THE CONSTITUTION OF J&K STATE: A PRODUCT OF TWO DECADES OF SECULAR AND NATIONALIST STRUGGLE.

The day pro-liberation Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir State objectively acknowledge the fact that the tribal raid in Kashmir on 22nd October 1947 was planned and executed by the Pakistan, the resolution of Kashmir conflict will become very easy for the Government of India.This type of stand on tribal raid based on reality would place Pakistan in the category of invaders and India can be genuinely recognized as a country that defended the territory of Jammu and Kashmir State against the former’s invasion in 1947.

The people of Kashmir must also acknowledge the fact that Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was a secular minded Kashmiri nationalist, who aimed at abolition of Dogra autocracy in Jammu and Kashmir State through the political support of Indian National Congress Mohammad Ali Jinnah humiliated him twice when according to Bilkees Taseer he secretly reached Lahore in early 1946 and October 1947 to meet the egoist lawyer. He did all this to be in the good books of Maharaja Hari Singh.Contrary to it Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru faced his arrest by Ramchandra Kak, the Prime Minister of the princely state, in May 1946 when the former reached Domel on his way to Srinagar to plead the case of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah.Thus it can be very clearly stated that there was cordial relationship, ideological compatibility and  convergence of interests between the National Conference leadership and the Indian National Congress leadership.

In the backdrop of these ideological and political realities Sheikh Abdullah’s association with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was quite natural. No Muslim majority province of present Pakistan be it Sind, Punjab, North Western  Frontier Province or Baluchistan was a big support base of Indian Muslim League as these provinces were having Congress Governments and Blochistan was an independent country. Indian Muslim League was having its support base in Muslim minority areas like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bombay and Madras etc. So being a Muslim majority princely state Jammu and Kashmir was also not a support base of Indian Muslim League.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah converted his Muslim Conference into National Conference in 1938 whereas the Pakistan Resolution was passed at Lahore in 1940 so it is clear that the decision was not motivated by the objective of opposing the two-nation theory of Jinnah but to strengthen the support base of the inclusive political party led Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. Definitely one of the objectives of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was to seek the political support of Indian National Congress led by Jawaharlal Nehru to force Maharaja Hari Singh to establish a democratic system in Jammu and Kashmir State.The resolution passed by the Working Body of National Conference on 4th October 1947 to support the state’s accession with India was aimed at abolition of autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. Since Mohammad AliJinnah didn’t recognize the Kashmiri secular leadership but wanted to deal directly with Maharaja Hari Singh-the executive head of the state -to have accession of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan, the resentment within National Conference against Muslim League leader was quite natural.Thus the clash of ego and interests as well as the ideological differences between the Indian Muslim League and National Conference brought Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah closer to  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah’s pro-India stand helped him in abolishing autocracy, landlordism and religious orthodoxy to construct the ‘Naya Kashmir’ after he assumed political power in th e Jammu and Kashmir State on 29th October 29th October 1947.The main achiements of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah were the incorporation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution in 1948-49,  establishment of a democratic government in Jammu and Kashmir State in 1951, abolition of landlordism and the signing of the Nehru-Abdullah Accord in 1952.

The ‘Naya Kashmir’ mission was carried forward from 9th August 1953 onwards for more than a decade by Khalid-e-Kashmir Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir State. The main achiements of Khalid-e-Kashmir were ratification  of the limited accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union in 1954, incorporation of the Article 35-A in the Indian Constitution, financial integration of Jammu and Kashmir State with the country, infrastructural development in the State, the adoption of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir by the State Constituent Assembly on 17th November 1956 and its ultimate implementation in the State on 26th January 1957.The dismissal and arrest of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on 9th August 1953 and the erosion of the original Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir State by New Delhi in collaboration with the local leadership from 1957 onwards are the main causes of the alienation of Kashmiri nation from New Delhi. The large scale human rights violations by the Indian armed forces in Kashmir during the last three decades have further deteriorated the Indo-Kashmir relationship.Therefore the confinement of security forces to the border and restoration of the 1957-Position of the constitutional relationship between New Delhi and Srinagar can go a long way in addressing the more than seven decades old Kashmir problem.

Prof. G.M.Athar can be reached at ghathar@yahoo.co.in