A booklet written by Prof.Phadke on the issue of Kashmir was published in 1948 under the title " Birth Pangs of Kashmir." The booklet has a foreword by Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah.

                                           Foreword

 

Kashmir needs sympathizers and I am glad to find Prof.N.S.Phadke of Kolhapur a sympathizer of Kashmir. Kashmir today does not allure with its usual charm. .It is not relevant at the present moment to say that Kashmir is a spot where nature is bountiful, nor are its lakes and mountains today a topic of interest. In the bosom of Kashmir a war is being fought- a war between the philosophy that a people has the right to choose its own destiny and religious narrow mindedness must not influence the judg ment and attitude of the state, and the philosophy that aggression should decide the future of a country and that a state must be ruled by religious edicts. It is a war between the outlooks which Gandhi and Jinnah have preached all these years.

Kashmir is a big commitment, as every Indian must realize, but the future of all progress in India, Pakistan and Kashmir inter-linked with problem. Kashmir is the first test for the people in India to prove that they are worthy of the freedom they have achieved.

Professor Phadke has written with a clarity which will do much in removing the usual doubts entertained by certain quarters in India.

 

 

Shrinagar , S.M.Abdullah

                                            

                                A passage from the booklet

On the day I left the Delhi Airport for Shrinagar papers carried in big headlines the news that the Indian delegation to the U.N.O. Conference was leaving Lake Success in acute dissatisfaction, bordering on disgust, with the way in which the question of Kashmir had been handled there by the big powers. On everybody’s lips was the question, "What would be the reaction of India and Kashmir to the resolution passed by the U.N.O. Council to send a commission to Kashmir?" Gulam Md. Bakshi, whose popularity with the Kashmir public is second to that of Sheikh Abdullah, who is called " Khalid-I-Kahmir " as Sheikhsaheb is called " Sher-I-Kashmir" , and who officiated as the head of Kashmir Administration during Sheikhsaheb’s absence at Lake Success, was at Delhi Airport, due to leave for Jammu by the plane which took me to Shrinagar. There he stood on the steps of the verandha , surrounded by a small group of friends , a characteristic grin on his face , and when I went up to him and asked him what he thought of the latest news from Lake Success , his grin became broader and he said ," We don’t much care what the U.N.O. decides to do." That was a characteristic remark , I could not help thinking, and in the following days in which I toured Kashmir I came to realize how Mr. Bakshi’s remark summed up the attitude of both Sheikhsaheb’s Government and of the People of Kashmir towards the unexpected and disappointing turn which events at Lake Success had taken.

The Kashmiri man in the street does not bother himself about what England or America and the other big powers think or do. His political ideology is straight and simple. There is not a shred of doubt in his mind that Kabayalis { raiders} are backed by Pakistan and Mr. Jinnah has always entertained secret ugly designs on the land of Kashmir. He knows that there will no peace and no freedom in his country until Pakistan is completely beaten and driven across the border. He also knows that it is not the intervention of any International Organization but his own strength that will decide the issue. In fact, you will find wondering as to why there should be so much ado about a very simple thing, the simple thing being" Kashmir wants to be free and she has resolved to be free." And above all, he knows that Sheikh Abdullah is the man who will save Kashmir, and that the people of Kashmir must stand united behind him.

Sheikhsaheb’s hold on the masses of his country is really phenomenal. Tall and well built, a typical specimen of kashmiri physique, he is really a tower of strength to his people. Leading forty lakhs of common people to their freedom , he himself leaves like a common man with extreme simplicity. When I arrived at his house I could see at one glance that he had chosen for his residence the most simple and humble house in shrinagar. Bigadier Usman- whose recent tragic death in action we bemoan- the hero of Naoshera, on whose head a prize of Rs. 50000 had been set by Pakistan, alive or dead had come for a brief holiday, and we two had journeyed from the Shrinagar Airport to the city in the same car. Welcoming him sheikhsaheb crushed him in his arms. He might as well have kissed him I thought- such was the deep love expressed in that typical embrace. And this same kindness and affection radiates from Sheikhsaheb to all his people. You have only to spend a few minutes at his office where he usually spends his morning hours, and you will be convinced that Sheikh Abdullah is a man of the people and for the people. Peasants, workers, men and women come to him with their difficulties and their problems, and none of them has to go away unheard. He is a great speaker and knows how to hold his audience spell-bound. There is a place called Hajarat-Bal, half-a-dozen miles away from Shrinagar. This is a sacred place where a hair of the Prophet is preserved in a small glass jar under a grave, and tens of thousands of piligrims from far and near visit it three or four times a year when the Prophet’s hair is kept on view. Sheikh Abdullah goes to this Hajarat-Bal every Friday to offer prayers, and vast crowds gather there to listen to him. It is in hundreds of meetings like these that Sheikhsaheb for the last seventeen years preached the gospel of freedom and democracy.

