This is going to be a series of posts on alleged mass murders by the Indian government in Kashmir.
I've been guilty of not paying much attention to sporadic news reports coming in about mass graves in Kashmir. I know that the terrorists, primarily funded and supported by Pakistan, have caused mayhem in Kashmir. That is widely known.
Not so widely accepted (or known) are the alleged extra-constitutional killings of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian armed forces. I'm not saying there is truth to these claims but the reports are now coming in at a level that can't be ignored. I will examine these more carefully in the coming days and weeks. I cite this section from Foreign Policy, below to start the ball rolling.
More when I find time to study this further. Please help me by sending in relevant references.
For years, people whispered about the thousands of disappeared young men in Kashmir. But only now are the bones finally speaking.
The grim story starts more than two decades ago, in 1989, when a separatist insurgency blossomed in Kashmir. India had gradually eroded any sense of Muslim-majority Kashmir's autonomy, rigging elections and arresting and torturing opposition political activists.
Gun battles between the separatist guerrillas and the Indian troops were routine; land mines and hand grenades exploded every other day in crowded markets, on empty roads. Fear dominated the streets and nobody stepped out after dusk.
By 1996, according to conservative official estimates, around 15,000 had been killed — a number that has since risen to 70,000.
India's military, paramilitary, and police forces deployed in massive numbers to pacify the rebellious province, and tens of thousands of Kashmiri civilians were taken into custody. Thousands never returned.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and several Indian rights groups have repeatedly urged the Indian government to investigate the disappearances in Kashmir, but the government and the Army consistently argued that the missing weren't dead: They had crossed over to Pakistan to train as militants.
Whoever wants to hoist the Indian national flag at Lal Chowk (or anywhere else) MUST be protected by the state and allowed to do so (under its appropriate guidance). That is absolutely crucial, if the Indian government has to have any legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens.
This is specious, untenable, ridiculous, shameful.
If the INDIAN GOVERNMENT CAN'T PROTECT ITS CITIZENS WHO WANT TO PUBLICLY HOIST THE NATIONAL FLAG, THEN THAT GOVERNMENT HAS NO BUSINESS TO EXIST.
Law regarding usage of the Indian flag
According to the Wikipedia, "Usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India and other laws relating to the national emblems. The original code prohibited use of the flag by private citizens except on national days such as the Independence day and the Republic Day. In 2002, on hearing an appeal from a private citizen, the Supreme Court of Indiadirected the Government of India to amend the code to allow flag usage by private citizens. Subsequently, the Union Cabinet of India amended the code to allow limited usage. The code was amended once more in 2005 to allow some additional use including adaptations on certain forms of clothing."
I cite this but such law is totally irrelevant in this case. Only the principle is relevant: that the citizens of India have a flag that represents their nation, and they have therefore the right to hoist it for appropriate purpose, more so on the Republic Day (or Independence Day). Protecting the flag is fundamentally equivalent to protecting the nation. It is not a mere law and order or police function. It is, where necessary, a function for the armed forces to perform.
The reason why a government exists
The PRIMARY reason a government exists is to ensure the DEFENCE and INTEGRITY of the national territorial boundary. All other reasons are secondary (everything!!!!!).
The specious argument of law and order
It is false and unjustifiable to even remotely suggest that the requirements of law and order over-ride that of national security and integrity.
Section 144 of the CrPC is NOT intended to be used against LEGITIMATE activities of citizens. The Government's job is to DEFEND AND PROTECT citizens in the conduct of their legitimate activities, not use stupid excuses to prevent their exercise of legitimate acts.
Note also that Section 107 of the CrPC specifies (see the Act here) that a magistrate can only seek a bond from a "person [who] is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity or to do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity".
Note clearly that HOISTING THE NATIONAL FLAG IS NOT AN ATTEMPT TO BREACH THE PEACE!! It is an attempt to celebrate the nation. It is a positive act which brings people together.
Note clearly that HOISTING THE NATIONAL FLAG IS NOT A WRONGFUL ACT!!
A Government that does not protect A citizen (ANY citizen) of India who wishes to publicly hoist the Indian national flag has no legitimacy, and must go.
The ONLY option for the J&K Government in this case
The only legitimate option for the J&K Government in this case is to provide security to ANY citizen who wishes to hoist the national flag and reports this desire to it. The Government can warn citizens that it will NOT protect citizens who wish to hoist the flag without informing it in advance (under the circumstances prevailing), but if someone approaches it and informs it in advance, it MUST provide security.
The ENTIRE INDIAN ARMY MUST BE SENT OUT TO PROTECT ANYONE WHO WISHES TO HOIST INDIA'S NATIONAL FLAG AT LAL CHOWK.
I fully support Shantanu Bhagwat's call (here) and roundly CONDEMN the cowardly and confused views of B.Raman (here). Providing security to flag hoisters is particularly crucial given the reports of the great belligerence of Pakistan-supported fundamentalists in Srinagar. Such belligerence must be challenged and the right of Indians to hoist their OWN NATIONAL FLAG in their own country, defended. If necessary, to the death.
If only India had Sardar Patel today. The Freedom Team of India has been established to build leaders who will provide outstanding leadership to India. Please join FTI or otherwise support it. Join me and Shantanu today on a Live Chat.
By Sanjeev Sabhlok, published in Freedom First, 1 January 2011
On Kashmir, a matter of vital significance to the world, it is important to not focus on any legalities or technicalities but to revert straight to the basics. I will therefore consider two basic issues in this article: (a) Kashmir’s territory and (b) its people, and hope to deduce policy insights that are compatible with liberty and peace.
No nation can hope to defend the freedoms of its citizens without first securing its territory. National boundaries are, however, only rarely created by civilized debate. In most cases, brute force and physical possession are its markers. A nation that loses physical control over land loses it for ever. History moves on.
India’s partition was based on the communal principle, with princely states given the option of acceding to either India or Pakistan. This – the communal principle – however, is badly flawed, indeed meaningless. The failure of this principle is evident from the fact that roughly the same number of Muslims live in India today as they do in Pakistan. It is likely, therefore, that this principle was a façade for British geopolitical calculations to weaken the mighty India of the future.
Be as it may, this principle failed to make any headway from day one. When the Muslim ruler of Hindu-majority Junagarh acceded to Pakistan, Indian forces took it over and held a plebiscite in 1948 to provide ‘legitimacy’ (Note, however, that only possession matters, so this idea of a plebiscite is a desirable but not necessary condition of national territory). India also rejected the Nizam of Hyderabad’s independence dreams, and took it over.
In Kashmir, however, things went badly wrong. After dithering for months, by which time chaos and anarchy had set in, the Hindu raja of Muslim-majority Kashmir fled Srinagar, acceding Kashmir to India. But his action was devoid of any implications for when he did not control the Kashmir valley, how could he possibly hand it over to anyone? When Nehru flew planes into Srinagar and took over the valley, the matter should therefore have come to a close. In the meanwhile, Pakistani troops – through a front of organized tribal forces – took over what is now called Azad Kashmir.
But then Nehru quite unnecessarily lodged a complaint with the UN, claiming the entire Kashmir territory (including territory that India has not physically controlled even for one instant). He also committed unnecessarily to a plebiscite in Kashmir. Things got murkier when J&K was allowed its own constitution and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gave Kashmir a privileged status.
But things have dramatically changed. Both nations are now nuclear states. It should be obvious (unless people are willing to risk mutual assured nuclear destruction) that all options on the boundary have now been closed. Pre-nuclear era treaties and commitments are worthless and the LOC cannot be budged except at grossly unacceptable cost.
Some Kashmiris, looking for a way out, still ask for an independent state. But they should realize that this option is entirely off the table. Pakistan will never allow this to happen (after all, the “K” in its name comes from Kashmir), and India is aware that China – with its menacing control over the Karakoram highway – will use defenceless Kashmir to threaten India. This means that India can never afford to have an independent Kashmir.
So what is to be done? The most logical solution is for India to withdraw its complaint to the UN and recognize Azad Kashmir provided that Pakistan (a) agrees to recognize the LOC and that Kashmir is an integral part of India, (b) totally stops aiding and abetting terrorist activity in Kashmir, and (c) works constructively towards trade and cultural relations with India. Should this happen, the people of Kashmir, who are fed up with endless violence, will find at least some respite.
However, this won’t happen easily. It is not in Pakistan’s interest to resolve the Kashmir issue. If this issue disappears then Pakistan will have one fewer reason to exist – further deepening its already severe existential crisis. Therefore Pakistan is likely to continue terrorising Kashmir.
One plausible way to achieve this is to improve the governance in Kashmir to such an extent that Muslims in India (and particularly in Kashmir) will become wealthy and will thereafter themselves throw out the terrorists sent by Pakistan. But this is further complicated by political parties like BJP that keep stoking communal conflict and promoting Hindutva. Such parties only strengthen the hand of the Pakistani generals and create doubt in the minds of Kashmiri Muslims.
