(Continued from Part I)
Intrigue, schizophrenia and mindless hunger for power has beset Kashmir since long.
Foolish Dogra kings who enabled others to trample Kashmir
The Dogra kings of the hills have long been valiant but vain. They would rather fight the Sikhs, including Guru Gobind Singh, siding with the Mughals or other Muslim kings – who in turn would try to subjugate them, instead of align with the Sikhs. And whenever they did align with the Sikhs – or the stronger power around them – it was because they had been vanquished, outsmarted and their existence was in complete danger. So, when the history of Kashmir is written, as much as the treachery and tribal animalism of Islamic invaders and the so-called Sufis should be emphasized, the masochistic and self-serving behavior of the Dogras and other hill kings should be equally underscored!
That, Hari Singh did not trust Pakistan was evident in the execution of the Standstill agreement – done to prevent any blockage of movement of goods and services from the West. But it was his complete naivette and vanity that he chose to be independent of India as well. What happened after that as he was consigned to the dustbin of history and ended up creating one of most intractable situations in the sub continent. If you want by the yard, but are prepared to fight only for inches, you should be kicked by the foot!
That period of history was unique in how many egotistic and self serving personalities played with lives of millions for their own gain – vicarious and otherwise.
Pakistan’s Shenanigans in Kashmir
Mohd Ali Jinnah was a guy who had used the centuries old maneuver of using religious hatred incited in the masses to get his political ends and save a place in history of a wretched sub continent that he left behind for eternity. His Direct Action Day had resulted in thousands of deaths and massacres unimaginable because he felt slighted by the motives of Congress. Congress had rebuffed the Equal Representation demand of Jinnah where he had twisted the definition of democracy to enshrine equality of religious representation as opposed to representation of the masses sans any religion.
It was the duel between these two egotist personalities that began the downfall of Kashmir. Jinnah and the Pakistani leadership had assumed that Kashmir was in their “back-pocket” since it was majority Muslim. An assumption that every leadership in Pakistan has carried ever since, betrayed by the swagger in their articulation of Kashmir’s destiny.
Jinnah was dying and he wanted to spend time in the salubrious climate of Kashmir. So, he sent forth his military secretary, Colonel William Birnie to make arrangements. Maharaja Hari Singh, however, had other ideas. He was not even prepared to entertain Jinnah or Pakistanis as tourists. Powerless king drunk on his possessiveness invited the wrath of the Pakistani leadership, without having any plan of defense.
As Navratri – the Hindu religious festival was approaching – in September of 1947, Liaqat Ali Khan huddled together in a secret meeting in Lahore. A multi-pronged approach was hatched to annex Kashmir by coercion or force.
Some options had been tried earlier – such as to pressurize Hari Singh via his Prime Minister R.C Kak (who had already been bought by Pakistani leadership). As was obvious from the rebuffing of Jinnah, this strategem obvious hadn’t worked.
The other options on the table were:
Economic blockade: Pakistan violated the Standstill Agreement and supply of essential commodities as well as postal and telecom services were totally disrupted. This was also the time when the panicky Hari Singh replaced his Kak by installing Gen. Janak Singh as the interim PM. Even this tactic didn’t break the will of the Raja down forcing him to join Pakistan.
Outright invasion of Kashmir: This was a very tough proposition as world would have sided with India and besides most of the top brass of the Pakistani Army was still British. So using Army fully in a unilateral war was not an option.
Fund insurgents: This option was feasible, not via the Kashmiri Muslims but the North West Frontier tribesmen. A strategy that has remained intact for almost 60 years of Pakistani history. NWFP tribals have been used as cannon fodder, brainwashed by Islamic tenets and a “greater good” been used everywhere – from Afghanistan to Kashmir to settling scores internally in Pakistan. The financing was to be done from Pakistan’s PM office.
The Tribal invasion led by Pak Army
An important part of plan was to let the tribal animals loot the area they conquered and rape women and kill the infidels to their heart’s content. Looted money, raping women and blood of infidels have been the greatest motivating factors in the history of Islam from the days of Mohammad. In fact the sharing of the “booty of war” was very specifically instituted by Mohammad himself, where money and women were considered as spoils of war to be distributed (check Hadiths reference Sahih Bukhari, Book 8: Volume 1, Book 8, Number 367 citation below the article). Below is the reference from Quran as well.
O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her– specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Quran 033.050; Al-Ahzab, Shakir)
It all started on October 21st 1947 at night. Hundreds of Pathans – always easy cannon fodder for the Pakistani establishment – were gathered and lined up against the border as the world was in darkness and the Hindus in Kashmir started their celebrations of Navratri (9 nights of celebrations).
Mahura Power Station exploded with dynamite and the entire area from border areas with Pakistan to all the way near China went into total darkness.
