New Delhi 29 Nov 2019: The abrogation of Article 370 relating to the status of Jammu and Kashmir vis-à-vis India was undoubtedly the boldest move by the Narendra Modi government within three months of its second term in power. The action has set off controversies and debates which continue to resonate across India. It also provided an opportunity to take a deep look at the history of independent India seven decades after the seminal event.
It is at this juncture that the launch of the book “Nehru’s Himalayan Blunders: The Accession of Jammu and Kashmir” (publisher: Garuda Prakashan) by Justice S N Aggarwal assumes significance not only because it adds to the raging discussion on independent India’s first Prime Minister’s handling of the Kashmir issue which has roiled the country for 70 years but calling into question Nehru’s actions.
Did Nehru err in defending India’s interests in Jammu and Kashmir including a reference to the UN and the introduction of Article 370? After independence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel managed the accession of about 500 princely states without any lingering dispute. But Jammu and Kashmir remains mired in conflict even today.
Justice Aggarwal’s book documents the “major errors” of Nehru, diplomatic and military, that led India to lose a strategic portion of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan’s occupation and to continued conflict between the two countries even after the legal accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. Justice Aggarwal’s research chronicles the series of events around Jammu and Kashmir’s accession after the state’s Hindu king Hari Singh acceded the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947.
According to the book, “the story of Nehru blunders started with the illegal ‘Quit Kashmir’ agitation by Sheikh Abdullah against Maharaja Hari Singh….in May 1946. While all the Congress leaders were condemning the ‘Quit Kashmir’ agitation by Sheikh Abdullah as Maharaja was the son of the soil, Nehru tried ….to defend Sheikh Abdullah…. Nehru condemned Hari Singh right and left.
When Hari Singh sent his PM (designate), Mehr Chand Mahajan on September 19, 1947 to Nehru for offering the accession of Jammu and Kashmir, Nehru preferred the release of Sheikh Abdullah to the acceptance of the accession offer. “It virtually was the biggest blunder of Nehru…,” says the book.
Instead of giving the responsibility of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to Sardar Patel as he was the Minister of States Department, Nehru kept it with himself, making of speech on the radio on November 2, 1947, for a plebiscite under the ‘auspices of UNO’ without consulting Sardar Patel, what to speak of Cabinet approval. Among other blunders of Nehru were not getting implemented the resolution of UNCIP of August 13, 1948 asking Pakistan to withdraw its army, tribesmen and nationals from Jammu and Kashmir and then imposing of a ceasefire on the night of December 31, 1948, when the Indian army was about to throw out Pakistani invaders from Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Member of Parliament said, the documentation and facts given in this book are not mentioned anywhere else. If you want to know about Kashmir, read this book. There’s no need to refer another one. After going through the book you will definitely get depressed knowing the fact that our nation has been deceived in the past.
Sankrant Sanu, CEO, Garuda Prakashan said, with renewed interest in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Agrawal’s book is an important contribution to understanding how the situation arose in the first place.
Justice Agrawal’s book will help youngsters to understand the reasons behind the 70 years chaos in Jammu & Kashmir. It will make them understand how big cost generations have to pay for the historical blunders done by political masters said Ankur Pathak, COO, Garuda Prakashan.
“Nehru’s Himalayan Blunders: The Accession of Jammu and Kashmir” is certain to be a valuable addition to the Indic narrative launched by Garuda Prakashan a couple of years ago bringing up a different perspective.
Garuda Prakashan is one of India’s start-up publishing houses with the aim of bringing authors, writers and creative people on a platform where they can generate and disseminate Bharat-centric content impeccably. Its recent publications include Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam by Vivek Agnihotri, Thank You India by Maria Wirth, Saffron Swords by Manoshi Sinha Rawal, #Modi Again: (Why Modi is right for India) An Ex-Communist’s Manifesto By Aabhas Maldahiyar, The Sarasvati Civilization: A New Paradigm in Ancient Indian History By Maj. Gen. GD Bakshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Beacon for New India, Authored By – D.K. Hari & D.K. Hema Hari.