KASHMIR AND THE LAST DOGRA MAHARAJA – HARI SINGH

The Kashmir is famous partly because of her still the ongoing tragedy and partly because of her resilience. The tragedy is that since 1947 when Sub Continent got divided into countries namely India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been into the state of nowhere. She has still not succeeded in getting freedom – not from the Britishers ironically from India.

Historically the state of Jammu and Kashmir was sold by English to Gulab Singh for just 75 Lakh Royal Coins. At that time Jammu and Kashmir constituted of 84471 square miles, it was sold at the price of 155 rupees square mile. At the time of partition, Kashmir was ruled by a Dogra King Hari Singh. The dogras ascended to the throne after the last Sikh war of 1856.Dogra Kings were infamous for their extravagant expenditure and so was the case with Hari Singh

Hari Singh ascended to the throne in 1925. His extreme inclination towards luxuries could be understood by this fact that on his coronation ceremony he spent nearly 25 lakh rupees. He himself wore diamonds earrings and was generous enough to clad his elephants with rubies and pearls as well.

In 1919 when his uncle Pratap Singh decided that his nephew Hari Singh should go to visit Europe, Hari Singh is said to have moved with a vault of nearly $4,000,000.From there he went to Paris and it was since then onwards his name started to appear in the news headlines. In 1921 a scandal arose which moved Hari Singh from head to toe. A prostitute in Paris had started blackmailing Hari Singh and to keep her mouth shut he managed to pay her £300,000. However, by then the scandal had already hit the headlines. In 1924 this scandal resulted in court proceedings in which the Indian Government intervened and tried her level best to get Hari Singh out of the case. At last as a last resort, the Indian Government managed to arranged for him to be referred as Mr “A”. But this wasn’t over. When he returned his Uncle Pratap, banished him to a remote jungle estate for six months to perform rituals acts of penance and humiliation.In penance for his misconduct, he got his moustache shaved.

However, when the years of partition began to come near, the situation got tensed in Sub Continent. The whole of the subcontinent was to be divided into India and Pakistan on the basis of Two Nation Theory. The princely states which were alarmingly 570 in numbers were giving the choice of joining either Pakistan or India or to remain neutral. Almost every princely state made a quick decision except KASHMIR and the price of which Kashmiris have been still paying.

During the year of Partition, almost every princely state either boarded on Indian ship or Pakistani. However, the case of Hyderabad and Junagadh is much different. The Nizam of Hyderabad was a Muslim but the majority of his subjects were Hindus, comprising 85% of the total population. The Nizam of Hyderabad remained neutral and wanted to keep his state independent. However, India keeping this in mind that the majority is comprised of Hindus, launched Operation Polo in September 1948 in order to invade and accede Hyderabad into the Dominion of India. The Indian Army crushed the Nizam’s private army called Razakars, which resulted in the killing of thousands of people mainly including Razakars. Similar was the case of Junagadh which was ruled by the Muslim King having a Hindu majority. The difference was this that the Junagadh’s ruler wanted to accede to Pakistan but was subjugated by the use of force from the Indian side.

Coming back to Kashmir where Hari Singh had given no indication of given up his state’s independence. In may 1947 when Lord Mountbatten met him and showed him “ instrument of accession under Independence of India Act 1947 “ he gave no consent. A Hindu King with more than 95% Muslim subjects was still dreaming of an independent state like the Nizam of Hyderabad. Hari Singh’s silence started to create mayhem thus Mohammad Ali Jinnah decided to meet him under the pretext of visiting the beautiful valley to recover his health. Mohammad Ali Jinnah shocked to learn that Hari Singh doesn’t want him in Kashmir even as a visitor. This made Mohammad Ali Jinnah suspicious of Hari Singh’s possible moves. In the early hours of October 24, 1947, the invasion began as the thousands of Tribal Pushtoons pushed their way forward into Kashmir to capture the more the area they could to pressurise the Dogra King. The Pakistani government upheld that it was the decision of native tribal pashtoons to enter Kashmir and it has nothing to do with Pakistani Government oo Army. However Stanley Wolpert in his book “The Jinnah of Pakistan” asserted that this invasion was not an isolated attack rather it was backed by Pakistan Army. However, even if it was an Army-backed operation, It was India which first set the precedent of using force to annexe other states into her dominion like in the case of Hyderabad and Junagadh.

