Kashmir Files: SHEIKH ABDULLAH'S PHANTOMS
In the first flush after Kashmir's accession to India, with tribal lashkars being repulsed by the Indian Army, the newly appointed PM Sheikh Abdullah saw apparitions and conspiracies all around him. His arch enemy remained Maharaja Hari Singh who he believed was interfering with his administration, since he exerted Monarchial control over certain key issues. Consequently, he chose to hyper ventilate by getting into a letter war with the Maharaja and raged against him in missives to Sardar Pa

Sheikh Mohommed Abdullah was a true nationalist, but equally he was also deeply self obsessed. And he had this uncanny habit of seeing phantoms where there were none.  One can argue that as a man leading masses living in serfdom and servitude against the brutally punishing monarchy led by Mahraja Hari Singh. Hari Singh was of course Abdullah's hobby horse, his hatred for him ingrained. Displeased with the fact that while he was newly appointed head of the administrative, there was still an element of dual control, given that His Highness Maharaja Hari Singh was around to checkmate him, ensconced as he was in Jammu. The kerfuffle between the two was at the core of his being those days. But there were other issues which played out in Sheikh's mind, demons danced with glee and to vent his spleen, he wrote missive after missive to Pandit Nehru and the Home Minister Sardar Patel. A victim of surround sound, he was constantly under pressure unable to grasp administrative technicalities and glitches. An agitationist and a people's leader with the innate ability to speak the lingua franca which connected with the poor and underprivileged, it was difficult for him to make the transition to Prime Minister of J & K. Riven by intrigue, seeing shadows and conspiracies in everything, unable to bridge the gulf between Hindu Jammu and Muslim Kashmir Valley, Abdullah protested with great ardour.

Many of the issues raised by him in the first flush of Kashmir's accession and his own crowning as PM were of course relevant. The role of the Hindu organisation Praja Sabha in Jammu being most notable. Caught in this whirlpool, he even contemplated independence subsequently, for which of course he was incarcerated in 1953 in an IB swoop down. To give you as flavour of Abdullah's mindset, I am reproducing his top secret communique to Patel. It is clear that he was besieged:

Secret

Srinagar

June 1st, 1948

My dear Sardar Ji,

Many thanks for your letter of 28th May 1948.

2 I regret to say that I could not communicate to you my observations regarding the three draft notes which I received from Mr V.P.Menon. after receipt of the note I went to Delhi and had an idea of discussing the points raised with you but unfortunately you were out of station due to indisposition. I however took an opportunity of discussing the points generally with Mr Menon and conveyed to him my first reactions to the fundamental issue involved. Subsequently due to Freedom Week Celebrations and other engagements here I could not get the opportunity of writing to you till now. In the interval I also talked to Panditji and Rajkumariji about these points and impressed upon them the tremendous difficulties that we were facing in working under the present arrangements.

3 I now enclose herewith a detailed note on the various points touched in the drafts referred to above. This note has the full concurrence of the my colleagues in the Cabinet.
Yours sincerely

S.M.Abdullah

Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhai Patel

Deputy Prime Minister, India

New Delhi.

Signed also by:        

