On June 10, 1952, Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah presented before the Constituent Assembly the report of the Basic Principles Committee.
While presenting the report he made a long speech on history of Jammu and Kashmir, the Dogra regime, the political movement across 1930s, 1940s, and the constitutional and legislative future ahead. The Basic Principles Committee, among other things, recommended termination of Dogra hereditary rule.
In the speech, he also explained the contours of the report of Basic Principles Committee of which he was also the chairman.
Below is the full transcript of the report:
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah: Sir, I beg the leave to cast a glimpse of the background before the House, against which the report containing the recommendations, I Just read out before this august House, was drawn up by the Hon’ble Members of the Basic principles Committee Sir, men as is well known has since his origin been moved by an urge for freedom.
The set idea that sovereignty rests with the people and not with an individual dominated his consciousness from the time he gradually abandoned his insularity in favour of a gregarious life, When in order to promote his existence, man took to corporate life, he necessity of the fittest possible person to be the leader. The various tribes and cleans, into which mankind was divided, endeavored, each in its own place to place at their head the fittest possible and the most capable person. In doing so, they were guided by the feeling that the appointment of the leader should be made by taking into account the collective will of all adult men and women. In other words, the people were to be considered sovereign.
They followed this principle consistently and it become the pivot round which centered the activities of all the tribes, Side by side with this, there grew a feeling in each tribes and clan that apart from corporate life which had its own advantages, there was an extraordinary agency which could reform their life and fulfill all their aspirations and desires. As this feeling gained ground, it found expression in each tribe and clean setting before it an idol for worship and making offerings to win its favour, In this state of affairs, sprang up a group of priests and when any of these found itself confronted with insurmountable difficulties, it would at once turn to its chosen idol of worship and make offerings in the hope that its difficulties will get resolved. It was in this way that the two institutions one of the leader and other of the priest, came into existence. It was thus that these tribes and clans, each in its own place, progressed in the race of existence until a new idea struck their imagination. It was the desire for expansion. Each tribe aspired to extend itself and in the struggle, which ensued, one that was strong with powerful leadership began to gain the upper hand and the weaker one went under.
Thus for the first time in the life of man, human blood was shed for the fulfillment of material wants. Gradually with further extension in this line of action when some groups gained momentum the worker groups were brought under the way of the stronger. The idea of monarchy, thus struck his imagination. The powerful leader selected for himself the title of a ‘King’ and it was in this way that the foundation of Kingship was laid. So two institutions one of the Kingship and the other of the priesthood came into being.
The two institutions joined hands and began to domineer over humanity and exploited the labour and toil of the people for the sake of their luxury. Both these institutions were indeed of each other and the one assisted the other. The King would turn to clearly when the former found himself face to face with a difficulty which he found himself unable to cope with or when distressed with his oppressions, the people would demand his abolition in order to put into practice their right of self determination and the principle that sovereignty resides in the people. The clergy would at once come of his succor as they presented to tenet of “Divine Right of Kings”. Before the world, thus deceiving the people into believing that King is the Shadow of God and the man who revolts against or refuses to accept authority will neither succeed in this world nor hereafter. The clergy got the betterment of human weakness and filled the hearts of the people with superstitions. It was thus thrown into an abyss of tribulations and began to live an acute poverty. When this state of affairs reached its climax, there sprang up thinkers who concentrated their thought and reason to find out the real cause of human suffering. Thinkers came on the scene to prevent it. The first of these was Martin Luther who while endeavoring to warn the people of the deceit being practiced by the clergy raised the banner of revolt against them and: levelled accusations at them. While advancing ahead. Martin Luther could not resist the clergy due to a vast influence exercised by the Katter. He had to make his first sacrifices to prove that sovereignty rested with the people and not with an individual.
Nevertheless, the king and the clergy continued to subject the people to oppression and privations. Luther was followed by Galileo, a great scientist, who wished to place this theory before the world on a scientific basis. The clergy and the king jointly opposed it and made an assault on Galileo, who had to sacrifice his life for the same. Many such thinkers, followed one after another, and at last, a thinker named Hobbes came forward with a new theory called the doctrine of “Social Contract”. While propagating his theory, he held that the king was not the image of God but was appointed in accordance with the “Collective will of the people”. He can remain as king as long as people wish him and can be removed when the people’s collective will is not with him. The made it manifest to the world that sovereignty resided in the people and not in an individual and that the king can be maintained only when he is supported by the collective will of the people, he cannot remain as king. In order to propagate his theory, there came thinkers like Look and Roseau. It was France, which was first of all influenced by this theory, which gave birth to the French Revolution, which in turn resulted in change in ideology and started another kind of exploitation known as “masses exploitation”. In this way the world marched ahead and the clergy and the king continued to enjoy at the expense of the toiling masses.
