HomeJammu and KashmirHistory of Jammu and Kashmir Explained in Depth

History of Jammu and Kashmir Explained in Depth

The history of Jammu and Kashmir it’s a religious distribution. The British’s role in the political uprising in this state, and how it acquired its modern shape, despite all effort, did not develop into a fully coherent identity. We’ll also learn how article 370 and 35a came into existence. Many of you must be aware that article 370 gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir state, giving the Indian Parliament Authority only over External Affairs defence communication and the currency. In 1947, the Indian subcontinent was divided into two sets of territories. One was under direct British rule, and the other was under the princely rule, and those were referred to as princely states before 1947. There were 565 princely states in the entire Indian subcontinent we know this story right the East India Company arrived at the port of Surat in 1608 during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.

After independence, India’s government pursued this goal over the next decade. Another important point is in 1947 when the British finally decided to quit India. Before leaving, they successfully executed the partition of British Indian territories into the two independent dominions of India and Pakistan. It amply clear that all the princely states, including Jammu and Kashmir, have to either accede to India or Pakistan. That option has to be exercised solely by the rulers because the British had some administrative arrangements with the princely states’ rulers. The British entered into different treaties with the rulers. So you see, in many ways, the princely states were dependent on the British government during its paramountcy period, so, at the time of Independence, the paramountcy of the British lapsed, and the rulers were left with only two options. Either to accede to India or Pakistan or by remaining independent, they would have barely supported their administration. So there was no third option to remain independent. If you see the map, you will realize that the princely states covered around 45% of the total geographical area of unified India. That’s how Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the first Deputy Prime Minister of India and was also a politician with the Indian National Congress, and VP Menon, who was an Indian senior civil servant of that time they both under Lord Mountbatten were in charge of relations with the princely states and the objective was to convince the rulers by diplomacy and good relations so that they merged with India basically they acted like a Salesman on behalf of India to persuade and convince these princely states to join the Indian Dominion.

In 1947 a legal document was created by India’s government act 1935, called the Instrument of Accession. As per this concept, the princely states’ rulers had to sign the Instrument of Accession if they wanted to join India or Pakistan’s new dominions. Now you need to understand this 1947 was an important year. Things moved quickly, and a lot was happening that year. The British had finalized their plans for creating India by 15th August 1947. The partition plan was decided because communal violence was escalating, riots were happening, mass casualties, and a massive migration wave. Millions of people moved to what they hoped would be a safer territory, with Muslims heading towards Pakistan, Hindus, and Sikhs in India’s direction. When all of this was happening, Britain was reluctant to use its troops to maintain law and order. So you can imagine the situation was terrible in the year 1947. it wasn’t easy to construct or structure a national identity with this kind of challenge. That’s how this instrument of accession was rolled out. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and VP Menon worked relentlessly to convince these princely states’ rulers to accede with India. Many princely states joined willingly by signing the Instrument of Accession. Many princely states either joined India or Pakistan, but we’ll learn about the history of Jammu and Kashmir and how it became part of India. We’ll begin with this story of why it is the point of territorial conflict between India and Pakistan. 

History of Jammu and Kashmir / Muslim conquest

Today Kashmir region is a Muslim majority region. Initially, it wasn’t like that. If you look at the history of Kashmir, we have to go in the history of Jammu and Kashmir back in time around 300 BC Maurya emperor Ashoka had a strong connection with Kashmir. During the reign of Ashoka, Kashmir became a part of the Maurya Empire, and Buddhism was introduced in Kashmir. He even founded the city of Srinagar by the 4th century AD. Kashmir became a learning place for Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, Kashmir Buddhist missionaries helped spread Buddhism to Tibet and China. After the 7th-century significant developments took place in Kashmiri Hinduism. In the centuries that followed, Kashmir produced many poets, philosophers, and artists who contributed to Sanskrit literature and the Hindu religion. During the 11th century, Mahmood of Ghazni made two attempts to conquer Kashmir, but he failed; hence we can say that Islam started arriving in North India in the 12th century by the Turkic invasions. But it wasn’t that extreme; however, during the middle of the 14th century, a Tibetan Buddhist refugee named rin channel later converted to Islam and established the first Muslim dynasty in Kashmir. Since then, Islam gradually became the dominant religion in Kashmir. The Mughal rule started in 1526. Kashmir did not witness any direct Mughal rule till Babur became the Mughal emperor. He annexed Kashmir to his Afghan province of Kabul Sabha in 1586. Kashmir was ruled for almost four centuries by the Mughals. After that, the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed Kashmir from the Mughal Empire in the early 19th century. The British East India Company confiscated the Kashmir region from the Sikh Empire. In the first anglo-Sikh war in 1846, the British then sold Kashmir to Maharaja, who was a Hindu and the founder of the royal Dogra dynasty of Jammu. Gulab Singh’s father was in the army of Ranjit Singh. Gulab Singh was appointed as the Raja of Jammu in 1820 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself, making him one of his close associates. Gulab Singh soon captured Ladakh and Baltistan’s lands for the Sikhs, and who knew one day from being a Raja of Jammu he would become the Maharaja of Jammu Kashmir Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Ladakh. Basically, all the lands that he helped conquer for the Sikh Empire. From 1846 the Hindu Dogra rule began in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir

Treaty of Amritsar

The East India Company confiscated the Kashmir region from the Sikh Empire. It sold it to Maharaja Gulab Singh Jamal (the founder of a royal Dogra dynasty of Jammu) for 75 lakh canonic Shahi rupees, which was the ruling currency of this Sikh Empire at that time. This entire agreement was formalized in the Treaty of Amritsar, which is executed on 16th March 1846. At that time, the governor-general of India was Henry Hardinge.

