Pant, declared that Kashmir was
an integral and irrevocable part of India.
of attitude was reflected in the stand taken by the Chief Indian delegate,
Krishna Menon, when the Security Council resumed debate on Kashmir. India
for the first tirne explicitly charged Pakistan of direct aggression and
declared that she had no obligatiaon to discharge till the aggression was
vacated. Indra's voluntary offer to consult the people, he said had been
redeemed through elections to the constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir
whose actions were "declaratory and not creative." The legal right of India
over the whole of Jammu and Kashmir State, he asserted, flowed from the
lawful accession of the State by Maharaja Hari Singh which was full, final
Some hope of
a negotiated settlement outside the UN rose once again after the Military
coup in Pakistan which brought Marshal Ayub Khan to the helm of affairs
in Pakistan in 1959. As a soldier he had a greater consciousness of the
indivisibility of the Indo-Pak defense against possible aggression from
Communist China to meet which Indo-Pak amity was essential. He needed it
to stabilize his own position as well. Furthermore, he was in a position
in the early days of his new found power to take a decision even against
the popular sentiments of the Pakistani people. He was even more keen for
the settlement of the Canal Waters dispute in which India had a whip hand
over Pakistan. Had Indian diplomacy shown any grasp of realities, it would
have insisted upon a package deal embracing all Indo-Pak disputes such
as the Canal Waters, Kashmir, evacuee property, paratition debt and treatment
of the Hindu minority in East Pakistan. But Pt. Nehru bungled once again.
A Ganal Water Treaty was signed at Karachi in 1960 which gave Pakistan
much more favorable terms than suggested by the World Bank Award.
With that ended,
the short lived Indo-Pak dentente brought about more by personal relations
between Mr. Rajeshwar Dayal, the Indian High Commissioner at Karachi, and
Marshall Ayub who happened to know each other well since pre-partition
days than by a real change of heart on both sides. The old game of mutual
accusation began once again. Communist Russia saw in the military regime
of Marshal Ayub a greater threat to her position in Ausia and, therefore,
became more vociferous in her support to India over Kashmir. She began
to use her veto to prevent any resolution to which India was opposed, being
passed by the Security Council.
the discussions in the Security Council to just debating bouts between
itriolic Krishna Menon of India and suave and swifty Zaffarullah Khan of
Pakistan who began to exploit that world forum to malign India by repeating
baseless charges against her which were given wide publicity all over the
As a result,
world opinion began to be influenced in favor of pakistan. There could
be no greater condemnation of the Indian Foreign policy and its exponents
that the people all over the world have a greater understanding and appreciation
of Pakistan's point of view about Kashmir than that of India in spite of
the truth and justice of the Indian case.
pointless exercises in histrionics were going on in New York, Communist
China had starated fishing in the troubled waters of Kashmir cutting across
the cold war politics of both USA and the USSR.
The entry of
Communist China on the Kashmir stage as a third claimant to large chunks
of its territories introduced a new factor in the Kashmir situation; it
gave a new turn to the Kashmir problem.