Hope versus fear is a deadly dangerous see-saw, and neither can be viewed in isolation. After all one feeds off the other and vice versa. Life it is said is a marked deck and one has to sequence the order of things for purposes of balance. The centrality of equilibrium cannot be lost on anyone. Here again there are two sets of ideals — either you push forward or continue to live in the past, caught as you are in a time warp. Everyone has to deal with personal ghosts and demons; that is human construct. Decision making — good, bad, ugly and indifferent — is what you have to live with and deal with in perpetuity. This could return to haunt you for it is always difficult to exorcise or bury these phantoms. Again, sometimes it is a blessing to have an enemy, for you focus on him with single mindedness. However, too much thought on this individual and his creative architecture which he uses to befuddle his adversary could also be a negative.
In Jawaharlal Nehru’s case, it was Pakistan as the enemy, Kashmir as the objective and United Nations as an end to the means and Britain and USA as the meddlesome duo who were constantly running interference. That is a wide swath to deal with and yet he had the requisite bandwidth to take on everything thrown at him. It was a complex time, the granularity of which escapes us now.
As the clock ticked and the Indian Princely Order got wind of the fact that the end of the war may result in decolonisation, realisation dawned quickly that the primacy of the laws of Paramountcy and Treaties and through them linkages to the Crown may well weaken; hence many of them closed ranks against the coming interloper — the Indian National Congress. They sensed that between the duo of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, there would be no room to run or hide. And yet they clung on to the hope that their British masters would bail them out and they would not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Congress. It was piquant situation. For the Congress which was at the vanguard of the nationalist movement was now restless and wanted to intrude into the Princely States. Nehru who abhorred the Monarchy and the Pious Piranha Princes wanted to swallow them whole, just as Sardar Patel did. The coming democracy, and inherent in it the swoop down, had unnerved the Princes, they feared Nehru and his transparent hatred for them. At a meeting in Jaipur, Pandit Nehru gave a “final warning” to the Indian Princes “to hand over the reins of administration to the people’s (Congress) representatives.” In December at Udaipur, he forecast a third world war from the revolt of Asiatic peoples. At the Vllth session of the All lndia States People’s Conference held at Udaipur, he charged that “lndian States were behaving as Britain’s fifth Column in lndia and.... in dealing with the States, therefore, we deal with the British.”
Yet the Princes harbored hope that the British would support them in their endeavour to stay out of the ambit of the Congress and new India. Buoyed as they were by statements like — “The Indian States are governed by Treaties . . . The Indian States, if they do not join this Union, will remain in exactly the same situation as they are today.” (Sir Stafford Cripps, British politician, 1942). Followed by another statement — “We shall have to come out in the open with [the] Princes sooner or later. We are at present being dishonest in pretending we can maintain all these small States, knowing full well in practice we shall be unable to.” (Viceroy Lord Wavell, 1943).
The drama that was jointly staged by the Princes and their ally — the British Government represented by the Crown Representative — Viceroy on January, 17th 1946 was an important day in history and cannot be taken as a mere accident. It was in fact a well-calibrated plan and a last minute effort on the part of these reactionary elements to save themselves in the rapidly changing conditions of the time. The reaction of the working committee of the All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, which met in Jammu under the presidentship of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, to the recent pronouncements of Chancellor of Princes and the Viceroy came as an eye opener. The working committee resolved that the advice tended by the Crown Representative to the Princes regarding the steps to be taken in making the administration of these States progressive did not amount to anything positive. On the other hand it lost all its significance when the Viceroy made such progress conditional on the maintenance of the Treaties and the consent of the Princes, because these Treaties and Engagements were out-dated, reactionary and had always stood and would stand in the way of the progress of the people of these States. The Viceroy in his speech, while expressing his desire that the Princes should fully participate in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly has curiously enough and for very patent reasons reserved the right of the representation to the accredited representatives of “their Highness” to the utter disregard of 100 million people living in the so called “Indian India”.