The struggle against them passed through many phases. Europe and Asia were drawn into its vortex. The idea of “Divine Right of Kings” had its way in India as well, but a close study of the Hindu Scriptures would reveal that his theory has no sanction therein. What we find there, is that person of talent and patriotism could claim to be the Shadow of God, and that the kingship was not hereditary. Anybody who subjected the people to oppression and privations did not deserve to occupy that position. A study of the Hindu mythology shows that Indra Devta was made the king by reason of the qualities of heart and heart which he possessed and only after he was elected by all the Gods who had assembled for this purpose. You should also march ahead in the same way. By closely studying the Hindu Scriptures it will be apparent that the king could be the Shadow of God only when he was chose by election and he failed to satisfy that standard he could be removed. In India also the people have jointly set up the popular representatives for this office as opposed to the King. My purpose in going into these details is to show that the principle of electing the ruler in conformity with the report submitted before this House by the Basic Principles Committee is not a new one. Nor is the product of our imagination. We hold that sovereignty rests with the people. Those persons were made the leader who would take care of others and possessed noble qualities of heart and hearts. Thousands of people have shed their blood and laid down their lives to uphold this divine right. A cursory perusal of history of Arabia will bring out how the foundation of equality was laid by the Prophet of Islam (Peace and blessing of Allah be on him). Who was born in Arbia. So far as greatness is concerned, it is not hereditary, as expressed in the Holy Quran as under: –
“INNA AKRAMA KUM UND ALLAH-IA TQAKUM”
The greatness of a man lies in his qualities of head and heat. As such, you will find in India, Europe, Arabia and elsewhere that, the basic principle is the same everywhere. Indra Devta was elected by the gods. Real greatness is not hereditary but consists in virtue in being afraid of God and appreciating the rights of the people. After the passing away of the prophet of Islam (Peace and blessing of Allah be on him) what we find that the very first Caliph who was appointed was neither the son of the prophet nor was he related to him.
Although the relatives of the prophet were there, none of them was made the Caliph. The people assembled in a Mosque and Hazarat Abu Bakar (Allah be pleased with him) was elected the first Caliph. All the people own allegiance to him and in this way exercise their inherent right of sovereignty. Unfortunately, this brilliant ray could not last long in this Dark Age selfishness regained the upper hand reviving the principle of hereditary rule ship.
This picture of democracy which the Islam presented was put to an end after sometime and the old system got fresh lease of life. Again the King on the one hand and the clergy on the other conspired to crush the right of the people.
But the struggle continued. When Hazarat-Imam-Hussain (May peace be on him) came into the picture he challenged the doctrine (of this kingship) and with the same tradition, made a martyr of himself in the battlefield of Karballa for merely upholding the sovereign right of people. The struggle continued out the goal for which the people struggling was not achieved because the struggle was not based on economics. Many thinkers came on the scene, the most outstanding of whom was Karl Marx was maintained that the king is not the Shadow of God nor does he represent the collective will of the people. He further maintained that the king only represented a particular class, which prospered by exploiting the labourers and the workers. In other words, on the one hand there are “exploited masses like labourers, tillers, and workers; and on the other hand there is the king and his vested interests who pass their lives by exploiting the said masses. Marx, therefore, struggling against the catastrophe and went forward. Some thinkers came on the scene and pushed the idea of sovereign right of the people forward. After this the World War I started and a strong wave rose against the feudalism and capitalism, as a consequence of which, many kingdoms collapsed. The Czar of Russia was done away with and under the leadership of Kamal Pasha in Turkey the monarchy of Abdul Hamid came to an end. A great revolution rose in the world, which came to acknowledge the principle that sovereignty vests in the people. India also came under its sway and this idea gained ground here too and received further impetus under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. By relating these events of the world, I want to impress this idea of basic issue upon the minds of the Hon’ble members so that they may understand the principle under which the Basic principles Committee has submitted these recommendations in order to uphold the sovereign right of the people.
