Published On: Thu, Aug 15th, 2019

Jawaharlal Nehru and His Legacy on Kashmir

On midnight of 15 Aug 1947 the British left India. It was the end of 200 years of the Raj. Pandit Nehru, a Kashmiri, took oath as India’s first Prime Minister. In a rousing speech titled ‘A tryst with Destiny’ , Nehru gave vent to the academician and philosopher in him. But even while making the speech, he perhaps was not aware that he was entering a world of power politics, where the winner takes everything.

When he became the Prime Minister, he paid scant attention to the Northern borders and thus a significant portion of the state of Kashmir, Ladakh, was left unattended. He also believed in the words of Maharajah Hari Singh, the Kashmir ruler and made little effort to counter the increasingly belligerent attitude of Pakistan and Jinnah.

The Pakistan Invasion

He woke up only when he was informed that tribals of the Frontier, aided by regular troops and officers of the Pakistan army had invaded Kashmir in October,1948. In no time Gilgit and the western parts of the state were taken over and the Maharajah’s troops captured or killed. This was the time Nehru should have acted and sent the Army into Kashmir.

However Nehru, on the advice of the Governor General Lord Mountbatten, did nothing and only repeatedly asked the Maharajah to sign the instrument of accession to India. It is difficult to comprehend as to what Nehru was waiting for as the tribals were advancing forward. Certainly the Pakistanis and the tribals did not believe in scraps of paper like instrument of accession.

The tribals surged forward into the valley. Had they not tarried to loot, burn and rape at Baramulla, they may well have captured Srinagar. The tribals reached the outskirts of Srinagar, before VP Menon was able to get the instrument of accession signed and flew back to hand the document to Nehru.

Intervention of Indian Army and Cease Fire

Jawaharlal Nehru and His Legacy on Kashmir

The Indian Army was now ordered to intervene and it did a splendid job. But in hindsight even now people just cannot comprehend what prompted Nehru not to react to the tribal invasion. The Indian Army now began to push the raiders back. The fighting was severe and the conflict was prolonged. In about five months of fighting the valley was cleared of the invaders and the Army now made plans to liberate Gilgit and Western Kashmir.

Nehru did something astonishing. He had earlier taken the Kashmir issue to the UNO. So,when the UNO asked for a cease fire he readily consented. This at a time when the Indian army was having the upper hand. This acceptance of a cease fire will go down as a blunder. By this act he legalised the occupation of one third of Kashmir by Pakistan.

The Naivety of Nehru

One of the reasons for his acceptance of a cease fire was his philosophical bent of mind and the fact that he knew nothing of power politics. He probably assumed that everything would be ok and the UNO will get the territory vacated. This naivety has cost India a lot.

Nehru also did further damage to the cause of the Indian claim over Kashmir by enacting Article 370 of the Constitution as well a commitment to hold a plebiscite in the valley to ascertain the wishes of the people. Article 370 conferred special rights to the state of Kashmir, that firmly militated against the integration of the state with India. His offer of a plebiscite has became an anchor around the Indian state. The Government of India published a white paper on 01 Feb,1948, which stated ‘Nevertheless, in accepting the accession, the Government of India made it clear that they would regard it as purely provisional until such time as the will of the people of the State could be ascertained’

The clock has now turned full circle and the Kashmir issue is still unresolved. Perhaps it will remain like this. The valley is in flames and who knows that the mistakes of Nehru and his naivety may well make India pay dearly for his follies.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News,Tech Preview and Daily Posts.

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