On the other side, the Muslim army soldiers in Maharaja Hari Singh’s Army killed their commander, Col. Narain Singh and lit the flares to give the signal to their Pakistani contacts and Pathans that all was well and attack could be resumed.
While Hari Singh and family were busy in celebrating Navratri, Kashmir was under attack.
As the Pathans reached Muzaffarabad, the animalistic tradition of Islamic ritual of rape and plunder started in celebration by the attackers. Nuns from a monastery became collateral damage as well. Shops were looted. This stop, probably, meant the difference between Pakistani conquest of Kashmir and Indian response to push them back.
Major General Douglas Gracey got the first report of this attack a full two days after it had all started. Such was the secrecy of the attack.
Interestingly, the head of Armies and defense on both sides of the border were British. And this underscores the chutzpah of the planning authorities.
The audacity with which Pakistani establishment plans and executes attacks against India despite its inherent illegality and in full world glare is remarkable. Also incredible is the naivete of the world, which is cheekily told that “its all by the angry locals” while smacking the blood of their lips.
Lord Mountbatten was hosting a banquet for Thai Foreign Minister. As the guests slowly left the hall at the end of the banquet, Indian PM Nehru was requested to stay back and told of the first war in Kashmir. That if counter-attack was to be planned, British Army officers couldn’t be summoned for this war.
The mission that saved Kashmir
Since the Maharaja Hari Singh was clueless and decisionless about his future, it was imperative that he be given a low down as to what was about to hit him. A 3-man delegation was gathered: Colonel Sam Maneckshaw, Field Marshal Auchinleck and VP Menon. Auchinleck was to talk and put some sense in Hari Singh.
The accession was signed on October 26, 1947.
As the three reported back, Colonel Sam Maneckshaw was called into the Cabinet Meeting to give his assessment for the orders to be carried out. What transpired in that meeting is interesting as narrated in Maneckshaw’s own words:
At the morning meeting he handed over the (Accession) thing. Mountbatten turned around and said, “Come on Manekji (He called me Manekji instead of Manekshaw), what is the military situation?” I gave him the military situation, and told him that unless we flew in troops immediately, we would have lost Srinagar, because going by road would take days, and once the tribesmen got to the airport and Srinagar, we couldn’t fly troops in. Everything was ready at the airport.
As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God Almighty, everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said, “Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir, or do you want to give it away? He (Nehru) said, Of course, I want Kashmir (emphasis in original). Then he (Patel) said, Please give your orders.” And before he could say anything Sardar Patel turned to me and said, “You have got your orders.” I walked out, and we started flying in troops at about 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock. I think it was the Sikh Regiment under Ranjit Rai that was the first lot to be flown in. And then we continued flying troops in. That is all I know about what happened. Then all the fighting took place. I became a Brigadier, and became Director of Military Operations and also if you will see the first signal to be signed ordering the cease-fire on 01 January (1949) had been signed by Colonel Manekshaw on behalf of C-in-C India, General Sir Roy Bucher. That must be lying in the Military Operations Directorate.
By October 27, the Indian troops landed at the Srinagar airport, which had been, until then taken care of by the workers of RSS. Intriguingly, as Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, he was banished from Kashmir by the Indian Government. Instead, Sheikh Abdullah was put in charge. A change that has remained the misfortune of Kashmir ever since. A family which by shrewd maneuvering, sometimes working with separatists and Pakistan and sometimes raising Indian nationalist slogans has plundered and looted the coffers of Kashmir. Indian taxpayers lost millions and Kashmiris got nothing anyway.
The mechanism of cheating the poor Indian masses off of millions has been carefully institutionalized by the very first Government after India’s Independence. Since then more money has been looted by the Indian politicians and stacked off in secret accounts, than was looted by the British in their entire rule. As an aside, there is enough evidence that Rothschilds, the family which controlled the world of banking since 1800s was the largest beneficiary of British loot from India. So, the banks like JP Morgan, Citibank, Merril Lynch, etc which were the offshoots of the structure created by the Rothschilds are what they are, in large measure, because of seed money that went into their establishment that was looted from India.
The incidents of leading up to the Kashmir War and how Pakistan distorts history have been well discussed in this interview with a leading Pakistani analyst who cites credible sources from Pakistani establishment.
Let us go through those times of the 1948 war act by act.
The Kashmir War
The war can be segregated into 10 phases:
- Initial invasion (Operation Gulmarg)
- Indian operation in the Kashmir Valley
- Attempted link-up at Punch and fall of Mirpur
- Fall of Jhanger and attacks on Naoshera and Uri
- Operation Vijay: counterattack to Jhanger
- Indian Spring Offensive
- Operations Gulab and Erase
- Operation Duck
- Operation Easy; Punch link-up
- Moves up to cease-fire
In the first phase, the Pakistani and tribal forces quickly took areas around Muzaffarabad and Domel and then instead of advancing towards Srinagar to take Kashmir over quickly, the forces engaged in widespread looting, rape and plunder.