Unless all political parties in India agree to separate religion from political discourse, resolving the territorial problem in Kashmir will remain a distant dream.
Despite all these complications, territory is a relatively minor matter. Nations exists for the sake of the people, not the other way around. Therefore Kashmiris must want to live in India: and by that I mean all Kashmiris – not just those who work for the J&K government or the Kashmiri Pandits or the Hindu and Buddhist residents of Jammu and Ladakh.
For that to happen genuine freedom must be ensured. True, the J&K constitution guarantees civil and political rights, but the India itself is unfree, so how can J&K experience freedom? The Indian constitution violates our freedoms in innumerable ways (as shown in my book, Breaking Free of Nehru); and governments in India use an archaic colonial governance system for their socialist ends. The end product is a horribly corrupt, statist society.
India ranks at the bottomof the Third World on the Heritage index of economic freedom – well below Botswana, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda and Tanzania, and below Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Even Pakistan offers more economic freedom than India. Indian misgovernance has surely increased secessionist demands; demands that Kashmiris would have otherwise snubbed. With such deplorable governance, how can we prevent Kashmiri youngsters from being attracted to Pakistani propaganda?
The solution: freedom and good governance
Kashmir’s solution boils down to freedom and good governance. And while Article 370 must be abrogated, it is best done as part of a liberation packagefor the entire country.
This packages should ensure that all Indians are treated equally (discrimination such as reservations must go); poverty is eliminated; corruption is reduced to the unavoidable minimum; freedom (subject to accountability) is ensured; and restrictions on movement and settlement within NE India and tribal areas of India are abolished – along with the abrogation of Article 370.
Once genuine freedom and good governance are available in Kashmir, anyone who talks about secessionism will be ignored by the people. And then the Kashmiri Pandits (and others who have been forced to leave) will be able to return to their homeland, marking the end of this tragic and bloody chapter in India’s history.
Freedom Team of India
I invite leaders from Kashmir (of any religious denomination) who want genuine freedom and good governance in Kashmir to join Freedom Team of India (http://freedomteam.in/). Existing political formations in India do not understand even the basics of freedom, and so we are obliged to work to bring freedom to India (and Kashmir).
Over forty years ago, in 1965, the Government of India published a pamphlet called, The Paradox of India Pakistan Relations. This document makes for interesting reading. The question it poses at the outset is relevant even today: Why is it that two peoples with more in common than perhaps any other peoples in the world, are still at loggerheads?
And its conclusion remain valid today, as well, that –
While looking forward to the daywhen the people of Pakistan may come to enjoy the same democratic rights as Indians do and a friendlier climate of Indo-Pakistan relations begins to develop, the Government and people of India cannot afford to neglect the threat posed to India’s territorial integrity by the irresponsible action of the communal-military clique which rules Pakistan today.
The partition of India has been one huge unmitigated disaster, the most unfortunate event in the history of the sub-continent – with more people killed in the (ongoing) process (that includes violence in Kashmir) than in any war that took place in the 5000 year history of the sub-continent. And the well of bitterness created from this event is poisonous: those who drink from it are lost forever, losing all semblance of humanity.
Clearly only the a few corrupt Pakistani leaders have benefited from this fight between brothers. Have the people of India and Pakistan benefited from this partition of India? No!! Show me ONE common citizen of Pakistan or India who will say that the partition was for the benefit of our people. Most Muslims in India are doing BETTER in India than their counterparts in Pakistan. The "purpose" of Pakistan's existence has been TOTALLY DEFEATED.
Pakistan has now INEVITABLY become the heart of global Islamic fundamentalism. The West might have benefited temporarily from the partition of India, but the evil idea of a nation state founded on religion has now come home to roost. The terrorists who are attacking the West (and India) are almost all linked to Pakistan.
This need not continue in this manner. The moment Pakistan adopts a non-denominational democratic approach, it can revert to the mainstream of progress and peace. But time is passing by rapidly. The voice of freedom has been almost entirely stifled in Pakistan. One can only wish it the very best.
by Publications Division, Government of India, 1965. Revised edition Dec. 1971. (Re.0.50), 47 pages.
Note: I don't agree entirely with the thesis and history put out by the Government of India in this booklet (revised in 1971), but it is worth putting out, as one of the many perspectives in this area. I had scanned parts of it a few years earlier. Today I completed the scan and here is the Word version. The HTML is provided below (I've not had time to colour the text and highlight it appropriately. For that, please see the Word version)
To the student of international affairs today, the unhappy history of relations between India and Pakistan is an intriguing phenomenon, as no two countries would appear to have so much in common. The peoples of the two countries have a common heritage-historical, cultural, racial and linguistic and the stark realities of geography and economics would seem to dictate co-operation for mutual benefit.
Strangely however, the course of history, after the birth of Pakistan in 1947, has run counter to the dictates of logic and sentiment. The two states of the Indian sub-continent have not only been estranged in their mutual relations; they have pursued disparate courses in world affairs. The circumstances leading to this paradox of Indo-Pakistan relations are sought to be analysed in this booklet.
GENESIS OF PAKISTAN
Islam is one of the main ingredients of the culture and civilisation of India. Over a period of one thousand years, Islam has contributed to and been nurtured by the Indian mind and culture. This composite culture found its finest exponents in monarchs like Akbar, saints like Kabir and savants- like Amid Khusro.
The feeling of being one undivided people was very much a reality among Hindus and Muslims till almost the end of the 19th century. The memory of India’s first struggle for liberation from alien domination in 1857 was still fresh in the people’s minds. The Great Rising of 1857, which was the first organised nationalist attempt to challenge British power in India, was a remarkable demonstration of the unity of the people of India. The heroes of the Rising were Hindus and Muslims – Nana Sahib, Tatia Tope, Maulvi Ahmadullah, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Babu Kunwar Singh and others – and all of them fought under the banner of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
The British succeeded in quelling this revolt but also realised that the unity of Indians was a threat to their rule in India. The seed of the separatist idea, which grew into a monster of rabid communalism in the period preceding the partition of India, was sown in the early decades of this century with the active encouragement and support of the British rulers.
The most notable event in Indian nationalist history after the Rising of 1857 was the birth of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The Congress represented the enlightened popular will of India. Among its founders and leading lights were eminent public men from all parts of India and of all religions – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Parsee. They all subscribed to the creed of nationalism. Of the 702 delegates who attended the annual session of the Congress in 1890, 156 were Muslims.
The growing moral and political influence of the Congress, even though at that time it was really demanding responsive rather than responsible government or independence, was viewed with great disquiet by the rulers. Encouragement was given to organisations that opposed the claims of the Indian National Congress and cut into its following.
In 1905, the province of Bengal was partitioned to carve out East Bengal as a predominantly Muslim unit. This step was taken by the Government in order to promote Muslim separatism. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy, himself admitted later that, in partitioning Bengal, his main purpose was to “create a Muslim Province”. This action was strongly resented by the Congress and by nationalist opinion all over lndia, but was welcomed by the communal-minded among the Muslims. However, the opposition to the partition was so intense that the Viceroy had to annul it in 1911.
It was against this background that the Muslim League came into being in 1906. It began as a forum for promoting the material well-being of Muslims but soon became the rallying point of reactionary and communalist forces among the Indian Muslims. These forces were further encouraged and strengthened when the Government conceded their demand for separate electorates and gave weightage for Muslims under the Morley Minto Reform in 1909. This marked the birth of the communal politics which was to culminate in the partition of India in 197 and the terrible loss of human lives chat accompanied it.
In the opening decades of this century, the Indian National Congress steadily expanded its base and became the meeting ground of all nationalist-minded Indians. In 1906, the Congress had declared self-government within the British Empire as its immediate goal. However, the character of the organisation quickly changed with the increasing role of the lower middle class, small peasants and industrial workers. The First World War had a profound impact on Indian political life, due to the growing discontent of the people with the wars heavy financial burden.
The Home Rule agitation and the appearance in 1919 of Mahatma Gandhi on the political scene brought about a decisive change in the Congress. It attained full stature as an organisation of the masses, representing all classes of the population. In 1921, the new constitution of the Congress declared as its object “the attainment of Swaraj (self-rule) by the people of India.” Not long after, in 1929, came the demand for complete independence from foreign rule.