There was not a moment when, in all the vicissitudes through which Kashmir’s political movement has passed, Sheikhsaheb has faltered in his adherence to the basic principle that the people of Kashmir are the sovereign masters of the land and that it is they who must decide their future. When, for example , he was released on the 29th of September 1947, "accession" was the chief problem which faced him, and he unhesitatingly said that it was the people’s right to decide their own future. " Freedom before accession was his slogan. It is true that the people of Kashmir will definitely ratify the accession to India, thanks to the atrocities perpetrated by the raiders on Kashmir during the last eight months. But theoretically Sheikhsaheb’s stand has always been, and still is that the people of Kashmir must be free first.

He stressed this very point when he made his historic speech at the meeting of the Security Council at Lake Success, on the 5th February 1948. Any one who reads this moving speech will be convinced that the fate of Kashmir and her forty lakhs of people is safe in the hands of this man. The full significance of this speech can be gathered if one remembers that it does not reflect the individual view point of Sheikhsaheb, but that in making it, Sheikhsaheb was voicing the feelings and convictions which have taken deep root in the heart of the common man of Kashmir. Pakistan played a very clever and cunning game at Lake Success. Sir Md. Zafrullah’s argument before the security council consisted of four points. In the first place, he denied the charge that Pakistan was helping the raiders. In the second place, he said that Kashmir’s accession to the Indian Dominion was illegal and , therefore, the question of accession should be considered afresh and decided by plebiscite. In the third place ,in order that this plebiscite should be held in an atmosphere of impartiality, the Indian troops should be withdrawn from Kashmir , and if their withdrawal was not possible, then the armies of Pakistan should also be allowed inside the state , in order to control the situation. And lastly, Sheikhsaheb should be removed from the position of the head of the present administration And a new administration should be set up so that the vote of the people will be free and unprejudiced. Sheikhsaheb, in his speech smashed every one of these arguments, and exposed not only the thorough want of logic in Sir Zafrullah’s speech , but the sinister cunning behind it. When you read this speech, you must remember that it is the common of Kashmir who is speaking through the medium of Sheikh Abdullah. Regarding the denial by Pakistan of India’s charges that they are helping the raiders, Sheikhsaheb asked," How am I to convince the security council that the denial is absolutely untrue? I am sitting before the security council at a distance of thousands of miles from my country. I have fought many battles, along with my own men, on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir. I have seen with my own eyes the support given by the Pakistan Government, not only in supplying bases, but in providing arms and ammunition, direction and control of the tribesmen; and I have seen the Pakistan Army forces from across the border. The denial has come so flatly that it becomes very difficult for me to prove it here before the security council, unless the security council accedes to our request to send a commission to the spot and to first find out whether the allegations brought before the security council with regard to the aid given by the Government of Pakistan are correct or incorrect. If they are incorrect, our case fails. If they are correct , then the security council should take the necessary steps to advise the Government of Pakistan to desist from such support." It will be seen from these utterances that the principal demand of India was that the Security Council should examine the charge that Pakistan had a hand in the invasion of Kashmir , and if they found that the charge was true they should ask Pakistan to respect international law and desist from aiding the tribesmen. Sir Zafrullah tried to confuse this demand, mixing it with a number of irrelevant questions, and it is a pity that he should have succeeded in this to a very great extent. India and Kashmir certainly wanted that the U.N.O. should send out a commission , but at the same time they wanted the commission to be strictly a fact-finding commission. It is perfectly right and logical, therefore, that Sheikhsaheb today is ready to welcome the Security Council’s commission only as a fact finding commission. The Kashmiris are well known for their hospitality, but they would not extend their hospitality to a commission if it came with an intention of interfering with their freedom. If on the other hand, the commission is purely a fact-finding commission they would not only welcome it heartily but give it all their help to ascertain the truth. " WE have heaps of evidence," the people of Kashmir will tell you," which will prove beyond doubt that Pakistan wanted to intimidate us and coerce us into accepting an accession to Pakistan."