G.M.Bakshi, Deputy Prime Minister

M.A.Beg, Revenue Minister

G.M.Sadiq, Development Minister

S.L.Saraf, Suplies Minister

Sardar Buddh Singh, Health and Rehabilitation Minister

Colonel Pir Mohammed, Education Minister

Girdhari Lal Dogra, Finance Minister

Secret

Reserved Subjects

Preliminary to the setting up of an Interim Government in the State, the matter of the powers to be exercised and the functions to be discharged by it was thrashed out in detailed correspondence and a number of discussions between the States Ministry, the Prime Minister of India and myself. Unfortunately at the last meeting on the 4th of March 1948 held at the Prime Minister’s house in New Delhi when these negotiations were finally rounded up, the Deputy Prime Minister of India was not present due to indisposition. There were present in that meeting some of my colleagues and Mr Menon besides the Prime Minister of India and myself. In view of the very abnormal and critical times through which we were passing, I pointed out the compelling urgency of a complete and unfettered transfer of power to the Interim Government. I emphasized how imperative it was for such a Government to win and retain the confidence of all the peoples of the State, or at least of an unquestioned majority of them if the Kashmir issue was at all to be satisfactorily settled both from the point of view of its own people as well as that of India. The position of the so-called RESERVED SUBJECTS in the new set-up was completely examined and it was pointed out that any restrictions imposed in dealing with them would not only jeopardize in advance the successful career of the arrangements proposed, but would further leave the Interim Government exposed to grave criticism by its opponents. And any breakdown of the Interim Government, it goes without saying, would have led to consequences too awful to contemplate. The sense of the meeting therefore was that though a technical distinction in dealing with subjects hitherto classified as Reserved may be observed, in actual practice they would be dealt with in the normal manner by the Cabinet with His Highness accepting the advice of the Ministry.

2. Accordingly on the same day I sent my letter dated 4th March 1948 to His Highness a copy of which was probably sent to the Deputy Prime Minister of India also, and one is enclosed herewith.

3. I have always strongly maintained that the war in Kashmir was not only to be won militarily but that it is of vital importance that victory in the political field must also be achieved. The huge expenditure in money that the Government of India is incurring and the vast number of men and quantity of material that is being thrown in the prosecution of war in Kashmir by them is weighing heavily on my mind, and it is under the urge of that sense particularly that I regard political victory essential if the integrity of Kashmir is to be vindicated and the high ideals for which India stands are to be justified.  The so-called RESERVED SUBJECTS have been recurring eyesores to the people of this country, and some of their more distressing grievances have sprung from the administration of these subjects. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the origin of the present revolt against the Kashmir administration can be traced exclusively to the peculiar and exclusive handling of these subjects by the Maharajah. If therefore the position was to be rectified effectively it could be done only by transferring the administration to popular hands without any reservations and it is imperative that this should be done now when we are engaged in waging a war against our enemies both on the military and political fronts than at any later stage.

4. Now it would be worthwhile to pause and consider the objection raised to such a course on the grounds of constitutional propriety. I may, however, add that I have always made it abundantly clear, both in verbal discussions as well as written communications, that if insistence on too rigid observation of the provisions of the Constitution Act of 1996 with regard to Reserved Subjects is made, our work will be rendered very difficult and indeed impossible. Soon after the formation of the Interim Government I addressed a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister of India in which I said :-

“The existing constitution would make it impossible for us to work and carry on,  unless we deal with all the Reserved subjects in the Council and His Highness accepts our advice in respect of these subjects also. This convention must be established if the new arrangements are intended to be successful”.

5. The objection with regard to Reserved Subjects is placed on the score of Section 24 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution Act of 1996. Reference to this section has also been made in one of the drafts sent to me. This section falls under Part III of the Act which makes provision for the working of the Legislature. The opening clause of this section reads as under :

“It shall not be lawful for the Praja Sabha to consider and deal with any matter or enact any law relating to or affecting…….”

It is obvious that these subjects are reserved from the purview of the Praja Sabha which is the State Legislature and not from the jurisdiction of the Cabinet as now formed. It may be pointed out that ever since the State of Emergency was declared, the Kashmir Legislature as it was composed owing to the circumstances in which it was formed after the last so-called general elections. I do not want to take up past controversies but it is obvious that my Party had no part in the making up of that Legislature. His Highness himself recognized a state of emergency in which the Legislature had no place when I was appointed Head of the Administration. There is therefore no question of applying to the Interim Government their restrictions relating to Reserved Subjects obtaining in connection with the Legislature.

6. Even a cursory perusal of the list of these subjects will be enough to show that no major reform of any kind is possible in this State if these subjects remain the special preserve of the Maharaja and the Council is by-passed in their administration. I may repeat that in this way it would be impossible to carry the people with us if we are not allowed to administer these subjects, and it would only strengthen the hands of our enemy.

