A year has passed since the extinction of a promise for freedom from an oppressive state, a promise that has remained a promise
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was to become free India’s Home Minister, had in a message of June, 1947 urged Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir that “the States Department were prepared to give an assurance that if Kashmir went to Pakistan, this would not be regarded as unfriendly by Government of India.”
Yet, in face of a Pakistani invasion in what is now history, Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India to the rhythm of Amir Khusrau’s poetry recited by its popular leader Sheikh Abdullah at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk: ‘Mun tushudamtumunshudi, Mun tun shudamtujaanshudi (I have become you and you me, I am the body, you the soul).
This had been primarily a Kashmiri movement, drawing almost universal Kashmiri support in a Muslim majority state where the Kashmiris were the largest single ethnic group. Despite efforts by Maharaja Hari Singh’s prime minister Ram Chandra Kak in eliciting Abdullah’s support for independence, the latter stood steadfast in his demand for an end to the monarchy. As Abdullah made clear to Joseph Korbel,who headed the UN Commission for India and Pakistan, Kashmir could enjoy true freedom only as part of India.null
But the questions framed by that very Abdullah in his speech at Mujahid Manzil, Empress Nur Jahan’s mosque that was his party’s headquarters, on the eve of the conclusion of the Beg–Parthasarathy talks that led to the 1975 Indira– Sheikh Accord remain relevant to this day.