The ideology of the Congress Party, whose members were drawn from all communities and economic levels in India, was emphatically secular. The progressive element among Muslims, which constituted a very large number, subscribed to the Congress ideology of secular nationalism and a better deal for the common people. Mahatma Gandhis magnetic personality and his politics of activist, non-violent, non-cooperation gained for him followers among the Muslim masses as readily as among the Hindu masses. Among the many eminent Muslims who were Presidents of the Congress before the advent of Mahatma Gandhi were Badruddin Tyabji, Mohammed Rahimtoola Sayani, Nawab Syed Mohammed Bahadur and Hassan Imam. Distinguished Muslim Presidents of the Congress in the Gandhian period were Hakim Ajmal Khan, Maulana Mohammed Ali, Dr. M. A. Ansari and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Other Muslim stalwarts in the Congress were Abbas Tyabji, Mazharul Haque, Shaukat Ali, Khan Sahib and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
The last named was the pre-eminent leader of the NorthWest Frontier Province who achieved the miracle of converting the brave and warlike Pathan people to the ways of non violence. He is even now popularly referred to as the Frontier Gandhi.
Maulana Azad came to the vanguard of the national movement while he was yet in his twenties and remained a leader of the Congress for thirty-five years. The six years (1940-1946) when he was President of the Congress witnessed the final phase of the Indian struggle for independence.
League's Narrow Aims
The Muslim League, as noted earlier, had been successful in getting communal representation and weightage for Muslims in 1909. At this time, there was no mention of responsible government by, the League, and all that it aimed at (and secured) was sectional concessions. The League was a communal body, with no apparent desire for or pretensions to any large political or economic ideology embracing freedom or anti-imperialism. It was through the Congress and the Khilafat movement that the Muslim masses participated in the anti-colonial struggle, and not at any time through the Muslim League, which was a feudal organisation. The Congress made repeated but unsuccessful efforts to secure an agreement with the League in return for its collaboration in the movement for national freedom. In its anxiety for forging national unity, it even compromised its basic principle of secularism by conceding the Leagues demand for separate electorates for Muslims so that India could be liberated. But even this had no effect.
However, it was a measure of the Congress success in this direction that, in 1920 and 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi launched his great non-violent movement for freedom from foreign rule, communalism did not obstruct its activities and the Muslim masses largely responded to the Congress call for noncooperation with the alien rulers.
Thus the League was, at this time, relegated to obscurity. The colonial Government later revived it as a counter-balancing force to the Congress. A rift in the League organisation was closed under the leadership of Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and the British Government invited the Leagues representatives to attend the Round Table Conference which was convened in London in 1930-31 to consider changes in the constitutional setup in India. The Muslim League leaders predictably responded by refusing to reach any agreement with the Congress. The Government rewarded them with the “Communal Award” of 1932, whose provisions concerning the Muslims were later incorporated in the Government of India Act, 1935. The Communal Award granted the Muslim Leagues demand for (a) separate electorates on a communal basis; (b) provision of “weightage” to Muslims in allotment of seats in the Legislatures of Provinces where Muslims were in a minority and (c) reservation of posts for Muslims in the services. In the Government of India Act of 1935, the principle of “weightage” was applied very unfairly in Bengal and Punjab where the Hindus were in a minority. In Bengal, for example, the Hindus formed 44.8 per cent of the population but were given only 80 seats out of 250, while the 54.8 per cent Muslims were given 119 seats. In effect, the Award divided the various communities and gave further encouragement to communal fanatics and to those intent on disrupting the national movement for freedom.
The League’s avowed policy was to preach violent hatred against the Congress and the Hindus by rousing the religious feelings of the Muslims. Its purpose in doing so was to proclaim itself the sole representative body of Indian Muslims as against the Congress which it branded as “Hindu”.
The elections to provincial assemblies held in 1937 aggravated the antagonism. The Congress formed governments in most of the provinces. The League could not win power even in provinces such as Punjab and Bengal where the Muslims were in a majority. In 1939, the Congress ministries in the provinces resigned on the issue of participating in World War II which had just begun. The British would not concede to the Indian people their right to fight fascism as a free nation, or give them any categorical assurance that after the war they would be free. The reaction of the Muslim League to the resignation of the Congress ministries was to observe a “day of deliverance”. It alleged that the Congress ministries had subjected Muslims to tyranny and injustice. Obsessed with its hostility to the Congress, the Muslim League continued to be indifferent to the objective of national freedom.
In March 1940, the All-India Muslim League, under the presidentship of Mr. Jinnah, startled the country by demanding the separation of areas with a majority of Muslims in order to form an independent state. In August 1942, when the British rulers outraged Indian national sentiment by throwing all the Congress leaders into jail, the League sided with the foreign rulers and kept aloof from the “Quit India” struggle which the freedom fighters launched against the British.
From then onwards, the League and its leaders applied themselves to the task of fomenting differences between the two major communities of India – Hindus and Muslims – in order to lend a semblance of validity to their theory that the Muslims were and always had been a nation apart from the Hindus and others. The assiduousness with which the League leaders engineered communal rifts and made inflammatory statements inciting the masses to violence resulted in frequent outbreaks of communal rioting which took a heavy toll of human lives. This, in turn, helped the League leaders to press their demand for the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan.
Public opinion in the country was sharply divided on the feasibility of a separate Muslim country. Mr. Jinnah himself did not elaborate upon the proposal for a long time, and it has been suggested that the League was itself not serious about the Pakistan idea but only wanted to use it as a means of blackmailing the Congress into accepting more and more of its unreasonable demands.
The arrest of Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders in 1942 and their incarceration for nearly three years gave the League a providential chance to fill the political vacuum. The League utilised this opportunity to widen the rift between Hindus and Muslims and to wean the Muslims away from the national movement. By the time the Congress leaders were released from jail in 1945 the League had strengthened itself, with the support of the ruling power, to a point where it could obstruct any direct negotiations between the Congress leaders of the nationalist movement and the alien rulers for the achievement of the country’s freedom. The frustrating tactics of the League leaders made the Congress so desperate that Gandhiji suggested conceding the separation of the Muslim majority areas of Punjab and Bengal under a central authority for subjects of common interest, if a general plebiscite showed opinion in its favour. Mr. Jinnah, however, adopted a rigid attitude and would be satisfied with nothing less than a separate sovereign state of Pakistan covering the entire area of the six provinces of Punjab, the North-West Frontier, Baluchistan, Sind, Bengal and Assam.
In 1946, a British Cabinet Mission came to India and suggested the formation of Union of India with a central government and a separate grouping of Muslim-majority states. They considered the formation of a separate state of Pakistan impractical.
After tortuous negotiations, the Congress accepted the long-term proposals of the Cabinet Mission. The League had already accepted them, reserving the right of secession in the hope of ultimately attaining the goal of Pakistan. The Viceroy agreed to the right of the Congress, as a secular organisation with members of all faiths, to nominate a Muslim in the Congress quota in the interim Government. The Muslim League objected to this, and withdrew its acceptance of the Missions proposals.
The League then threatened direct action from August 16, 1946 in order to achieve Pakistan. About a fortnight before this date, Mr. Jinnah gave some idea of what direct action meant, by declaring, “. . . .we will either have a divided India or a destroyed India”. On the appointed day, the Leagues followers staged violent demonstrations all over the country. In the densely populated city of Calcutta, which was the seat of Bengal’s Muslim League Ministry at the time, direct action had official support and took the form of carnage and plunder involving the loss of nearly 7,000 human lives and millions of rupees worth of property. This was the signal for organised killing, plunder and rape against the Hindu minority in Noakhali and other areas of East Bengal. Mahatma Gandhi undertook an arduous walking tour of Noakhali. The healing touch he brought to countless villages, and his appeal to human reason and understanding, helped in putting a stop to the carnage: Meanwhile, a chain reaction had set in; retaliatory communal rioting brake-out in Bihar and spread to other parts of northern India. It was again Gandhiji, who by threatening to go on a fast unto death, stemmed the disastrous tide. But these events greatly impaired the prospects of communal harmony in the country. In February, 1947, Mr. Attlee, the British Prime Minister, declared the British Governments intention of finally transferring power to Indians by a given and proximate date (not later than June, 1948) even if it meant a partition of the country.
The Congress leaders saw their ideal and dream of a united India disappear in the fire of communal hatred and violence generated by the Leagues ideology and actions. The Congress had to accept, with bitter regret, the formula of partition on the basis of religion. This was clearly against the Congress creed of secularism, but there seemed no other way to secure freedom from foreign domination.
It was in these circumstances that India was divided. Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947, under the pro visions of the Indian Independence Act, 1947. The new State of Pakistan consisted of two wings, separated by a thousand miles of Indian territory.
Pakistan was thus founded on the communal hatred and violence preached for years by the leaders of the Muslim League: Small wonder then that the birth of Pakistan should have witnessed one of the most terrible orgies of blood-letting the world has seen. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were killed in organised mob violence in the area that became Pakistan. An unprecedented number of refugees began pouring into India, destitute and bitter. Their plight produced an inevitable reaction in India and, despite the Indian Government’s stern measures to protect the Muslims against retaliatory rioting, Hindu mobs broke out in violence, roused to frenzy by the pitiful sight of non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan and the stories of the savage atrocities perpetrated on them. In consequence, there were mass migrations of Muslims to Pakistan as there were of Hindus and Sikhs to India. An American journalist, Margaret Bourke-White, in her book Interview With India, summed up the situation in these words: “What had been merely arbitrarily drawn areas on a map began emptying and refilling with human beings-neatly separated into the so-called opposite religious communities – as children’s crayons fill in an outline map in a geography class. But this was no child’s play. This was a massive exercise in human misery.”