7. His Highness in his Proclamation granted the demand for full responsible government to the people of the State on the basis of Adult Franchise. I take it that the intention of making this Proclamation at this juncture was to inspire confidence amongst the people that their cherished goal was virtually achieved. During the transitional period, the consolidation of public opinion and its unstinted support to the Government is even more necessary particularly because of the grave emergency we are facing. If oppressive fetters are placed in the garb of constitutional exigencies, the very object that we have in view will be defeated and the confidence of the people will be seriously shaken. All emphasis at the present moment is to be laid on the fact that all power has passed to the popular Government forthwith, so that the baseless propaganda carried by our enemies that His Highness has only awarded the shadow and not parted with the substance of power may be effectively contradicted.

8. Again, in the Proclamation His Highness clearly stated that :

“ the Prime Minister and other Ministers shall function as a Cabinet and act on the principle of joint responsibility. A Dewan appointed by me shall also be a member of the Cabinet”.

It will be conceded that if any individual Minister in charge of what is called Reserved Subjects at present functions independently of the Cabinet, the principle of joint responsibility will be reduced to a farce. Every Minister under the present set-up is responsible for the acts of others and therefore all decisions – be they of policy or matters of major importance – should be taken by the Cabinet jointly. Then alone the collective responsibility of the Ministers will have any meaning.

9. After the formation of the Interim Government, portfolios were allotted to Ministers by formal sanction of His Highness and some of the subjects classified as “Reserved” found a place in them. No objection was or could be raised to this inclusion by His Highness. External Affairs and Jurisdictional Jagirs, for example, were allocated to the Prime Minister and Revenue Minister respectively. It cannot be contended that these two Ministers are free individually to deal with matters relating to these departments without reference to their colleagues in the Cabinet. The essence of the present measure is that responsibility is laid upon the Cabinet acting jointly and answerable for its actions to the country. Any departure from this principle would, I am afraid, lead to very unfortunate consequences. In practice, no subject can therefore be kept outside the purview of the Cabinet and I am sure that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Mr Menon who were present at the time of the last discussions will bear me out on this point.

10. In these discussions we did agree that the question of the State Army and the Privy Purse deserve special treatment. With respect to the State Forces, we had further to examine the position whether they should be transferred to the command of the Indian Army during the period of conflict or such other period as may be mutually agreed upon. That was the Maharajah’s wish. Similarly with respect to the Privy Purse, the report of the Budget Balancing Committee which had been set up earlier, was under examination and formal orders had yet to be passed. So far as the State Forces are concerned, I conveyed my definite proposals to the Deputy Prime Minister of India on the 28th March 1948 and no final action has been taken in this matter also so far.

11. I feel constrained to state that while we successfully tried out best to abide by the arrangements arrived at and sent cases to His Highness for his confirmation where it was necessary, the Maharajah, on the other hand, completely by-passed in army matters both the Head of the Administration (during the period of emergency) and the Cabinet (after the formation of the Interim Government). This resulted in committing the Government without their knowledge to huge expenditure in the form of creation of new nits and posts carrying exorbitant salaries. This affected in no small measure the organization of the Army and had far-reaching financial and political implications. This policy of His Highness did not only contravene the agreement referred to above, but also went counter to the Proclamation of the 5th March throwing open Army Service to all classes of subjects, without distinction of race, creed or caste in so far as it not only maintained the original class composition but also aggravated the disparity in the original class composition of the Army. Annexure B. to this note will show that in case of certain Units recruitment is restricted to certain specified classes only to the entire exclusion of others, e.g. Bodyguard Cavalry, 1st Mountain Battery, and 1stInfantry etc. Notwithstanding these reservations, the quota allotted to other classes has also been allowed to be usurped by the privileged classes  for when the aforesaid reservations have been made. The 2nd. Jammu and Kashmir rifles and the 4th and 6th Jammu and Kashmir Infantries, for example, disclose complete exclusion of certain classes otherwise authorised to be employed in these Units in equal proportion with other classes. That being so, His Highness should have taken the Head of the Administration and thereafter the Cabinet in his confidence regarding the new formations and recruitment, and should have recressed the long-standing grievance of various classes of people in consultation with his Cabinet.

