& Kashmir: Battle for Integration
per traditional Hindu scripture, Kashmir is the abode of the Goddess
of knowledge (Saraswati). The students of the traditional Sanskrit
schools by and large in their prayer recite the verse:- “Namaste
Sharada Devi Kashmirpurvasini, Tvamaham Prarthaye Nityam, Vidyam
Buddhim cha Dehi Me” ( Oh Goddess of knowledge Sharada, whose
abode is Kashmir. I pray, please bless me with knowledge). Kashmir
according to Nilamat Puran, an ancient Hindu scripture was a vast
lake and Rishi Kashyap turned it into a valley and developed Vedic
recorded history of Kashmir shows that there was no shadow of Islam
in the valley till Sultan Mehmood of Ghazani made an unsuccessful
attempt in 11th century AD to conquer this Hindu
inhabited area. A literary Sanskrit book – “Rajtarangini”
written by Kalhan in between the period 1147-50 AD and history of
most celebrated Hindu kings namely Lalitaditya of 7th
century AD as well as Avantivarman of 11th century AD are
enough proofs that this state had a Hindu origin, which was
gradually islamised by foreign invaders after 13th
century AD. Balraj Madhok in his book – Kashmir: The storm centre
of the world (page 403) said, “Like most other notable Kashmiris
Abdullah (Sk Abdullah) also was a scion of a Kashmiri Brahmin family
of Srinagar, whose head Pandit Ragho Ram Kaul was converted to Islam
in 1766 AD. His grandson Abdullah played an important role in
creating political awakening and turmoil in Kashmir”. An American
theologian Dr.Paul Muller in his book The Triadic Heart of Shiva has
described Kashmir Shaivism as a major school of Indian philosophy on
par with Vedanta (Organiser dated August 13,2000).
basic idea behind the formation of the RSS by its founder Dr.
Hedgewar was to unite the fragmented Hindu society, which had to
suffer for about 800 years due to imperial imposition of Islam on
the Hindus and their Vedic culture. The RSS in its efforts to awaken
the people against the distorted “Hindu history” of this
sub-continent known as Bharat Khand of Jamboo Dweep and revive its
glorious traditions have been working day and night for the last 75
years. The Kashmir issue has therefore been its first regiment in
its ideological battle right from the day of the state’s accession
to India on October 26, 1947. With its full conviction that
“Hindutva is the soul of this country and it is absolute truth”
(Late Balasaheb Deoras, former chief of RSS ), the RSS has been
awakening the people against the onslaught of “Islamic
imperialism” on the centuries old glorious past of Hindu Kashmir.
RSS has been the main challenger to Kashmiri Muslims, who in the
name of preserving the “Kashmiri identity” are fighting for the
independence/autonomy/special status of this most sensitive and
strategic state on border. Considering the accession of Kashmir to
India as complete and final, the RSS maintains that its history,
geography and culture have made it an inseparable part of India and
as such any claim of Pakistan or the separatist elements in the
valley must be defeated by any means.
RSS Shakhas started coming up in Jammu in 1940 and Prem Nath Dogra,
a member of Praja Sabha of Dogra rule in Kashmir became its first
Sanghchalak in Jammu in 1942. Prof, Balraj Madhok also started a
Shaka in Srinagar in 1944. M.S.Golwalkar, the then RSS chief made
his first visit to Srinagar sometime in middle of 1946 and addressed
a rally of Kashmiris in the valley, which had 90% Muslim population.
He also met Maharaja Hari Singh on October 18, 1947 and played an
important role in convincing him for state’s accession to India (Narendra
Sehgal in his book – Memorial of Mistakes – Converted Kashmir
RSS was banned following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on
January 30,1948 but once the ban was lifted, it became the vanguard
to challenge the Nehruvian policy on Kashmir through its political
arm, the Bhartiya Jana Sangh and later through Bhartiya Janata Party
(till it was in opposition at centre ) It maintains that the Kashmir
issue is a bi-product of Nehruvian secularism, which has polluted
the psyche of the country to such an extent that this issue will
never get resolved until the Nehruvian secularism dies.
Malkani, a senior BJP leader in his book – The RSS Story -( page
61 ) quoted the views of the Kendriya Karyakari Mandal of the RSS,
the supreme policy making body of the organisation that, “the only
solution of Kashmir issue was deletion of Article 370 of Indian
constitution and return of Pak Occupied Kashmir. Even the BJP till
it was in opposition at centre sang the same tune. The BJP leader
L.K.Advani, while addressing a meeting (London – August 23,1995)
organised by the “Overseas Friends of the BJP” said, “ A BJP
Government would scrap Kashmir’s constitutional status and recover
the third of the state’s territory under illegal Pakistani
occupation” (Hindustan Times, New Delhi, August 24,1995).
history of freedom movement in Kashmir reveals that Sk. Abdullah’s
main thrust of the movement was against Maharaja Hari Singh and not
against the Britishers. From the very beginning when he formed
Muslim Conference in Kashmir in 1931, his fight was for scrapping
the Treaty of Amritsar. In 1846 Kashmir passed into the hands of a
Hindu King Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu after he entered into this
treaty with Britishers. In his fight against Raja Hari Singh,
Abdullah raised the cry of Kashmiri nationalism due to which RSS
suspected him to be a force against Indian nationalism. Kashmiri
nationalism-the call of Abdullah was linked with the Islamic
imperialistic design of the Muslim invaders by the RSS. His
aspiration for usurping power of Kashmir from Hindu ruler of the
state also resulted into a personal animosity between Sk. Abdullah
and Raja Hari Singh.