Reports of the trouble had started coming in even as the people of India were celebrating the attainment of the freedom for which they struggled so long. The Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, issued a joint appeal for peace and undertook a tour of the Punjab. The problem was, however, too immense to be brought under control immediately; the monster of communalism, which had been nurtured and reared by the fanatical leaders of the Muslim League over the past decade, could not be calmed overnight – least of all in Pakistan where these very leaders were now at the helm of affairs.
In India, however, the leaders who took over power after independence were the leaders of the Congress Party which had always been pledged to secularism and democracy. They bent all their energies to putting down mob violence and restoring confidence among the Muslims. Jawaharlal Nehru and others went into the midst of frenzied mobs to chastise them, and daily risked their lives to save Muslim lives. Normalcy was restored in India within six months after Partition.
INDIA'S QUEST FOR PEACE
On August 15, 1947, when India and Pakistan began their separate existence, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s leader and first Prime Minister, said in a broadcast to the nation:
All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or action.
A few months later, he again said:
So far as India is concerned, we have clearly stated both as a Government and otherwise that we cannot think of any state which might be called a communal or a religious state. We can only think of a secular, non-communal, democratic state in which every individual, to whatever religion he may belong, has equal rights and opportunities …..That has been the ideal of the Indian National Congress ever since it was started 62 years ago, and we have consistently adhered to it.
With the division of the country, Indian leaders hoped that inter-communal peace and amity would be restored and both India and Pakistan would settle down to the long and arduous task of economic development in an atmosphere of peace, goodwill and co-operation.
With this end in view, the Indian Government put down communal disorders with an iron hand. The work of drafting the new Constitution of India on the basis of secularism, democracy and equal opportunity was soon taken up by the Constituent Assembly of India, which included 45 Muslim members.
To achieve the goal that India had set herself, a long period of peace was essential. Her policies were, therefore, aimed at furthering goodwill and friendship with all nations, including Pakistan. India’s leaders sincerely believed that Pakistan would similarly strive for the protection of the non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan, and cultivate peaceful and friendly relations. Indian leaders were aware that hostility between the two countries would seriously hamper the progress of both.
Pakistan, however, continued to display the Muslim League’s traditional, almost pathological animosity towards the Congress which was now in power in free India.
Two months after Partition came the invasion of Kashmir by tribesmen, aided and abetted by Pakistan’s regular army. The princely State of Kashmir acceded to India, and its defence became the responsibility of India. Regular Pakistan army units openly entered the fighting on the side of the Pakistan tribesmen, thus making it an act of direct aggression by Pakistan against India.
A Noble Gesture
At this time, early in 1948, when Indo-Pakistan relations were strained to breaking point, India made a notable gesture of patience and good faith towards Pakistan. India decided to hand over to Pakistan the considerable sum of Rs. 550 million as its share of the cash balances of undivided India.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, commenting on the decision, said: “We have come to this decision in the hope that this generous gesture, in accord with India’s high ideals and Gandhiji’s noble standards, will convince the world of our earnest desire for peace and goodwill.”
While Pakistan was waging an undeclared war against India and West Pakistan was being emptied of non-Muslim inhabitants, Mahatma Gandhi was exerting himself to the utmost to-protect the Muslim community in India from the retaliatory violence of the communalist section among Hindus.
Mahatma Gandhi undertook a fast as a forceful protest against the communal madness that had engulfed sections of his people. At one of his prayer meetings in January 1948, he said in agony: “Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims must live as brothers here. Unless we examine the whole situation and search our hearts and stop those things that have been happening, there is no hope for us. Hindus and Sikhs must see that there is no retaliation, whatever Muslims elsewhere may do. Some say I am fasting only for the Muslims. That is true only in part. I fast to purify myself. How long will I fast? Until I am satisfied that the people of all religions in India mix like brothers and move without fear. Otherwise my fast can never end.” He broke his fast only when leaders of both the Hindu and Muslim communities assured him that they would restore communal harmony and implored him to end the fast.
Gandhiji’s insistence on the transfer of Rs. 550 million of the balances to Pakistan and his championship of the cause of the Muslims in India inflamed the rabid elements in India. A fanatic from Poona, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, assassinated the Mahatma while he was walking to his prayer meeting on the evening of January 30, 1948.
His heart could never accept estrangement amongst the people of India. In the midst of the savagery following Partition, and in the midst of his mission of mercy, he had often said he had no desire to live any longer. And he died within thirty weeks after Partition, a martyr to the cause of Hindu-Muslim amity.
Though the Mahatma fell to the assassin’s bullet, his followers, on whom the responsibility of governing the country rested, did not swerve from the ideals he had instilled in them; Gandhiji’s martyrdom only strengthened the resolve of the Indian Government to protect the Muslims in India and to seek peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan.
The first objective, namely the restoration of communal peace, was within the power and resources of the Indian Government to achieve; and it was achieved within six months of Partition. The conscience of the Hindu population having been touched to the quick by the Mahatmas supreme sacrifice, the fanatic communal element in the Hindu population found itself isolated and was rendered ineffective.
It required two, however, to attain the second objective of Indo-Pakistan amity. Pakistan has not responded, during the 24 years since Partition, to the overtures made by India for the peaceful settlement of disputes between the two countries and for a no-war pledge by both.
The major disputes which have dogged Indo-Pakistan relations, and the efforts unsuccessfully made by India to resolve them peacefully are briefly surveyed in the rest of this chapter.
Jammu and Kashmir
India under British rule consisted of “British India” over which British authority was direct, and “Princely India” with 18 more than 560 princely States which were in various stages of feudalism, and over which the British exercised “paramountcy”. With the transfer of power on August 15, 1947, paramountcy also ended and the Princes were left free by the British to arrive at such arrangements as they liked with the Governments of India and Pakistan. While Pakistan was the seceding part, the Government of India, after August I5, 1947, was the successor to the British Government in India. The princely States were given the freedom to accede to either of the two countries. The ruler of Kashmir asked for a standstill agreement both with India and Pakistan, pending a decision of accession. Pakistan concluded an agreement in regard to communications, supplies and posts and telegraph arrangements which had always been interlinked with British India. Despite this agreement, Pakistan cut off communications and supplies to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in order to pressurise the ruler to accede to Pakistan. The ruler appealed to Pakistan to end the restrictions. Pakistan’s reply was an invasion of the State, disguised initially as a raid by tribesmen. These raiders were numerically too superior and the State forces were hardly a match for them. A large part of the State was quickly overrun and the capital, Srinagar, was under a grave threat. The States forces were unable to protect the people from the large-scale killings, loot and arson committed by the raiders who were actively supported by the Pakistan Government and its regular army. The ruler, therefore, made an urgent request to the Government of India to accept accession and provide help against the invaders. A similar appeal was made to the Government of India by Kashmir’s premier popular organisation, the National Conference, which was closely allied with the Indian National Congress in the fight for national freedom and democracy.
It is not widely known that Kashmir’s link with the Indian National Congress goes back to 1938 when Sheikh Abdulla met Jawaharlal Nehru. The people’s organisation of which Sheikh Abdulla was the leader had originally been called the Muslim Conference. The name of the organisation was later changed to National Conference as it participated more and more actively in the wider national movement of India. Kashmri leaders had all along been attending meetings of the States Peoples Conference which was a counterpart of the Indian National Congress in the then Indian States. Mr. Jinnah made sustained efforts to win over the leaders of the National Conference but they were firm in their allegiance to the social and economic policies of the Congress as well as to the ideal of secularism.
On October 26, 1947, India accepted the accession of Jammu and Kashmir and advised the ruler to in stall a popular government. The Indian Government also air-lifted military personnel who landed in the State to save Srinagar from the raiders.
Operations against the invaders continued. The Prime Minister of India, in a letter dated December 22, 1947, requested Pakistan’s Prime Minister not to give aid or assistance to the raiders and not to prolong the struggle. The Pakistan Prime Minister replied on December 30, 1947: “As regards the charges of aid and assistance to the invaders by the Pakistan Government, we emphatically repudiate them. On the contrary, the Pakistan Government have continued to do all in their power to discourage the tribal movement by all means short of war.”
This repudiation was, however, contrary to the facts which left no doubt that the raiders were armed and equipped by Pakistan and that the regular Pakistan army was itself participating in this aggression. It must be pointed out that Pakistan at this stage did not contend that India had no right to be in Kashmir, or that Pakistan itself had any right in the Jammu and Kashmir State. This was obviously because Pakistan was aware that its presence in Kashmir was contrary to international law and that its armed aggression in Kashmir was illegal.