The forty-lac people of Kashmir have got the right to appoint as their leader anybody whom they may choose. It is a matter of principle and personal or religious considerations have no bearing on it. It is for the education of this very principle that I have found it necessary to cite before this House some facts from the history of the world. I was, however, submitting that by this principle and this revolution, India could not remain unaffected. India also forged ahead in this phase. There arose in India a man, possessed of an iron determination, who endeavoured to demand the restoration of the lost right of the Indians. Crores of Indians men, women, children, old and young had to sacrifice their lives to achieve the same. I remind you of the period since 1857 A.D. to the time of Jallian-wala Bagh tragedy when the soil of India was reddened with the blood of the people because the latter demanded the recognition of the right of sovereignty. When this movement was gaining momentum it was rather impossible that part of India i.e the Indian States which was inhabited buy ten crores of people and was subjected to rigorous torture at the hands of the Maharajas and the Nawabs could remain unaffected. While some of the latter traced their decent from the sun, others traced it to moon and some of them from various other gods. The rest of these styled themselves as the very shadow of God. It was thus that ten crores of their subjects lived in acute misery. So the revolution spread over these States as well and the demand arose that sovereignty should be vested in the people and not in an in acute misery. So the revolution spread over these States as well and the demand arose that sovereignty should be vested in the people and not in an individual. The representatives of the States, people joined together in this movement and founded an organization known as the Indian States people’s Conference. The Indian leaders played a glorious part in leading the ten crores of the States forward but the high ranking personality, who made the greatest contribution like a crusader is the present Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. (Cheers).
The courage, fortitude and vigor with which he handled put before the world the problem of ten crores people inhabiting the States and the way he led them. I do not want to take the time of the House in narrating the same. I only want to refer to the way in which the Kashmir State took a glorious part at that time which too this day is talked about by all. Since that too is recent history, I do not want to repeat it with details.
The sacrifices of the people of Kashmir and the way in which there children face bullets are well known they witness thousand of their brothers and sister berating their last away of flogging, their elders made to crawl on their bellies, their women-folk dishonored and their house set ablaze, I want to make passing reference before this august House that there is hardly any part of the State which was not stained red with people’s blood. Every nerve was strained to suppress this sacred principle. But due to the truth underlying this principle all oppressive and tyrannical power gave way. At last the time came when the people (basic) right was appreciated and recognized not only by the whole but also even by the persons who had usurped it. Today this House has to decide the future constitution for the people of the State (cheers).
Sir, whereas I have referred to the background of the events of the world, Asia, India and China, and the circumstances through which Europe was passing; it is imperative to cast a fleeting glance at our land as to what befell the forty lacs of people here. I do not want to take this House into the details of the past events.
I am simply referring to the ruling dynasty, the recommendations for the termination whereof, have been submitted by the Basic Principles Committee.
Sir, I want to relate to some extent as to what condition was and what befell upon this country during the last two hundred years: so that this august House may appreciate it well and help them to understand properly the said recommendations. In view of the backgrounds, which the Basic Principle Committee had before it while making recommendation regarding the abolition of hereditary dynastic rule, it could not but recommend the replacement of this rule by a democratic system of Government in future. In early times, I submit, the State was divided into various tribes like the whole world, which was also split up into various tribes and clans each of these having its own leader. The leader became the pivot round which moved the tribe.
How did the present ruling dynasty come to power in this State? History has it that from the post of an ordinary servant of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Gulab Singh gradually made progress due to his merit and became a favourite of the former. As I have already submitted in my speech our State consists of three provinces Kashmir, Jammu and frontier provision of Ladakh and Kargil, It was Jammu which first caught the eye of Gulab singh and which was then fragmented into small principalities. As I told you mankind was divided into various tribes and clans, the same was the position of Jammu which was also split up into tribes. Basohli had a separate leader. Rajouri had its own leader. So had Akhnoor, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and Jammu proper. In this way (each tribe moved around its leader).
It is a universal law of nature that when man stoops too low and mean action he is deprived of his freedom. With pious principles and action the lost freedom is restored. In Jammu also this very principle was in vogue. The people of Jammu were at loggerheads with each other. Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the better of their weakness and invaded Jammu and, thus gained power. Having been deprived of their freedom the people of Jammu suffered many hardships and most of them were incarcerated. In those days, however, there was a brave man named Mian Deedo (Cheers) and the first “revolutionary” of Jammu who did not like to sell the sovereignty of the people of Ranjit Singh. He raised the banner of rebellion against Ranjit Singh, when the latter marched his troops into Jammu. Deedo appealed to the national sentiments of the people and mobilized them in the name of defending the basic right of sovereignty. He then faced the army of Ranjit Singh but could not stand the full might of an organized force. He fled from Jammu and sought refuge in Udhampur. Near Nagrota, he started guerella warfare. In those days, Kashmir had already become a province of Ranjit Singh’s Kingdom, Ranjit Singh used to receive fruits from Kashmir. It once so happened that when apples in closed cases were being sent to Ranjit, Main Deedo in the way took out all the apples from the cases and replaced these by dung and ordered the coolies to carry these cases to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He bade them to tell Ranjit Singh that it was a present from Kashmir.
