Nehru and Kashmir

Sher-e-Kashmir’s biographer, Muhammad Yusuf Teng, it has been learnt is writing about Nehru’s mission Kashmir. It is widely believed that more than fifty pages were expunged from Aatish-e-Chinar. Teng, therefore, has to show prudence while writing the important document.

 

 

During his last days, Sher-e-Kashmir tried his best to rectify the wrongs he had committed. For example, he introduced the re-settlement bill in the state legislature. This was done with the purpose of facilitating the return of those who were exiled by him in post 1947 era.  

He even called on Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz at his New Delhi residence. Carrying a basket of Kashmiri brinjals and tomatoes, Sher-e-Kashmir called on his friend turned foe. Bazaz welcomed him and the duo had a hearty talk. (This was revealed by Bazaz’s son-in-law during a debate in Srinagar in July last year).

He even sought an apology from former Prime Minister Ram Changer Kak. The former Prime Minister was ready to grant the apology if he (Sher-e-Kashmir) walked on foot to his Hairwan residence. It is believed that Sher-e-Kashmir sought the opinion of his doctors who warned him against undertaking the journey to Hairwan. 

(Muhammad Yusuf Teng has confirmed this incident).

These facts tell a lot about his state of mind during his last days. People close to Sheikh Family say the leader left a message for the people before his death. According to them, the message was not communicated to the people.
Similarly, he had discussed in detail some important political developments in Aatish-e-Chinar but the pages were expunged. Teng, therefore, has to be utmost prudent. He has to bring to fore the expunged pages of Aatish-e-Chinar (if they are really with him) and also stay honest while writing on Nehru’s `Mission Kashmir’. The following lines may help him.

Nehru undertook the Kashmir journey three (some say four times) times before 1947. The first visit in 1916 was insignificant. Second time he visited the Valley on Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s invite in 1945. The third visit could not materialize initially because the Dogra monarch, Hari Singh did not allow him to enter Jammu Kashmir. Nehru wanted to appear as a defense counsel for Sheikh Abdullah following his arrest after launching the Quit Kashmir Movement in 1946.  This is what the people know. And what they do not know was unveiled by Dr Rajat Mohini during an exclusive interview with Etalaat recently.  According to her, Nehru landed on Kashmir soil either on October 25 or 26, 1947.  He was accompanied by a person who vehemently opposed New Delhi’s military adventures in Kashmir. Yes, he was free India’s first home minister, VB Patel.

Dr Rajat Mohini, 84, popularly known as Mummy in Srinagar was born and educated at Lahore. Her parents wanted to get her married in a well off Punjabi family. But, Mohini having just completed her MBBS wanted to serve the poor and the destitute turned down many a proposal. A family friend informed them about a Srinagar based doctor, Umkar Nath whose first wife, Rattan Rani had recently expired. Mohini gave her consent and this is how she landed in Kashmir. The marriage was solemnized during the fateful days of 1947. Umkar Nath was a political activist. The National Conference workers called him Pakistani Bata (Pakistani Pandit).

Communal clashes broke out in whole of sub-continent following partition of India. Massive migrations took place on both sides of the Redcliff Line. Mohini’s parents also had to migrate from Lahore. They entered the state of Jammu Kashmir via Kohala and stayed for a few days with their daughter. The government of India arranged special aircrafts for lifting the refugees to various parts of India. Dr Umkar Nath went to see off his mother-in-law to the airfield. In wee hours next morning, a jeep came to a screeching halt outside their Mandir Bagh residence. Umkar Nath entered and what he narrated to his wife unveils an unexplored chapter of Kashmir history.

He told his wife: “After seeing off your mother, I saw GM Sadiq talking to a group of persons. As you know Sadiq is a good friend of mine, I approached him and was surprised to see Jawahar Lal Nehru, VB Patel and Maharaja Hari Singh involved in a serious discussion with him. Neither Sadiq nor anybody else objected to my presence. It was 4 am and requested Sadiq to drop me at my place. On the way to Srinagar, Sadiq told me we had signed an agreement and Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah will take over the government.”

Dr Mohini did not remember the exact date of this extra-ordinary meeting. “It was either 25 or 26 of October,” she told in an interview a few months before her death.      

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