After several months of grim fighting, the Indian armed forces were able to stem the advance of the invaders in Kashmir and to throw them back part of the way.
While the fighting was going on, India had complained to the United Nations Security Council on December 30, 1947 against the invasion of Kashmir by raiders coming from or through Pakistan. The Security Council appointed a Commission to look into the complaint. After studying the situation on the spot, the U.N. Commission concluded that the presence of Pakistan troops in Jammu and Kashmir was illegal and that it must withdraw its troops and nationals and vacate the aggression against India.
The U.N. resolution recognised not only that Jammu and Kashmir was in law and is fact a part of India, but that Indian troops were in the State by right. He urged reduction in the number of these troops after Pakistan had first withdrawn its forces, so that a better atmosphere might be created for consultations.
Earlier, in July 1948, when the United Nations Commission visited Karachi, and a U.N. presence became imminent in Kashmir, the Pakistan Government had hastily reversed its previous stand and admitted its complicity in the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani tribesmen.
The U.N. Commission had proposed a cease-fire and truce on August 13, 1948. This proposal was made at a time when the invaders were on the run and the State was about to be cleared of them. Even so, India accepted the proposal although it meant throwing away the advantage won after hard battles and considerable loss of Indian blood. The cease-fire agreement thus came to the rescue of Pakistan when it was in a very difficult situation and made it possible for it to retain a large portion of Kashmir’s territory which it could not otherwise have done. In violation of the stipulation Pakistan never withdrew its troops from nearly half of Jammu and Kashmir which it had illegally occupied. This territory has been used by Pakistan as a base for continued aggression against India ever since.
After the truce in Kashmir came into effect, Pakistan began demanding a plebiscite in the State of Jammu and Kashmir to determine the people’s wishes with regard to accession. As has been seen, Pakistan was an aggressor and could have no locus standi with regard to Jammu and Kashmir which had properly and legally acceded to and become part of the Indian Union. Since accession, the State has recorded great progress, the revenue having increased from about 50 million rupees in 1947 to over 743 million in 1971. There have been four General Elections in Jammu and Kashmir which have clearly indicated that the people of the State were in favour of Kashmir’s integration with India. These Elections have been held on the basis of universal adult franchise.
Canal Waters Dispute
Another matter at issue between India and Pakistan was the sharing of river waters. The division of the Punjab created a difficult situation regarding the network of irrigation canals on which undivided Punjab’s agricultural prosperity depended. The canal headworks on the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers fall in India. But only two of the 25 canals lay in India and one was in both countries. The agricultural lands in the portions of the Punjab that came to India’s lot were much poorer, having much less irrigation service than those in Pakistan’s part of the Punjab.
Despite India’s dire need to provide irrigation to the thirsty lands of her own part of Punjab, where hundreds of thousands of destitute refugees from Pakistan needed food and work, India was prepared to negotiate a settlement with Pakistan so that the latter’s food production might not be affected adversely.
India had, under a standstill agreement, undertaken to supply water to the canals in Pakistan from the headworks in India against payment. The supply was made systematically and faithfully, but Pakistan failed to renew the agreement before or after its expiry on March 31,1948. In the circumstances, India approached Pakistan for an agreement and on May 4, 1948, the two Governments agreed to a progressive diminution of supplies to Pakistan by India, Pakistan recognising India’s own needs of water. This agreement worked for more than two years but on August 23, 1950, Pakistan suddenly repudiated it unilaterally, declaring that it had been signed “under duress”. Negotiations and heated debates dragged on till September 1960 when the Indus Water Treaty was signed.
India herself needed the waters of the Indus river system for increasing her agricultural production, which was the keystone of her development plans. Yet, under the terms of the Treaty, India not only agreed to the allotment of the western rivers to Pakistan in toto, but also undertook to supply water to Pakistan from her own three eastern rivers – Ravi, Beas and Sutlej – till such time as Pakistan was able to construct its own irrigation water-works system. The other terms of the Treaty were also distinctly advantageous to Pakistan and many impartial observers expressed amazement at India’s generous attitude.
When the Indus Water Treaty was signed, it was generally hoped in India and in the world outside that a new and happy chapter in Indo-Pakistan relations would begin. Subsequent history has sadly belied this expectation.
No-War Offers by India
Repeated offers of a “no-war pact” with Pakistan have been made by India since 1949. The first occasion was the draft of a proposed joint declaration suggested by India to the Pakistan High Commissioner on December 22, 1949. A few days later, Prime Minister Nehru, in a letter to the Pakistan Prime Minister, wrote:
Owing to geography and for many other reasons it is inevitable that many issues arise between the two countries which require settlement. A firm declaration that we will in any event settle them by peaceful methods will itself be a great service to our two countries and the world, because it will remove fear of war from the minds of our peoples.
Jawaharlal Nehru did not lose hope though Pakistan did not accept the proffered hand of friendship for years. In 1956, be repeated his appeal for a no-war pact in the following words:
I do think that if both Pakistan and we are agreed that on no account should we go to war with each other but should settle our problems peacefully, they may not be settled for some time, but it is better to have a problem pending than to go to war for it. Therefore, it would be very desirable and helpful to have a no-war declaration.
Again, in November 1962, Prime Minister Nehru, in a letter to President Ayub Khan of Pakistan, wrote:
Both our countries are engaged in tremendous tasks of development and of modernisation so as to raise the standards of living of our people. To this we are firmly dedicated. You can rest assured, Mr. President, that this policy will be applied even more especially in our relations with Pakistan. The idea of any conflict with Pakistan is one which is repugnant to us, and we on our part will never initiate it. I am convinced that the future of India and Pakistan lies in their friendship and cooperation for the benefit of both.
After the passing away of Jawaharlal Nehru on May 27, 1964, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, the new Prime Minister of India, called for healthier and friendlier relations between India, and Pakistan. In a speech made soon after assuming office, he said:
For too long have India and Pakistan been at odds with one another. The unfortunate relations between the two countries have somehow had their repercussion on the relations between communities in the two great countries, giving rise to tragic human problems. This will require determination and good sense on the part of the Governments and people of India and Pakistan.
In a letter dated June 15,1964, to President Ayub Khan of Pakistan, Prime Minister Shastri urged: “We must strive with patience and perseverance to resolve our differences.”
Renewing India’s offer-of a no-war pact to Pakistan on Independence Day (August 15,1964), the Indian Prime Minister said:
We desire amity between the two countries. Border incidents are not good either for Pakistan of for India. It also does not redound to our credit that we are not able to stop the migration of people across the border. Therefore, we want to find a way out, consistent with our honour.
These offers and appeals went unheeded by Pakistan, whose leaders seemed to be fixed in their hostility towards India. Time and again they declared India to be their one and only enemy, and made unceasing preparations for an armed conflict.
Aggression in Kutch
An entirely new dispute with India was created by Pakistan when a full infantry brigade of its armed forces, supported by tanks and heavy artillery, launched an offensive against Indian positions in Kutch in April 1965. These Indian posts were six to eight miles inside Indian territory. In order to justify its naked aggression, Pakistan invented a new international boundary with India’s Kutch district in Gujarat State (Western India). Disregarding all previous maps and agreements about the boundary in this area, Pakistan described it as “running along the 24th Parallel”. It sought to enforce this claim by the use of arms. The 24th Parallel had never been mentioned in any document concerning the boundary before the creation of Pakistan. There had never been any doubt about this boundary between Sind (now in Pakistan) and Kutch. The physical demarcation by stone-pillars which runs nearly 23 miles north of the 24th Parallel, conclusively disproves Pakistan’s claim.
Initially, the Pakistani troops were successful in pushing back the handful of Indian policemen who were manning the border posts in Kutch. When the Indian armed forces took over the defence of the border in this area, the Pakistani intruders were pushed back. The Pakistan Government made loud protests against the action of Indian troops defending Indian territory and created a serious war psychosis. The issue was raised during the Commonwealth. Prime Ministers Conference held in June 1965 in London. On the initiative of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, an agreement was signed for a cease-fire and negotiations for .a peaceful settlement. It was purely in the interest of peace that India agreed to refer to a tribunal what had been a well-established boundary. The tribunal condemned Pakistan before the bar of world opinion.
Kashmir Invaded Again
Even while arrangements were being made for a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the two countries, as envisaged in the Kutch agreement, Pakistan was training several thousand of its army officers and men for a large-scale infiltration into Kashmir.
On August 5, 1965 and thereafter, 5,000 well-trained and armed guerrillas crossed the cease-fire line in Jammu and Kashmir on a mission of sabotage, loot and murder. When the raiders failed-the world was convinced of Pakistan’s active complicity-a whole infantry brigade and 70 tanks of the Pakistan Army crossed the international border into Indian territory on September 1, 1965, in a brazen repudiation of the Cease-fire Agreement and of International Law.