When Maharaja Ranjit opened the case and found dung in place of fruit, he got enraged and asked how it happened. The collies stated that all the fruits were taken away by Main Deedo who ordered them to replace these by dung and threatened that if it was disclosed they would be put to death on their return. Maharaja Ranjit Singh got enraged and said that he would not feel at ease unless he would bring this enemy to and end. He wished to take the command of troops into his own hand and take revenge of Main Deedo, Gulab Singh, as I told you just now held an ordinary post but due to his merit and foresight ness, he thought it a golden opportunity to lay for himself the ground work of kingship.
As such, he said to Ranjit Singh that it did not be fit the dignity of such, a great king, as Ranjit Singh to fight personally with an ordinary rebel. He asked the permission to set right Main Deedo . Accordingly, Gulab Singh (who was then called by the name of Main Gulab Singh ) marched into Jammu with Sikh Army. He took advantage of the weakness of the Jammu . Main Deedo who never lacked courage, tried to rouse the people of Jammu but could not stand the heavy odds arrayed against him. He fought the battle for the principle of freedom of his land at Katra Vishnoo Devi and lost his life in action. When this news reached Raja Ranjit Singh , he felt very happy and made Gulab Singh the Raja of Jammu. Having thus become the Raja of Jammu in 1800 A.D. Gulab Sing began to extend his territory with the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and abolished all the small Rajas of Basohli, Akhnoor, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar, one after the other, Channi was also in the same way attacked and the Raja was Ruthlessly put to an end. The Chieftain Rajouri was blinded with hot irons after he was arrested. In this way the leadership of Rajouri was tyrnically put to an end.
When his kingdom expanded in whole of Jammu. Maharaja Gulab Singh cast a glance at Kishtwar, the people whereof were relentlessly put to death, Sir, it is a lengthy story and I have not got the time to state with elucidation. As to how he established his power. One should go and find out the ruins of Basohli, Kishtwar, Bhadarwah and Ramkot which are silent testimony of the oppression and violence with which Gulab Singh established his rule. The “lust of power” continued in him as power went on increasing. As such, Gulab Singh while trying to expand his kingdom attacked Zaniskar, via Kishtwar and truned victorious.
Then came the turn of Ladakh and Kargil. He sent his troops to attack Ladakh under the command of Zorawar Singh . It was in 1833 A.D. When he invaded Ladakh . The people , Murath , Biana , Ashana and Mowath displayed stiff resistance for the security of their land. You will find the names of these places in the History of ladakh. Ladakhies shed their blood of defend the principle that sovereignty resides in the people. The people of Ladakh –men, women, children and all- fought to defend their land against the enemy, with whatever weapons they could lay their hand on-stones. GULELS etc. But they could not stand against Zorawar Singh and the later forged ahead, usurping their freedom. Then came the turn of Tibet. The Ladakhies had fled and taken refuge in Tibet and the sentiment of revenge had not subsided in their minds. Gulab Singh’s “lust of power” had not yet minimized. Zorawar Gingh chased the Ladakhies and the latter, despite their poverty and weakness, lay in writ for him. They besieged him and was killed by two brave Ladakhies, Ladakh, thus breathed free air once again. Gulab Singh was very much upset at the news of the death of his best General, but he could do nothing more than repenting over his loss.
However nature though I cannot say nature it was own cunning) showed him another way which leads to a beautiful valley. Consequent on the death of Ranjit Singh , dispute arose in his dynasty, which shook the very foundation of Sikh Empire. Britishers who were already at that time in India invaded the Punjab, Sikhs bravely resisted the Britishers. The latter were unnecessarily worried that the brave Sikhs might not be the cause of their being driven out of India. After spending lacs of rupees. The Britishers managed to crop up controversies in the Sikh Durbar. Sikh leaders felt surprised as to who could lead them. As Ranjit Singh had made, Gulab Sing the Raja of Jammu, had nurtured him, and the latter had got every thing due to the former; they thought of Gulab Singh to be worthy of their confidence. They accordingly, invited him to take the command of their army. He found it is a golden opportunity . Now as he became the Commander of the Sikh army, the Sikhs believed that he would give better reward to them in view of Ranjit Singh’s favours to him . But since he had the desire for power , he would not discriminate between a friend and a foe. He would not even hesitate from sacrificing his father, son and his other favorites for the fulfillment of his desire. On the one hand, he became the Chief of the Sikh army and one the other hand, he made a “sacred treat” with the Britishers. In conspiracy with the latter he secured a promise for getting Kashmir as a reward for maneuvering the route of the Sikh troops. The Sikhs fought their last battle at Sabharwon where they resisted bravely, with the pride of Rajputs, being prepared to meet their end.
