Quite often when a product has shortcomings, its manufacturer resorts to deceptive marketing. It creates a smoke screen over the product’s limitations and marketing managers take it further by confusing and corrupting the minds of gullible people into believing that the product is not flawed, rather it is fabulous. That this is a common practice for corporations and businessmen is known, what is unknown is the fact that even historical events are subject to such devious designs.
While this may sound strange, a look at the recent propaganda on Jammu & Kashmir confirms this belief. The state has been a victim of countless propaganda yet the recent efforts are subtle and have the ability to confuse all and sundry.
It is a historical fact that the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India on 26 October, 1947.
Yet, in the month of August this year, Congress Parliamentarian Dr Karan Singh said that Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India on 27 October 1947.
“….the day my father (Maharaja Hari Singh) signed the Instrument of Accession it (Jammu & Kashmir) became an integral part of India there is no doubt about it. 27th October I was in the room I was in the house when the Accession was signed…,”Dr Karan Singh said during a debate in Rajya Sabha. Dr Singh further said: “…he (Maharaja Hari Singh) signed the same Instrument of Accession that all the other Princely States signed. But, all the other Princely States subsequently “Merged” Jammu & Kashmir did not “Merge”
Apart from being a Congress politician, Dr Karan Singh is the son of Maharaja Hari Singh, had been the regent of Jammu & Kashmir, served as the state’s Governor and has been actively involved in the matters of Jammu & Kashmir.
In a cursory look, Dr Karan Singh’s statement appears benign and well intentioned. It is only after the surface is scratched, that the real and devious intentions become clear. Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947 and NOT (emphasis added) on 27 October 1947 as has been stated by Dr Karan Singh in his speech in the Rajya Sabha.
“… I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singh ji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession…. under my hand this 26th day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven.”
This text is quoted from the original Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh and it clearly mentions the signing date: Twenty Sixth October Nineteen Hundred and Forty Seven.
Further, all Princely States became part of the Indian Union by signing the same Instrument of Accession and there was NO (emphasis added) “Merger Document” that needed to be signed by any of the erstwhile Princely State. In fact, Dr Karan Singh has himself conceded that his father Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the same Instrument of Accession and yet he goes on to state that the State of Jammu & Kashmir did not “merge”.
Dr Karan Singh being the son of Maharaja Hari Singh is well aware about the exact date of Jammu & Kashmir’s accession to India. This is not an innocent slip of the tongue rather appears to be a carefully crafted strategy, especially since efforts are being made by columnists, journalists and other opinion makers to establish 27 October as the date of accession.
The big question is why a concerted effort is being made to establish 27 October as the date of accession when it is a historical fact that Jammu & Kashmir acceded on 26 October 1947.
A closer scrutiny of the sequence of events that led to the accession of Jammu & Kashmir reveals subtle details. And a review of historical context in the run-up to partition is worth recounting to understand this nefarious design.
At the time of partition the Princely States had the option of joining either of the two dominions — India or Pakistan. An Instrument of Accession was prepared wherein the Head/Maharaja/Ruler of a Princely State would sign and accede to either India or Pakistan.
Once the head of a Princely State signed on the Instrument of Accession it was deemed to be final and that particular state was considered to have become a part of that dominion. The most important fact to note is that after the Instrument of Accession was signed on a specific date, nobody had the power to refuse or renege upon the accession. Neither the British Queen nor her representative Lord Mountbatten had any role about that Princely State’s accession.
Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947 and on 27 October 1947, Lord Mountbatten made a file entry about it.
Mountbatten’s counter signature and “acceptance” of Hari Singh’s signed Instrument of Accession was merely a file noting. Mountbatten did write: “I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession. Dated this twenty seventh day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven.” In reality, this was merely a type of recording that Mountbatten had made about Maharaja Hari Singh’s Instrument of Accession. His countersignature had no legal basis nor was it mandatory.
It’s important to understand the real significance of 27 October 1947 and why is this date is being stressed upon as the ‘date of accession’. When on 26 October 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir became Indian Territory and defending Jammu & Kashmir’s frontiers became India’s right. It was due to this authority that the Indian Army reached Jammu & Kashmir on 27 October 1947.
The Pakistani Army had attacked Jammu & Kashmir on 22 October 1947 and they were creating havoc across Jammu & Kashmir. The Pakistani Army was killing people, looting properties and raping hapless women. Pakistan’s attack came in violation of its Standstill Agreement with Maharaja Hari Singh wherein Pakistan had clearly said that it agrees to continue with the existing arrangements with Jammu & Kashmir until a final settlement is reached. Yet, Pakistan did not wait for a final settlement and instead invaded Jammu & Kashmir on 22 October 1947. After Jammu & Kashmir’s accession on 26 October, the Indian Army took it upon itself to drive away the invading Pakistani Army.
The likes of Dr Karan Singh are well aware of the sequence of events. And they also know that if they have to “sell” the “Kashmir dispute” it needs to be marketed well. This can only be done, if confusion and doubts are created about the legality of state’s accession and so they have unleashed a malicious campaign to project 27 October 1947 as the date of accession of Jammu & Kashmir.
And what better way to cement this confusion than to say that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the accession under the coercion of the Indian Army. This can be done by first establishing the date of accession as 27 October 1947 and later on, creating an uproar that since Indian Army had reached Jammu & Kashmir on October 27, it was the Indian Army that bullied Maharaja Hari Singh into signing the Instrument of Accession.
A coterie of historians further these untruths about Kashmir and “market” this “Kashmir dispute”.
The only way to correct the discourse on Jammu & Kashmir is to counter this malicious propaganda though hard facts. A beginning can be made by remembering that Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India on 26 October 1947.
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