12. The Cabinet knows nothing about the present strength nor about the disposition of Kashmir State Forces. Schedule B. referred to above was compiled after getting necessary information with great difficulty from sources other than the Army Department. The revised estimates of the Army expenditure for Samvat year 2004 amounted to 1.2 crores and there is an estimate of 1.34 crores for Samvat year 2005. It is expected that the Government which knows nothing about the manner in which these huge amounts are spent and which expects a total revenue of between 1 to 2 crores only for Samvat 2005 should allot funds for this purpose in the budget.

13. His Highness, however, consistently kept the whole Cabinet in absolute ignorance about these arrangements which touched the basic policy of Army Administration in the country, which, I reiterate, has been the main source of agitation and political upheaval in the past. The only occasion where he felt himself called upon to consult the Prime Minister was on the question of increasing the fodder allowance to animals of the Kashmir Animal Transport. Is it, under these circumstances, expected that the government will be able to carry people with them and achieve political victory?

PRIVY PURSE

As regards the Privy Purse, the relevant facts and figures have already been communicated to the Deputy Prime Minister of India in my letter dated 21st May 1948. It will be recalled that in Samvat 2000 (1947-1948) we paid about 24 lacs to His Highness against our estimated revenue of about 6 crores, which may actually dwindle to something between 2 and 3 crores only. In fairness to us, nobody could imagine or expect us to pay this huge amount in year S.2005 also when we do not expect our revenues to exceed 1.75 crores as against our normal revenues of 4 to 6 crores during war. My colleagues in the Cabinet as well as departmental officers have made voluntary offers to serve on considerably reduced salaries owing to the financial straits in which our country is involved. It was in sheer desperation that our Finance Minister had to take immediate action and ask the Accountant-General to allow Privy Purse at the rate of 50 thousand only per month for the time being till we are in a position to formulate our budget for S.2005 on which our Finance Department is engaged at present together with the Financial Adviser whom we have borrowed from the Government of India. Nor was this step taken without due consideration. I had full discussions with Mr Gopalaswami Ayyangar who is fully conversant with the financial working of the State and who, in fact, was the author of the order under which the present Civil List was calculated. He had, after full deliberations, agreed in general to the principle underlying the cutting down of Civil List and Compensation for Jagirs and abolition of State Department against which His Highness was getting over 40 lacs in all. We apprised His Highness of this position vide Note dated 21st May 1948, copy where was sent to the Deputy Prime Minister with my letter of the same date.

POSITION OF HIS HIGHNESS

15. So far as His Highness’s personal status is concerned I give the assurance that I am ready, as always, to show him due respect. I dare say that neither I nor any member of the Government can be said to have acted otherwise. But the whole trouble arises on account of his attitude, and his recent past particularly. He is generally averse to meeting people or his Ministers. He was recently here for about a week and when I proposed to him that the Ministers would be willing to see him he avoided it, and subsequently did not even mention his desire to meet them. He did not even show the ordinary courtesy of inviting them to lunch which he gave in honour of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India when the latter visited the State last time. Mr Gopalaswami Ayyanger and His Excellency Sir Maharaj Singh who have sufficient experience of His Highness’s eccentricities will bear me out in this. I had myself very bitter experience of this attitude of His Highness several times. This attitude is particularly responsible for our inability to have personal contact with him as often as we would wish.