Faced with the truth that he had pushed his country to the brink of war, President Ayub Khan resorted to steps that for all practical purposes did away with the distinction between limited action and total war. Soon after the Indian defensive action in the Lahore sector, President Ayub Khan declared war on India. India’s Defence Minister made it clear that India’s action was limited to make Pakistan realise that “we will not tolerate any interference with the territorial integrity of India, of which Kashmir is a part.” Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri declared on September 3, 1965, “Let me add that our quarrel is not with the people of Pakistan. We wish them well. We want them to prosper and we want to live in peace and friendship with them.” By the time cease-fire took place Indian forces stood poised resolutely for action in an extensive theatre of war stretching from Kashmir to Sind. Whereas India wished Pakistani populace all well, Pakistani army committed the most senseless and barbaric acts of cruelty by bombing Indian citizens in Chheherata, a suburb of Amritsar, full four hours after Pakistan had accepted the cease-fire.
Even though Pakistan had once again been the aggressor, India, for the sake of peace and amity in the sub-continent, agreed to the Tashkent Agreement of January 10, 1966. Under the Agreement both, India and Pakistan, pledged to abjure force and declared their “firm resolve to restore normal and peaceful relations between their two countries and to promote understanding and friendly relations between their people”. Following the Agreement India hoped that a new era would be ushered in the relations between the two countries.
Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in her broadcast dated January 10,1967 observed, “On this anniversary of the Tashkent Declaration, I should like to reaffirm India’s commitment to peace and peaceful methods of settling international differences. Despite the irreversible events of history, the future of the peoples of India and Pakistan demands co-operation. We share so many affinities. Our task is to build a better life for our peoples. Discord will weaken us both and retard our progress. We can prosper only if we live in amity.”
India’s hopes of securing peace in the sub-continent were, however, belied. Pakistan continued its stance of hostility to India and the hate campaign raged unabated. Z. A. Bhutto talked of 1000-years of war with India.
Meanwhile, the people of Pakistan rose against the repressive regime. President Ayub was overthrown. Came another General-General Yahya Khan. The new self-appointed President Yahya promised a General Election which was to result in the setting up of a National Assembly and also Provincial Assemblies to be elected on the basis of adult franchise. It appeared as though the people of Pakistan would at last get a democratic government for the first time after the creation of their new country. But subsequent events proved that the General Election was another flagrant fraud on the people of Pakistan by General Yahya.
In this first General Election held in Pakistan the Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman swept the polls, winning 167 out of 313 seats in the National Assembly and 288 out of 300 seats in the East Pakistan Assembly. Unable to bear the ZR continuous and merciless exploitation of East Pakistan by West Pakistan, the Awami League took part in the elections on the platform of limited autonomy for East Pakistan, and the people gave a massive mandate to Mujib’s programme.
At first it seemed that Yahya Khan would respect the will of the people. He even said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would shortly become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Under the pretext of sorting out the political differences with the Awami League, Yahya Khan flew to Dacca and held talks with Mujibur Rahman. But even when the tanks were continuing, the military dictator completed arrangements for the large-scale massacre of the people of East Pakistan. As soon as Yahya left Dacca on March 25,1971, a reign of tenor was unleashed in East Bengal by the West Pakistan army. Banga Bandhu Mujibur Rahman and many other leaders of the Awami League were arrested. But the people of East Bengal, instead of being cowed down by the military onslaught declared independence, set up a provisional government of the Peoples Republic of Bangla Desh, organised the liberation army of Mukti Fauj (which was later enlarged into the armed forces called Mukti Bahini) and started large-scale guerrilla warfare.
The terror campaign of the military junta of West Pakistan in Bangla Desh resulted in the genocide of nearly one million people and in the exodus of about 10 million people as refugees to India, an unprecedented movement of population in human history. In keeping with her age-old humanitarianism India gave them food, clothing and shelter, on account of which, this country has been incurring an expenditure of more than two crores of rupees per day. The so-called “internal affair” of Pakistan thus turned into a demographic and economic aggression against India. For eight months India patiently bore the burden of these refugees and moved the international community to impress upon Pakistan to create conditions for the return of these unfortunate people to their homeland in safety and dignify. The world community could not make Pakistan turn to a reasonable course.
Meanwhile the liberation forces of Bangla Desh increased the tempo of their activities and it became clear to the military junta of West Pakistan that it could not hold Bangla Desh any longer under its heel. In order to avoid the humiliation of being defeated by the Mukti Bahini and further disintegration of West Pakistan itself, the military leaders decided to provoke India into a war, so that their dispute with the people of Bangla Desh could be turned into an international issue and the intervention of the world community and the support of their foreign friends could be secured. The West Pakistanis therefore started shelling and raiding the Indian areas bordering Bangla Desh. India continued to observe restraint and confined herself to beating back the raiders and silencing the guns across the borders. But the West Pakistani military leaders, in accordance with their dirty plan, made surprise attacks on Indian airfields on December 3 and declared war on India on the following day.
Thus, India being released from her restraint by Pakistan itself went into action to meet the Pakistani aggression. Indian forces entered into Bangla Desh in order to liberate it with the collaboration of the Mukti Bahini, and accorded recognition to the Peoples Republic of Bangla Desh, which was just a natural development. The Indian forces and the Mukti Bahini scored victory after victory and the speedy liberation of Bangla Desh was a forgone conclusion. In the western sectors Indian forces beat back Pakistani attacks and dealt blows at the Pakistani war machine, while at the same time refraining from causing damage to the people of Pakistan.
When the liberation of Bangla Desh was sucessfully completed on December 16, 1971, India declared a unilateral cease-fire on the western front also with effect from 8 p.m. the next day. Later, Pakistan also agreed to the cease-fire and the guns became silent all along the border. It is hoped that Pakistan would accept the offer of lasting peace and friendship made by India in the interest of the whole sub-continent.
A STUDY IN CONTRAST
It is a measure of the successful working of its secularism that India has the third largest Muslim population among the countries of the world—next only to Indonesia and Bangla Desh. The number of Muslims in India is 50 million (1961 census)—almost equal to the combined population of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan. These 50 millions enjoy fully the wide freedom, and opportunities guaranteed by India’s Constitution to every citizen.
Muslims in India's progress
The fact that, after Partition, over 35 million Muslims chose to stay in India is an effective reply to Pakistan’s oft-repeated charge of “genocide” against India. During the period of about 17 years since Partition the population of Muslimsin India increased from 35 million to 50 million—an increase of about 30 per cent which indicates a much higher rate of growth than that of the national population as a whole. (The Muslim population has further increased between 1961 and 71). The population of non-Muslims in Pakistan on the other hand, declined from 12 million to 8 million—a reduction of about 33 per cent according to Pakistan’s own Census Report.
As noted earlier, Muslims in India participate in all fields of national activity. In the Government services, including the armed forces and police, they are fully represented. The Indian Parliament has a large number of Muslim members. The eminent Muslim educationist, Dr. Zakir Husain held the positions of Vice President and President of India. Among India’s most respected leaders haw, been such great Muslims as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mr. Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Mr Asaf Ali and Mr. Hafiz Mohammed Ibrahim. Today, the Cabinet of the Indian Union has two eminent Muslims, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Moinul Haque Choudhury. Of the Ministries in the States, that of Jammu and Kashmir is headed by Mir Qasim and that of Rajasthan by Barkatullah-Khan, both Muslims. There are many Muslim Ministers and Deputy Ministers in other States. There are Muslim judges in the Supreme Court and the State High Courts. Mohammed Hidayatulla was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court till his recent retirement. Muslims are prominent in the fields of art, music, literature, sport, the theatre and films.
The Refugee Problem
A stupendous problem that India faced after Partition was that of rehabilitating the millions of non-Muslim refugees who had fled Pakistan on account of the mass killings and atrocities. The Government of India set up a rehabilitation machinery to deal with the massive problems of rehabilitating the destitute refugees in cities, in rural areas, and in new townships specially constructed for them. Food, shelter and work had to be found for all the refugees; the task was accomplished within a few years and the miserable human wrecks were transformed into useful, strong citizens, contributing their share in the task of building a prosperous India. Over nine million displaced persons came to India following the Partition.
The thousands of millions of rupees that the Government spent on rehabilitating the unfortunate refugees had to be diverted from the nation’s other pressing needs. Since 1947, India has spent Rs. 4,200,000,000 ($882,600,000 or £15000,000) on the rehabilitation of refugees from Pakistan.
The Hindus and Sikhs who came out from West Pakistan left behind 4,800,000 standard acres of agricultural land and housing property worth Rs. 5,000,000,000. The Muslims who migrated from India left only 3,139,000 standard acres of land and houses worth Rs. 1,000,000,000.