The working committee felt that it was not only an open and flagrant injustice with the fundamental democratic rights of the people living in this Indian States but also stood as an impediment in the way of the independence of India as a whole. In such circumstances no decision of any Constituent Assembly will be binding on the people of any single state unless such decision has been arrived at by the accredited chosen representatives of the people thereof. That the so-called “declaration of rights” made by the Chancellor Nawab Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal on behalf of the Princes did not even impliedly indicate any desire on the part of the Princes to part with substantial power in favour of the people. The demand of Responsible Government as such was deliberately left out in this declaration. Through the spring of 1947 Patel threw a series of lunch parties, where he urged his princely guests to help the Congress in framing a new constitution for India. This they could do by sending delegates to the Constituent Assembly, whose deliberations had begun in Delhi in December 1946. When Vallabhbhai Patel had first discussed the states problem with Mountbatten, he had asked him to bring in ‘a full basket of apples’ by the date of Independence. Would he be satisfied with a bag of 560 instead of the full 565, wondered the Viceroy. The Congress strongman nodded his assent. As it turned out, only three states gave trouble before 15 August, and three more after that date.
Even as a biased and hateful revision of Nehru takes place, it is interesting to read what some of the books of his time wrote about him and Kashmir. And these aren’t excerpts from his biographers. They are more obscure names. In early 1953, People’s Publishing House, Bombay published a book entitled American Shadow Over India by L. Natarajan, with a foreword by Dr. J.C. Kumarappa. It contained a chapter on Kashmir and most importantly dealt with the active interest, which some Americans had taken in Lake Pangong area which was visited in 1952 autumn for the first time by Prime Minister Nehru. Here are extracts from that chapter and they reveal explosive details of diabolical American interest in Kashmir and how Nehru circumvented their plans:
K A S H M I R
The second question directly affecting India and Pakistan referred to the United Nations was their dispute over Kashmir. The United States assumed the foremost position in the debates and actions of the United Nations bodies on this issue. Through the mediator Frank P. Graham and the Plebiscite Administrator Admiral Chester Nimitz, the United States now exercises the decisive voice outside the directly interested parties.
American interest in Kashmir did not begin in January 1948, when the case was brought to the Security Council. On October 27, 1947, Robert Trumbull reported from New Delhi:
“One of the chartered civil aircraft that flew the Sikhs to Srinagar brought back to New Delhi two American explorers, Nicol Smith, author and lecturer, of 150 General Park South, New York, and Loren Tutell, cameraman, of Chicago……
“Mr. Smith and Mr. Tutell salvaged 18,000 feet of movie film shot in Kashmir and western Tibet but had to abandon $6,000 worth of camera equipment…..
“In wide travels through Kashmir in the recent troubled period Mr. Smith found evidence that the local rulers might take advantage of an outbreak to abrogate their allegiance to the Maharajah. In the Ladakh area……Mr. Smith discovered widespread sentiment for independence.”
Next day, Trumbull added:
“Nicol Smith of New York, author and lecturer who came from Srinagar yesterday, brought reports of some pro-Russian activity in Leh, capital of the Kashmir province of Ladakh, which he recently visited. Ladakh adjoins Chinese Turkestan, which Mr. Smith also discovered was under strong Russian influence although it was a province of China”.
Who were these Americans and what were they doing in Kashmir?
Major Tutell had served throughout the last war as commander of the Fifth Combat Camera Unit in the Pacific. Nicol Smith was a trained Intelligence agent who had worked for the Office of Strategic Services in France, Siam, India, Ceylon and China. In a recent book he revealed his purpose in visiting Kashmir:
“…….I had been nursing a pet idea. During World War II, I had often flown in a C-47 over the mountains of Eastern Tibet and had thought grimly that below us was not one level spot for a landing in all these thousands of square miles. Was the Lake Pangong area equally unfit as a landing place? That was what I wanted to know.”
Smith, however, could not visited Lake Pangong because of sickness and Tutell went there alone.
“Loren’s observations convinced him that its northern section had a minimum width of two miles for a distance of at least twenty miles, and that its depth was considerable, even close inshore.
“Loren took from his pocket the rough notes which he had jotted down. He showed that there was ample room for a runway several miles long to be constructed at this end of the lake. In fact, he insisted, there was room for several runways here. The mountains to the northwest were low enough to be flown over easily by any aircraft after its take-off.
“We looked at each other in silence…….”.
The American press reported in February 1948 that an American, Haight, had served for some months in the Azad Kashmir forces as a Brigadier-General, and that he had boasted of killing many Hindus with his own hands.
It should be clear from these facts that the United States was for several years interested in Kashmir because of the strategic location. As Rosinger indicated recently:
“The interest of the United States presumably arose in part from Kashmir’s strategic location, close to the U.S.S.R. and bordering on Afghanistan, Chinese Turkestan (Sinkiang), Tibet, India and Pakistan”.
