H C Singh

Problem of Kashmir and Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits

Jawaharlal Nehru, though he himself was a Kashmiri Pandit the first Prime Minister of Independent India proved to be a weak PM particularly as long as Lord Mountbatten was Governor General of Dominion of India. He continued to be ineffective and docile till Sardar Patel, iron man of India,was alive. Nehru committed many blunders in the case of Kashmir as outlined by Vidya Bhushan in South Asia Today:

The first and biggest blunder was to make Jawahar Lal Nehru PM instead of Sardar Patel and another blunder was to assign Deptt of Kashmir Affairs to Nehru while all the other State Affairs were under Ministry of State under the charge of Sardar Patel.

Another blunder was to name the head of government of Kashmir as Prime Minister and not Chief Minister as was the case of hundreds of other Princely States. Also to name Srinagar Radio as Radio Kashmir and not All India Radio Kashmir.

But the greatest blunder was to let Mountbatten include a clause on the Instrument of Accession on Kashmir to India, that “will of the people” will be taken into account, which led to one crises after another viz referring the Kashmir question to UN, agreeing to cease fire when entire Kashmir could be conquered by Indian Army within a week and finally agreeing to plebiscite.

It is unfortunate that all these blunders on Kashmir were committed by Pt. Nehru, directly or indirectly which cost India thousands of valiant Indian Army personnel’s life and also of Kashmiris besides lakhs of crores of rupees during 62 years besides 1965 war with Pakistan Kashmir and also Kargil war, without any solution to Kashmir problem.

Before the conquest of Kashmir by Muslim Afghans, entire population of Kashmir was Hindu. But now there is absolute majority of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley but in Jammu area majority is of Hindus and in, Ladakh Buddhist before and after independence. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh in early 8th century who conquered and ended Muslim (Afghan) rule after about 700 years. Just as he captured NWFP from Afghans, made both Kashmir and NWFP part of his (Indian) empire. B.N Sharma’s views in this context are touching so these are reproduced below:

” Have we ever tried analyze the course of almost complete demographic swing in favour of Muslims as the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Pandits was going on under the benevolent gaze of the previous secular government at Delhi so aptly described by a Kashmiri Muslim Khurshid Vani—‘when bullets, blood and fundamentalism made their first inroad into the valley, 1.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits left their paradise in fear, but 3000 families stayed back to fight, to survive and to live or die in their homes.’ Sadly more than a decade and a half later, the staying power of these gritty Pandits stands diluted by joblessness, anxiety and loneliness, not to talk of nagging fear. There are no grooms for daughters, no relatives to share family with, no hope of the return of exiled and, of course distress sale of ancestral properties. And the plight of Those who stayed back against all adversity.”

During Ranjit Singh’s reign over Kashmir and there after British rule by Dogra rulers Kashmir was quiet—no apparent Muslim dominance. But since independence because of Nehru’s follies and Pakistani indirect and direct intervention Kashmir problem has arisen and has got intensified. It is true and shocking but the secular government of India could not prevent it or do anything for return of Kashmiri Pandits which seems a remote possibility now. It may be possible, either after final agreement in black and white with Pakistan or after disintegration of Pakistan (NWFP becoming an independent state or joining Afghanistan) or when the Taliban menace is over either by peaceful settlement or by intensified war by USA as US President Obama has claimed by mid 2011 when all US Forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. If one of this possibility becomes reality, as it is hoped and peace returns to Kashmir after few years then and then alone it may or will be possible for Kahmiri Pandits to return to their homes in Kashmir and become integrated Kashmiris as before independence of India.

December 25, 2009 - Posted by | Cold War, India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, World | , , , , , , ,

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