In the second phase, Indian forces entered Srinagar and quickly reinforced positions. They defeated the Pakistani / Tribal forces and pursued them til Baramulla and Uri.
After reinforcing Uri and Baramulla, Indian forces went southwards. By that time the Pakistani / Tribal forces had captured Mirpur on November 25, 1947. Then began in Mirpur, followed by Alibeg, a large scale massacre of Hindus and Sikhs including raping and looting. Around 20,000 people were killed in those massacres including many rapes.
Meanwhile, in the fourth phase, the Pakistani forces attacked and captured Jhanger.
Operation Vijay marked the 5th phase, where Indian forces recaptured Jhanger and Rajauri. The Pakistani forces meanwhile laid siege on Leh and Kargil. Indian forces took Keran and Gurais. Gilgit Scouts of Pakistani forces had major victories in Leh, Skardu, and pushed further into Ladakh.
At this time, Operation Duck – to attack Dras by the Indians failed. At this time, Indians pushed harder and slowly but surely made advances. Gilgit forces were defeated. Poonch, Kargil, and Dras were recaptured. Zoji-la Pass was attacked using tanks – the first time such machines were used at that height.
This was the time when messages were sent back to the Indian Government by the forces for additional ammunition and reinforcements. The British officers, however, along with Lor Mountbatten suggested going to UN for a cease-fire. Sheikh Abdullah, who had been put in charge of Kashmir, suggested to Nehru that India could win in a plebiscite.
This set the stage for India’s going in a position of a cease-fire, withdrawal of forces, and plebiscite once things returned to normal. The UNCIP resolution.  of August 13, 1948, were adopted by the UN on January 5, 1949.
With this started one of the bloodiest and damning chapters of the Indian sub-continent.
We will now go to the next significant event that was to affect the character of Pakistan and India’s engagement and relationship in Kashmir and bringing in another party – China.
Trans-Karakoram Agreement of 1963
Along both sides of Shaksgam River, is a 5800km2
area called the “Trans-Karakoram tract”. This area was quietly transferred by Pakistan to China. This area, incidentally, amounts to a third of the entire Kashmir area. The Shaksgam Valley has been long administered as part of the Shigar area within the Baltistan region. The valley also boasts of a polo ground where Shigar kings and nobles would be invited over for a game by Amacha Royal family of Shigar. It is a difficult land though with some of the highest mountain peaks in the world such as Broad Peak, K2, and Gasherbrum. The famous Siachen glacier, where India and Pakistan fight even today is to the Southeast of this area.
Pakistan’s argument was that this was a no man’s land, so nothing was lost. An interesting line of argument for a party that keeps reiterating how it fights for the “rights” and land of Kashmiris. It, of course, had no qualms of giving away land to China, under its trusteeship, that really belonged to the Kashmiris.
Role of Abdullahs in Kashmir
“Communal in Kashmir, Communist in Jammu and Nationalist in India“
This most perfectly describes the role of the family in the game that has been played by the Abdullahs – Sheikh, Farooq, and now Omar. In a country besotted by fair skin and the English language, it pays to be fair and well-spoken. That is enough of a currency to accentuate the ‘Nationalistic stature”, if shrouded in words well enough.
Somehow all the “fair looking smooth-talking, in English of course” politicians had a strange clique. Nehru couldn’t let go of Sheikh Abdullah as Rajiv Gandhi couldn’t do of Farooq and now Rahul won’t of Omar. History repeats within such details only for lunatics. Even the half-brained population can see through the truth if the perfidy is so well established and repeated. But Indian masses have an incredible level of lunacy unseen anywhere on the planet.
Even before Article 370 was gifted to Sheikh Abdullah’s Kashmir, strange provisions like having a separate Constitution for Kashmir (as opposed to Indian Constitution), use of National Conference flag (as opposed to Indian tricolor), and special permit for Indians to visit Kashmir have been in place. Article 370 merely formalized these and more.
The dictatorial manner of the Sheikh in administering Kashmir had raised enough hackles in Kashmiri Pandits. Pt. Premnath Dogra launched Praja Parishad, a democratic outfit to challenge the activities of Abdullah. For 3 years, as they agitated and were brutally crushed by Abdullah’s police, while the Indian Government remained quiet, Kashmiri Pandits got the first taste of the fate of to challenge brutalities perpetrated on them.
Only Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee rose up to their plight and marched to Kashmir. As he reached Jammu’s border, he was arrested and thrown into Srinagar jail. He later died in mysterious circumstances.
