Will India Forget The After-Effects Of The Revocation Of Article 370?

Article 370 of the 21st schedule ( Temporary, Transitional and Special Provision) of the Indian Constitution which gives special powers to Jammu and Kashmir, was repealed by a Presidential order on August 5, 2019. Along with this, the state was also further bifurcated into two Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.  

Section 144 was implemented to tackle any misconduct. The state is being monitored by around 40,000 CRPF personals or more. All communication and television services have been shut down until further intimation. There is a total communication blackout except for government officials. Schools, colleges, shops have also been closed, including pilgrimages.

After section 144 was lifted, some politicians from opposition parties had tried to enter Jammu and Kashmir, but they were not allowed to do so. 

Although, I feel that each circumvention was justifiable on the grounds of Jammu and Kashmir’s history. Amit Shah said that article 370 was one of the sole reasons behind the terroristic attacks in the reason, it was very necessary to remove it. 

People are of the opinion that history will never forget this catastrophic act by the BJP-led government. This violent and unconstitutional procedure of removing Article 370 has left the Kashmiris anguished and abandoned. The process has reflected how a majoritarian and populist government works. But, I also feel that if we dig deep into history, we’ll find out that this isn’t the first time such an act has taken place. 

First, Let’s Understand The Historical Aspect

When India became independent in 1947, there were 565 princely states. “Through a combination of factors, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and V.P.Menon convinced the rulers of the various princely states to accede to India. But there were some states like J&K, Manipur, Tripura, where active secessionist separatist insurgencies were present. Just like today’s Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur. Although, in Tripura, it has been neutralised.”

For some states like, I would say that the story of their accession is very much similar to today’s condition. Let’s try to understand.

Junagadh’s Story

The Nawab of Junagadh, Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III, was a Muslim ruler who decided that Junagadh should become part of Pakistan, to the dismay of many from the state, an overwhelming majority of whom were Hindus. He signed the Instrument of Accession with Pakistan on 15 September 1947, against the advice of Lord Mountbatten, and said that Junagadh will be joined with Pakistan by sea. It is also said that “Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel believed that there could be a communal tension if Junagadh will be permitted to go with Pakistan.” 

The people of Junagadh started marching against this decision of the Nawab. The Nawab, fearing for his life, then flew to Karachi with his family and followers. Shahnawaz Bhutto, the then Deewan of Junagadh, wrote a letter to the government of India that Junagadh should be a part of India. Patel agreed but decided to conduct a plebiscite. The outcome was that 99% of people voted in India’s favour and Junagadh became an integral part of India.

Hyderabad’s Story

Hyderabad was a very powerful and wealthy princely state, and also included present-day Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali, rejected India’s proposal of integration and decided to go with Pakistan. Geographically it was impossible. So, in November 1948 he signed a Standstill agreement (It gave them a year’s time to decide) with the government of India. In Hyderabad, there was a huge demonstration by “Razakars led by Syed Qasim Razvi in October 1947, against the administration’s decision to sign Standstill Agreement.” There were widespread riots and violence. The Nizam was in a weak position as his army numbered only 24,000 men, of whom only some 6,000 were fully trained and equipped. Sadar Patel ordered a military operation after this heinous act. The operation led to massive violence on communal lines. Reports say that approximately 40,000 people died but some historians claim that it was more than 200,000. This operation is also known as Operation Polo.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Story 

Raja Hari Singh was the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, who wanted his kingdom to remain independent of Pakistan or India. Lord Mountbatten, the then British governor-general of India, advised him to join India. According to reports, following huge riots in Jammu, in October 1947, Pashtuns from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province recruited by the Poonch rebels, invaded Kashmir. Raja Hari Singh then called on the government of India for help. Mountbatten agreed to provide help, but on the condition of accession. Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession which gave the central government in India jurisdiction over three areas: defence, communication, and foreign policy. Sheikh Abdullah was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in March 1948. He was later put under house arrested, apparently due to orders from former PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Later, he was freed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Some people argue, why did a plebiscite not take place as the then PM, Jawahar Lal Nehru, had promised? It is said that it did not happen because the UN had directed both India and Pakistan to call their troops back and maintain peace. This was the first condition to organise a plebiscite, which Pakistan at that time did not follow. 

As we can see, some states at the time of Independence weren’t ready to accept the dominion of India, but they were forcefully integrated. I think it is only foolish concepts that everyone ends up remembering. In a country where people don’t care about their history, will they remember one more instance? I think it isn’t possible. I feel that except for politicians and some of their followers, nobody pays much heed to anything if it’s not directly related to them, or serving them.

In my opinion, in the long run, the whole of India will forget this too. Because I feel that if something good is done with some unfair processes, people excuse it, forget the outrage, and move on. Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Tripura are the biggest examples.

Featured Image credit: Getty Images
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