Ranbir Penal Code

During the revolt of 1857, Maharaja Gulab Singh died in 1857. His son Ranbir Singh succeeded the throne a year before. As I said, the Dogra community had some liking towards the British this was evident during the 1857 revolt. They helped English women and children to seek asylum in Kashmir and sent Kashmiri troops to fight on behalf of the British against the mutineers British. He reverted him by extending the Dogra rule in Kashmir, Gilgit, Hansa, and Srinagar. This kind of relationship went on between Maharaja Ranbir Singh and the British. The British rewarded him immensely for his loyalty. Maharaja Ranbir Singh also brought a lot of reforms in the state. The Ranbir Penal Code, which contains civil and criminal laws, was compiled. He also founded separate Foreign Affairs, Home Office Civil Affairs, and Army departments. He also promoted trade, and the shawl industry flourished during his period in 1885.

History of Dogra Rulers

Before Maharaja Ranbir Singh died, he wrote to the British government and requested them to nominate his younger son Amar Singh as his successor. But the British government choose the other son that is Pratap Singh as his successor. You can imagine why the British government did that. They wanted a ruler who was more gullible within the British Empire. Jammu and Kashmir was a salute state. The ruler of a salute state in the British Empire gets a 21-gun salute, authorized from the British crown. So you can imagine the close relation this state had with the British Empire. Maharaja Pratap Singh died in 1925, but he was succeeded by his nephew Hari Singh. Maharaja Hari Singh was the last ruling Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

Potrait of maharaja hari singh
Maharaja Hari singh

He ruled till 1947. So far, we saw how Kashmir went from the hands of one ruler to another. When Kashmir was under Muslim rule, the Hindus were oppressed the same way, and when it was under the Sikhs and the Hindu rule, the Muslims had a hard time. There has always been a disparity in this state concerning religion and ethnicity. It is not something that happened recently. You can learn more about the cultural dresses of Jammu and Kashmir here.

Demography and Religion

Ladakh has always been ethnically and culturally. Tibetan and their inhabitants practised Buddhism to the South Jammu had a mixed Hindu population, Muslims, and Sikhs. In the heavily populated central Kashmir Valley, the population was overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. However, there was also a small but influential Hindu minority that is the Kashmiri Pandits. To the north, sparsely populated Baltistan had a population initially related to Ladakh, which practised Shias Islam. To the northwest, also sparsely populated, Gilgit was an area of diverse mostly Shias group, and to the west, punch was occupied by Muslims. But of a different ethnicity than the Kashmir Valley, so the history of Jammu and Kashmir princely state never developed into a fully coherent identity. However, till 1947 Jammu and Kashmir, with the Muslim majority, were under Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule the last ruling Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

Political uprising in Jammu & Kashmir princely state

Maharaja Pratap Singh died in 1925, after him his nephew Hari Singh became the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh was considered as an autocratic ruler. remember when I said from medieval period Kashmir went in the hands of one ruler to another when Kashmir was under the Muslim rule the Hindus were oppressed same way when it was under the Sikhs and the Hindu rule the Muslims had a hard time. Since the last ruler was a Hindu Dogra ruler for obvious reasons he did not grant any fundamental political rights to his subjects and during his rule the Muslim community comprised of almost 85% of the entire population of this state. There was no question of having any civil political and human rights because princely states were running on the feudal system. There was no political uprising in J&K till in the 1930s but then it had to happen someday.

On July 13, 1931, the Kashmiri Muslims started protesting against Maharaja Hari Singh because they were unhappy with Maharaja’s rule and policies. This was the first time at the beginning of an organized and mass uprising against the rule. This resulted in an ugly battle between the people and the armed royal Dogra soldiers. Many Kashmiri Muslims died, and this incident gave birth to a new revolution called the Quit Kashmir movement. Throughout the history of Jammu and Kashmir, we know that revolution has always given rise to a political party or a group that stands up and tries to represent the suppressed mass. Sheikh Abdullah and Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas form Jammu and Kashmir.

