National Archives of India recently had an excellent, interactive and well-researched exhibition on India@70: 70 Years of the Jammu and Kashmir Saga. The exhibition has an exchange of letters between the Maharaja of Kashmir and Lord Mountbatten and other well-known activists as well as old maps that show exactly how the Indian Army saved the Valley from the Pakistani Army and its proxy raiders in 1947/48 after the Maharaja had signed the instrument of accession. Hundreds of newspaper cuttings and books, photos and videos that you can flick through on high definition TV screens bring to life exactly how the drama of this state played out and unfortunately is still haunting us. Col DPK Pillay from the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, who conceived this exhibition escorted us around and said he wanted to counter the narrative where the armed forces are seen as the villain whereas they have been the victim since 1947.
The part that left me stunned was the vivid description of how the Indian Army had the Pakistanis on the run and could have easily occupied the whole of Kashmir, had a ceasefire not be called, which suited Pakistan immensely as we then handed over 40 percent of our territory to them, including Gilgit-Baltistan, from where the Chinese are building their road to Gwadar.
Did Major Somnath Sharma and the others who laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of our land die in vain? Do politicians have the right to play with the lives of our soldiers, while they grandstand at the United Nations and magnanimously order ceasefires when the enemy is on the run?
From this foolish mistake began all our problems. Why did Nehru internationalize this war at the UN? Why did he not allow our army to take over the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, as then strategically India would not only have taken territory that belonged to it but it would have had an upper hand against both China and Pakistan. The British considered Gilgit-Baltistan to be of such strategic importance that it had leased this area from the Maharaja and even tried to persuade him to sell it to them, which he refused.
Then why did we allow the Chinese to walk into Aksai Chin without a murmur? Geo-politically these areas were of the utmost importance. Why did Nehru give Sheik Abdullah so much importance and allow him to exile Maharaja Hari Singh to Bombay with his family? Why did Sheik Abdullah insist on article 370, and 35A for Jammu and Kashmir, and Nehru allow it thereby giving it a special status? No other state got this. Prime Minister Modi is right when he said in parliament that Jammu and Kashmir could have been intact with India and that – “Not a single day has passed when the country has not suffered due to the poison sowed by you,” referring to the Congress Party.
In his first speech to the Constituent Assembly, Abdullah said, “Jammu and Kashmir would be an independent Republic, in the Republic of India.” How could this have been allowed? Why was Kashmir allowed to have its own flag? Why did Indians have to have a permit to enter the state until 1964?
According to Sushil Pandit, a Kashmiri activist and writer, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, an Indian politician and barrister was opposed to it and defied the permit system by going to the state, where he died under mysterious circumstances. He was against the Article 370.
Scores of Indians in Jammu who protested the permit system were killed in police firing and their homes were ransacked, their women raped.
Today, as I write this, once again there has been a terror attack in Jammu at the Sunjawan Army Camp. Jaish e Mohammed terrorists stormed a rear gate and killed two soldiers and four people were injured. Commandoes have been airlifted to the area and the terrorists have been isolated. This group has been designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, India, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Nations.
Needless to say, China continues to veto the acceptance of Masood Azhar head of JeM, as a terrorist at the United Nations. This so-called head of a terror organization is one of the most pusillanimous of creatures. The son of a cleric he was a fat scared boy, who when he was sent to fight with the Taliban shivered with fright and actually got himself shot in the leg by his compatriots as he forgot a password! When captured by India, later on, he squealed like a pig on all his fellow companions when his interrogation hadn’t even started? This shocked the interrogators, as they had never seen a terrorist blubber with fright. I write this to let the world know how the heads of terror organizations use their men as cannon fodder along with Pakistani Army generals.
The question arises how long are our security forces going to bear the brunt of Pakistan’s proxy terror attacks? We have upped the ante against Pakistan and the world today recognizes how the Pakistani army and ISI are playing a dangerous and duplicitous game. It is time we upped the ante against Pakistan even more. This time by laying out the bare facts to all the nations that side with us and making sure that sooner rather than later there must be sanctions against the generals in the Pakistani army and ISI, their accounts must be frozen and they must be denied visas and citizenship to any country in the civilized world.
Amazingly, several discussions on Pakistani TV channels are saying the same thing about how the army is determined to mainstream terrorists while the polity suffer and the army generals have their kids and their money in the US. Not one of them has sent their money or kids to China, though this friendship is deeper than the deepest ocean and higher than the highest mountains.
I do wonder why!
Post written by Ashali Varma and was previously published here.
Special Thanks for Collaborations: National Archives of India | Vivekananda International Foundation