Gulab Singh deliberately got the Sikhs killed at the hands of the Britishers which resulted in the establishment of the British Supremacy in the Punjab and culminated in the execution of that disgraceful treaty known as the Treaty of Amritsar. This treaty was signed in 1846 A.D. between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the Britishers. Article 3 of the treaty reads as under: – In consideration of the transfer made to him and by the provision of foregoing articles, Maharaja Gulab Singh will pay to the British Government a sum of rupees seventy, five lakhs (Nanak Shahai) on Ist October of the current year.’
Therefore, in view of all those services rendered by him to the Britishers and in view of the termination of Sikh influence in India., Maharaja Gulab Singh succeeded to pur Kashmir for Rupees seventy five lakhs (Nanak Shahai), Maharaja Gulab Singh like Rnjit Singh sent his Minister, Lakhpat Raj and Rattanu to the Governor of Kashmir-Sheikh Imam-ud-din , for obtaining the possession of Kashmir. But the Governor Sheikh Iman-ud-din refused to give possession as a consequence of which a battle took place between Kashmiris and Maharaja Gulab Singh soldiers. All Kashmiri’s men, women, young and old-fought with full vigor with KANGRIES, Stones, GULELS and Swords and a great battle took place. Maharaja Gulab Singh’s General Lalpat , who had taken refuge in Hariparbat fort was killed there. Gulab Singh’s army fled to Shankra Acharya hill and made surrender. But latter, he sought the help from the British Government who sent its army under the command of Lord Lawrance and Lt. Dodlay and attacked Kashmir. At last, that element which fought for freedom received the same treatment, as was the case many years later at Jallianwala Bagh where the people were ruthlessly shot dead by O’Dwier.
The freedom of Kashmir was thus put to an end and Kashmir was handed over to Maharaja Gulab Singh. How the people of Kashmir were dealt with in 106 years of rule. I do not want to go into the details but the situation is before you in the words of historians as to what was the condition of the people of Kashmir during the last 106 years. As I have already explained in the beginning of my speech how the king and the clergy joined together to exploit the labour of the workers and rode rough –shod over their aspirations for their personal aggrandizement.
What did Maharaja Gulab Singh and his descendants do in Kashmir. I do not want to describe that painful tale to the Hon’ble members of this House, in order to avoid causing worry to them. But I would like to give an outline of this story only. The vital problem confronting Maharaja Gulab Singh was to devise ways and means to pay rupees seventy-five lakhs to the Britishers since he did not possess the money. For this purpose he met a Bania and entered into a deal with him. The BAINA asked what benefit would go to him if he would give the Maharaja that money. On this, Gulab Singh assured him that in lieu of money, he would reserve the post of State’s Prime Minister for a selected member of his family and also entitle him to one anna in rupee of the State’s revenue and the rest fifteen annas would go the royal coffers.
The name of Bania was Dewan Jawala Sahai who was a highly clever man. The Bania was very anxious to have his money back very soon. So both these Banias joined together and Maharaja Gulab Singh exacted the money with extortion from the labour of the workers. Anybody who would come with representation containing grievances was charged one rupee per application. In this way, various means were devised to collect the money, thus sucking the blood of the people to fill the coffers. An historian has recorded an instance, which is loaded with pain. I do not precisely remember whether it relates to Gulab Singh or Ranbir Singh. One evening as he was going down in a Shikara towards Alikadal, he saw a group of people carrying Mashals (torches) crossing the bridge. He thought that it was some enemy winto the treasury by selling his entire property. Hundreds of thousands of such instances have occurred during the last 106 years and a close study of history reveals how the 40 lac people of his land had to face hardships. The people now appreciate and are conscious of the oppressions to which their elders were subjected. It is, therefore, that the people like termination of personal rule.
The people of this land- whether from Ladakh, Jammu or any other part of the Statewill not pass their life comfortably until this rule is terminated. I cite an instance of 1920 before this August House. It is a happy and painful story and will take months to narrate. However, Mr. Scott O’ Connern, an historian writes about the condition of the people as under:- ho had attacked and he fell upset. He learned from his orderly that it was the marriage procession of a respectable family, perhaps Kanthas. The orderly said to the bridegroom’s father that the Maharaja had called at his house to felicitate him and asked him to pay Rs. 30,000/- as Nazrana into the treasury. He paid the Nazrana of Rs. 30,000/- “One can tell that this is a sad people who have borne for centuries with grief: who have learned to bend their heads to the storm and have grown twisted and crooked in the process; yet in whose hearts there survives a perception of the purposes of God and an increasing desire to rise once more into the sunlight of noblemen…
“Alas, if the record of Kashmir be read alright it is a moving tale of human sins and there are not many races in the world upon whom the hand of fate has been laid so heavily as upon those who inhabit this, perhaps the fairest corner of the earth”.