Abdullah’s intention created a suspicion among the Hindus of Jammu
region, his leadership remained confined to Kashmir valley and some
Muslim majority areas of Jammu region only. His movement therefore
did not get much support from the Hindu population of Jammu, which
on the other hand had fully cooperated with the national freedom
movement under the leadership of Indian National Congress.
1946 Abdullah launched “Quit Kashmir Movement” and gave a public
call to Maharaja Hari Singh to quit Kashmir and free it from Dogra
rule. He did not link his movement with rest of the country against
the British rule. He was therefore, arrested by the police of Hari
Singh. Fortunately or unfortunately Pandit Nehru had unbounded faith
in Abdullah, and never doubted him. Due to his support to
Abdullah-centric political arrangement for Kashmir, Nehru was never
liked by Maharaja Hari Singh. This was the main reason why despite
all the pressures from his close associates including his council of
Ministers and efforts of Sardar Patel, the Maharaja was mentally not
prepared to accept the accession of his state to India under the
Prime Ministership of Nehru. The Maharaja felt that transfer of
power to Nehru dominated India meant transfer of power from Hari
Singh to Sk. Abdullah. Accordingly, when Nehru tried to intervene
for the release of Abullah , his entry to the state was also banned
by Hari Singh. Nehru was in fact arrested when he defied the ban
order and entered Kashmir.
became the Prime Minister and with the support of Nehru, succeeded
in maneuvering the transfer of the administrative control of Jammu
and Kashmir from Union Home Ministry to the Ministry of External
Affairs in 1948. This was one indication that Abdullah did not
accept the accession of Kashmir to India like other princely states
of the country. Nehru also agreed for plebiscite in Jammu and
Kashmir, which was against the spirit of the Indian Independence Act
passed by British parliament. There is a general impression that
Article 370 was got incorporated in Indian constitution by Sk.
Abdullah scrumptiously with the support of Pandit Nehru, as Dr.
Ambedkar had opposed it .
conformity with its opposition to the partition of the country
between “Hindu India” and “Muslim India”(Pakistan), the RSS
got an important issue for marching in its ideological battle. It
strongly opposed Nehru on his role in Kashmir. Picking up threads
from his “blunders” in Kashmir, the RSS made it the prominent
agenda of the organisation in its ideological fight against
Nehruvian secularism and successfully expanded its philosophical
base in the country. Its stand on Kashmir has not been challenged
effectively by its opponents among the non-Kashmiri political
parties in the country because of its wide range of support among
actual role of the RSS in Kashmir started in 1953, when it actively
supported the agitation launched by the Hindus of Jammu under the
banner of a political party Praja Parishad against the special
status of Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution. In fact
Praja Parishad was formed in November 1947 itself in Jammu by a
group of RSS Swayamsevakas under the leadership of Prem Nath Dogra,
the then Sanghchalak of Jammu to oppose the alleged partisan
attitude of Sk. Abdullah towards the Hindu dominated Jammu region.
The main plank of the party were:
Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was complete and final.
One Prime Minister, one Flag and one constitution for entire nation
including Jammu and Kashmir. “EK VIDHAN, EK NISHAN AND EK PRADHAN”
was the slogan.
Abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ending of the policy of discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh and
Hindu minority in the state.
Dismissal of the Government headed by Sk. Abdullah.
Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha of RSS in a resolution (March 1953
)condemned the repressive measures of Abdullah Government against
the Satyagrahis of Praja Parishad Dr.Shyama Prasad Mukherjee defied
the permit system for entry of non-Kashmiri Indians to Kashmir and
was arrested on May 11,1953. He died in jail on June 19. The RSS
highlighted the death of Mukherjee as a mystery. It also pointed out
the “anti national” design of Sk. Abdullah and created public
opinion that resulted in Abdullah's government's dismissal and
the then RSS chief, while strongly criticising the Nehruvian policy
on Kashmir condemned the statement of Nehru on plebiscite and
declared in a function at Nagpur(August 1953) that, “if at all a
plebiscite is to be held on Kashmir issue, it should be all over the
country and not confined to Kashmir state alone. Limiting it merely
to Kashmir would be an act of treachery to the whole country”(
RSS: A Vision in Action by H.V. Seshadri – page 46).
could stage his come back as the head of Kashmir Government only
after 1975 Indira-Sk. Accord but not with his pre-1953 status. By
that time much of the provisions of Article 370 of the constitution
was diluted and those in Kashmir, who are still fighting for revival
of such status are perhaps on a weak wicket.
1981-82 the RSS inspired agitation under the banner of Hindu Raksha
Samiti against state government plan to introduce a Bill in Kashmir
Assembly to take over the control and management of Hindu shrines in
the state forced the Government to withdraw the plan. In the summer
of 1985 the same Hindu Raksha Samiti launched another agitation and
thwarted a move of the state government to raise a mosque inside
the BJP led coalition Government came to power at centre in 1998,
the RSS leadership expected its Home Minister L.K.Advani to remember
his declaration in London on August 23,1995 (Already quoted) and
pursue proactive policy in Kashmir. The RSS strongly opposed the
resolution for autonomy adopted by Kashmir Assembly in June 2000 and
is not satisfied with the “soft” attitude of Vajpayee Government
in handling the Kashmir issue. The RSS is now much concerned about
the alleged on going demographic change in Jammu and Ladakh region
of the state against which some of its leaders have informally
favoured the idea of the tri-furcation of state though it is not the
official stand of the organisation because of strategic reasons.
summing up the discussion, we may agree or disagree but for the RSS,
Kashmir is closely linked with its “second war of Independence”.
With its full conviction that “the history of Kashmir is the
history of Hinduism” the RSS will continue its battle so long
Kashmir, which also includes Pak Occupied Kashmir is not integrated
fully with the rest of the country.
special arrangement with South Asian Analysis Group, New