16. I have made no secret of it so far and I repeat it that Maharajah has generally lost the confidence of the people of the State and Kashmiris in particular entertain bitterness against him. The reasons for this are not far to seek. In a moment of supreme crisis, when Kashmir was actually facing annihilation in October 1947 His Highness left the Kashmiris at the mercy of the raiders without giving a moment’s thought to the question of protection of their lives. At that moment a fairly large portion of the State had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and thousands of men, women and children of his “beloved subjects” were being butchered every day. In this testing hour, his only anxiety was to collect his belongings, commandeer transport and bolt off stealthily with his kith and kin and a few chosen favourites. The Indian Army had not yet arrived and he was then feeling that Kashmir had gone out of his hands and he had better run away with his own life. He did not thus throw away only his Muslim subjects to the enemy about whom, it is patent, he never had any soft corner, but he completely betrayed the Kashmir people as a whole. The rude shock it gave the people can better be imagined tan described. And what happened in Jammu after his arrival there is an unutterable tale. As early as December 1947 I referred to this in some detail in my communications to Panditji and Gandhiji. As he moved down from the tunnel, there was enacted in every village through which he passed an orgy of arson and loot and murder of Muslims. In Jammu, the killing of Muslims all over the Province continued unabated for weeks under his every nose, the town having been converted into a veritable hell. Innocent children and girls were not spared and the display of sadism to which they were subjected would render insignificant anything that happened on the two sides of the divided Punjab in its hour of madness. All this staggering tragedy on such a vast scale is alleged to have been accomplished by the participation of High – ranking Hindu officials and Dogra Military in Jammu as well as His Highness’s own trusted relations and his then Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. A widespread belief, certainly not without basis, was that the killing was carried on in pursuance of an organized plan of genocide under which free distribution of arms and ammunition was made to communalist organizations like Rashtra Seva Sangh through Hindu Officials  high and low. Thousands of Muslims besieged in the town of Jammu were asked to march in convoys to Pakistan and were side-tracked and mercilessly done to death under the very escort of the State Forces who themselves actively participated in the shooting and killing. This was done at a distance of only a few miles from His Highness’s palaces. As against this, I and every worker of the National Conference in Kashmir Province at the moment of grave peril were fighting the raiders and protecting the life and honour of the microscopic minority here. The general belief that this large scale tragedy could not take place without active participation or connivance of the authorities that mattered in Jammu receives support from these facts. I made earnest appeals to his Highness that the Rashtra Seva Sangh whose creed was based on violence and which had executed its plan of genocide far and wide should be declared unlawful and ruthlessly suppressed. He point blank refused to do it. This is the co-operation and support that I have been receiving from him and under these circumstances I am expected to restore the people’s confidence in him and carry the people with me in the successful prosecution of war that we are fighting. The sober-minded Gandhiji was so moved by this tragedy that he several times in his prayer-meetings referred to the carnage perpetrated in Jammu. After enquiry through impartial agencies he located responsibility for this killing in unmistakable terms which I hope is still vivid in the memory of everybody.

17. It is difficult for me to convey adequately the effort I made, even under such a terrible strain, to bring the Maharajah closer to his people. I invited him to a number of functions publicly in spite of widespread resentment against him and in spite of serious protests from the general public. But let me say frankly that resentment against him persists and this is extremely aggravated by his attitude and his insistence on the working of the Government according to the same old ruts. It would become impossible for me to carry the people with me if this insistence continues longer. The Maharajah does not seem fully to realize that the present is the most critical juncture and no power on earth can ensure victory unless everything possible is done to restore public confidence. I am therefore constrained to aver once again that the choice is finally between the Maharajah and the people and if the choice is not soon made, it might land us into very serious trouble both militarily and politically. The only alternative is that His Highness should abdicate in favour of his son, and that there should be no reservations whatsoever in the administration of various subjects under the Ministers. This is my considered opinion after taking stock of the whole situation in the last seven months. I have on a number of occasions apprised Panditji, Mr Gopalaswamy Ayyangar and other high-ranking officials of the Government of India of this. Recently I had a frank talk about this with Rajkumar Amrit Kaur. I am therefore giving here my considered, decisive and final opinion on this behalf. It is now up to the State Ministry and Panditji to decide how this object is to be achieved.

18. So far as my views about accession go, I have made no secret of the fact where, in my judgment, lies the interest of Kashmir. I am extremely thankful to the States Ministry and the Government of India in general for the whole-hearted support that Kashmir receives. But in fairness to all as well as in consideration of the fact how to make that support successful in achieving the common objective that we have before us, I am sending this memorandum without any reservations whatsoever. Necessary steps should be taken immediately in this connection. By delay the situation will be worsened. I have under extreme stress and strain restrained myself from taking precipitate action but I cannot delay the matter any longer. It is for the Government of India to find ways and means.