Had not Kashmir been beautiful, perhaps we would have not been subject to these hardships. Our distinguished visitors who come to this place cannot but praise its beauty. But they do not know that this very beauty has become the cause of our privations and the shackles of slavery in which we are enmeshed.
We tried many times to achieve freedom and get rid personal rule but failed to do so. It is the firm determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to liquidate system even if it may cost them their lives. The aforesaid historian continues:-
“Kashmir in truth has paid the price of beauty, that “fatal gift” of which the poets have sang early time; and she has paid it an hundred-fold. Those who have lived here have fallen under her caprices as men fell of old under the wiles of Circle; and those without, born under a ruder heaven, have covered her jobs with a fierce desire, and have seized upon her treasuries with unstinted hand. It is under the stress of such events that the character of her people has been evolved; and it is a character that is not noble or beautiful, though deserving of sympathy and help from those who have had a happier destiny. There have been times when the life of a man in this land has been held of little more value than the life of a dog… Neither their lives nor their property, nor their honour, has been left to this unfortunate people in the past.
Sir, the situation was that the ruler caught hold of women forcibly and ankle-bells were tied on their hands and were made to paddle the boats. The Ruler with his companions would that go to Dal Lake and would drink there. This is the past fate of the people of this land. It is, therefore, that at the cost of our lives we have resolved to obliterate this system. Continuing further, the historian says: –
‘It is only of late within the present generation and within the past few years that the clouds have lifted and that they have begun to raise their heads from the dust of centuries of oppression and though they know that this change has really come and is likely to say, they cannot yet in their hearts believe in its duration. Children of light and of a land beautiful beyond the dreams of ordinary men, have a profound sadness visible in their eyes and in the workings of their spit and a great fear still lingers in their hearts. This fear is extraordinary in its manifestations; it assails men of gigantic frame and energy and I have myself wondered to see such a one tremble all over his body (as a thoroughbred hunter may be seen quivering by the covert side when bounds are at work on a winter’s morning; but with how different and emotion) at the sound of an angry voice. Such a fear and such memories of necessity provoke qualities of character and temperament upon which those whose past has been happier are prone to look down in anger and a measureless contempt; but even in these respects a marked difference is visible even to a careless eye between the people of the fields and hamlets and those of the city and between the former in their intercourse with each other and with those are of the State or who come with an air of power and authority into their midst.’ An historian has recorded this in 1920. Considering him to have written this from a particular angle, nevertheless. I quote another instance of 1929. On his, being relieved from the post of the Prime Minister, Sir Albion Bannerji, who was brought here by ruling dynasty in 1929, you can see that what he has written about the ruling dynasty and the subducedness of the people of this land on the basis of personal experience.
“Jammu and Kashmir State is labouring under many disadvantages with a large Mohammedan population absolutely labouring under poverty and very low economically governed like dumb driven cattle. There is no touch between the Government and the people, no suitable opportunity for representing grievances, and the administrative machinery itself requires overhauling from top to bottom to bring it up to the modern conditions of efficiency. It has at present little or no sympathy with the people’s wants and grievances.”
It has at present little or no sympathy with the people’s wants and grievances. This is the certificate of the said Prime Minister of this State which he kept here when he relinquished his office. However, Sir, I was submitting that the advancement of ideas and thought and the speedy change, which the times underwent, could not keep the forty lac people of this land un-influenced. How could they remain unaffected, when they on submitting a representation to the Viceroy were subjected to transportation, placed behind the bars and horses ran their bodies? They fell but regained the strength. At last the people of this land rose in 1931 and it was on the 13th of July of that year that the blood of the people was shed by firing. In order to ride roughshod on the desires and aspirations of the people as usual with all kings who have established their rule by exploiting and suppressing the people and the workers, various men’s were used. Lacs of our brothers and sisters were put to death. The heart rendering scenes how the elders were forced to crawl on their bellies were witnessed by the world. This all is present history. But in spite of this repression and tyranny, our caravan continued to march for war and a time came, when in 1946, under my leadership, the organization of all Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, which had the honour of conducting this movement, made the final bid for freedom by raising the Slogan of ‘Quit Kashmir’ When on 6th May, 1946, I made a speech on this subject, a portion of which was published in the “Tribune” of May 26 which I want to read before the House:
“The rulers of the Indian States who possess one-fourth of India, have always played traitors to the cause of Indian freedom. The demand that the Princely Order should quit is a logical extension of the policy of ‘Quit India’ when the Indian freedom movement demands the complete withdrawal of British power, logically enough- the storages of British Imperialism also should go and restore sovereignty to its real owners- the people”…
I made it clear in the course of my speeches that it was a fight for principles and no religious, racial and communal considerations were involved. As such, when I raised this slogan, I said to the people of this place:- When we raise the slogan of “Quit Kashmir”, we naturally visualize that prince and Nawabs should quit all the state. I am sure this demand applies similarly to a State like Hyderabad where the people will, I am sure raise their voice “Quit Hyderabad”.
