Recently, a web series named “Kashmir Files : Unreported” was released, and it got impressive ratings from Punjab Kesari, India TV, Republic World, Times Now News, etc. The series, though not appreciated by a certain section for their preoccupied beliefs, not only takes you through the actual events that unfolded during the 1990 genocide of Kashmiri Hindus but also highlights bitter facts pertaining to the leadership and insensitive administration that was ruling the Bharata’s heaven at that dark time.
Coincidentally, the Supreme Court of India recently, while hearing a petition against the abolition of Article 370, noted that while Article 35A took away three fundamental Rights of Jammu & Kashmir non-residents, the Indian constitution holds a higher position than the J&K Constitution endorsing the centre viewpoint on the matter.
But why did this article come into being enforced? What were the circumstances behind the enforcement of this particular act? Was this act decisive in the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the valley? What were the situations that led to the State of Jammu & Kashmir becoming the focal point of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism? Could the footprints of the fanatism sprouted in the valley in the 90s be traced back to 1947? And significantly, who were the real perpetrators who helped these fanatics from the Raj Bhavan?
Fortunately, one can brainstorm and get all the answers to these complex queries or the problem pertaining to the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus in detail in the book named as “Nehru’s 127 major blunders” written by Rajnikanth Puranik.
As Rajnikanth Puranik says in the preface of his book, that
“….But for a series of major blunders by Nehru across the spectrum—it would not be an exaggeration to say that he blundered comprehensively— India would have been on a rapidly ascending path to becoming a shining, prosperous, first-world Country by the end of his term, and would surely have become so by early 1980s—provided, of course, Nehru’s dynasty had not followed him to power….”
He further says, “Other leaders too make mistakes, but Nehru can beat them all hands down. The number, the extent, and the comprehensiveness of the Nehruvian blunders can’t be matched. Comprehensive? Other leaders blunder in one or two or three areas. Not Nehru. His was a 360-degree coverage. He blundered in practically all areas (and sub-areas, and in many ways): external security, internal security, foreign policy, economy, education, and culture,….. It’s a long list…….Here is a very cryptic label to capture the essential Nehru: “Nabob of Cluelessness”.
Here in this article, we will delve into a few details of the book to know whether Nehru and his blunders are solely responsible for Kashmir’s fate or whether his decisions about his ancestral home State are only overhyped to put him in a bad picture.
1. Appointing Gore Saheb as Governor-General after independence
The first ever blunder that Nehru made was even after the independence, he insisted Mountbatten continue as the governor-general of independent India…here the question arises Why did he choose Dicky (Mountbatten)?
When at the same time, his counterpart, Mohammad Jinnah, sworn in himself as the governor-general of Pakistan.
Appointing Mountbatten as the Governor-General of India shows the colonial mindset of Nehru and his incapability to identify people. It is really simple to understand that Mountbatten was a representative of the British Government, and his primary obligations were to protect the interests of the British Government. And who knows that he could even have opted to provide secret information pertaining to the Country’s internal security to the Britishers.
Rajnikanth Puranik wrote about this
“The commander in chief of both Pakistan and independent India were Britishers, Frank Walter Messervy and Lockhart both the officers in charge were reporting to the then supreme commander Claude Auchinleck who was also a britisher, Auchinleck used to report Mountbatten. It is evident that the trio Mountbatten, Lockhart and Auchinleck were very much aware and informed about the affairs of the Jammu & Kashmir while at the same time the prominent Indian politicians were completely clueless about the affairs of Kashmir.”
Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayyar wrote about this
“After the accession, the Maharaja provided New Delhi with further evidence (plans with proper seals and maps) to prove that there was a ‘conspiracy by the Muslim League to establish a new Muslim State in Jammu and Kashmir’. It was prepared in the year 1945 itself.” But this was ignored…why… what was the purpose for such ignorance? Was this done deliberately?
2. Refusing accession of Jammu & Kashmir State in India
The Next blunder that Nehru did that he initially refused the Maharaja’s proposal of merging Jammu and Kashmir with India and put his own conditions before Maharaja Hari Singh. Andrew Whitehead wrote about this in his book ‘A Mission in Kashmir’ “There have been suggestions that the Maharaja had decided in August 1947, or certainly by mid-September, that he had no option but to join India, and that he was just waiting for the best moment and the most advantageous terms.”
Puranik says: “When in August–September 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh indeed offered Kashmir’s accession to India; most unbelievably, it was refused by Nehru, who first wanted Sheikh Abdullah to be freed and installed as the prime minister of the State—something not acceptable to the Maharaja. Was it not queer? The nation being favoured with accession laying down conditions, rather than the State agreeing to merge! Nehru’s ways, driven by his hubris, were indeed bizarre and alarming!! (In sharp contrast you had Jinnah offering a signed blank sheet along with his own fountain pen to Maharajas of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Bikaner to put down their conditions for accession to Pakistan, saying: “You can fill in all your conditions.”)
3. Announcing Plebiscite in UN
Nehru declared firstly from the broadcasting house and then in the United Nations (UN) that the accession of Jammu & Kashmir State shall only be accepted after a plebiscite. Astonishingly, neither Maharaja Hari Singh nor the people of Jammu & Kashmir, including the minority Hindus, were demanding this.