The negotiations with Pakistan on the repatriation of property and other assets left behind by the non-Muslim refugees in Pakistan have proved of no help. As usual, Pakistan frustrated the negotiations by side-tracking the main issues and making baseless charges against India. The matter, therefore, remained unsettled. Not a single paisa has been paid by Pakistan to compensate for this difference in the value of land and property left behind by the non-Muslim refugees.
Communal Peace Restored
At the time of Partition, the resolute action taken by the Indian Government, aided greatly by Mahatma Gandhi’s personal crusade against communal disturbances, yielded quick results. Within six months the frenzy died down and communal peace was re-established all over India. Not only did the migration of Muslims from India cease completely, but over a million Muslim evacuees, who had gone to East and West Pakistan in the wake of Partition, returned to India disillusioned with conditions in the new Islamic State. These people were quickly resettled in their homes and professions by the Government. Today they live as proud citizens ofdemocratic India.
Peaceful conditions have continued to prevail in every part of India except for infrequent and isolated incidents which were sternly dealt with on the rare occasions when they occurred.
Minorities in Pakistan
West Pakistan too might be said to have no problem of minorities, but for entirely different reasons! By 1949, most of the Hindus and Sikhs had either fled for their lives to India or had fallen victim to the mass murders that had taken place in West Pakistan,
In East Pakistan, however, large number of Hindus still remained. The fate of this minority hung in the balance in 1950, when some leaders of Pakistan openly declared that those who did not profess Islam could not be given equality with members of the majority community of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The recurrence of communal violence in East Pakistan in 1950 and the resulting mass movement of Hindu refugees into India created a serious situation. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru invited Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s Premier, to Delhi for a discussion of the situation in order to evolve some way of ending the vicious circle of communal rioting. The results of their labour were embodied in the Indo-Pakistan Agreement on Minorities— better known as the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement—which was signed on April 8, 1950.
It was declared in the Agreement that the minorities in both the countries should have complete equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion; a full sense of security in respect of life, culture, property and personal honour; freedom of movement within each country, freedom of occupation, speech and worship; equal opportunities to participate in the public life of the country; to hold political or other offices; and to serve in the country’s civil or armed forces. The Agreement incorporated some special provisions dealing with migrants from East and West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. It was agreed that these migrants should have freedom of movement and protection in transit, and permission to remove as much of their moveable property, household goods and jewellery as they wanted. Both the Governments further undertook to restore normal conditions and to punish all those who were found guilty of communal rioting. Provision was also made for the setting up of an agency for the recovery of abducted women. It was declared that forced conversion from one religion to another was not to be recognised, and those guilty of effecting conversion forcibly were to be punished.
The Government of India once again called upon the Hindu minorities in Pakistan to look to their own Government for the redress of their grievances since they were citizens of Pakistan.
Trail of Sorrow
In spite of this Agreement the communal situation in Pakistan did not show any improvement. The continued mob violence against Hindus produced a widespread feeling of insecurity and suspicion, which resulted in repeated waves of migration from East Pakistan to India.
In 1964 alone, refugees migrating from East Pakistan to India numbered nearly a million. While in the earlier years the refugees had been mainly Hindus, the long lines of persecuted people in 1964 included tens of thousands of Christians and Buddhists.
Since the creation of Pakistan nine million refugees came from there to India. This figure is more than the entire population of Australia. It is also the largest migration of refugees on record anywhere in. the world. Among the big migrations of history have been the Armenian, the White Russian, the Jewish, the Korean, the Arab and the Hungarian. The exodus of non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan involved a much larder number than all these migrations put together. (To this may be added another 10 million refugees belonging to all communities, who were driven to India in 1971.)
Baseless Charges Against India
While the non-Muslims were thus being hounded out of their homes in East Pakistan, the wild charge was made against India of ejecting Muslims from the eastern border States of Assam and Tripura. The 1961 Census figures for Assam and Tripura revealed an alarming change in the structure of the population; in certain areas and districts of these States, the Muslim population had increased by over 60 per cent—a rate which was much higher than the normal increase warranted by the birth rate. A survey was therefore carried out and it was found that there had been large-scale influx of Muslims from East Pakistan. The figure for Assam was about 300,000 and Tripura 50,000. Action was, therefore, taken against them under the Foreigners Act and expulsion proceedings instituted. The defendants were always given full opportunity to prove the bona fide nature of their entry, if they could. Similar action, it need not be said, would have been taken by the Government of any other country under similar circumstances. The Pakistan Government, though well aware of the infiltration by its nationals, misrepresented the truth and claimed that India was expelling Indian Muslims.
Following the achievement of Independence, the Indian Constituent Assembly had been forging a democratic Constitution. On January 26, 1950 India adopted this Constitution and declared itself to be a sovereign, secular democratic republic.
The Indian Constitution guarantees complete equality and freedom to every citizen of India. Articles 14, 15 and 16 clearly lay down inter alia:
“14. The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India,
15 (i) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
16 (i) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
(ii) No citizen shall on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.”
India thus took the road to democratic progress. The success of democracy in India where five general elections based on universal adult franchise have been held since Independence, has been a beacon of hope in the stormy politics of Asia, where democracy in many countries has been supplanted by military or other totalitarian regimes. Notable among these disconcerting developments has been the failure of parliamentary democracy in Pakistan and the establishment of a military government, later converted into a ‘highly restricted “basic” democracy’. Later this was also abandoned. There had been no general election based on adult franchise in Pakistan since the creation of that State in 1947. The first election held in 1970 also became infructuous.
Pakistan’s “Islamic Constitution’?
Pakistan, too had a Constituent Assembly which drafted a Constitution. One of its articles laid down:
“(2) Notwithstanding anything in Part II, a person shall not be qualified for election as President unless he is a Muslim.” (Article 32)
Later, when parliamentary rule in Pakistan was replaced by military rule, a new Constitution was promulgated which declared Pakistan to be a “basic democracy” under a non-responsible presidential system of government. The election of the President under the new Constitution was to be by an electoral college, but the essential qualification, continued to be that the candidate for election as President must be a Muslim. The new Constitution was announced on March 1, 1952. This provision automatically excluded non-Muslims and relegated them to the position of inferior citizens of Pakistan as compared to Muslims.
A Fanatic Ideology
Neglect of minorities is inherent in the fanatic ideology in which Pakistan was conceived and in which it continued to be nurtured. The idea of Pakistan was originally conceived by Chaudhary Rahmat Ali, a Muslim League leader. He gave an all too clear description of the place of minorities in the projected “Pakistan” in his book, The Millat and its Mission,Rahmat Ali wrote:
Avoid minorityism – which means that we must not leave our minorities in Hindu lands, even if the British and the Hindus offer them the so called constitutional safeguards. For no safe guards can be substituted for the nationhood which is their birthright. Nor must we keep Hindu and/or Sikh minorities in our lands, even if they themselves are willing to remain with or without any special safeguards, for they will never be of us! Indeed while in ordinary times they will retard our national reconstruction, in times of crisis they will betray us and bring about our destruction.
The president or monarch of any country is regarded as the ultimate custodian of rights of all its citizens. But the then President of Pakistan, addressing a public meeting at Dacca on August 26, 1964, declared that there was nothing common between Muslims and Hindus. He said: “these two philosophies can never become one under any circumstances.”
Commenting on this statement, Amar Desh, a Bengali-language bi-weekly minority journal of Dacca, East Bengal wrote in its issue of September 3, 1964:
“We have not heard such a frank statement for a long time. Although it is unpleasant and unrealistic and against the interests of Pakistan, we welcome it because it is not ambiguous. If 80 per cent people of any country tell the remaining 20 per cent that they are a separate nation and they have no ideological or philosophical affinity with them what is left for the minority but to accept it and organise itself separately?
“After living together for 17 years, today it is being discovered anew that Hindus and Muslims are separate and under no circumstances can they be identified with each other.. After the establishment of Pakistan, the minority community had demanded to be known simply as Pakistani citizens and not as minority, and had wanted only citizenship, constitutional rights and national integration. It has supported joint electorates even at its own cost. But today it has become clear that it is impossible to build up a unified nation in Pakistan.”
India, on the other hand, has never accepted the two-nation theory based on religion. The absurd conclusions to which the two-nation theory might lead were brought out well by Mr Mohammedali Currim Chagla, India’s Education Minister, while addressing the U.N. Security Council on February 5 1964. He said: “We recognise India and Pakistan as two nations, but we have repudiated the two-nation theory based on religion and it is abhorrent to us. If Hindus and Muslims constitute two nations, then the inevitable result must follow that the 50 million Muslims in India are aliens in their own homes.”
INDIA, PAKISTAN AND THE WORLD
Opposition to Indian nationhood was the impulse which gave birth to Pakistan and it is the same impulse that animates it today. Hostility to India governs its policies and attitudes. The general respect that India and Indian civilisation command, the regard in which the names Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru are held the world over, the progress India has made in industry and technology, and the very magnitude of India seem to act as irritants. On every issue, Pakistan’s reaction has taken the form of anti-Indianism.