As we were fighting for principles, there was nothing against any person or religion in it but we were fighting for the fundamental principle of humanity. From the beginning of this world the man has been fighting for the achievement of this principle for the recognition whereof Luther gave away his life and thousands of people had to sacrifice their lives in the French Revolution and the revolutions which came in Turkey, Russia and China. There is nothing personal or religious about the slogan, which I raised in this connection. I finally and ultimately made the aspirations and ambitions of the people of this land manifesto to the world.
When the fate of India was being decided I was arrested because of this crime and arrogance. After having been tried for rebellion, I was sentenced to nine years imprisonment and a fine of rupees fifteen hundred. My trial afforded me yet another opportunity to explain the aspirations, desires and hopes of the people before the court of law. The following are the worth-mentioning words of my statement.
“The fundamental rights of all men and women to live and act at free human being, make laws and fashion their political, social and economic fabric, so that they may advance the cause of human freedom and progress, are inherent and cannot be denied though they may be suppressed for a while. I hold that sovereignty resides in the people, and all relationships, political, social and economic derive authority from the collective will of the people”…
That is the struggle for the basic principles. This struggle is not directed towards any person of religion, the principles whereof I am elucidating before the world. Not today, but in 1946, I had clearly and lucidly presented its outline when I said:
“The future constitutional set up in the State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot derive authority from the old source of relationship which was expiring and was bound to end soon. That set-up could only rest on the active will of the people of the State, conferring on the Head of the State the title and authority drawn from the true and abiding source of sovereignty that is the people.”
I continued: “The State and its Head represents the constitutional circumference and the center of this sovereignty respectively, the Head of the State being the symbol of the authority with which the people may invest him for the realization of their aspirations and the maintenance of their rights”.
“The Head of the State will have to be elected.”
This was not only my principle, which I enunciated before the world but I represented the voice of the forty-lac people of the State and expressed their aspirations. It was a principle and an ideal which the thinkers of the world adopted and whereof many immolations were made. On studying the Hindu Scripture of the old views of the people, you will find that any person who possessed the “qualities of mind and heart” got the “Headship”. The Indra was made the King by the Gods only when he had the “qualities of mind and heart”.
The Hind Scriptures also state that if a king is misled or if he encroaches upon the rights of the people he can be removed. In view of these things, another thinker St. Thomas Aquinas has stated that:
“A king who is unfaithful to his duty forfeits the claim to obedience. It is not rebellion to depose him, for he is himself a rebel whom the nation has a right to put down. But it is better to abridge his power that he may be unable to abuse it…. All political authority is derived from the people and all laws ought to be made by them or their own representatives. There is no security for us so long as we depend on the will of another man”.
Sir, these are the emotions under which the Basic Principles Committee has the honour, bestowed upon it by this House of formulating the broad principles for the Constitution of the States. The recommendations made by the Committee, which are, it is said, the out come of those treaties which stimulated its heart and mind towards those ideas and thoughts. It is urgent that when a man has made an agreement, how can it be changed? So far as I am concerned, I would personally say nothing but in this connection I present before you the ideas of that brave personality, who has moulded the destiny of thirty Crores of people of India which he (Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru) expressed at the session of the State’s People’s Conference held in Ludhiana. It was when my colleagues had gone there and when I was behind the bars that a lengthy resolution was submitted under his (Pt. Nehru’s) Chairmanship. I state a relevant portion of it as under:-
“In any even Treaties made over a century ago cannot be considered binding on the people of the States at a time when conditions have entirely changed. Treaties are now used by the Paramount Power to intervene in the struggle for freedom in the States in favour of the Rulers and the obligation of this Power to protect the people from misrule is ignored.”
Continuing, he has said, in his Presidential address, about the “Treaties and
Rights” that “We are told now of the so called independence of the States and of their treaties with the paramount power which are sacrosanct and inviolable and apparently must go on forever and ever. We have recently seen what happens to International Treaties and the most sacred of covenants, which do not suit the
purpose of Imperialism. We have seen these treaties torn up, friends and allies basely deserted and betrayed and the pledged word broken by England and France.
Democracy and freedom were the sufferers, and so it did not matter. But when reaction and autocracy and imperialism stand to lose it does matter and treaties, however mouth-caten and harmful to the people they might be, have to preserved, it is a monstrous imposition to be asked to put up with these treaties of a century and a quarter ago to in the making of which the people had no voice or say. It is fantastic to expect the to keep on their chains of slavery, imposed upon them by force and fraud, and to submit to a system which crushes the life blood out of them. We recognize no such treaties, (cheers) and we shall in no event accept them. The only final authority and paramount power that we recognize is the will of the people (cheers) and the only thing that counts ultimately is the good of the people”.