The Indian Government was not unaware of American interest in Kashmir as a base for operations against China and the Soviet Union. Reporting the views of Indian officials, Robert Trumbull said in the New Year Times of October 28, 1947, that there was sentiment in Ladakh for independence and that “such fragmentation of Kashmir is what India wishes to avoid in this strategic state next door to Russia.” Next day, he was more explicit:
“…..Indian officials quite frankly believe that possession of Kashmir vital to the security of India. Some high Government sources interviewed today were thinking about the Soviet Union, which touches Kashmir at Gilgit at the State’s northwest tip.
“Since the Russian subjects in this area are Moslems, Pakistan does not have the same direct interest in the security of that frontier as we have,’ one Indian official said. The mountains of Kashmir, he said, are not considered sufficient protection”.
High Indian officials were thus seeking to convince the United States of the community of interests between the two governments. Raising the “Russian bogey”, they were prepared to compete with Pakistan in offering aid against the Soviet Union.
On January 1, 1948, the Indian Government complained to the Security Council against Pakistan’s intervention in Kashmir. The Pakistan Foreign Minister, in turn, asked for discussion of all disputes between the two governments. American and British delegates appeared eager to expand the issue. As for Kashmir itself, they ignored India’s complaint, and demanded a “neutral administration” under the aegis of the Security Council. A “neutral” administration of course, would be foreign-dominated under the control of the Security Council majority. The Anglo-American delegates were anxious to impost such a regime, going for beyond the provision of an electoral machinery for a free plebiscite.
On January 20, 1948, the Security Council decided to set up an investigating commission with one member selected by India, one by Pakistan and the third chosen by the two members. India, which felt “twitted” by the Security Council majority, chose Czechoslovakia. Pakistan delayed its choice and the Anglo-Americans conveniently forgot about the commission for two months. Indian and Pakistani delegates were invited to secret meetings with the successive presidents of the Council, always in consultation with the United States, and Pakistan finally chose Argentina for the Commission.
On April 21, the United States and Britain obtained Security Council approval to increase the membership of the Commission to five because of the “heavy work”. Belgium and Colombia, both dependent on the United States, were chosen by the Council. The resolution also laid down that, if the nominees of India and Pakistan could not agree on a third member within ten days, it should be chosen by the French delegate who was to be president of the Security Council in May. Through this provision, the Unites States was included.
Although both Pakistan and India objected to this resolution, they agreed to extend all facilities to the Commission. The Indian Government took special steps.
“Sheikh Abdullah’s supporters were sternly told to abstain from hostile demonstration.”
Once the United States was included, the Commission began to move. On July 20, it asked Trygve Lie to send a high-ranking military adviser. On July 24, the London Times reported:
“The Commission also has received permission from the Indian government to send a sub-committee of two, consisting of an American Army major and a Belgian alternate delegate (who served with the Indian Army during the last war) to make preliminary survey of the military situation”.
Major Francis M. Smith, Army adviser to the American member, and Harry Graeffe, Jr., Belgian alternate, accompanied by Richard Symonds, British member of the Commission secretariat, conducted the military survey.
The Commission also organized expeditions into Kashmir to prepare extensive political and economic surveys. But it did little to effect rapprochement between Indian and Pakistan. Rather, it created difficulties by making conflicting statements to the two governments and, as a result, found it expedient to move to Europe from September 1948 to February 1949.
On January 1, 1949, the governments of India and Pakistan decided to formalize the military stalemate, which had been in existence since the previous spring, with a cease-fire. Next day, a Belgian general, Maurice Delvoie, arrived in Kashmir. By February, Secretary General, Trygve Lie had sent 36 military observers. Of theses, 17 were from the United States, 6 from Mexico, 5 from Belgium, 4 from Canada and 4 from Norway. The United States and its allies were firmly entrenched in Kashmir.
The Commission then suggested that a Plebiscite Administrator with wide governmental power be appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General. Pandit Nehru revealed on March 6, 1949, that General Walter Bedell-Smith had been chosen. As Smith was “seriously ill”, Trygve Lie announced on March 22 the appointment of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. It is significant that both of Lie’s choices were American officers. The first was a general who later became director of the Central Intelligence Agency to supervise the world-wide network of American Intelligence. The other was a high-ranking admiral. The salary of $45,000 a year indicates the importance attached to the post.
The Commission, although originally called the Commission of Mediation, was always averse to bringing the two parties together. It cancelled a joint high-level meeting in August 1949 and instead, at the instance of the American member, proposed arbitration by Admiral Nimitz. President Truman (and Nimitz himself) pressed India and Pakistan to accept arbitration. But India (and Nehru as outlined on these pages itself recently) refused outright. By this time, despite the “supervision” of the Commission and its observers, the Azad (Kashmir) Forces had grown to 32 fully armed battalions.
