Speech delivered by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee in the Lok Sabha on the 26th of June, 1952 concerning the full and final integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India.
Source: Parliament of India, Lok Sabha Digital Library
Dr S. P Mookerjee: There are many questions relating to the working of the States Ministry on which one would like to speak. But, in view of the limited time at my disposal, I would like to deal with Kashmir. One naturally would like to speak with some hesitation and consideration when one speaks about Kashmir, because we should not say anything or do anything which may strengthen the hands of Pakistan and also prejudice the consideration of our case before the Security Council. Yet one considers with great misgivings recent developments in Kashmir, and one would like to know where exactly India stands vis-a-vis Kashmir. I especially request the Prime Minister to have some patience with those who differ from his policy in relation to Kashmir. It is no use oar throwing stones at each other. It is no use our calling each other communalists or reactionaries. He should realise that on certain points there are fundamental differences between his approach and what we consider should be the national approach regarding this problem. It may be that after we discuss the matter in detail not only amongst ourselves, but with the representatives of Kashmir, we may be able to arrive at a satisfactory solution. Whatever I shall speak, I shall speak from that point of view.
We are anxious to find a satisfactory solution so that Kashmir may remain within India so that the great sacrifice which India has made along with the people of Kashmir during the last five years may blossom into fruits which will benefit the people of the entire nation. That is our anxiety. On the constitutional aspect, my friend Mr. N. C. Chatterji has spoken, and I shall not repeat his arguments. It will be for Dr. Katju to answer as to how far strictly under the Constitution the recent acts of the Kashmir Assembly, and the recommendations of that body, can be deemed to be justifiable and acceptable in view of the provisions of the Constitution. But I shall go beyond the limits of the Constitution for the time being.
There is the question of the flag. The Prime Minister the other day at the press conference tried to minimise the gravity of this decision taken by the Constituent Assembly. Sheikh Abdullah spoke two days ago, and he said “Oh, of course, we will recognise the Union Flag”. There is no question of his recognising the Union Flag. The Union Flag is there in spite of anybody, and that is the flag of free India. If you want to accept the principle that any State may have its own flag, you immediately create difficulties and you do not know where they may stop. It is no point to say that the Maharaja of Kashmir had his flag. I know the Maharajas in different parts of India have their flags. Our own Governors have their flags. The question is: Can there be a State flag? Should India accept the position that barring the use of the flag of the Union of India, any other flag should be allowed to be used? If I may use the expression, when the principle of monogamy is to be introduced here, it should be introduced in relation to the use of one flag for the whole of India. You cannot have divided loyalty. Sheikh Abdullah has said: “We will treat both flags equally” You cannot do it. It is not a question of fifty, fifty. It is not a question of parity. It is a question of using one flag for the whole of India, India that includes Kashmir.
There is no question of having a separate Republic of Kashmir having a separate flag. It is not a small matter. I have no time, otherwise, I would have read brilliant extracts from the speech delivered by Pandit Nehru before the Constituent Assembly .when he had the present flag of India accepted as the National Flag of the country. He expressed there in language which you cannot surpass, the sacrifice, and the real significance of the flag not for one State, not for this portion of the people or that part of India, but the entire people of India, and for the matter of that, for the free nation itself. So that is a question where the Government of India should deal with the matter very firmly. The National Conference can have a flag. I have no objection to that. Sheikh Abdullah’s argument is that we have shed so much blood, there has been so much suffering behind this flag. Undoubtedly. Let them keep the flag for the National Conference in Kashmir. No one objects to it, but when you work as Government, no matter where you function, only one flag can fly and will fly and that is the flag of the free country, of free India.
So far as the question of the Maharaja is concerned, the constitutional difficulty is there. There is no question of your deposing the Maharaja. It is an irony of fate that it is because the same cursed Maharaja signed the Accession that India sent the troops to Kashmir which enables Sheikh Abdullah to reign over that territory as the great monarch. If the Maharaja had fled away from Kashmir for whatever reason, then Indian troops would not have been sent, and then it is not the flag of India, it is not the flag of the Maharaja that would be flying today, but the flag of Pakistan.
