Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A lesson in Kashmir history for Ms. Arundhati Roy...

Ok - I see that we cannot simply ignore Arundhati Roy. She has that knack of gaining publicity because that's what she thrives on. Her 'raison d'etre'....

According to her, Kashmir was never an integral part of India. This comment convinced me ever more, that there is really no substance behind this person and the cause she stands for, side by side with Mr. Geelani.

I also think that Ms. Arundhati Roy is fairly ignorant. Most probably, when she sat in Class in school, she didn't pay attention to the History lessons. For her benefit - let me summarise the facts and break the myth that the likes of Ms Roy would make believe.

On the eve of India's independence there were as many as 568 'princely states' in India - the 'Princely States'. Some of these were Hyderabad, Gwalior, Baroda and Kashmir. None of them were part of India.

When the British decided to leave, in 1947, the left two choices with the States - to affiliate with Pakistan or with India. Given a real choice most States would have liked to remain independent, but they were forced to make a choice. Their decision was made on basis of the religious domination of the majority of its citizens and the geographic location.

The State of Kashmir was the ideal candidate to join Pakistan - given its geographical contiguity with the newly formed Country, as well as the religious domination of its citizens. The Maharaja of Kashmir however was a Hindu. More importantly, he wanted 'azaadi' which really was not an available option. He continued to procrastinate, and remained non-committal.

Pakistan viewed this as a ploy jointly contrived by the British and the Indians to usurp Kashmir away from her. So in October 1947, Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The invasion was not direct but more 'Kargil like' in the sense the invaders were 'Pushtoon' tribals fully supported morally and otherwise by Pakistan. The invaders reached the outskirts of Srinagar which was on the verge of being taken over.

A panicky Maharajah Hari Singh called India for help. The Indian Government made it clear that legally, India could do nothing, unless the Maharajah acceded Kashmir to India. Left with no option, Maharajah Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession, sent by the Government. No sooner than this was done, the Indian forces landed in Srinagar. The invaders were beaten back out of Srinagar. However by this time they managed to gain control over about one third of the State. The part that India terms as Pakistan Occupied Kahmir or POK.

With this instrument of accession signed, Kashmir became an integral part of India, in the full legal manner. This instrument of accession was the same one that all the other States signed when they became part of the Indian Union. Let Ms Arundhati Roy understand this completely.  This is a historical fact that Kashmir became an integral part of India in 1947.

When Pakistan invaded Kashmir, Prime Minister Nehru appealed to the UN for help in forcing Pakistan to pull back its troops. The UN responded by calling for an immediate 'cease fire' and also called for a 'plebiscite' to determine the wishes of the Kashmiris.

The advice of Sardar Patel as well as the Army Commanders to Nehru, to not call a cease fire unless all occupied territory in Kashmir was vacated by the Pakistanis, was ignored.Nehru went ahead and made the 'fatal' mistake of  not only announcing an immediate  cease fire but also agreeing to 'plebiscite'. 

Those with an ulterior motive like to focus on this one fact that India has not conducted a plebiscite till date and continues to ignore the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

But the reality is this. The UN resolution is a written document and very very clearly states that the first and foremost 'pre condition' for plebiscite to be conducted is that Pakistan will first withdraw from all areas of Kashmir as that it occupied after October 22, 1947. In other words all Pakistani soldiers and tribesmen were expected to pull out from all areas of Kashmir as it existed prior to October 22, 1947.

Its a fact that Pakistan did not vacate what is now called 'POK' It was Pakistan who violated the spirit of the UN resolution, whereas it is India that is criticised - sometimes by its own people.

For plebiscite to be conducted today, would Pakistan consider vacating POK - 63 years after it forcibly and illegally occupied it? The answer is anybody's guess. When this is not possible, neither is plebiscite.

The UN resolution is as good as dead and buried. The solution to the Kashmir problem lies anywhere else but not in 'self determination'

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