The first major political party called all Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, which later in 1939 changed to National Conference to suit the secular nature of Kashmiri culture. In other words, shake up the last political debut started with the Quit Kashmir movement against Maharaja Hari Singh. By the way, Sheikh Abdullah studied at Aligarh Muslim University, where the two-nation theory emerged. Hence, he knew about the Muslim League and its objectives and how to embark on a political journey. After the 1931 Kashmir agitation in April 1932, Maharaja Hari Singh appointed the Atlantique Commission. The glanza Commission’s function was to inquire into the various complaints and examine the grievances of communal and general nature. The Commission recommended the establishment meant of a Legislative Assembly. It was called the Praja Sabha. The commission also recommended giving 21 reserved seats in the Legislative Assembly for the Muslim community. The Maharaja accepted these recommendations but delayed their implementation, which led to protests in 1934. In September 1934, the first elections of the approaches. The state’s Legislative Assembly was held to shake up the last party. All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference won 14 of the 21 seats reserved for Muslims. In 1937 Shaykh Abdullah met Jawaharlal Nehru for the first time since Nehru was a leader of the Indian National Congress who was demanding similar rights for people of British India provinces. At that time, princely states didn’t have any government. It was basically running on the feudal system. A group called the All India States people’s conference was formed in December 1927. So the objective of this group was to start political movements in the princely states that mean till 1927 the people of princely states did not have any exposure to any nationalist movement. it was only in the 1930s this revolution started this is an important point to remember when it comes to knowing the political uprising in India during British rule.

Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah 

In 1937 Sheikh Abdullah met a Java halal Nehru for the first time since Nehru was the Indian National Congress leader who was demanding similar rights for people of British India provinces. Nehru was also in support of princely states’ people in the struggle for a representative government. Hence, naturally, these two became friends and political allies.

Nehru with sheikh abdullah rare photo from the history of jammu and kashmir
Nehru with sheikh abdullah

They started helping each other Maharaja Hari Singh was fully aware of all these things. He was aware of the growing friendship between Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact, Hari Singh never liked the Indian National Congress. He also did not like the Muslim League; basically, he did not like this entire nationalist movement.

History of National Conference

The National Conference was the leading political party in Jammu and Kashmir history under Sheik Abdullah’s leadership. I also told you why he changed his party’s name to the National Conference because initially, it was Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. In 1939, he changed it to the National Conference to suit the secular nature of Kashmiri culture. We also know that the friendship between Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru was growing now what happened was in 1940 when the Pakistan resolution was passed. Few leaders of the National Conference party started disliking Abdullah’s leaning towards Nehru and the Congress, and also they did not like his Sakura lies action of Kashmiri politics. In the year 1941, people broke off from the National Conference party. They restarted the old Muslim conference that this new party Muslim conference started aligning itself ideologically with the All India Muslim League and supported its call for an independent Pakistan. They started asking for support from the Jammu region’s Muslims and the Kashmir Valley.

Concept of Nya Kashmir the constitutional monarchy

In April 1944, Shaykh Abdullah proposed in Nya Kashmir program to the Maharaja, calling for a constitutional monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is a form of government. In which in non elected monarch functions as the head of the state within the limits of a constitution political power in a constitutional. Monarchy is shared between the monarch and an organized government. This move was criticized by the Muslim Conference who said that Sheikh Abdullah was doing it to boost his own popularity. In the same year, 1944, Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir during the summer to support the Muslim conference because Jinnah wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. But Sheikh Abdullah had something else in his mind he was not very keen on joining Pakistan, it is very evident. Otherwise, he could have joined the All India Muslim League long back. Instead, he leaned more towards the Indian National Congress. Because somewhere, he knew that Pakistan would be a theocratic state, and on the other hand, India had a secular credential.

Quit kashmir movement 

In May 1946, Sheikh Abdullah launched the Quit Kashmir movement against the Maharaja. He was then arrested and charged with sedition. When he got arrested, Jawaharlal Nehru came for his help. But he was denied entry into the state. In June 1946, the Muslim Conference leaders met Jinnah in Karachi and were told to capitalize on Sheik Abdullah’s failure to unseat the Maharaja. You can imagine that there was massive pressure on the Maharaja.

  • From the National Conference party for arresting sheikh abdullah.
  • Pressure came from the Muslim conference after meeting Jinnah.
  • Pressure came from Jawaharlal Nehru.

In the same month, the British Cabinet mission came to India to discuss power transfer. The cabinet mission’s main objective was to find out ways and means for the peaceful transfer of power in India and create an interim strong central government. It rejected the Muslim league demand of Pakistan. In full support of India’s unity, the cabinet mission also advised the princely states’ rulers to enter into negotiations. With the successor government after hearing the plan of the British Cabinet Mission in July 1946. Maharaja Hari Singh used his own brains and declared that Kashmiris would decide their own destiny without any outside interference or any government. After hearing this, the Muslim Conference started stirring some anti-Hindu sentiments. The Muslim League rejected the cabinet missions proposal in August 1946. Jinnah, along with rejecting the resolution, called on all Muslims throughout India to observe a direct action day for Pakistan’s amount. There was massive communal bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims in Calcutta. For more on that, you must read about the direct action day.

First Legislative Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir State

 In January 1947, elections were held for the Jammu and Kashmir States Legislative Assembly. This time the Muslim Conference won 16 of the 21 Muslim seats because shaykh Abdullah was in prison, and the objective of the Muslim conference was to merge Kashmir with Pakistan. In March 1947, communal violence broke out in the state of Punjab. This was actually the extension of 1946 direct action day. On 19th August 1946, there was a massive communal riot between Muslims and Hindus in Calcutta. Mohammed Ali Jinnah declared it in demand for Pakistan. So this riot had spread till Punjab, and then some Muslim League leaders in the Northwest Frontier Province had sent agents to Kashmir to prepare the people for a communal riot. Keep in mind that Sheikh Abdullah was still in prison in the middle of all these communal riots. Lord Mountbatten arrived in India as the last Viceroy of India on 3rd June 1947. Mountbatten proposed the partition plan to divide British India into India and Pakistan’s independent dominions.