An Hon. Member: It was because of the Maharaja that Pakistan raided Kashmir!
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: The Hon. Member says something which he does not know. So far as the position in Kashmir on 27th October, 1948 is concerned, it is a matter of history. There Mr. Jinnah was standing on the door of Kashmir, and as the Prime Minister said once, if we had been late by 24 hours, then Srinagar would have fallen, and who knows, history would have been written in a different way. In any case, the Maharaja is gone. There is no question of the continuance of his autocratic administration. He functions as the constitutional head of Kashmir with his hands completely bound, a dignified rubber stamp. But if you want that the Maharaja should not remain in any part of India even as a constitutional head over a particular unit let it be done soberly, properly and constitutionally. Let us consider the matter independent of any other issue. If the Parliament of India considers that the Constitution of India should be amended and there should be no Maharaja’s rule, no Rajpramukh in any part of India, let us discuss it. There are points in favour of it. There are points against it. There may be practical difficulties. There are already contracts made with them which are now enshrined in the body of the Constitution itself. Let us see, let us discuss with those very persons and see whether we can find any way which may ultimately get rid of this Maharaja’s rule from India altogether.
About the Princes—you can say much against them, but read the White paper which has been circulated which represents the, policy of the Government of India regarding the States. Let us not forget the difficulties that confronted us. When the British went away, they did two monstrous things. One was partition of the country, and the other was the sudden withdrawal of paramountcy from nearly 500 States covering about one-third of Indian territory. No country was asked to face a situation such as we were in 1947. It was practically leading to chaos. Due to partition, various forces had come into play to which I need not refer, but due to this latter act, the sudden lapse of paramountcy and making 500 units sovereign States throughout the length and breadth of the country, created such a state of affairs that one did not know, how to proceed. And here one naturally recalls the name of that great architect of India’s freedom Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. On account of his statesmanlike policy—he was fearless, realistic, courteous, bold whenever case demanded as to how he should act—he succeeded by 15th August 1947 in getting 497 states of these States coming into the fold of free India. They came in what capacity? In respect of three subjects only, foreign relations, communications and defence, because the British had declared that so far as the States were concerned, they could go to India or Pakistan only in relation to these three subjects. It was deliberately done so as to add to our difficulties, but in any case, barring Hyderabad, Junagad and Kashmir, all these 497 States came into the fabric of the Indian Union in relation to these three subjects alone. Today, Sheikh Abdullah speaks about Article 370. What is the history of Article 370 under the Constitution. I have got here the speech delivered by Shri Gopalaswamy Ayyangar when this particular article was accepted. I have no time to cover the entire speech, but since Sheikh Abdullah has referred to the speech in his broadcast the day before yesterday as if he got a charter from what Mr Gopalaswamy Ayyangar said on the floor of the Constituent Assembly, it is necessary that we should re-read the speech and find out with what objective we accepted this inclusion of Article 370 m our constitution.
