"If Sheikh Abdullah would not have been there", bragged Mani Shankar Ayar, Congress leader and former cabinet minister in an interview with Greater Kashmir, "Parvez Musharaf would have been sitting on your head. Zia-ul-Haque would have been your president. The Taliban would have been wandering in the valley". Having his gaze stayed at the face of the interviewer, the Indian "intellectual" shot up the stringent satire, "I see you are clean shaven, you would have probably lost your head if Sheikh Abdullah would have brought Kashmir into Pakistan". Reminding of the drone attacks the United States are unleashing into Pakistan, in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Indian leader droned, “you would have been a front-line state in America’s war against terrorism in Afghanistan”. Wallowing in self-manipulated bliss, Aiyar hummed, “So, you are very lucky that Sheikh Abdullah had the wisdom to keep all of J&K inside India”. Dismayed over ‘Azad J&K’ (the Pakistan controlled Kashmir) not falling to advanced Indian troops, India sent to capture the entire state, the Indian leader whined, “unfortunately, Jinnah (Qaid-e-Azam Mohamad Ali Jinnah) stole and his cohort stole one third of the riyasat”.
(Greater Kashmir: June 13, 2011)
First things first. Did Maharaja Hari Singh, the Dogra autocratic ruler of the state of J&K, accede the state to Indian Union, or, Sheikh Abdullah, the National Conference leader? The Instrument of Accession was ‘signed’ by Maharaja. Sheikh Abdullah, whom Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru has snared into his imperialistic fold, endorsed it, we have not to forget, at that time National Conference was not the only political voice of J&K. Muslim Conference headed by dynamic Chaudhary Abas commanded a mass support as well. In fact, in the Praja Sabha (Legislative assembly) it had the highest numerical strength in terms of seats it has won in elections NC has boycotted. And much before the fleeing ruler of Kashmir signed the accession document, Muslim Conference in June 1947 unanimously passed the resolution in favor of Pakistan. As per democratic norms, MC enjoyed the ‘representative character’ of the people as it has contested elections. Read n the context, Sheikh Abdullah’s endorsement of the accession does not in any ways clothe the instrument of Accession with legitimacy, notwithstanding Shankar Aiyar’s claims.
Aware of the inherent flaws in the accession attested by despotic ruler and endorsed by a leader yet to prove his representative strength; and also knowing the invasion of Kashmir and grab the land through military means is incompatible to Congress Party’s “principled stand” it adopted towards ‘princely states’, Delhi on its own subjected the accession to consent of people of J&K, achieved through free and fair plebiscite. And that very promise gravitated the Indian leadership to insert word ‘provisional’ in its constitution.
After consolidating its control through military means, Delhi approached Security Council hoping the world body would have its one eye closed and one ear plugged and accord de-jure recognition to its de-facto military control. But despite towering personality of Sheikh Abdullah’s flagellations of presenting India a victim and Pakistan an aggressor, the world body passed resolution accepting people of Kashmir right to self determination (RSD), which both India and Pakistan accepted. While Pakistan has not, in principle, recanted from the RSD, which it continues to stress on, India, on the other hand, continues to hum its ‘integral part’ rhetoric and terms elections it conducts in the disputed territory as a “referendum”. The excuse that neither the United Nations nor the Kashmiris have accepted. The world body on record stated that elections under Indian Constitution cannot be an alternative for RSD, they can serve only administrative purpose.
As per Kashmiris are concerned, right from the day of accession, they, have been demanding RSD and asking Indians to fulfill their promises.
Looking in this historical background, one would say with aplomb that Aiyar’s remarks are dehyphenated from historical facts and shorn of legitimacy.
Aiyar exhorts Kashmiris to be thankful for the “wisdom” of Sheikh and consider themselves as ‘lucky’ to have a leader that exhibited such a foresight in having Kashmir looped in Indian’s bind. Well, what does history tells us about this Abdullah’s foresight. Abdullah should have counted himself most ‘lucky’ person on this planet to have his ‘democratic’ and ‘secular’ beliefs go in synch with those of Indian leaders’ beliefs and principles he preferred to hug them ignoring Jinnah. And thus carved an “honorable” space of his own in the hall of fame. Did he? The “lucky” man’s towering political stature notwithstanding, Indian leadership treated him nothing more than a political lackey and yoked him mercilessly for its political ambitions. That purpose solved, he was cut to his size and made to remember that principles and pledge hold the reverence of a tissue paper before a power that speaks through the “logic” of
gun and prison. Not an allegation. A stark reality, Abdullah realized on August 9, 1953 when he was dethroned, arrested and imprisoned for nearly twenty two years. The question is if this treatment is meted out to a person who “endorsed” accession, pleaded India’s case in Security Council, unleashed terror on Muslim Conference activists and exiled its leaders to Pakistan, jailed people for the “sin” of listening Radio Pakistan, how much “lucky” would be the ordinary souls in the “merry-land” Mani Shankar is pointing to. When the “Knight” himself has been exalted to this “sanctimonious” position, what will be the fate of ordinary “soldiers” he sucked into the Indian mainstream. He lost the faith on Indians and screamed from jail. ‘The aim of my life is to ensure honor and dignity of my people. This is the reason I have been striving for the enforcement of their right to self determination. If I die in the process I shall
be a happy man’. Mr. Aiyar who you count “happy” and “lucky”?
(To be continued)