The United States was now ready to take over the entire responsibility for Kashmir. It was anxious to send Admiral Nimitz as the supreme arbitrator and Administrator. However, because of the Indian Government’s opposition an intermediate step had to be devised. On March 14, 1950, the United States with Cuba, Norway and Britain, obtained Security Council approval to appoint a mediator. These four governments agreed on Sir Owen Dixon, who had been Australian Minister to Washington during the war, and indicated that his name would be proposed even if India and Pakistan disapproved. On April 12, the Security Council accepted Dixon and both India and Pakistan agreed. Secretary-General Lie promptly appointed a retired American army officer, General Courtney H. Hodges, military adviser to Dixon.
A few months later, Dixon reported failure of his mission and formally proposed partition of Kashmir.
At the Commonwealth Conference in January 1951, the premiers of Australia and New Zealand, two pro-American leaders of the group, offered to send troops to occupy Kashmir. This was accepted by the Pakistan Government and rejected by India.
In February 1951, America and Britain obtained Security Council approval for another “mediator”. They considered General Dwight Eisenhower for the job, but later decided on Frank P. Graham. Although the Indian Government opposed the February resolution, it welcomed Graham under pressure from the State Department. After a year’s labour, he reported on April 25, 1952, that it was time to bring Admiral Nimitz also on the scene.
Thus we see that during the past five years the United States has actively intervened in the Kashmir issue. Playing the leading role in the United Nations, it made demands which went for beyond international concern. The Indian and Pakistan governments repeatedly agreed to compel the unwilling Kashmiris to accept these demands.
By virtue of its control over the Security Council majority, the United States has forced the Governments of India and Pakistan to vie for its support. This had the effect of indefinitely dividing Kashmir and denying the Kashmiris their right of self-determination.
Such a right has often been recognized by Indian and Pakistani leaders in public statements at home. Pandit Nehru, for instance, told the All India Congress Committee on July 13, 1951:
“Kashmir has been wrongly looked upon as a prize for India or Pakistan. People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be final arbiters of their future”.
However, in Security Council discussions, it was assumed that Kashmir must join either India or Pakistan. As Sheikh Abdullah complained on April 29, 1950:
“…..While every other State has been given the choice of joining either dominion or remaining independent, we are being forced by the United Nations to accept either India or Pakistan”.
Hence the emphasis on a plebiscite and the opposition to a constituent assembly which not only can decide between independence, and accession, but negotiate the terms of accession. In fact the United States is even prepared to deny the Kashmiris people the simple right of a plebiscite and to resort instead to partition. Admiral Nimitz declared in May 1950 that the Kashmir issue might be settled by negotiation. The pro-American weekly Thought of the New Delhi proposed on October 3, 1951, a joint Indo-Pakistani administration of Kashmir with the Kashmiri people enjoying only a degree of local autonomy.
American policy on Kashmir follows its world strategy. Sheikh Abdullah declared as early as April 1948:
“Most of the Members (of the Security Council) saw Kashmir only as a neighbor of Russia and therefore an essential base in the encirclement of Russia for future aggression.”
Pandit Nehru said on February 6, 1950, that the pressure put on India proved that the Kashmir dispute was not being considered on its merits, but on entirely extraneous grounds. On October 28, 1950, he declared that the Anglo-American powers looked at Kashmir “thorough coloured glasses” and often thought of the defence of Kashmir and strategic bases in Kashmir from their own point of view. The Indian News Chronicle said in an editorial on January 18, 1951, that the Anglo-Americans “have considered Kashmir less from the point of view of the interests of Kashmiris and more as a potential strategic base against Russia in a world war.”
Under American guidance, a local dispute over Kashmir has thus developed into a grave international issue. The Kashmiri people have been the losers. Today, a statement asserting the sovereignty of the Kashmiri people, as that by Sheikh Abdullah on April 10, 1952, raises a storm in Pakistani and American official circles. The responsibility for creating this situation rests mainly with the Government of the United States.
