The Buddhists of Ladakh region were looking towards Lhasa for their spiritual leadership. Kushuk Bakula, Head Lama of Spituk Monastery was in favour of political affiliation with Lhasa because of Ladakh’s close geographical, historical, ethnic, lingual and religious ties with Tibet. However, following the takeover of Ladakh by the Chinese Red Army in 1949, the Ladakh Buddhist Association began to demand secession from Jammu and Kashmir State to have direct links with Indian as a separate Union Territory. Thus it becomes clear that there is has been no political unity among the diverse nations of former Dogra princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. So neither the Treaty of Amritsar nor the century old Dogra rule has been sufficient enough to develop a sense of one nation and one country among the people of erstwhile Dogra kingdom.
A CRITIQUE OF MUSLIM NATIONALISM:- The Muslim nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir organised themselves in 1942 under the banner of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference led by Choudhary Ghulam Abbas.The Muslim nationalists presently working under different political banners are unanimously arguing that as per the Census of1941 the Muslims constituted 77% population of Jammu and Kashmir State. Thus in the event of a transparent plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir State the dominant majority would have supported the accession with Muslim Pakistan.The Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union signed by Maharaja Hari Singh is not a binding on the dominant majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State because the Muslims of the state had already revolted against the Dogra rule. Secondly, after the partition of the British India on the basis of religion the Hindu dominated Bharat was no choice for the Muslim dominated Jammu and Kashmir State. Thus All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference in its meeting under the Chairmanship of Mirwaiz Mohammad Yusuf Shah passed a resolution on 19th July 1947 to have accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Pakistan with respect to defence foreign affairs and communication.
Muslim identity is of course a common civilizational identity of the Muslims living in the Muslim World from Kazakhstan in the north to Tanzania in the south, Atlantic Ocean in the west to Arabian Sea in the east. However, the Internal cleavages found in the Muslim World between the Arabs and the Ajamies; Shias and Sunnis; and orthodox and liberal are also the empirical realities. Similarly, within Muslim World there are multiple nations like Kurds, Bloch, Pakhtoon, Sindhi etc. demanding separation from the Muslim countries. Therefore, ignoring the national urge of the people amounts to ignoring the actual ground reality.
Keeping in view the limitations of the Muslim nationalist ideology, it is advisable to promote the Kashmiri nationalism as a state ideology. Kashmiriat can bind together Muslims and non-Muslims at the local level and can strengthen the nationalist struggle for the establishment of Kashmir as a typical nation-state. However, a confederation of Kashmir State with Pakistan and some other countries can be a most welcome thing.
A CRITIQUE OF SECULAR VISION:- The secular minded Kashmiri nationalists led by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah were influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, so in order to make their political party an inclusive political organisation they converted All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference into All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on 11th June 1939 to throw open the membership of the party to non-Muslims of the state as well. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah the President of All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and his associates like Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beigh Maulana Mohammad Syed Masoodi and others believed in Hindu-Muslim-Sikh unity against the Dogra autocracy. For want of political support Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had begun his political career with the support of British Political Department in1931. However, after Maharaja Hari Singh gave Gilgit Agency on lease for 60 years in 1935, the British support to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah began to dwindle which compelled the Sher-i-Kashmir to turn to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru from 1937 onwards. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah even tried to repeatedly approach Mohammad Ali Jinnah in1945,1946 and 1947 but the people having clash of interests with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had poisoned the ears of Mohammad Ali Jinnah against the Sher-i-Kashmir. On the other hand a decade long association of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the democratic stand of Congress leader made him popular among the Kashmiries, so the Indian troops in Kashmir were welcomed by the Kashmiri Muslims on 27th October 1947.
Following the reference of’Kashmir Question’to the United Nations Organisation on 31st December 1947 Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah approached the United States of America in1948 and began to work clandestinely for an independent country with the American support. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah met Warren Austin Permanent Representative of the United States at the United Nations at New York on 25th January 1948 to point out that an independent country was the best solution for Jammu and Kashmir State. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was also in contact with Loy Handerson, the Ambassador of United States in India and his wife and had conveyed his proposal to Democratic Party leader Adlai Stevenson during his visit to Kashmir. However, after New Delhi came to know about Abdullah’s nationalist agenda in1953 he was communicated through Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in July 1953 to work within the framework of Delhi Agreement of 1952 but the Sher-i-Kashmir had resolved to secede from the Indian Union. So Maulana Abul Kalam Azad recommended the dismissal of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah from Prime Ministership to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. On 8th August Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was dismissed from the Prime Ministership and put behind the bars on 9th August 1953 at Udhampur Jail in Jammu region.
After spending 11 years in prison upto April 1964, Sheikh Mohammad developed a political fatigue so he wanted an India-Pakistan Agreement on Kashmir. However, the sudden death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964 dashed Abdullah’s hopes to the ground. After the defeat of West Pakistan in East Pakistan in December 1971, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was demoralised to such an extent that he offered his hand of friendship to Mrs Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India while addressing a public gathering at Hazratbal Srinagar on 25th June 1972. Although Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah demanded restoration of autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir State yet he was obliged to take the oath as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir State on 25th February1975 without securing any political concessions from New Delhi. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah revived his National Conference to contest the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislative Assembly elections in Autumn of 1977 and became again the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir State to rule it till his death on 8th September1982.
Keeping in view the fact that Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union with respect to defence foreign affairs and communication only on 26th October1947, therefore, the Muslim dominated state was guaranteed the constitutional safeguards in1949 under the Article 370 of Indian Constitution. However, the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State was eroded by New Delhi in a step by step manner from February 1954 onwards. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir State in1965, the Abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A as well as the degradation of Jammu and Kashmir State to Ladakh Union Territory and Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory on 5th August 2019 has posed a threat to the life and property of the Kashmiri nation. Every Muslim in Jammu and Kashmir State has developed a sense of insecurity as a result of the policy of assimilation by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre.
….to be continued
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