19. I am grateful for the offer of assistance that the States Ministry has made in solving our difficulties and I certainly will avail of it whenever an occasion arises as I have done in the past.

20. So far as the rules of Business are concerned, I have gone through the draft and I agree with the general principle underlying them. But essentially it is a question of first of all deciding the fundamental issues to which I have referred above. I am, however, having a set of rules drafted here also and I have requested the Financial Adviser further to examine them. I shall send a copy thereof to the States Ministry when they are completed.

S.M. Abdullah

Srinagar

1.6.1948

Signed also by all members of the Cabinet.

---------------------X--------------------

Remember that while all these missives were flying around, there was a war on as Indian Army tried its best repulse the tribal lashkars and Pakistan Army regulars, even as it tried to reclaim territory. Maharaja Hari Singh was not willing to abdicate authority so quickly, he may have been stampeded from the Valley to the more peaceful environs of Jammu, but the levers of control were still in his hands partly. And he continued to use them to give Abdullah anxious moments. The escalating war of words would finally see forcible intervention by Sardar Patel at PM Nehru's behest, but that was some way off, as the tensions exacerbated. The following exchange between the PM and the erstwhile and extremely recalcitrant Monarch are a sample of the distaste with which they viewed each other. This was around the same time as Abdullah going to Patel with his bag of woes. Their prisms vastly divergent, but both bedeviled with domination and control.

Subject : Relationship between the J and K State Forces and the Indian Army Command.

=====

The Prime Minister has been considering, for some time, the question of the relationship that should exist between the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces and the Indian Army Commander, J and K Forces. As His Highness is aware, our agreement with the Union Government is that the State Forces would be in ever sense, that is, operationally, organizationally and administratively, under the command of the Indian Union Army during the period of conflict or till such time as we may determine. The Union government has further agreed to meet all expenditure on military operations, except the normal cost of maintenance of the State Troops, which would be a charge on the revenues of the J and K Government.

2. The Prime Minister understands that the J and K State Forces continue to function as a separate unit for financial and administrative purposes. Requests have been received from the Chief of the Staff for financial concurrence to measures relating to the raising of new formations, for example, labour platoon in Skardu, provision of first reinforcements for No.1 J and K mountain battery etc. and for revision of rates of pay for army personnel, e.g. revision of the pay of Assistant Surgeons, Veterinary Cadre. Demands have also been received for funds to meet the cost of transportation and other charges. These items of expenditure,whether they relate to the cost of new formation raise at the request of the Indian Army authorities or to operational expenses of the State Forces, are a charge on the Union Government and funds for them should be provided by the financial authorities attached to the J and K area Commander. So long as administrative control is divided, it is not possible for the financial authorities of this Government to verify before issuing the authorization for expenditure, whether the demands for expenses which, under our agreement with the Union Government, are a proper charge on the Indian Defence estimates, are being made under due authority, and whether scale of expenditure is such as will be admitted by the competent authorities of the Government of India without question. If this control is not exercised, the State Government is likely to be saddled with expenditure, which not only should not be a charge on its revenues, but it is not in a position to bear owing to its extremely straightened financial circumstances.

3. The Prime Minister further submits that so long as the administrative control of the J and K State Forces does not vest in the J & K area Commander, the Indian Army authorities are not likely to feel the same sense of responsibility towards the J&K State Troops as they have in regard to their own troops, or even if they so, have the means of discharging the responsibility. In consequence, the J and K State Forces may not prove as effective instruments of military operations as they should otherwise be. Besides it would be unfair to the troops themselves.

4. After giving anxious consideration to all aspects of the question the Prime Minister submits that the only way out of the difficulties mentioned above would be to place the J&K State Forces under the control of the army Commander, J&K Forces, not only in respect of operational matters, but also in respect of administration. The effect of this change would be that the Indian Army authorities would meet the entire cost of the J&K State Forces and recover from the J and K government the normal maintenance cost as per agreement referred to above. This arrangement, which is similar to the one that existed between the British and Indian Governments during the period of the late World War will last during the period of the conflict. The Prime Minister requests that His Highness may be pleased to afford sanction to this arrangement. In view of the urgency of the matter, the Prime Minister is requesting the Union Government to make necessary arrangements for taking over the administrative e control of the and the financial responsibility for the J & K State Forces subject to the recover from this Government of the normal maintenance cost.