As to the validity of Kashmir’s accession to India, it was repeatedly made clear to the Security Council that both India and Kashmir were prepared to discuss it’s legality, but in order that this constitutional issue might be discussed by the parties concerned the Pakistan armies and the raiders must first leave Kashmir to the last man. With regard to Sir Zafrullah’s suggestion that if the Indian armies are not withdrawn, Armies of Pakistan should be allowed inside the state in order to control the situation, Sheikhsaheb in his speech, said," This is an unusual idea. What Pakistan could not achieve through ordinary means, Pakistan wishes to achieve by entering our state through the back door so that she may have her armies inside the state and then start to fight. This is not possible." In reply to Sir Zafrullah’s proposal that the present administration of the state under Sheikh Abdullah should be changed, so that there would be a fair plebiscite, Sheikhsaheb declared," To this suggestion, we say NO." Sheikhsaheb regards the idea of a neutral government as utterly ridiculous. Can there be any government which is completely impartial? Not even God Himself can be expected to be strictly impartial if He were placed at the head of the Kashmir Government." I am there at the head of the Administration because the People wish it," he told the Security Council. " As long as the People wish it I shall be there. There is no power on the earth which can displace me from the position I have there. We have declared once for all that there shall be complete freedom of voting and for that purpose we have said," Let anyone come in, we have no objection." Let the commission of Security Council on India come into our state and advise us how we should take a vote, how we should organize it and how it can be completely impartial. We have no objection. My government is ready to satisfy to the last comma the impartiality of the voting. But to have an impartial vote is one thing; to have a say in the administration of the State is a different thing entirely." And Sheikhsaheb concluded his speech by saying," I refuse to accept Pakistan as a party in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir State. I refuse this point blank. Pakistan has no right to say that we must do this and we must do that. We have seen enough of Pakistan. The people of Kashmir have seen enough of it. Muzafarabad and Baramulla and hundreds of villages in Jammu and Kashmir depict the story of Pakistan to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. WE want to have no more of this."

Yes, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have seen enough of Pakistan in action, and they definitely want no more of it. I found utter disgust of Pakistan prevailing in the minds of the Kashmiri people. The have already tasted Pakistan Raj and they are filled with horror. They can never forget the fiendish atrocities which are written in bold letters on villages and towns in their country. When I visited Baramulla I was reminded of the terrible scene of ruin and disaster that we witnessed in Bombay’s docks when the explosion of 1944 occurred. Baramulla is- or rather was- a very beautiful city on the banks of Jhelum with two-storeyed and three-storeyed houses, which were remarkable specimens of Kashmir’s architecture, lovely gardens of fruit and rich waving fields. All this beauty and loveliness was destroyed in a day by the Pakistanis and the raiders. Even the remains of the city were enough to give me an idea of what the glorious, quiet, alluring town of Baramulla must have been like! The hand of Pakistan wrecked and sacked, and burnt and looted and raped, making no distinction between the muslim and non-muslim, between man and woman, or between the old and the young. Even the nurses and nuns at the St. Joseph’s Hospital fell victims to the lust of the invaders! And the destruction of Baramulla is only one of the many tragic chapters that were written with incredible swiftness by the hand of Pakistan. It is impossible that the people of Kashmir will ever forget all this.

But this wholesale destruction and massacre and rape was a blessing in disguise, I could not help thinking, as I listened to the thousands of tales which were recounted to me. Pakistan has dug it’s own grave in Kashmir. Precisely because the raiders murdered and looted without discrimination all the people stand united against Pakistan today. Pakistan has indirectly brought about a unity of all communities in Kashmir- such a consolidated unity as could not have been achieved by tens of thousands of lectures by the leaders of Kashmir.