As the troops marched forward, Mohra power station which was the only power station in Kashmir was burnt down. The Srinagar palace of Hari Singh where he was celebrating Dussehra, plunged into darkness. Realising the intensity of the situation, Singh took no time to flee Srinagar.

With a convoy of 85 vehicles, loaded with everything he could take with himself, he rapidly left Srinagar. It is also said that the convoy included 8 fully loaded trucks as well which carried the asset of almost 500 crores from Srinagar to Jammu. Hari Singh by then realised that his prolonging of making any decision has worsened the situation. He immediately made his connection to India to ask for help. India, putting this fact behind how they integrated Hyderabad into her dominion only because the majority was Hindu, retaliated rapidly. On October 26, 1947, Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession and thus the fate of Kashmiris was sealed. On October 27, 1947, India’s 1st Sikh Batallion reached Srinagar and thus the ambush between the Indian forces and Tribal Pushtoons started. When Mohammad Ali Jinnah learnt that Indian Army has landed in Srinagar, he ordered his British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracey to send two battalions to Kashmir, the order which Gracey refused to obey.

The situation was tensed, a state consisting of more than 95% Muslim population was thus going to be captured by India on the verge of weapon, against the basis of partition – which was Two Nation Theory. Mohammad Ali Jinnah could not just stand and watch this injustice since his own Commander in Chief had refused to comply with his orders, Mohammad Ali Jinnah kept supporting the infiltration into the Kashmir as he had always regarded Kashmir as an essential part of Pakistan.

Finally, a UN ceasefire was arranged. Both the countries agreed to comply with the terms of resolution and the resolution was brought into effect at the end of 1948.However, till now, Kashmir has proved to be an apple of discord between India and Pakistan. Today India controls Jammu and Kashmir while Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan is controlled by Pakistan. Pakistan and India till now have fought 3 full-fledged battles with each other over the Kashmir conflict. Dozens of standoffs and skirmishes over the LOC were also mainly linked with Kashmir conflict, but still, the problem lies exactly where it was in 1947.

Pakistan’s stance regarding Kashmir is a principled stance i.e India cannot subjugate Kashmiris against their will. Thousands of Kashmiris have been till now killed, abducted, tortured, blinded and snatched off from their basic right of freedom of expression. Pakistan has at every forum tried to show the World India’s real image but the UN is either unable to pull the reins of India or she herself has turned away her face from this injustice. The right of self-determination is the fundamental right of Kashmiris. India must understand that Pakistan will not leave her Kashmiri brothers alone and will counter India at every possible way. India should realise that Pakistan will not move an inch from her stance and will continue helping her Kashmiri brothers in retaliating the Indian atrocities. Until and unless India holds a plebiscite in Kashmir and gave them their basic right of self-determination, South Asia will remain unstable.

 

About the columnist:

Kashif Mirza is a Law student from Pakistan & a current amateur political analyst and observer covering domestic as well as international news. Kashif Mirza can be reached on facebook at atifmirzakm@gmail.com

Sources:

https://somensengupta.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/a-nemesis-called-kashmir-a-sin-of-hari-singh-and-we-pay-the-price/https://mukundsathe.com/2015/10/26/this-day-in-

history-26-oct-1947-maharaja-hari-singh-agrees-to-the-accession-of-jammu-and-kashmir-to-india/http://www.kashmirlife.net/kashmirs-last-maharaja-

1413/http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/blogs/brief-history-resistancekashmir/http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/blogs/brief-history-resistance-kashmir/

 

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