Visit of Lord Mountbatten to Kashmir

He visited Kashmir for five days to persuade the Maharaja to accede to India or Pakistan. The Maharaja showed reluctance. In August 1947, the Muslim League and Indian National Congress leaders formally communicated their acceptance of the plan for the partition of the subcontinent into Pakistan and India. From 11th August 1947 to 13th August 1947, partition violence erupted in Sialkot and drove the surviving Hindus and Sikhs to Jammu. All the Hindus and Sikhs who lived in Sialkot region fled to Jammu.

On 14th August 1947, Pakistan was created with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the governor-general. On 15 August 1947, the British government transferred India’s power into the Indian National Congress’s hands with Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister. Partition happened only in the British-controlled provinces that meant that after 15 August 1947, the princely states would be completely independent and would not receive any form of help or support from India’s Government for defence finance and other infrastructure. These independent princely states had two options to join India or join Pakistan. Many said that there was also an option to remain independent. 

Standstill agreement by Maharaja Hari Singh

Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh had to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. He did not like the Indian National Congress, and he also did not like the Muslim League. Hence he sang this standstill agreement with both India and Pakistan. A standstill agreement is a contract that contains provisions on how two parties. In this case, India and Pakistan can offer their deals in the best interest of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Maharaja. A standstill agreement can effectively stall or stop the process of a hostile takeover if the parties cannot negotiate a friendly deal. Basically, Maharaja Hari Singh acted very smartly by signing the standstill agreement. We can also say he wanted to buy some time to decide what to do. I leave it up to your understanding regarding his motives keep in mind. After 15th August 1947, both India and Pakistan became a full-fledged country.

Invade of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan

From September 1947, Jammu and Kashmir faced Pakistan’s minor threats because Pakistan badly wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. Jinnah could never develop a relationship with Sheikh Abdullah or the Maharaja, so Pakistan’s only other option was to use force. In September 1947, Pakistan first blocked essential food, petrol, and clothing to the state and sent a tribal raid to control it. Maharaja Hari Singh had somewhat made up his mind to accede with India. Nehru and other Congress leaders in Delhi were very well informed about this situation. In fact, Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi even demanded Sheik Abdullah’s release as part of the negotiation with the Maharaja. As a result, he was released immediately. Nehru even said to Maharaja Hari Singh to make friends with the National Conference party and Sheikh Abdullah to lead the government after the accession. This is a classic example of how the table has reversed wherein a ruler who once had immense power now has to listen to a politician and pretty much accept whatever he has to propose. On 22nd October 1947, two months after partition, Pakistan invaded the Jammu and Kashmir state from the West and northwestern site. Maharaja Hari Singh initially fought back but could not hold them back.

Instrument of Accession

 So in fear of losing his state to Pakistan, he appealed for assistance from the Indian government. He then reached out to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who agreed to send troops and help the Maharaja only because he would sign the Instrument of Accession in favour of India. Many of Jammu and Kashmir western districts were invaded and captured by the Pakistani troops. On 26th October 1947, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession and acceded to the state of Indian Union, handing over its control of Defense External Affairs and communication to India’s Government. In return for military aid, it is essential to note these three subjects only the control of Defence External Affairs and communications of the Jammu Kashmir State were given to India’s Government because these words are important and play a crucial role in defining policies. When it comes to the centre and state relations, nothing more, nothing less. At that time, the Viceroy of India was Lord Mountbatten. He accepted the accession with the remark he said, and I quote it is my government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Jammu and Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader. 

jawharlal nehru with maharaja hari singh
Jawharlal nehru with maharaja hari singh

The seed of the Kashmir dispute

Lord Mountbatten, who proposed the plebiscite idea, is basically a referendum where the people of the particular region get to vote and decide what is best for them. This remark from the Viceroy is said to have sowed the seed of the Kashmir dispute. He was the last Viceroy of India and the first governor-general of independent India his tenure lasted till 38 June 1948. For a second, think about it when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession. We know that he was being attacked by the Pakistani troops and the Pathan tribes from the Western and the northwestern side. He was pleading to India’s Government for help that means he was not in a demanding position. I sometimes think if India’s government had wisely laid out their demands, which included joining India with no condition whatsoever the Maharaja. Anyhow would have accepted because he was in fear of losing his kingdom to Pakistan. The Maharaja would have anyhow accepted whatever the demand the Indian government had laid out in front of him had it not been for Lord Mountbatten and his remark the outcome would have been totally different today. Lord Mountbatten remarked and the Government of India’s offer to conduct a referendum. A plebiscite to determine the future status of Kashmir led to a dispute between India and Pakistan regarding the legality of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