These are the ideas of a person who is the Prime Minister of thirty crores of people and not only he is the owner of their bodies but also commands the confidence of their hearts. He is the benefactor of the ten crores people of Indian State (Cheers).
The organization of the State has the honour of being a voice of the aspirations of the forty lac people. He also got the following proposal passed by the Working Committee on 10th February 1946.
“The National Conference has at several occasions made it clear that these treaties have been made in times and under circumstances which do not obtain now and have been framed without seeking the consent of State’s People.
Under such circumstances no treaties or engagements which act as a dividing wall between their progress and that of their brethren in British India, can be binding on the people.”
Sir, I was submitting that reference can be quoted as to how the treaties can be broken. One can find out by going and enquiring from the sights heaved by the oppressed people of Jammu, Akhnoor, Poonch, Ladakh and Kashmir, as to what the Kashmiri masses want. You can go into the grave-yards and ask the dead of Jammu as to what they wish and whether they want to obliterate the oppression and repression. You will see that no voice but “yes” will come out.
This relates to the existence of treaties and the way in which these can be terminated. These are not our speculations but it is a principle of the world and we cannot keep ourselves aloof from it. I have presented before this House an outline of the views of the Indian leaders. I have not got the time to continue my speech further. The Basic Principles Committee has recommended the termination of hereditary dynastic rule and its replacement by a President elected by the people for a limited period and not for lifetime. If he does not efficiently discharge his duties during his tenure of office, he will be placed under impeachment (cheers).
However, the Committee has made the recommendation for the termination of his hereditary rule in the light of the desires of the people who under the guidance of National Conference have scarified their lives, have gone to jails and put in narrow cells inhabited by serpents and scorpions.
Hundreds of women-folk have been dishonored, hundred made to crawl on their bellies and thousands rendered martyrs by shedding their blood. It is the saying of leaders that freedom cannot be achieved by requesting but by struggle. Only that nation attains freedom, which sheds its blood for this cause. This again cannot be achieved by begging. Freedom can be obtained only when the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh- make sacrifices in the manner in which lakhs of people like Luther have struggled for their liberation. I want to make it clear to you that this issue has not cropped up under some sentiment of vengeance or because the Raja fled at a time when catastrophe came. It is not even because we were imprisoned and now we have gained power so we should wreak vengeance on him. I want to say to the world that sovereignty belongs to the people and not to an individual. Thinkers came on the scene to attain this basic right and affected the transfer of sovereignty to the people. This was not done in view of personal interests.
Unless you give sacrifices in the field, you cannot achieve freedom. The representatives of Ladakh, Jammu, Kishtwar, Ramkot, Poonch, Kargil, Bhaderwah and from every corner of Kashmir have assembled in this House to decide the issue on behalf of the 40 lakh people in the light of the recommendation made in its report by the Basic Principles Committee. This recommendation has not come under the sentiment that Karan Singh or Hari Singh of the Ruling Dynasty belongs to Hinduism Religion has nothing to do with this. Had there been any Kashmiri in his place the Committee would still make the same recommendation sovereignty rests with the people and not with any individual. Provincial feelings have no bearing on it. This is the question of freedom in the light of which the Committee has made such a recommendation.
Nature as bestowed Kashmir with beauty but lack of freedom has frustrated it. I would like the members from Jammu to ask the ruins of Basohli which was rendered desolate when it was just prospering and its freedom encroached upon.
Wicked people try to give it a communal colouring in order to maintain their interests through plunder. The Basic Principles Committee has dared to present, before this House, its report in view of the principles of humanity. The report contains sound recommendation. While not taking much time of the house, I wish, before I wind up speech, to communicate my feelings, to all the people, which I have expressed. People on the other side of the Cease-fire line Muzaffarabad, Mirpore,Poonch and Gilgit etc. had struggled jointly with us. This principle will not, therefore, apply to only one part of the State but also to all people of the State including those brethren of ours who been separated from us and whose eyes have been shut and tongues gagged in Pakistan.
My feelings are alike for you and the rest of my brethren. We want to establish such a system in the State as would shine like the Sun. The principle will not benefit only forty lacs of people but it is my fervent desire that this principle may apply to other States as well, so that the people thereof may live a free life.
While presenting these recommendations I, would request the Hon’ble Members of the House to begin discussion over this issue and express their views in the light of these principles and to declare the liquidation of that principle which is antagonistic to the basic principle of humanity (Cheers).
The Dispatch / #TheDispatch / thedispatch.in