5. A further consequence of this arrangement will be that if new formations are required, they will be raised by the Indian Army authorities and paid for entirely by the Union Government. The State Government will have no financial responsibility towards such formations which will the State troops to bring them to the level of pay admissible to troops of the Indian Army and similar expenditure on equipment, rations and clothing, there will be no need or accession for the State Government to revise the pay and allowances of the State Troops either to redress the disparity between them and the Indian army personnel or for other reasons.

6. the Prime Minister also examining the question as to who would bear the cost of formations raised after the accession of the State to the Union and what should be the incidence of cost of reinforcements. Those are some of the aspects of the question of determining the normal maintenance cost of troops, which the Prime Minister proposes to take up with the Union Government.

S.M.Abdullah

Prime Minister

His Highness

---------------------X-------------

---------------------X--------------------

Prime Minister

 I have given careful thought to the suggestions made in the above memo. It appears that there are certain aspects of the question which have not probably struck you. I am, therefore, asking you to reconsider your opinion after giving your earnest consideration to the following : -

1 Firstly in case the administrative control of the State Army is transferred to the Union Government as suggested by you, the Pakistan propagandists will make capital out of it and make out a plausible case that the State has been completely annexed by the Indian Union by taking over complete Military control. Such an impression should not be permitted to be created.

2 Secondly, the Pakistan suggestion that at the time of Plebiscite the Forces of the Indian Union should be sent away may be to some extent forced on us. In case the administrative control of the State Forces is handed over it will be difficult for us to make out a case for the retention of the State Forces because administratively there will be no distinction between the two.

3 Thirdly when normal conditions are restored the State Forces having remained for some time under the Union Administration and having enjoyed the greater amenities provided for the Indian Army, may not be willing to be separated from the Union Forces. This will give rise to unrest and discontent among the State Forces.

4 Fourthly there is no suggestion the part of the Indian Union Army officers that the administrative control of the State Forces should be vested in them. They have full operational control and so far no complaints regarding the administrative control have been received by me as Commander-in-Chief.

5 Your suggestion of handing over the administrative control is based on consideration of financial stringency. This is not relevant in face of the expressed willingness of the Union Government to meet all additional expenses incidental on the raising of salaries, rations and clothing to the level of the Union Forces during the period when the fight is on.

6 It is pointed out that according to existing regulations for the raising of State Force Units no new unit can be raised without the sanction of the Government of India. There should be no difficulty in obtaining the Government of India’s concurrence to bear the entire expenses of any new unit raised specifically at the request of the Indian Army.

I understand the Government of India have already agreed to the pay of the State Forces being brought up to the Indian Army level. In spite of the fact that the additional expenses will be borne by the Government of India this decision has not so far been implemented owing to the necessary instructions not having been issued to the Army Department.

The present conditions in the State are quite different from those existing in the late World War. The J& K army Units were then working outside the State and even then the administrative control was not transferred to the Indian Army. Any changes which were required to be made were done with my concurrence as Commander in Chief. Now that J&K Army is working inside the State, there should be no difficulty on this account, and there appears to be no necessity of transferring the administrative control to the Indian Union Army.

I feel that both constitutionally and as a matter of courtesy and form, such a suggestion as has been made direct by the Prime Minister to the Government of India concerning a reserve subject and that too the Army, should not have been made without my previous concurrence. I would suggest that in view of this and the consultations now proceeding between the Prime Minister and myself , the Government of India may be informed that no action need be taken on that communication.

I hope you will agree with me and in the light of the above observations let me have your fresh considered opinion.

4th June, 1948                                                  
Harisingh
MAHARAJADHIRAJ

Discuss in Council

@sandeep_bamzai

Columnist: 
Sandeep Bamzai