Understanding the Kashmir problem from nationalistic perspective-1

January 10, 2017 0 Comments OPINION 347 Views

In order to suggest a sustainable solution of ‘Kashmir Problem’, it is very essential to understand the political problem in its proper perspective. In an era of democracy the seven decades old Kashmir problem has to be approached from the majoritarian nationalistic perspective. The Kashmiri speaking Kashmir region is the core area of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the historical and geographical epicenter of Kashmiri nationalism. The peripheries of Kashmir need not to perceive Kashmiri nationalism antagonistic to their respective identities as the proposed Kashmiristan by Jammu and Kashmir National League endorses the sub national identities of Jammu, Ladakh, Balitistan, Dardistan and Parmistan (Azad Kashmir). Kashmiri nationalism is based on the glorious past of the Kashmiri people as a sovereign nation from ancient past till the Mughal invasion of Kashmir in 1586. Kashmir has acquired name and fame as an independent nation in ancient and medieval period especially during the reigns of Kanshika, Lalitadatiya, and Zain-ul-Abidin. The genius people of Kashmir have contributed immensely to the fields of philosophy, science, art and literature in all epochs of its long history. Kashmir has produced its nationalist heroes from time to time who have protected jealously the honour and pride of their beloved motherland against all odds of time and circumstances.
Among the Kashmiri nationalists of 20th century the most prominent names are that of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and PremNath Bazaz .In order to disseminate their progressive ideas, the Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah and PremNath Bazaz, founded an Urdu weekly, Hamdard, in 1935. On 11th June 1939, the Muslim Conference was replaced by the secular All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, presided over by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah popularly known as Sher-i-Kashmir.The NC came to be identified with the socially leftist republicanism that Abdullah had championed and its particular context of an indigenous political movement pitted against the Dogra dynasty helped to develop a distinct entity: a new Kashmiri nationalism. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and his political organization demanded that the Treaty of Amritsar be revoked and monarchical rule ousted. He declared the Quit Kashmir movement against the Dogra monarchy. In May 1946 the Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having led the Quit Kashmir movement against the maharaja’s regime.
Following the partition and independence of the British India in mid-August 1947 Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was released from the jail on 29th September 1947.The century old Dogra autocracy was yet to end, a new challenge for Kashmiri nationalism in the form of Pakistan sponsored tribal raid emerged on 22nd October 1947. In order to drag out tribal invaders the autocratic ruler of the state Maharaja Hari Singh approached the government of India for military help. The government of India asked for accession of the state with Indian Union prior to any military help. The Maharaja was compelled by the circumstances to submit his Instrument of Accession to the government of India on 26th October 1946. The Maharaja did surrender his control only over defense, foreign affairs and communication to the Indian Union. Abdullah supported the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with Indian Union. The Indian troops landed at Srinagar Airport early in the morning on 27th October 1947.The Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten in his letter addressed to Maharaja Hari Singh wrote that once the law and order situation improves in the state the will of the people on the subject of accession will be determined. The statement of Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was broadcasted by All India Radio on 2nd November, 1947 in which the head of the government of India said very categorically that once the soil of the state is cleared of the invaders the wishes of the people with respect to Maharaja’s accession will be ascertained.
The reference of Indo-Pak military conflict in Kashmir to the United Nations on 31st December 1947 added the international dimension to the bilateral issue. Following the introduction of Article 370 in the Constitution of India implemented on 26th January 1950 the National Conference passed a resolution to constitute a constituent assembly in the state. In May 1951 Sadr-e-Riyasat Karan Singh issued a declaration to constitute the said assembly for which the elections were held in September-October 1951. In his inaugural address to the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah described India as a modern secular, socialist, democratic and federal nation as against Pakistan a feudal state. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah reached the famous ‘Delhi Agreement’on 24th July 1952 on centre-state relations with Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.The UN Resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir calling for a two-option plebiscite in the state disturbed Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah because he feared the exploitation of Muslim sentiment in the Muslim majority state by the Muslim nationalist and Islamist political forces in Jammu and Kashmir. In order to compete these forces he began to assert the third option of Independent Kashmir. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s public assertion of ‘third option’ shook the balance of trust between New Delhi and Srinagar. The public speech of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Mazar-e-Shudain Srinagar on 13th July 1953 in which he declared that he has pated his way with Indian rulers disturbed New Delhi. On 8th August 1953, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was removed from the power to install Khalid-e-Kashmir BakshiGhulamMohamad as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir who described Abdullah’s efforts to make Independent Kashmir with the help of external powers an exercise detrimental to the national interests of both India and Pakistan. The Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly ratified the accession of Jammu and Kashmir on 6th February 1954. The Constituent Assembly also adopted the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir on 17th November 1956 and the Bakhshi Government implemented it on 26th January 1957. In 1965 Prime Minister Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq changed the nomenclature of Sadr-e-Riyasat and Wazir-e-Azam into Governor and Chief Minister respectively to bring these at par with the nomenclature in other states of India.
Soon after the arrest of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Kashmir on 9th August 1947 a War Council was established by his staunch supporters to demand his release. Two years later Fakhr-e-KashmirMirza Mohammad Afzal Beigh and other six legislators of National Conference established Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front to demand people’s right of self-determination. Following the Beigh-Parthasarthy Accord in 1974 the leaders of Plebiscite Front described their two-decades of struggle for right of self-determinations Siyasi Awaraghardi meaning political wandering. By trusting the promise of Government of India to review central laws extended to Jammu and Kashmir since his dismissal in 1953, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah made a big political mistake in 1975 which was exploited by Muslim nationalists and Islamists in Kashmir as bartering away state’s sovereignty for political power by the towering political hero of Kashmiri nationalism. The Plebiscite Front was dissolved and the Abdullah faction of National Conference was revived to contest the Legislative Assembly elections of the state in 1977.
Email:ghathar@yahoo.co.in

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