Arrival of Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir

On 27 October 1947, the Indian Army’s a first Sikh battalion was airdropped in Srinagar where they resisted the Pathan invasion and officially completed accession to India. On 31st October 1947, Sheikh Abdullah was appointed as the head of the emergency administration in Kashmir. On 1st November 1947, Lord Mountbatten and Muhammad Ali Jinnah met in Lahore. Mountbatten offered India’s proposal that the accession of Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir should be decided by an impartial reference to the will of the people in the form of a plebiscite. Jinnah rejected the offer he basically wanted these Muslim majority regions to be part of Pakistan. On a side note, the western districts of Kashmir were erupting with violence. In November 1947 shortly after the state acceded to India, the Hindu leaders launched the Jammu Praja Parishad intending to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India fully. They believed Sheikh Abdullah was a communist with anti-Dugger sentiments.

The entry of the United Nations in Jammu and Kashmir

On 28 December 1947, Mountbatten recommended India to take Kashmir to the United Nations where he says it would have a cast-iron case. He believed the United Nations would order Pakistan to withdraw its troops and allies from Kashmir region the proposal was discussed in the Indian cabinet. Throughout the end of December and beginning of January 1948, India and Pakistan constantly argued and presented the Kashmir issue in the United Nations, just war and diplomacy was going. On 28 January 1948, Sheikh Abdullah, a member of the Indian delegation to the United Nations Security Council, raised the possibility of independence for Kashmir. He even said these are his words “how Raiders came to a land massacred thousands of people mostly Hindus and Sikhs but Muslims too abducted thousands of girls Hindus Sikhs and Muslims alike looted a property and almost reached the gates of a summer capital Srinagar”. So you can imagine that so much was happening in Kashmir after the partition there was chaos.

Sheikh Abdullah the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir

Sheikh Abdullah was exploring the possibility of independent Kashmir because Kashmir had a Muslim majority and fell in the hands of Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah knew that it wouldn’t be a good deal for him because his party already had a fall out in the 1930s wherein some leaders of his own party joined the Muslim League supporting Pakistan. They disliked Abdullah, and another thing is if Kashmir fell fully in the hands of Pakistan he would have had a hard time getting elected in Jammu. Because the people of Jammu and other Eastern District of the state saw Sheikh Abdullah with anti-Hindu sentiments and if you notice till now his party National Conference was winning the provincial elections on a communal basis and that two unreserved Muslim seats and I also believe that if Abdullah had publicly said that let’s join India permanently. I’m sure many Muslim populations in the Kashmir Valley also in Jammu wouldn’t have connected with him and would consider him an agent of the Indian National Congress or a Hindu Dogra community’s sympathiser. Dogra is the community in Jammu region who speaks Dogri Language. Sheikh Abdullah knew his politics well and wanted to be at the centre. The central option was to accede with India and remain united with India get all the help from the Indian government to stabilize this situation. Still, he did not want the Indian government to interfere in internal affairs. In other words, he wanted to have maximum possible autonomy. He wanted to govern the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir independently. Sheikh Abdullah took oath as the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 17th March 1948 with prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru the Indian National Congress and Maharaja Hari Singh. On 1st January 1949, a ceasefire between Indian Pakistani forces left India in control of the eastern part of Kashmir Valley which consisted most of the Jammu province and Ladakh while Pakistan gained control of the western districts comprising the present-day Azad Kashmir. The kill gate agency and the Baltistan which is today collectively known as POK basically. The Government of India was doing all the work to stabilize the state of Jammu and Kashmir now one year has already passed since partition India had to draft the Constitution which as we know came into effect on 26 January 1950 the task of forming the Constitution was given to the Constituent Assembly which was formed in 1946.

History of Article 370

In the year 1949 Sheikh Abdullah and Maharaja Hari Singh agreed that Jammu and Kashmir should remain United with India with maximum possible autonomy. But please don’t think they became very good friends. They just came to a common agreement so, on 16 June 1949, the Maharaja, Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues joined the Constituent Assembly of India. In the same month, the Maharaja announced his son Karan Singh to be the state’s governor. Now if you read the full text of the Instrument of Accession which was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh in that Clause seven says nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future Constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the government of India under any such future Constitution it was this clause that made shake up the law demand article 370 from the Government of India because he was driven by his ambition to be the ruler of independent Jammu and Kashmir. Now the question is was the Maharaja in favour of article 370. When we read the Instrument of Accession’s full text, it does look that maharaja knew what he was doing. He was pretty much aware of it. He clearly mentions that there is no way he wants to accept India’s future Constitution. The Maharaja was really in favour of article 370, or it was just the idea of Sheikh Abdullah nice party so let me answer that well the Maharaja had a different outlook on it. Still, he was in favour of article 370. Although he did not design it, he favoured it because it would help him keep his throne, he was thinking like the British Empire even today the United Kingdom has a monarchy. Then there is the British Parliament in a similar way Maharaja Hari Singh thought if Sheikh Abdullah can convince the Government of India to give special status to Jammu and Kashmir state through article 370. He would get to act like a monarchy which if you see is a good deal for him by now you must have realized that it’s so complicated right everyone had an agenda or self-interest of some sort so that’s the way it was while the Maharaja thought article 370 would help him keep his throne. Still, I also want you to understand that Sheikh Abdullah had his own ambitions. As I said, he knew his politics well as we know Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru were close friends. Both favours having a referendum or plebiscite, which means it is the people of Kashmir who get to decide whether they want to join India or Pakistan hence Nehru to give special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir because of what they were going through. In fact, dr. BR Ambedkar, the first law minister of India and the chairman of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution, refused to draft article 370 because he knew by giving such special legal provisions to Jammu and Kashmir would create lots of problems rather than solving. We all know what Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did. He got a member of his cabinet, a member of the drafting committee of the Constitution and Gopala swami and asked him to do the job and frame article 370 Nehru agreed to article 370. He said it was a temporary provision and will get eroded over a period of time.

