(ABDUL MAJID ZARGAR)
A web of falsehood has been woven around the instrument of accession between Indian Govt. & Maharaja of Kashmir to present it as a credible & genuine document before the international community & general public. However, continuous scholarly debates & archival materials have exposed such myths. Noted historian & author of several books, Dr. Abdul Ahad who has held many important positions as Director Archives & museums, has termed the instrument of accession as a bogus document on the basis of archival material, overwriting in dates, type of ink used for signatures etc. etc. In chapter 23 of his book Kashmir-Triumphs & Tragedies, he has exposed a number of infirmities in the instrument of accession which puts its credibility to a severe test. Probably this explains the Indian unwillingness to present the original instrument before UNO or its exhibition in the white paper on Kashmir presented before Indian Constituent Assembly on 3rd March 1948. (See also Aliastar Lamb-ChapterV1)
Be that as it may, there have been many other myths floated in the past around this instrument which need to be rebutted to put the records straight.
The first of such myths is that the instrument of accession was signed by Maharaja on 26th October. V.P. Menon, the man supposed to have obtained Maharaja’s Signatures States in his book “Integration of States” that he travelled from Delhi to Jammu on this date, got the instrument signed by Maharaja & flew back to Delhi. This simply cannot be true as the Maharaja along with his family left Kashmir in the wee hours of 26th October and considering the condition of Srinagar-Jammu Road(it used to be called as Banihal cart road those days and there was no Jawahar Tunnel) and the eyewitness account of those who saw Maharaja’s Motorcade pass through different towns like Ramban,Kud & Udhampur, Maharaja could not have reached Jammu before 7.00 PM. That being so and keeping in view the absence of night landing & take-off facilities at Jammu Airport those days it is next to impossible for any person to fly from Delhi to Jammu & back at such an odd hour. Besides this there are other evidences which nail his lie. According to Alexander Symon, Britain’s deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, he met Menon on 26th October in Delhi and was told that he would fly to Jammu next day i.e 27th October.(LP&S/13/1845b,ff 283-95-India office records). Yet another evidence is provided by M.C.Mahajan, Kashmir’s then Prime Minster. Writing in his autobiography, “Looking back-page 154” Mahajan says that he along with Menon went to Jammu on 27th October after receiving a message from Aerodrome officer in Srinagar around 9 AM that Indian troops had landed there. On reaching Maharaja’s Palace in Jammu and after some discussion ,formal documents were signed by Maharaja which Menon took back to Delhi. If any doubt remains, it is set at rest by Nehru’s letter of 27th October addressed to Mahraja which reads as “ Sh. V.P.Menon returned from Jammu this evening(means 27th October) and informed me of talks there. He gave me the instrument of accession which you have signed. Even Patel’s Daughter & secretary, Maniben Patel says that her father received Menon at Airport on arrival from Jammu on 27th October & not on 26th as is made out to be (Noorani-Frontline 24th March 1995)
By all these evidences, it is proved beyond doubt that if at all instrument of accession was ever signed, it was on 27th October after the Indian troops had landed in Srinagar.
The second of such myths is that Indian forces entered Kashmir following a tribal incursion on 22nd October 1947. But it is now an established fact that under ‘operation Rescue’, Indian Govt. had dispatched four commando platoons of it’s army’s 50th Parachute Brigade and batteries of Patiala artillery (most of the times camouflaged in civvies) to Kashmir between 12th & 17th October, 1947, well before the tribal invasion. In-fact, Srinagar Airport was already surrounded & secured by these forces when the Indian Army was formally airlifted on 27th October. It needs to be noted that Mountbatten had already promised Hari Singh of such military help during his June 1947 Visit to Srinagar(Freedom at Midnight-page 205.See also Patel’s Correspondence with Defence Minster Baldev Singh)Thus, it was India who first sent armed forces into Kashmir even before the Maharaja signed the accession.
Yet another distortion of facts is that after partition of the subcontinent in 1947, Kashmir lay adjacent to both India & Pakistan and hence its ruler was entitled, according to rules of partition, to accede to either of the two domains. This statement is historically incorrect because according to original partition plan of 3rd June 1947, India was left with no access corridor to Kashmir. Aware of this major constraint, V.P. Menon acting as Constitutional advisor to Mountbatten, sent him a note three weeks before actual partition which reads as “It (Kashmir) does not lie in the bosom of Pakistan and it can claim an exit to India, especially if a portion of Gurdaspur district goes to India”. (see Vol XII of ‘The Transfer of Power’ series of documents). Taking the matter further, Nehru exploited his “intimate relationship” with Edwina Mountbatten to prevail upon her husband Lord Mountbatten to help awarding Muslim majority district of Gurdaspur to India so as to provide it the required corridor. Mountbatten, already peeved over Jinnah’s refusal to appoint him as first Governor General of Pakistan instantly obliged by inserting extraneous factors in the partition plan which helped Gurdaspur district to go to India . This is confirmed by a startling revelation by Christopher Beaumont, Radcliffe’s secretary, in London in 1992 stating that under Mountbatten’s pressure Radcliffe did alter the boundary lines to award the Muslim-majority district of Gurdaspur to India so as to provide her a direct land access to Kashmir. (The author is a practicing chartered Accountant)
Publish Date: 25-10-13 11:30 AM