Forget not what was the picture of India then. All these States had come into the Indian Union in relation? All these States had come into the Indian Union in relation to these three subjects alone. Then started the second phase. The second phase also was another grand performance of Sardar Patel. There was no question of forcing anybody. He sent for the ruling princes, because the Government of India then acknowledged that sovereignty, the rest of the sovereignty, the residuary powers did vest in the hands of these individuals. He argued with them, discussed with them and ultimately by the time the Constitution was framed, almost all the States came forward and accepted the pattern of the new Indian Constitution, a federal structure with all the units accepting that the Central Government will exercise its power in relation to all the subjects. Hyderabad and Junagadh had to be treated separately. Undoubtedly there are varied states. Part A states. Part B states, and Part C states. And now although they have all been united into one pattern, difficulties have arisen. We saw during the last one hour how one Member from one area and another from another area got up and pointed out his own difficulties. I do not deny that; the difficulties are there, but the structure is there before UP. With regard to Part B or Part C States, certain extra powers have been deliberately kept in the hands of the Central Government, but in any case all the units came into the structure of one Indian Union. When this particular article was placed before the Constituent Assembly, hon. Members interrupted; “Why this discriminatory treatment was being given to Kashmir?” And this is what Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar said:
“The discrimination is due to the special conditions of Kashmir. That particular State is not yet ripe for this kind of integration. It is the hope (mark the word ‘hope’) of everybody here that in due course, even Jammu and Kashmir will become ripe for the same sort of integration as has taken place in the case of other States. (Cheers)”
After his statement, there are the words ‘Cheers’, apparently from Congress-members, many of whom are today challenging the wisdom of questioning the right of Sheikh Abdullah to remain separated from India except in regard to these three subjects.
Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar then goes on developing this point further. He states what are the reasons. The first naturally, is that a war is going on, secondly the matter is before the Security Council, and thirdly the Constituent Assembly will sit in Jammu and Kashmir. Then again he repeats:
“I would like to assure the House that we can only now establish an interim system.”
Proceeding further, he goes on to state:
“At present, the other provisions cannot apply to Jammu and Kashmir.”
Then there is one other paragraph to which I would draw your attention, especially of the representatives of Jammu and Kashmir here in this House. This is what Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar has stated:
“It is not the intention of the members of the Kashmir Government whom I took the opportunity of consulting before the draft was finalised, It is not their intention that the other provisions of the Constitution are not to apply. Their particular point of view is that these provisions should apply only in cases where they can suitably apply, and only subject to such modifications or exceptions as the particular conditions of the Jammu and Kashmir State may require”
That is to say, even at that stage, the members of the Kashmir Government made it clear that although there might be some lapse of time, some delay, but ultimately they also were thinking of some sort of fuller integration with India. That is the major question. I was glad the Prime Minister the other day in his speech at the Press Conference emphasized this aspect. The Maharaja’s thing is there, the flag is there, but we can deal with them. They are comparatively minor points, I say comparatively, but I do not ignore their importance, but the major issue is how is Kashmir going to be integrated with India? Is Kashmir going to be a republic within a republic? Are we thinking of another sovereign parliament within the four corners of India barring this sovereign parliament?
That is the claim of Sheikh Abdullah and we contest it. Are we thinking of the rights of the Kashmir people to get whatever they can from India and not to give anything? Money, resources, roads, bridges all to be taken? Is it a question of ‘Give and take’, or is it a question of ‘Take and not Give?’ That is the question which has to be decided now. What is going to be the attitude of the people of Kashmir? We have proceeded up to now on this basis that we may carry the people with us. I would beg of the Prime Minister this much. Let him exercise that statesmanship, that strength of will, and the determination as Sardar Patel exercised. Let us know clearly what is in our minds, first of all, as to what we want. If you just want to play with the winds and say, “We are helpless and let Sheikh Abdullah do what he likes,” then Kashmir will be lost. I say this with great deliberation that Kashmir will be lost. If, on the other hand, we should make it clear in our mind that we do not want any individual pattern for Kashmir, we can think of only one pattern which we after great deliberation evolved in this Constitution, then you must find ways, peaceful ways of persuading our friends In Kashmir that their safety, our safety and our common good require that Kashmir should come and fully integrate with India. Kashmir has come in relation to three subjects only, but it is not these three subjects alone that we want. In this connection, I shall just quote a small extract from the White Paper containing the policy of the Government in regard to these States, as regards the way in which the States and Provinces should be integrated with India. This quotation is taken mainly from the speeches of Sardar Patel, which sum up the position in a nutshell. There is put forward a demand which we also are putting forward. That statement comprises the Governmental policy. Paragraphs 243 and 245 of the White Paper on Indian States, which embodies the policy of the Government says:
“The Congress agreed to a central authority limited to the most essential subjects and to vest all residuary authority not only in the States but also in the provinces, to avert the threatened disruption of the country. With the recession of the Muslim majority provinces of India, the raison detre for an attenuated centre disappeared in so far as the relationship of the Centre with the Provinces was concerned. As regards the States, with the rapid demolition of the barriers which separate them from the provinces, the question of the constitutional relationship with the Centre appeared in a new context.