Now there’s a question that comes in a lot of people’s mind that why did Neru listen to his demands after all he was the Prime Minister of India he could have forced Kashmir with military power to join India fully he could have very much done that but the reasons presented to him by Sheikh Abdullah were very humane it’s important again to understand the context if India could claim Kashmir purely by the Maharaja signing the Instrument of Accession and not care about any further conditions then in this similar way Pakistan’s claim over Junagarh and Hyderabad would have been justified because a Muslim monarch ruled Hyderabad and Junagarh. Still, they were home to a Hindu majority population they were mirror images of Kashmir if India accepted the right of Kashmir monarch to accede to India then morally it had to concede these two states to Pakistan plus the Kashmir issue had become international it was in United Nations. So in a way in here who believed and shook up the law, he thought if he would let Abdullah have his government in power, he will convince the people of Kashmir to join India without any referendum fully. So on 17th October 1949, the Indian Constituent Assembly incorporated Article 370 in India’s Constitution, ensuring a special status and internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir with Indian jurisdiction in Kashmir limited to three areas agreed in the Instrument of Accession which defended Foreign Affairs and communications.

Administrative setup in Jammu and Kashmir

On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. Elections were held for the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1951 75 seats were allocated to the Indian administered part of Kashmir, and 25 seats were left to reserve for the Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference party won all 75 seats of Indian-administered Kashmir. It was said that the National Conference party had rigged the election, there was no opposition party no other party were even allowed to contest in the election. There were many groups like the Jammu Praja Parishad, Kashmir political conference. They were not even allowed to contest in the elections. Nehru was aware of all these things. He even said nothing should be done to weaken shake up the law somewhere near who believed in Sheikh Abdullah and thought if I let him have his government in power, he will convince Kashmir to join India without any referendum fully. It was believed that Sheikh Abdullah ruled the state in an undemocratic and authoritarian manner. During his period, he did not allow any party’s political leader to enter into Jammu and Kashmir. On November 1951 the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir passed the legislation stripping the Maharaja of all paths and making the government answerable to the state Constituent Assembly of which he was the head then in June 1952 State Constituent Assembly considered a proposal for abolishing the hereditary monarchy and wanted to replace it with an elected Sadr-e-Riyasat which is called the head of state.

Delhi Agreement of 1952 and Article 35A

In the same month, the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah met the prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru in Delhi which is commonly understood as the Delhi Agreement of 1952. It is often called an agreement between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah which is heavily criticized now you could ask yourself a simple question. When article 370 was already in place with immediate effect from 26th January 1950, what was the Delhi agreement’s need? In August 1952, Abdullah explained and demanded article 35A which extended citizenship to Jammu and Kashmir state subjects. He wanted article 356 and 357, which is the president’s rule be made non-applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. He also recommended the deletion of articles 12 to 35 relating to fundamental rights then he also wanted the withdrawal of central services such as the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, and there were many more such legitimate demands you see after the 1951 state elections Sheikh Abdullah and his government were running. The state in an undemocratic manner as we also know that the National Conference party only won the Muslim reserved seats of Kashmiri Valley and kept only their interest and sentiments in mind while completely ignoring the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Ladakh whose combined population was greater than that of the Kashmiri Muslims. That is why today you will notice that how come a small region of Kashmir Valley can rule the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir since independence and if you look at the length and width of Kashmiri Valley which is occupied by India it is just 135 kilometers in length and 32 kilometers width.

So how come such a small region can dominate the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Ladakh, isn’t that surprising. Hence, the Delhi Agreement of 1952 was basically a well strategic move by Sheikh Abdullah to make his position secure from any future democratic assemblies and governments that may force him to enter into competitive power games which he could never afford to win plus Nehru had already made a blunder by adding article 370 in the Indian constitution back in 1950. So Sheikh Abdullah was basically capitalizing on the blunders and mistakes that Nehru had already made. So that was the whole Delhi agreement of 1952 all about. Anyhow Abdullah and Nehru entered into an agreement and Nehru was in full support of it Nehru fulfilled and endorsed all of the last month on November 1952. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir adopted a resolution that abolished the monarchy system and replaced it with an elected Sadr-e-Riyasat head of state.

Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad the second Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir

Previously, Maharaja Hari Singh made his son Karan Singh as the governor of the state because that was the princely states’ rules. The next in line gets to become the head of the state that was the hereditary claim so that kind of entitlement is called monarchy and the Sheikh Abdullah government abolished it. It got replaced with Sadr-e-Riyasat who’s like a governor and has to be elected by the Legislative Assembly. On August 1953 Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed as the Prime Minister by the Sadr-e-Riyasat Dr Karan Singh, son of Maharaja Hari Singh on the charge that he had lost the confidence of his cabinet. Another fall off within his party members Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was appointed as the new prime minister who served as the deputy prime minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir between 1947 to 1953. He was the longest-serving Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir because Sheikh Abdullah was removed as the prime minister. After all, he and 22 others were accused of anti-national activities and stirring sentiments for independent Kashmir and holding a plebiscite. Three of Sheikh Abdullah five-member cabinet opposed this idea of Sheikh Abdullah even the Deputy Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was not in favour of this idea. They all reported this incident to Dr Karan Singh, who was Sadr-e-Riyasat. Even Jawaharlal Nehru was in favour of Sheikh Abdullah arrests after seeing the evidence because if you remember Nehru supported and strengthened Abdullah because he thought he would convince the people of Kashmir to join the Indian Union without any referendum or plebiscite. In February 1954 the Constituent Assembly under the leadership of Bakshi Ghulam Ahmad passed a resolution confirming the accession of Kashmir to India.

Article 35A

On 14th May 1954 with the help of a presidential order, Article 35a was incorporated into India’s Constitution. Now, this article came into existence because of the existing article 370. If you look at the article 370 Section 1 Clause D, it allows the President to make certain exceptions and modifications to the Constitution for the benefit of state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1954 the President of India was Rajendra Prasad. On the advice of Jawaharlal Nehru and his cabinet as part of giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir state, they all made, or we can say forced dr. Rajendra Prasad to sign the constitutional order bringing article 35 an into the Constitution of India. If you can recollect this was part of the 1952 Delhi agreement between Nehru and shake up the law now the whole fuss about article 35A is that if you want to add delete or amend any article in the Constitution, it has to be done through a parliamentary procedure which means first the bill has to be presented in both the houses of the parliament and then it has to be passed in each house by a majority of the total membership after that it has to be presented to the president who shall give his assent only then it can be added modified or amended in the Constitution. When it comes to article 35A, it totally bypassed lawmaking’s parliamentary route. It was never presented in any of the houses. It was directly sent to the president, and Nehru asked him to sign it. This is the whole problem with article 35A and as I said the demand of article 35A was part of the 1952 Delhi agreement between Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah that is why Jawahar Lal Nehru is heavily criticised for this move.

 Anyhow because of Shaikh Abdullah’s immediate arrest after his removal. His loyal party members started protesting in 1955 in demand of independent Kashmir and demanded the release of Sheikh Abdullah. One of Abdullah senior leader Mirza Mohammed Abdel Baek launched a new campaign called all Jammu and Kashmir plebiscite front, which became a direct opposition to the state government which was now headed by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed. Sheikh Abdullah was rereleased for a short while he was really stood, and he was in prison for 11 years, so this became the famous Kashmir conspiracy case.

Article 35 was officially added on 14th May 1954 through a presidential order, and it was intended to be a temporary provision. Because it was derived from the main article 370. if you look at article 370 Section 1 Clause D, that’s where the presidential order was issued. If you see the whole article 370 in general, it is a temporary provision, so naturally, anything derived from article 370 will be temporary in nature now. The question is, if these two articles were temporary in nature, then why it never got deleted, or was it ever meant to be deleted. To answer these two questions, I want you first to have a look at the Instrument of Accession, which was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh in that Clause seven clearly says that nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or Further my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future Constitution that means the state of Jammu and Kashmir could not be compelled to accept any future Constitution of India. Further, if we analyze Jammu and Kashmir’s full rights to draft its own constitution and decide what additional pass to extend to the central government. Article 370 was designed to protect those rights, and article 35 a is a by-product of article 370. If I have to summarize article 35 a, it basically gives the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide who all are permanent residents of the state. This state will then give special rights and privileges in public sector jobs acquisition of property in the state scholarships and other public schemes and welfare. If the state government decides who can stay in this state and who cannot, the government will naturally allow those who favour their government. It’s a good recipe for having a permanent vote bank. The state government can easily secure itself from any future Democratic assemblies and governments that may force the existing state government to enter into competitive power games. Now you can imagine how strategically Sheikh Abdullah demanded article 35A during the Delhi agreement of 1952.

