Today is 14th November, the day when Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minster was born in 1889. In 1946, he became head of the interim Govt. with the title of Vice president of Executive Council. Upon Partition, he became India’s first Prime Minster.
While Partition brought freedom to India & Pakistan- Kashmir lost its own. The question of ownership of Kashmir resulted in a war between India & Pakistan. India took the case to United Nations because it’s Prime Minster, Nehru considered it as a fair arbiter and a potential peacemaker committed to the good of mankind. 

He valued this institution also because it conferred India and other Afro-asian Countries or non-aligned nations, almost powerless from the military point of view, a forum where their voice could not be ignored. UN, after affording both the countries a fair & reasonable opportunity of hearing, due diligence & protracted discussions, held that a plebiscite should be held in whole of the State of J&K to know the wishes of its People. Both India & Pakistan agreed to implement the UN decision.

After having made a promise of plebiscite to whole international community at UN, to people of Kashmir at Srinagar’s Lal chowk and to his own people in his own parliament, considered by Indians a temple of democracy, Nehru simply reneged on his promise. With the passage of time and dirty political tricks inside Kashmir, Nehru managed to hold on to Kashmir in total defiance to the will of international community. But how did Nehru manage to retain Kashmir in-spite of numerous UN resolutions & international censures. ? As Walter crocker says in his book – “Nehru-A contemporary estimate P. 65”-Splitting straws and trailing red herrings, such as about aggression by Pathan Marauders or about the validity of instrument of accession signed by the fugitive Mahraja, or about the validity of its confirmation by the packed Kashmir Assembly and building up a huge sandhill of legalism or Pakistan Joining SEATO & CENTO has been a hallmark of his policy of circumvention. 

In 1957, when India finally announced integration of Kashmir with Indian union through a constituent assembly packed by its henchmen & collaborators, whose entry was facilitated by fraudulent elections, UN passed a resolution on 24th Jannuary 1957 stating that the convening of a Constituent Assembly and any action that Assembly may have taken(referring to validation of instrument of accession) or might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof, would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the earlier UN resolutions. A look at the next few days comments appearing in world press is indicative of the damage caused to Nehru’s enviable moral prestige throughout the world .

The Daily telegraph, Sydney-29th Jan. 1957: “The Indian Prime Minster Mr. Nehru, has exposed himself as the number one imposter of the international Scene. He parades as a man of peace: an idealist:a staunch champion of the United Nations. He picks up Garlands in Moscow and white House dinners in Washington.From Bangdung To Edinburagh, people have been beguiled by this act. The climax of the Kashmir question,however exposed Nehru for what he is. He wants Kashmir. That is all there is to it. The man of peace ceases to be so. The champion of the UN thumbs his nose at the world organization: the exalted arbiter of international behavior become a thug.”

The Berner Tagwacht, Berne-29th Jan. 1957: “India which likes to play the role of a great promoter of peace in world conflicts, suddenly finds itself put in the wrong through the UN resolution on Kashmir. The fact that India has annexed Kashmir, inspite of security Council’s orders to the contrary, constitutes the worst possible judgment on Indian leader’s understanding of the World situation.”

The Manchester Guardian-Jan. 28 1957: “India has defied the security Council and integrated Kashmir. Nehru can look back on succeeding in the long game he has played with Pakistan, but in the longer game of keeping the world at peace he has injured his own position. By occupying Kashmir and refusing to budge by delaying the plebescite upon one pretext or another until the idea of plebescite has gone stale, Mr. Nehru has been able to achieve what he wanted with a minimum of violence. But for future he has stored up a feud with Pakistan which in all reasonable likelihood will bring disaster to both Countries and which will atleast distort their foreign policies indefinitely. The security Council is bound to be angry-more so as India’s action is a flagrant disregard of her promise to the UN in 1951”

The Daily Sketch London-Jan. 28, 1957: “Now the prophet of international morality has turned into the Pharisee. He has flatly defied the UN over Kashmir and he means to go on with his defiance. He is not only a sinner but a stubbornly unrepentant sinner” 

The Nation-Rangoon-Jan 28 1957: “To all objective observers it is an open case of stubbornness on the part of India & Nehru who has shown himself capable of flouting every one of the principles which he so ardently preaches to others. Nehru, the dispenser of advice, is on Kashmir issue deaf to all arguments. India’s argument that she would not agree to plebiscite because Pakistan had not yet removed the Azad Kashmir forces while neglecting to mention that the present Govt. of Kashmir was put into office with the aid of Indian forces who are still there”.

According to rightwing Hindu discourse, Nehru mismanaged & botched up Kashmir issue in 1947. In their view, his deputy Sardar Patel was more suited for the job but was not allowed by Nehru to have his way. What they probably mean is that Patel could have engineered covert murderous operations in valley like the ones practiced earlier in Jammu & later in Hyderabad to simply annex Kashmir without involving UN? What they forget or don’t know is that Patel was initially opposed to accession of Kashmir to India and being a Muslim Majority State, he wanted that it should go to Pakistan (Kuldeep Nayyar- Beyond the lines-Page 60). But looking to Nehru’s sensibilities on the issue, he had to go along with him. 

Nehru’s birthday is celebrated as children’s day in India. With the rightwing Hindu dispensation ruling at the centre, it is doubtful whether the day will be celebrated with the same gusto & fervor as it used to be in the past.

The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant. Email:


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