(Extracts from the book AMERICAN SHADOW OVER INDIA, by L. Natarajan, (Pages 166 to 175))
To this I would like to add a very telling excerpt from Vincent Shean’s Nehru: The Years of Power (1960), the chapter was called The Enchanted Valley:
It is worth recording that it was the representative of the Nationalist China (that is, the Chiang Kai-shek on Formosa) who actually came forward, over and over again, and amended the Kashmir Resolution from its original form into one which, by acknowledging the freedom and sovereignty of India as well as of its command over its own armed forces, became acceptable to Mr. Nehru. Dr.T.S. Tsiang, the chairman Nationalist China delegation to the Security Council – and old Waichoapu man from Peking, really – did a loyal service to Asia and the world on that occasion. If he had not obtained these amendments it is doubtful if Mr. Nehru would have remained as Prime Minister of India: he had already said he would resign if the resolution passed in its original form. Mr. Noel-Baker said, several times, that he did not understand the sense of these amendments but that if the Chinese delegate regarded them as essential he would accept them. The Americans at this stage of the debate (1948) merely tagged along, so to speak; they did whatever the British did.
Now, of course, I was very close to this debate and I never did see why everybody was so suspicious of everybody else. Between India and Pakistan the issue was as plain as the nose of your face; they both wanted the same thing for different reasons. But the Russians at that time had no position. It was the period when they maintained that Gandhi was an “unconscious reactionary” and Nehru a “running dog of imperialism”. They had no clear position at all about Pakistan. The Americans had no defined position either, so far as India and Pakistan were concerned. Over Kashmir, as a matter of fact, bewilderment seemed to be the predominant feeling in the Security Council so far as I could tell, and I went to the debate every day. It was out at Lake Success in those days – a wearisome trek, I must say – and I never will forget my astonishment in the middle of the process when one day a delegate, in those motorcar I was a guest, pointed out to me a dim body of water under the spring rain and said that this pond was the actual lake named “Success”. I never have seen anything which less resembled its cognomen.
In spite of this bewilderment there were plenty of men in India and Pakistan, too, who saw “power politics” in the behaviour of the Security Council. Pakistan was hugely encouraged, diplomatically and polemically, by what seemed to be a British inclination towards their view of the matter. Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan – and as I remember, he was out of the country almost constantly for his first year in office, had a field day at Lake Success when it was discovered that under the Indian appeal (a situation in dispute, remember, and not an aggression!) he could bring in almost anything he chose to mention. By the time I returned from India that year I found that he had piled up a mountain of evidence or at least of accusations, which had little or nothing to do with Kashmir, including one of genocide, that is to say, of wholesale racial murder, against India. He was referring of course, to the dreadful events of the preceding months in both countries, but the word “genocide”, with its associations from the Hitler mania, was either totally inapplicable or was applicable equally to both sides.
In this awful state of affairs, while hostilities were still going on in Kashmir between the Indian Army and what was soon to be acknowledged as the Pakistan Army, everybody seemed to suspect everybody else of skullduggery. Men I had known well for a number of years (Sir Girija Bajpai, Mr. Neol-Baker and others) were subject to this species of influenza. I must say I found Dr.T.S. Tsiang the halest and heartiest delegate with whom I had any conversation, and I shall always think his work during those spring months averted an even more disastrous result than what in fact ensued.
But the curious and interesting thing about all this is that the atmosphere of suspicion which was abroad in the world had some effect also on Mr. Nehru at this time. He, too, felt that the Kashmir debate at Lake Success was bogged down into a side issue or concomitant of larger maneuvers. It infuriated him (and still does) that nobody paid any attention to the fact that there had been an armed aggression. He believed that the Americans were following the British, more or less blindly, and that the British had been informed or prejudiced (as you may choose to express it) by certain pro-Pakistan officials. When I saw him again in that next December (1948) he was really quite sharp in some of his phrasing. It was a moment when the West – as we call it: anyhow the grouping of powers which Franco-Anglo-Americans trinity hopes to inspire – was making one mistake after another, bolstering up defunct colonialisms and imperialisms in every corner of Asia. I could not find it in my heart to demur at anything he said about Indonesia, in particular, or Southeast Asia, in general. We were not being very intelligent about anything at that moment; and of course once can scarcely bring one’s self to speak of our doings in China. But it also dawned on me, in the midst of this rather acrid conversation or monologue (it was at lunch), that the Prime Minister had something else underneath all this: it was Kashmir.
It nearly always is Kashmir.
Colonialists and imperialists may well have emplaned under the official liquidator of the British Empire — Lord Louis Mountbatten — but there were new masters in the post war era. An emasculated Britain shored up the new post cold war power, USA, and between them their collective chicanery in the United Nations kept Nehru busy. The objective at all time was to shepherd Kashmir towards India.