Constitution of Jammu and kashmir

Through Clause 7 in the Instrument of Accession and article 370, Jammu and Kashmir had the right to draft their own constitution. The constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was adopted on 17th November 1956. We know that article 370 was added to the Indian constitution in 1949. Article 35A was added in 1954, but then Jammu and Kashmir constitution came in 1956 and came into effect on 26th January 1957. Without the Constitution, the Jammu and Kashmir state had no law or a legislative assembly. Hence, from 1950 to 1956, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir requested the Government of India that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution that correspond to the original instrument of accession should be applied to this state and that the states Constituent Assembly, when formed, would decide on the other matters. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was formed in 1951, so it took five years to draft a constitution. Till then, article 370 was protecting them by giving special provisions. That means none of the articles of the Constitution of India has applied in Jammu and Kashmir apart from those three subjects defence foreign policy and communications that were mentioned in the Instrument of Accession because the Government of India agreed to their demands, and we clearly know the article 370 was a temporary provision that means article 370 was supposed to last till the formulation and adoption of the state’s constitution. Only the state Constituent Assembly had the right to abrogate or amend article 370. But on 25th January 1957, Jammu Kashmir State Constituent Assembly got dissolved without recommending either abrogation or amendment of article 370. The next day on 26th Jan 1957 Jammu Kashmir Constituent Assembly adopted its own constitution. That’s how article 370 was considered to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution, and Nehru did not raise any concern. Hence it is crucial to note that article 370 was a temporary provision on compassionate ground to mitigate a volatile situation. Still, then it became permanent to appease a certain segment of the population who belong to the Kashmir Valley. as I’ve told you before, the length and width of the Kashmir Valley, which is occupied by India, is just 135 kilometres in length and 32 kilometres in width such a small region. Still, they can dominate entire J&K, state’s political structure, including Ladakh, with the help of articles 370 and 35A. After adopting the Constitution on 26 January, 1957 elections were held for the first Legislative Assembly. In 1957 Jammu and Kashmir got its constitution and a legislative assembly, which means the state was ready to make laws. In the 1957 elections National Conference 169 of the Centrify seats, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad continued as prime minister. In 1962 elections were held for this second Legislative Assembly. The National Conference again won 68 of the 74 seats.

Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad continued as Jammu and Kashmir’s prime minister for one year. In 1963 he was replaced by Khawaja Shamsuddin. In 1964 the government dropped all charges in the Kashmir conspiracy case. Sheikh Abdullah was released after 11 years. He was very much liked and adored by the people of Kashmir Valley. After his release, he patched a with Nehru. In fact, Sheikh Abdullah became a mediator between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Nehru died in 1964. On 3rd January 1965, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference became a close ally of the Indian National Congress and almost became the Jammu and Kashmir branch of the Indian National Congress. In April 1965 Indo-Pakistan war took place. As we know throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Sheikh Abdullah was acting back and forth based on his ambitions and ambiguities regarding the place of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union. However, the India-Pakistan Wars of 1965 and 1971 made him see clearly that joining Pakistan was not a good option personally for him, and the idea of independent Kashmir, which was always in his mind, had gained more momentum after the death of Nehru. Sheikh Abdullah was very much in favour of the plebiscite, but then the central government was not after Nehru’s death. In 1964 Gulzari Lal became the interim prime minister, and again for the second time, he became an interim prime minister after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. it was in 1966 when Indira Gandhi became the prime minister of India. She was very strict with the Kashmiri spirit and was not in favour of Abdullah’s plebiscite option, and kept in mind India had won both the 1965 and 1971 wars. Due to which Indira Gandhi’s status as a leader increased. That is when Sheikh Abdullah dropped his demand for the plebiscite and realized that he had little choice except to follow India’s terms. When he gave up his plebiscite idea for gaining the Chief Minister’s chair, he started talks with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to normalize this situation in the Kashmir region and came to an accord called 1974.

Demands of Jammu Region

Indra and Sheikh Accord part of the deal made him the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 1975. Many believed that the Kashmiri movement for self-determination for independence came to an end with the echoed. There were clashes between the Awami action committee and the plebiscite front. In Jammu, the Jana Sangh supporters, which later became the BJP, were protesting from the beginning to abrogate article 370 and a complete merger with India. If we look at the central government’s stand since 1950, four presidential orders were applied to integrate the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India. Still, nothing was done to articles 370 and 35A, which was supposed to be temporary. So basically, if I have to summarise the role of the central government, instead of saying strictly that enough is enough come and join India with no condition whatsoever, they were instead making laws that would help them control the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the areas which mattered to them most and also make laws that would curb those activities of the state which could aim at rejecting Indian sovereignty. So the only question that remains is what was the exact reasons behind Jawaharlal Nehru agreeing to the demands of Sheikh Abdullah regarding article 370 and 35A apart from compassionate and humane grounds.

Conclusion

The exact reason is something we’ll never know. We can only speculate on the history of Jammu and Kashmir because human beings have three lives public, private, and secret. This is also the reason why Nehru is heavily criticized for fulfilling the demands of Sheikh Abdullah and also when Maharaja Hari Singh was asking for help from the Government of India to fight against the Pakistani forces and Pashtun rebels back in 1947. In return, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession. It is the clause of that document that gave rise to this complication. We can speculate that the Indian government was in the position to demand they should have dealt with it clear-cut or negotiated in a much better sense. Maybe we wouldn’t have faced such complications. With that, I leave it up to your understanding. If you feel you need more perspective or clarity, I recommend you research and read more or find anything wrong. Then you can contact us.

Rohit
Rohit is an experienced content writer with a passion for writing content. He is a passionate content marketer with years of experience in writing, he makes the best use of his skills and knowledge to express ideas in his write-ups.

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