October 27, the day when in 1947 Indian army landed at Srinagar airport, has been declared a Black Day by all those political and militant forces which dispute India’s claim on state of Jammu and Kashmir. After the eruption of militancy in J&K in early nineties, the separatist groups have been, religiously, for hartal and protests on this day every year. However, this year they couldn’t as Eid-ul-Adha falls on the same day. Therefore they have confined themselves to issuance of statements reminding Kashmiri people that the day was the ‘beginning of their slavery which is yet to end and therefore they should remain loyal to the freedom movement.’
While one can’t dispute the claim of these groups that the final settlement of Kashmir dispute is yet to happen and that like all free citizen of the free world Kashmiris too have a right to decide about their political future, these groups always shy away from reminding themselves and the people the causes that led to the happenings of October 27. Had tribals, assisted and armed by Pakistan regulars, not entered Kashmir On Oct 22, 1947, Indian army could have found no justification in landing at Srinagar airport and the ruler of sovereign Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh would not have been forced to enter into a panicky agreement of accession with government of India.
Maharaja, as history stands witness, wanted to stay away from India and Pakistan and his prime minister, Ram Chand Kak was a staunch supporter of Jammu and Kashmir remaining an independent nation state. It was in this backdrop that Maharaja had entered into a standstill agreement with government of Pakistan and was constantly resisting Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru’s nagging and persuasion to join Indian domain. But once the tribal invasion took place and an unending spree of loot, killings and rapes started in Maharaja’s state in complete violation of standstill agreement, Maharaja had to run for his life and shelving all the dreams of independence, approached the Indian government for a conditional accession.
So, when did Kashmir lose its sovereignty? Is it October 27 or Oct 22, 1947/? When Jammu and Kashmir did got divided into two? Not on October 27 because parts of princely state (now known as Azad Kashmir) were already occupied by Pakistan. Tribal invasion has been a constant debate amongst Pakistani scholars, intellectuals and academia. Books have written on the subject and papers presented and the majority opinion is that the invasion was a blunder and the sub continent is still paying for the whims of some Pakistani politicians and military men.
Coming back to Kashmir, why our separatist leadership is indulging in deliberate forgetfulness of historical facts? Those who are there for accession of Kashmir with Pakistan can afford this forgetfulness because that suits their national (Pakistan) interest. But how can the groups that stand for independent and sovereign Jammu and Kashmir talk about Oct 27 and not Oct 22? History of mankind is recorded to help people learn lessons and if attempts are made to distort history or hide it, it in no way is going to help Kashmiris. They need to be told the truth, half truths will not do. If Oct 27 is a black day, Oct 22 either is not brighter.