Meanwhile, the member of the Indian Constituent Assembly. Sh. M.L. Chottopdhiya, Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr. G.K. Handoo, and Maulana Abul Kalam all, in turn, gave detailed proof of what Sheikh Abdullah was up to as he was messing up the state where he was asked to take over from Hari Singh, who was basically used by India as a tool to get Kashmir. Thereafter, the Singhs were only to be witnesses of how Kashmir was taken apart by the combination of Congress and the National Conference. Only when Handoo and Union Home Minister, Mr. Kailashnath Katju gave detailed secret documents on Sheikh Abdullah that Nehru finally was forced to take action.
“Sheikh Sahib till now I was behaving with you as Jawaharlal Nehru but henceforth I shall be behaving with you in the capacity of a Prime Minister”.
This was the response of Nehru to the Sheikh after going through those documents. It is telling the level of damage Nehru’s inclination to appease friends, unsuccessfully albeit, has done to India’s present!
The killing of Syama Prasad Mukherjee
So, now Nehru was ready to behave as a Prime Minister of India in case of Kashmir. Finally. Or was it really? By this time, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee rose up to the plight of Praja Parishad and the Pandits and marched to Kashmir. As he reached Jammu’s border, he was arrested and thrown into Srinagar jail. He later died in mysterious circumstances.
The hue and cry from the Indian masses suddenly changed the scenario. Nehru reached Srinagar and the Sheikh was finally arrested.
The events of that time are best explained by Deputy Chief of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr. B.N. Malik in his book “My days with Nehru”, thus:
“Then suddenly to our utter surprise Pandit Nehru started talking bitterly against Sheikh Abdullah’s communalism. He traced the Sheikh’s history from 1930 onwards and mentioned how he had started his career with the Muslim Conference, which was an out and out communal organisation. He said that as a result of pressures from outside and also seeing the development of the People’s Movement in the rest of India and for purely tactical reasons and probably under the advice of some of his more liberal followers, the Sheikh had converted the Muslim Conference into the Political Conference to give it a non-communal appearance. At this time Pandit Nehru suddenly looked at me and enquired whether I had come across some information of possible British connivance in that movement. I replied in the affirmative. He continued his talk against the Sheikh and mentioned all his communal activities throughout the period he had acted as the National Conference leader. It was the Pakistani aggression which had mellowed him a little for a short time, because the tribals had committed gruesome atrocities on the Muslim population in the valley. But, as soon as he became the Prime Minister, he came out in his true colours once again and started his anti-Hindu activities. In contrast, he praised Bakshi and Sadiq for their completely non-communal outlook and said that these two were really secular-minded persons who required all support from India. Pt. Nehru said that all trouble in Kashmir was due to the Sheikh’s communal outlook and it was he who was not allowing the state to settle down to peace and stability. The Sheikh always talked about the rights of the Muslims, forgetting that the Hindus also formed nearly 35 per cent of the population of the state and he never showed any consideration for them. Pt. Nehru mentioned thal politically he and other Indian leaders had to go along with the Sheikh for a considerable period and they had also helped him and played him up hoping that by coming in contact with secular India, where Muslims and Hindus and persons of all other denominations were living together and enjoying a peaceful life. Sheikh Abdullah would be able to get rid of his communalism; but communalism was a disease with him and he could never get rid of it and his entire outlook and behaviour were based on the fact that Kashmir valley had a Muslim majority. Therefore, he was not at all surprised that the Sheikh had conspired with Pakistan to overthrow the non-communal and secular Government of Bakshi and Sadiq. What Pt. Nehru said was factually correct and was similar to what Sardar Patel had stressed to me in 1949. At the end he wished G.S. Pathak a success and concluded by saying that he himself was allergic to these protracted political trials and he suggested that every effort should be made to expedite it.”
We will look at the further events in this conflict in the subsequent parts.
Verse cited above: (Sahih Bukhari, Book 8: Volume 1, Book 8, Number 367)
Anas said, ‘When Allah’s Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there yearly in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet . He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, ‘Allahu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.’ He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, ‘Muhammad (has come).’ (Some of our companions added, “With his army.”) We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, ‘O Allah’s Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go and take any slave girl.’ He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostles! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.’ So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’ Anas added: The Prophet then manumitted her and married her.”
Thabit asked Anas, “O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?” He said, “Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her.” Anas added, “While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet . So the Prophet was a bridegroom and he said, ‘Whoever has anything (food) should bring it.’ He spread out a leather sheet (for the food) and some brought dates and others cooking butter. (I think he (Anas) mentioned As-SawTq). So they prepared a dish of Hais (a kind of meal). And that was Walrma (the marriage banquet) of Allah’s Apostle .”