This altered the whole background, and gradually the position veered round to a federal structure with a unitary bias providing for a centre strong enough to develop the resources of the country and to help against disruptive forges”
Thus, in six or seven sentences, the entire principle is embodied. I claim that these principles have got to be applied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, that being one of the units in Indian Union, under Article 1 of the Indian Constitution. In a democratic federal state, the fundamental rights of the citizens of one constituent unit cannot vary vis-a-vis the citizens of another unit. Are not the people of Jammu and Kashmir entitled to the fundamental rights that we have given to the people of India minus Jammu and Kashmir? There is no scope for varied constitutional patterns, disparities as between one federating unit and another, the legislative or executive authority of the units in respect of the States will be co-extensive with a similar authority in and over the provinces; subject to certain adjustments during the transitional period, the fiscal relationship between the provinces and the States and the Centre must also come under one authority. The Auditor-General of India must have fuller control over the audit systems in the States as also the Provinces. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court must now extend to the States to the same extent as in the case of the Provinces. The High courts in the States are to be constituted so that they will function in the same manner as the provincial High courts. All citizens of India, whether residing in States or Provinces, must enjoy the same fundamental rights and the same legal remedies to enforce them. In the matter of constitutional relationship with the Centre and in internal set-up these States must be on a par with the provinces. That is the question that we have to settle. We have declared our policy that there must be one set-up. You may treat differentially in respect of certain matters in a special way with regard to the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir. I am not worrying about that. But the fundamental question is that the fundamental rights of the citizen must apply to Jammu and Kashmir. There could be no compromise on that issue. The Supreme Court must function as the highest court or tribunal in the whole of India, Jammu and Kashmir including. The Auditor-General’s writ must function in the whole of India including Jammu and Kashmir. These are important issues, which should be conceded. Who made Sheikh Abdullah the king of kings in Kashmir? Who made Sheikh Abdullah a great authority? It is because the Indian troops went there and worked with the co-operation of the people of Kashmir. Did we do it for the purpose of creating a sovereign republic within a sovereign republic? Let me ask this question categorically? We would like to know what exactly are the feelings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I have got with me certain reports—but time will not permit me to go into, these details—which are coming from Jammu and Kashmir regarding the discriminatory manner in which that Government is carrying on its functions. It is painful for me to make these allegations on the floor of the House, but I do so for this reason that the Prime Minister may at least hold an inquiry, and not simply brush them aside as some arguments being put forward by communalists and reactionaries. We will not permit him to do so. He must go into each one of these questions and satisfy himself as to whether the allegations made are true or not.
If I may just refer to some of the points, what about civil rights? Is the House aware that the old Defence of India Rules promulgated by the British and the old Public Security Act promulgated by the British rulers for the purpose of crushing the freedom of the people of this country, still continue without the change of a single comma or semi colon, and still function in that free domain of Jammu and Kashmir? How many hundreds of people were arrested under the provisions of that law? Was any chargesheet given to any of them? Was the case of any single person placed before any Advisory Committee? The Public Security Act is applied in the case of a person who complains that the people are dying for want of food, and even the courts in Kashmir cannot convict them because the Public Security Act cannot apply in such cases. I have got here the names of newspapers which have been suppressed in Jammu and Kashmir, newspapers which are not allowed to go to Jammu and Kashmir from India.
