Jawaharlal Nehru & his Kashmir Policy

Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the man who played the pivot role in Indian independence and subsequently went on to be crowned as India’s first Prime Minister. A monumental architect and frontline activist of Mahatma Gandhi’s pool of freedom fighter, who faced all kind of British atrocity used to deviate him from achieving the goal set of a free India and subsequently spent several years in jail as a political prisoner. All of his leadership and a visionary skill lead to accolade him as the 1st Prime Minister of free India with task in hand to move the nation upwards.

Along with visionary skill, Mr. Nehru was ruthlessly ambitious as well. He has sworn in as the leader of a country which lacks far behind in term of science, technology and 20th century’s engineering skill already developed by other country. Candle light focus to establish the nation in Global picture and at the same period he has also shown intention to figure out himself as universally acclaimed leader. Till independence, he lived in the shadow of Mahatma Gandhi and first occurrence for him to twist the scenario upside down hailed once he took charge at PMO.

These high ambition and self ego encouraged Mr. Nehru to initiate courageous and proactive decision making. Grievous decisions are authorized to exhilarate a certain segment simply to actuated national growth apart from picturize himself as a leader with Universal values. One of strong and quite unusual decision was to tabled “Jammu & Kashmir” issue at United Nation. It is one of the decisions which astound many of his colleagues and could have been eluded for the sake of national integrity.

On the day of Independence, along with India and Pakistan hundreds of colonial state got freedom. On the course of signing treaty of independence with last British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten all top bracketed leader mutually agreed to provide equal opportunity for all colonial state to choose with whom they will merge. Hari Singh the then King of Jammu and Kashmir announced: “we will not select either of India and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir will be a separate and independent country instead.” India acknowledges the wish with immediate effect and approves them as a separate country. On 22nd October 1947, nearly 2 month after receiving the freedom, Pakistan attacked J&K with desire to get it inside its geographical area. Realising his inability to evacuate the Pakistan soldier armed with modern weapons, Maharaja of J&K Mr. Hari Singh, seeks for intervention from Indian Government. Then Home Minister Sardar Patel agreed to intervene with condition of Mr. Singh signing Instrument of Accession with Union of India. Sardar Patel enforced the Indian Army to March and force Pakistani soldier’s withdrawal from valley once Mr. Singh has signed the treaty.

In due course of time period, Pdt. Nehru initiated a historical decision without taking then Home Minister Sardar Patel into consensus and the decision was to floor the Jammu & Kashmir at UN as he wished the UN to intervene and resolve it outside battle ground. United Nation intervened and instructed both parties to stop war with immediate effect. With acceptance to proposal, Jawaharlal Nehru asked Indian army to maintain status quo. After protracted negotiations a cease-fire was agreed to by both countries, which came into effect. The terms of the cease-fire as laid out in a United Nations resolution of 13 August 1948, were adopted by the UN on 5 January 1949. In the quest of reaching an agreement Mr. Nehru forgot that two-fifth of Kashmiri land including the most populated and fertile areas went on to Pakistani ways.

It was not the only mistake of Mr. Nehru. To dignify himself as a secular figure, Mr. Nehru joined hand with Sheikh Abdulla, a strong Muslim leader and founder of National Conference. Mr. Abdulla argued J&K is free to merge with India, but at the same time interest of Kashmiri Muslim needs a proper care. Special packages and facilities have to be provided to ensure their safety. Pundit Nehru again gracefully agreed and instructed Dr. BR Ambedkar, the then Law minister to amend law accordingly. Dr. Ambedkar disagreed quoting two different law in one country can cause disarray and may even lead to political chaos. Mr. Nehru instructed Mr. Patel to make a consensus and left for foreign tour. He had also agreed the UN’s clause to reach the general public of J&K and seek them for general voting to help them understand in which side of border they want to live.

Many of the critics condemn Nehru’s policies on Kashmir. They believe Mr. Nehru has kept his personnel ego before national interest. They further went on to say Mr. Nehru preferred UN ahead of army intervention only to make the Universe realise his gesture for Global peace and that might endorses his candidature for “Nobel Prize of Peace” though there is no document to justify the statement. Instead the critics quote a few consequences as a part of justification.

1. When Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir signed the Accession treaty with complete legal authority, there was no room of negotiation with any other party.
2. Keeping interest of Muslim community from J&K is a nice gesture. But at the same time the same gesture has to be demonstrated for other community like Hindu.
3. Why to go to United Nation when we ourselves and resolve it.
4. Why to accept UN’s instruction of cease-fire when two-fifth of land is in opposition’s custody. Either instruct them to move away else force them to do so and follow UN’s instruction.
5. Role of a popular and designated leader is to resolve the conflict, rather not to prolong it.

Above all we confess that Mr. Nehru has done the hard task of starting from base level and all infrastructural development visible today is a part of his long term vision. Still he had made a few mistakes, especially in the issue of Kashmir. An issue still unresolved and his role is under scrutiny.
A debate that might end with closure of Kashmir conflict else may prolong further.