And this sense of unity, this sense of common danger, and the knowledge that the present war must be won, has impelled the people of Kashmir to offer an exemplary co-operation to the Indian Armies that are fighting on the several fronts. Take the town of Uri, for instance. It had a mixed population of Muslims, Sikhs and Brahmins. I found all of them ready to work to make the task of the Indian Army easier. They are ready to clear blocked roads and to construct bridges. I met the Raja of Uri and the Raja of Namla. They have lost everything. The Raja of Namla had a very thrilling story to tell me, how the raiders came to him on the Id day and how they looted and burnt everything that came their way. " But I don’t grieve for my loss," ha said." Let my Jagir go After all, these are days when Jagirs like mine must be liquidated. I am prepared to work like a coolie in the service of the Indian Army, because I know that they are our saviours. This is only one illustration of the immense popularity which the Army Officers enjoy at the different fronts and the limitless co-operation and goodwill which the civil population of Kashmir is prepared to offer them.

Every one in Kashmir knows that a new Kashmir is coming to birth, and that he play his part to the best of his ability in the revolution which is taking place. For the common man this revolution amounts to a simple thing, namely, the complete defeat of the raiders and Pakistan, and the vindication of Kashmir’s freedom. Sheikh Abdullah and his co-workers in the National Conference, however, fully understand that the defeat of Pakistan and the freedom of Kashmir would not be the end of the journey but only the beginning. They are not mere soldiers not mere politicians. They are statesmen, and they are inspired by a prophetic vision- the vision of a new Kashmir. As early as 1944, they drafted the Constitution of this New Kashmir, and a national economic plan covering production, transport, distribution, utility services, and currency and finance. They declared the basic rights and obligations of citizenship, and also a Women’s charter. This plan of the New Kashmir is modeled on the lines of a Communist Republic, although none of the leaders of Kashmir has any love for either the present Soviet Government or the Indian communists. In his introduction to a pamphlet called New Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah writes," Throughout the lean centuries of History the poor and the exploited sons of Jammu and Kashmir have been palanquin bearers of Hindu Monarchs and Buddhist Rulers and Moghul Emperors. The peasant sons of the valleys and mountains have scratched only nine inches of top soil and eked out a bare existence.Now a time has come when they must dig deep into the bowels of the earth, and yoke the technique of modern science to the task of getting for themselves a bigger and better morsel of daily bread." In this New Kashmir not only the state of Jammu and Kashmir but also Gilgit and Ladakh and the frontier regions will be included. Forty lakhs of people , belonging to various religious denominations, and speaking over half a dozen languages like the Kashmiri , the Dogri, the Balti, the Dardi, the Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu, will be brought under a single Republic, where there will be complete freedom of speech and where citizen will have the right to work and to rest.

This is the goal towards which Sheikhsaheb and his co-workers want to lead their people. The present struggle is after all a temporary phase. We in India must not allow ourselves to be obsessed by the moment’s issue. We shall have a truer and better understanding of Kashmir only if we, with Sheikh Abdullah and his men, look beyond the present clash of arms and visualize the New Kashmir that is about to be born. When I took leave of Sheikh Abdullah and asked if he had any message to give to my readers, he put his hand on my shoulder, as is his habit, and said, "I am a man who trusts in the will of God. But tell your readers that we shall always want India’s friendship and sympathy." I wanted to tell him that the bond of this friendship was always too strong and deep to be shaken by any events in the future. Is it not the personal friendship between Sheikh Abdullah and Pandit Nehru after all a striking symbol of the friendship which binds India to Kashmir? I wished Sheikhsaheb the best of luck and long life and took his leave. As I motored to the Shrinagar Airport there was only one thought in my mind: " See Kashmir and die" – that is what a poet said; but today the people of Kashmir are saying," To save Kashmir we will die." It is true that Kashmir’s body has been badly battered and wounded by the marauder; but it is also true that through this bloodshed and suffering Kashmir has found her soul."Steel blades cannot cut it; fire cannot burn it: in such words Bhagwad Geeta describes the power and immortality of the Soul. Let places like Baramulla and Uri be burnt and sacked, let property be looted, let men be shot and murdered. These are after all injuries to the body of Kashmir. Through them Kashmir has found her soul. And because the people of Kashmir have found their soul, ‘The Paradise’ of Kashmir, although it seemed ‘Lost’ for a brief while, will be ‘Regained’!