What about education? During the time of the cursed Maharaja, there were at least Urdu and Hindi. Both got the same place. Hindi has disappeared from Jammu and Kashmir today. There is Hindustani only where the script is no doubt in Devanagiri, but so far as the content is concerned it is nothing but Persianised Urdu. I shall present a copy of this book to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. I have shown it during the last three days to a number of friends who know something of Hindustani—not Hindi—and very few of them have been able to understand many of the words which are used in this book, a book which is compulsorily used for all people in Jammu and Kashmir today. Hindi has disappeared under the secular leadership of Shri Abdullah in Jammu and Kashmir. No one reads Hindi there today. I shall make a present of this book to Panditji. He may kindly see it and I say with all his knowledge of Hindustani he may find it difficult to understand some of the words which many of our friends have found it difficult to understand. It a book (interruption)—I am glad I was interrupted— published by the Textbook Committee in Jammu and Kashmir, Textbook Committee of which Sheikh Abdullah himself is the Chairman, a Textbook Committee which, according to the secular character of that State, does not include one single member of the minority! It is all Muslims and one or two Europeans who no doubt, are the best interpreters of what sort of education should be imparted in Jammu and Kashmir! Now, in this book, there is one expression like this for “Rights of women”. It Is given as:
Aurat ko talaq aur khula lene ka hak hoga
It is a textbook compulsory for all, where the rights of women in Jammu, and Kashmir will be right of divorce—(interruption). Of course those who want it, can have as many marriages and divorces as they like and be merry, (interruption). So far it was alone, now it is also. (Interruption). You will read and digest it. So far as marriage is concerned, I am told they have some form of contractual marriage—in American language ‘companionate’ marriage—where you can live as husband and wife for a short while and then separate. That is the great right which is being held out to the women of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Minister of Education (MaulanaAzad): Do you know what is meant by Khula
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: I do not know.
Maulana Azad: You speak a wholly incorrect thing.
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: I am speaking on the authority of those who have said they know about it. If I am wrong, the hon. Minister will correct me. He can include it in educational textbooks in India also! Five minutes more. Sir. Now, so far as the boundary is concerned, I may just give you a few illustrations.
Mr. Deputy-Speaker: The hon. Member has taken a lot of time.
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: I will not have a chance to speak again on Kashmir during this session, and I request may be given a few more minutes.
Now, with regard to the boundary, the Udhampur district within the province of Jammu has suddenly been divided into two parts. It has remained as one district for years. A district which had a Hindu majority has now been divided and a portion of it facing the Kashmir valley has been turned into a new district with a Muslim majority. Now that has been done without taking a plebiscite, without taking the opinion of the people. If there is any plebiscite on a zonal basis, then at least that area of Udhampur district which is very fertile may go to Kashmir valley.
Shri M. Shaffee Choudhri (Jammu and Kashmir): May I know whether he is not creating a new Pakistan?
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: I know that my hon. friend is finding it hard. I do not yield. I shall discuss it with the hon. Member later on. (Interruption).
Mr. Deputy-Speaker: The hon. Member does not give way. I will give the hon. Member an opportunity to reply.
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: Now I will bring this to the notice of the Prime Minister, Sir (Interruption), I know he is getting impatient. I am sorry, but one has to face this. Now, Sir, there was a Trust known as ‘Dharmarth Trust’ with several lakhs of rupees which was created by Maharaja Gulab Singh and there was quite a large area of land attached to that Trust. It was meant for religious activities, education and for helping poor people. Now, what is the condition of that Trust? Most of the land has been taken away and the money is being frittered away.
Regarding the Government services, posts are being advertised reserved for Muslims. Is there any other state or administration where posts have been reserved for the majority community? Is this secularism? Even officers are being encouraged to join the National Conference. They are allowed to join as members of the political party and they also hold administrative jobs. It is an unheard of thing. If you have officers like that who will also be directly concerned with a political party, naturally what the consequences will be, you can realise.