Hostility towards India has led Pakistan for example, to act contrary to the Asian-African boycott of South Africa for its racial policies. The Pakistan Government has tried in the past to establish trade relations with the South African racialists in order to oppose India, even though the people affected by the apartheid policyare (1) Africans and (2) Muslims and others who originally went to South Africa from undivided India.
Again, in the Suez Canal dispute, Pakistan did not support Egypt’s stand – apparently because India had vigorously backed the Egyptian cause.
The obsession with separatism has tended to make Pakistan’s leaders assert constantly the separate identity of India and Pakistan, though it was quite needless, and to act ‘differently’ from India irrespective of whether India was right or wrong. As the London Times once observed, “The loadstone of every aspect of Pakistan’s foreign policy is bad relations with India.”
Right from the day of Partition, the rulers of Pakistan have defined its national objectives and ambitions in such a way that their realisation would be possible only at India’s cost. Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Presidents of Pakistan have frequently said that India is Pakistan’s “Enemy No. 1”, and that Pakistan can prosper only by curbing or destroying India.
Embarrassment of India
As if to justify its charges, Pakistan has also alleged that India has been thwarting Pakistan’s legitimate aspirations and cites the policies adopted by India in regard to the princely States of Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir.
To understand events in their right perspective, it is important to recall that when the British transferred power to India, their paramountcy over the 560 “native” states lapsed. These states, as we have seen earlier, were advised to throw in their lot with either India or Pakistan. Junagadh was wholly in the Gujarat region and Hyderabad was wholly in the heart of Deccan, hundreds of miles away from Pakistan. But Pakistan decided to accept the Junagadh Nawab’s accession. About this a British author, Andrew Mellor, says:
“When the Nawab made his intention known, it naturally caused concern at the Indian States Ministry and this was increased when Pakistan, which could have advised the ruler to act sensibly and join India, calmly accepted the accession. On any analysis, Pakistan’s acceptance of Junagadh’s accession, after a month’s consideration, would appear to have been made with one object alone in view embarrassment of India. Junagadh itself could be of little use to Pakistan except to give her a foothold inside Indian territory.”
In the case of Hyderabad, Pakistan aided the Razakars who tried to prevent the Nizam from taking the obvious and sensible step of acceding to the Indian Union.
In the international sphere, Pakistan’s efforts have been to project itself as a counter-force to India. During the first few years of Pakistan’s existence, its leaders declared their policy to be against colonialism. This did not, however, prevent them from befriending colonialist Portugal and helping it with word and deed when India asked the Portuguese to quit Goa, Daman and Diu, which were the surviving colonial pockets in India. Much concern was shown by Pakistani leaders on the expulsion of the Portuguese from these places in 1961.
The same Indo-phobia has operated in Pakistan’s relations with the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. In 1949, when India’s Prime Minister Nehru was invited to visit the U.S.A. Pakistan made especially friendly overtures to the Soviet Union and the Pakistan Prime Minister secured an invitation to visit Moscow. This was followed by great show of warmth for the Soviet Union in the Pakistan newspapers. The visit never took place. On the other hand, within a year, the Pakistan Prime Minister was visiting the U.S.A. and declared his firm friendship with an ideological support to the Western bloc against Russia and Communism. Pakistan enthusiastically supported Mr. John Foster Dulles in carrying on a campaign of criticism against India’s policy of non-alignment.
The same pattern was evident in Pakistan’s attitude to China. Pakistan opposed the representation of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations, which was first sponsored by India. But today Pakistan is proclaiming “fraternal friendship” with China and trying to forge links with it against India.
Prof. John E. Owens in an article published in The New Leader of New York on March 2, 1964 commented: “All Pakistani political behaviour has to be evaluated in the context of the country’s relations with India. For Pakistan regards neither Russia nor China as an enemy. The enemy is India, and Pakistan’s new-found friendship with China reveals in effect just how seriously it regards its SEATO commitments.”
The motivation of Pakistan in entering into military alliances with the Western Powers (SEATO and CENTO) had little to do with anti-communism, and everything to do with India. Despite the U.S. belief that American help in the build-up of Pakistan’s war potential was directed against communist expansionism in Asia, Pakistani leaders have made no secret of the fact that their main concern was to intimidate and subdue India.
President Ayub Khan did at one time suggest that India and Pakistan should organise joint defence against Communist China, but it was more in the nature of blackmail than a friendly overture. He made it clear that joint defence would not be possible unless India first handed over Kashmir on a platter to Pakistan.
In 1961, as it became apparent that China was becoming openly hostile and aggressive towards India, there was a reversal of Pakistan’s pro-West policies. Its leaders suddenly developed warm feelings of friendship for China. The Press of Pakistan, which is a controlled Press, came out with enthusiastic stories of admiration for China.
After the massive Chinese invasion of India in the autumn of 1962, Pakistan has come out openly in support of China against India. Vociferous protests were made by Pakistan to the U.S.A. and other Western powers against their arms aid to India for strengthening the defence potential of India against the Chinese threat. Pakistan obviously wanted to keep India’s defence capacity low, so that Pakistan could open a second front against India in alliance with China.
Pakistan’s growing ties with China culminated in an illegal agreement on Kashmir’s northern border, whereby Pakistan gave away to China a part of the territory of Jammu and Kashmir State which had been under Pakistan’s occupation.
Mr.Z. A. Bhutto, Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister, speaking in the Pakistan National Assembly on July 17, 1963, said
“In the event of war, Pakistan would not be alone. Pakistan would be helped by the most powerful nation in Asia. War between India and Pakistan involves the territorial integrity and security of the largest State in Asia.”
If Mr. Bhutto is to be believed, his statement is evidence of a tacit military alliance between Pakistan and China.
Pakistan’s aggression against India in Kutch in the early part of 1965, and the subsequent despatch of raiders into the Kashmir valley from across the cease-fire line, followed by a massive full-scale attack with heavy armour in the Chhamb sector and its fourth aggression in December 1971 have been further manifestations of Pakistan’s aggressive posture against India.
Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan are still a long way from attaining the basic citizenship rights and the democratic liberties of a free people. During the 24 year since the creation of Pakistan there have been many changes of government—but not one of them as the result of national election based on adult suffrage. Initially, Pakistan was governed by a Government answerable to a legislature consisting of Members elected on limited franchise prior to the creation of Pakistan. Though dominated by the communal elements which owed their position to the incitement and exploitation of animosity between Hindus and Muslims, the legislature did include some dissenting voices.
These enlightened elements, though they were at the moment in a minority, were conscious of the historical and cultural ties which link the people of India and Pakistan. They asked for fuller democracy within Pakistan and for good neighbourly relations with India.
With the over throw of even this limited representative government as the result of a military coup in 1958 the people of Pakistan were brought under Martial Law. The might of naked force was now added to the communalism of the ruling clique in Pakistan. The voices of dissent were silenced, leaders of East Pakistan, in particular, who stood for provincial autonomy, for a rightful place for the Bengali language and for fair treatment of non-Muslim minorities, found themselves behind prison bars or were intimidated into silence. The Press was placed under rigorous censorship and liberal opinion in Pakistan—feeble as it had already been—found even less scope for expression.
The subsequent introduction in Pakistan of the so-called basic democracy (under which small, manipulable electorates elect a manipulable electoral college) made little difference to the underlying situation, namely the absence of democracy in Pakistan. The results of the first General Election held in 1970 were also nullified by the new dictator Yahya Khan by his campaign of genocide. It is only necessary to compare this state of affairs in Pakistan with the diversity of opinion both on domestic and on international issues, voiced freely by the Press and political leaders in India to realise the difference between the regimentation which has become the lot of the people of Pakistan and the full democracy which obtains in India.
In a broadcast to the people of India on September 3, 1965, three days after Pakistan’s massive attack, Prime Minister Lai Bahadur Shastri said: “Our quarrel is not with the people of Pakistan. We wish them well, we want them to prosper, and we want to live in peace and friendship with them. What we are up against is a regime which does not believe in freedom, democracy and peace as we do.” Similar sentiments have been expressed by President Giri, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and other Indian leaders after Pakistan launched its fourth naked aggression on December 3, 1971.
While looking forward to the day when the people of Pakistan may come to enjoy the same democratic rights as Indians do and a friendlier climate of Indo-Pakistan relations begins to develop, the Government and people of India cannot afford to neglect the threat posed to India’s territorial integrity by the irresponsible action of the communal-military clique which rules Pakistan today.
 An anti-British movement of the Muslim masses of India, launched in protest against -the break-up of the Caliphate soon after the First World War. Its leaders were Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali and Mahatma Gandhi.
India Since Partition by the Andrew Mellor, London, 1951.