Kashmir-The Tragic Divide

Prior to independence,  there were 563 states, as large as Hyderabad (population 14m) and as small as Lawa (area 19 sq miles), besides British India with a population distribution ratio of 24:76 respectively. Initially Congress movement remained confined to British India but later enveloped the princely states through the forum of All India State People’s Conference. Except for the unfortunate partition of the country, the integration of these states was miraculously achieved by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India with the assistance of V P Menon amidst chaos and confusion created by the local rulers who tried to exploit the doctrine of Lapse of Paramountcy to their own advantage.

Partition of the subcontinent brought in its wake untold misery to the millions of People.The inevitability of partition is generally attributed to the dogged insistence of Muslim League and the intransigence of Indian National Congress. The horrors of partition are by now well known to the entire world which need not be recounted here. It has to be appreciated that creation of Pakistan was a dream nurtured by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to have a homogeneous Islamic State – the land of Pure, which later developments in Pakistan like separation of Bangla Desh and sub-ethnic conflicts amongst Bulochs, Pakhtoons, Sindhis and Muhajirs proved that it was badly conceived. Refusal of nearly half the population of muslims to leave India as also Kashmiri leadership to join an Islamic state of Pakistan further proved its viciousness. While Jinnah is believed to be the architect of the colossal human misery that accompanied partition, Gandhi too is blamed for accepting the decision docilely turning a blind eye to its consequences. Had he undertaken fast unto death for not partitioning the country even at the risk to his life rather than for giving due share to Pakistan post partition, it is possible that the great drama of partition and the communal carnage that followed it would not have been enacted.

Under the scheme of partition it was provided that the States could either opt for India or for Pakistan or remain independent. As regards British India , the muslim majority areas were to be coalesced into a dominion to be christened Pakistan, while the rest would form India, further depending upon the congruity of these areas to the two dominions. Thus was born Pakistan, the land of the pure, with its two wings 1500 miles apart. The irony of partition was that the muslims who had never sided with Muslim League were forced to join Pakistan while those who actively craved and fought for it  had their roots entrenched to their soil so deep that they could not ultimately migrate to the far off Promised Land. Many of those who did venture to accomplish their goal found to their dismay that they had been branded as ‘The Muhajirs'(The Migrants) and they rued their decision subsequently. As per Christina Lamb, “Pakistan did not come about from a political or a long struggle and ideological commitment , but was more a by-product of the Indian struggle. Pakistan was a demand of the elite, not the masses, and was more of a bargain positon to ensure this section a share of power and accompanying loot.(Waiting for Allah, Pakistan’s struggle for democracy).

Defending Indian annexation of Hyderabad, Mehr Chand Mahajan writes, “Pakistan has been accusing India of having annexed Hyderabad and Junagarh , the hindu majority states ruled by muslim rulers who preferred to accede to Pakistan through use of force. In saying so , Pakistan conveniently forgets the fact she too had annexed Balluchistan and North Western Frontier Province against the wishes of their people. Unfortunately, under similar circumstances, the fate of Kashmir also remained hanging in balance due to the indecision of its ruler who was toying with the idea of independence.(Lookng Back)

As per Dr.S S Bindra,”Partition, however, gave rise to a number of problems which strained the relations between India and Pakistan; i) Border problems such as Berubari enclaves of Dahagram, Lathi Tilla, Dumabari group of villages, Feni river area, Rann of Kutch ii) Utilisation of Westerna nd Eastern waters iii) Evacuee property disputes iv) Kashmir dispute v) Distribution of financial assets vi) Working of RBI vii) Distribution of military stores and adjustment of defence forces viii) Distribution of cash balance ix) Trade relations x) Large scale migration on account of hindu-muslim tension , and xi) Different socio economic structural identities (Indo-Pak Relations; Tashkent to Simla Agreement)

Even after partition the conduct of the two dominions has been diametrically opposite. All through the post partition years Pakistan has mostly been ruled by various military dictatorships while Indian democracy has moved from strength to strength with the march of time. P N Bazaz, an avowed protagonist of independent Kashmir, also acknowledges this fact when he writes, “India stands as the standard bearer of the modern conception of freedom while Pakistan clings to the exploded enslaving theory of medievalism and religious approach to politics.” (Kashmir in Crucible)

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