Take again, Sir, the refugee question. You know we discussed it the other day. Thousands of Hindu refugees from Jammu and Kashmir are being settled in India. Why cannot they be given land in Jammu or Kashmir? Why should people from outside be brought and settled there? That also indicates a discriminatory policy.
Then you have the permit system. You have the customs duty. You have the old rights in the Maharaja’s time restricting rights and privileges, under which an Indian could not go and live there with equal rights with others. Those rights and privileges are still continuing — restricting the liberty of Indian citizens to enter and settle into that area.
I have got here two different version of a speech delivered by Sheikh Abdullah on 9th May at Srinagar. It is a very serious matter; I have got both the copies with me. One was distributed in Jammu and Kashmir officially, and so far as India was concerned, the version was different. Certain portions were taken out which might not be liked by the people of India. This was done in a very clever way. I have got with me copies of both these communiques issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Government— one for Indian consumption and one for consumption at home.
I do not wish to continue my speech longer because I have exceeded my time limit, but the only thing which I would say at the end is: what is the remedy? What is the way out? Under the Constitution as we have provided, we cannot compel Jammu and Kashmir to accede in respect of other subjects unless Jammu and Kashmir agrees, the Constituent Assembly agrees. That provision is there. I can understand my Communist friends. They have been from the very beginning for the dismemberment of the country. They started this by supporting Rajaji’s formula. They have supported the Muslim League and they have supported Pakistan. I do not blame them. Now, a strange position has been created. Dr. Katju, the Communist Party and Sheikh Abdullah stand on the same platform today. Yesterday Dr. Katju told me that a man is known by the company he keeps. Dr. Katju knows that the Communist party today is supporting Sheikh Abdullah.
What is my constructive suggestion at the end? I have one constructive suggestion to make. Persuade Sheikh Abdullah and let us all come to a private conference. Let us discuss the whole question. We are anxious that Jammu and Kashmir should come to India just as any other State has come. Let us know what special precautions he wants. But let him say that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are Indians first and Kashmiris next. Prime Minister must firmly assert that we do not want this kind of Kashmiri nationalism: we do not want this ‘sovereign Kashmir’ idea. If you start doing it in Kashmir, others also will demand it. The South is now asking for separation from the North; other provinces may come and say, ‘We will remain with the Indian Government only In relation to these three subjects’. Persuade them, but if Kashmir does not agree, then you give freedom to the people of Jammu and Ladakh to decide what they think best for their territory. I have got with me…………..
Shri Soft Mohd. Akbar: You are creating a new Pakistan—District wise Pakistan.
Dr. S. P. Mookerjee: ………. from the leader of Ladakh, a copy of a letter which has been sent to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He has sent a copy to me as President of the Mahabodhi Society. In it he demands specifically and says—if Kashmir valley does not wish to integrate with India, give them at least the same right of self-determination and the opportunity to decide; their safety lies in remaining with India. That is the alternative which I would offer to Pandit Nehru. Let him devise a scheme, first of all, whereby Kashmir may not have to be divided. We do not want Kashmir to be divided. On the other hand, we want that the lost territory within Jammu and Kashmir should be brought back within Jammu and Kashmir—the territory which is now in the hands of Pakistan.
But if Sheikh Abdullah is completely intransigent, and if he says, “I shall not come within India except in respect of the three subjects”, then at any rate let us devise a scheme by which the people of Jammu and Ladakh may have the full liberty to decide whether they will integrate fully with India. Let him have a loose integration only with regard to Kashmir valley. I do not want partition, and I have repeatedly said that. If Panditji can exercise his influence, his goodwill, his power of persuasiveness and whatever he possesses and thereby persuade Sheikh Abdullah and others to remain with India as a constituent unit in accordance with the sacred principles which have been repeatedly declared and which are contained in this White Book, then I have no objection. If not, do not drag large numbers of people of these other provinces who are desirous of remaining within India—do not drag them to the same fate as Sheikh Abdullah would like to drag them to.