It looked foolish when the Maharaja himself had already signed the accession of the State with India, and the masses, too, were not putting a substantial protest against the accession. Then, the prime minister declared a plebiscite. However, Nehru, convinced by Mountbatten to raise the issue of plebiscite under the guidance and association of the UN, had opted to do so. It is documented that both Sardar Patel and Bhimrao Ambedkar opposed the move, but their efforts proved futile. Nehru announced the referendum from the broadcasting house on October 28 1947, and repeated his call on November 2 1947, further, he made sure that the matter of J & K was listed before the UN on January 1, 1948.
Veteran Congressman DP Mishra, while narrating the move, wrote: “Soon after, I heard Nehru’s voice on All India Radio at Nagpur, committing the Government of India to the holding of plebiscite in Kashmir. As from my talk with Patel, I had received the impression that the signature of the Maharaja had finally settled the Kashmir issue. I was surprised by Nehru’s announcement. When I visited Delhi next, I pointedly asked Patel whether the decision to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet. He sighed and shook his head. It was evident that Nehru had acted on Mountbatten’s advice and had ignored his colleagues.”
Another prominent personality, Sita Ram Goel, has written: “Pandit Nehru promised a plebiscite in Kashmir without consulting any of his cabinet colleagues or even Mahatma Gandhi. I refer … to the Memorandum which the CPI [Communist Party of India] had submitted to the British Cabinet Mission and in which Kashmir was described as a separate nationality which should be given the right of self-determination to the point of becoming a sovereign State. The CPI had denounced Kashmir’s accession to India as an imperialist annexation in early 1948. The Indian army in Kashmir had been described as an army of occupation in all official Soviet publications at that time. So Pandit Nehru’s communist conscience suffered persistent pricks. He not only promised a plebiscite but also ordered the Indian Army to stop its triumphant march into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir …”.
In this way, Nehru promised a plebiscite, which was neither in the minds of the ruler nor the masses and the newly emerging State leadership.
4. PoK (Pak Occupied Kashmir): A gift to the enemy Country
The next blunder made by Nehru came during the first Indo-Pak war, which the Pakistanis commenced with the sole aim of capturing Kashmir in October 1947. The war lasted till January 1, 1949, though surprisingly, when the Indian troops were in advantageous positions, Nehru ordered the troops to roll back and declared a ceasefire.
MO Mathai, the then private secretary to Nehru, wrote: “Nehru… ordered a ceasefire in Kashmir at a time when our forces were in a sound position and poised to roll back the enemy. Nehru’s decision, which was impulsive, was a grievous error much resented by the armed forces. Nehru’s was an imitative and an absorptive mind… Essentially, Gandhi’s was an original mind, while Nehru’s was a second-rate one. He was all heart and less mind. This is reflected in his books also.” (Mathai: reminiscence of the Nehru age).
As per a report, the ceasefire decision was remote-controlled by Mountbatten, who was back in England—such influence Mountbatten still exercised over Nehru. General SPP Thorat wrote, “Our forces might have succeeded in evicting the invaders if the Prime Minister had not held them in check and later ordered the ceasefire… Obviously great pressure must have been brought to bear on him by the [former Governor-General]… Panditji was a great personal and family friend of Lord Mountbatten.” (‘India’s Bismarck: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’.
And that’s how we gifted our land to enemies.
And of course, the last but not the least…
5. Article 370
Puranik Says: “Nehru implemented article 370 on the insistence of Sheikh Abdullah, ignoring the concerns raised by two senior leaders, Ambedkar and Patel who vocally opposed the move and expressed their unhappiness over Nehru’s decision.”
He further writes – “Nehru had brought in Gopalaswami Ayyangar as a Minister without Portfolio to look after the Jammu & Kashmir affairs. Before his visit to Europe, Nehru had finalised the draft provisions relating to Jammu & Kashmir with Sheikh Abdullah, which later became Article 370. He had entrusted to Gopalaswami Ayyangar the task of piloting these provisions through the Constituent Assembly…… His presentation provoked angry protests from all sides. Most were opposed to any discriminatory treatment for Jammu & Kashmir The proposal of Article 370 was torn to pieces by the Constituent Assembly.”
The house was against this article, but the leader, being a leader, had implemented that article against all ‘odds’ and antagonism.
Undoubtedly, Nehru made blunders, which are painful though not astonishing for apparent reasons, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the events that unfolded at that time were motivated by a man’s liking, ego and naivety, which led to a few never curing damages to the Bharat.
It is therefore important to delve into history and understand who has made these blunders, who were the Sahebs whose ill effects are faced by our Bharata till today.
BR Nanda said in his book “The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawaharlal” that NB Khare had made the statement to describe Nehru as “English by education, Muslims by culture, and Hindu by an accident of birth”. Although it is an assessment of Khare after observing his patterns of mistakes, one can easily relate to Khare’s assessment of Nehru.
For describing Nehru’s deeds and personality in a nutshell, one should pay attention to the statement of a British journalist: “…a man of echoes and mimicry, the last viceroy rather than the first leader of a liberated India.”