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The Untold Story of Article 370

The Untold Story of Article 370



“Why should a state of the Indian Union have a special status? It conveys a wrong signal not only to Kashmiris but also to the separatists, Pakistan and indeed the international community that J&K is still to become integral part of India, the sooner Article 370 is done away is better.”

It is often not realized that among the causes of Kashmir problem – inclusion of plebiscite in the Instrument of Accession, reference of Kashmir to UN, halting Indian offensive when it was poised to drive out the invaders from Kashmir, Article 370 has played no less a part in preventing J&K from becoming an integral part of the Indian Union. Not many people are aware as how and why this Article was formulated and included in the Indian Constitution despite grave misgivings of Sardar Patel and indeed a large number of the members of Congress Working Committee and Constituent Assembly.

Article 370 was worked out in late 1947 between Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then been appointed Prime Minister of J&K by the Maharaja and Nehru, who kept the Kashmir portfolio with himself and kept Sardar Patel, the home minister, away from his legitimate function. Hence Nehru is answerable to all acts of commission and omission, consequences of which we are suffering till date as far as J&K is concerned.

While it was Mountbatten who persuaded Nehru to take the J&K issue to the UN, it was Sheikh Abdullah, who, driven by his ambition to be ruler of an independent Kashmir and his hatred for the Maharaja, persuaded Nehru to give special status to J&K. Among his reasons were – occupation of one third of J&K by Pakistan, reference to the UN and plebiscite. The most sinister aspect of proposed Article 370 was the provision that any changes could be brought about in it only by the concurrence of J&K assembly. Nehru’s promise that Article 370 was a temporary provision and will get eroded over a period of time has turned out to be a chimera. The first thing that Sheikh Abdullah got done was to abolish hereditary monarchy and redesignate him as Sadar-e-Riyasat who was to be elected by the Assembly. The accession of J&K State into Indian Union was approved by J&K Assembly only in 1956.

Dramatis Personal

Jawahar Lal Nehru

The handsome Harrow educated aristocrat who gave up a life of luxury to join the freedom movement. Babu’s choose heir and darling of the masses, he had a fatal flaw. He cared for personalities rather than issues and institutions, be it selection of Lord Mountbatten as the first Governor General of free India, retaining a senior British officer as the Commander-in-Chief of India Army or backing Sheikh Abdullah to the hilt – his choices were unfortunate. Finally the Chinese aggression of 1962 shattered his image of a world statesman.

Sardar Patel

The Iron Man of India — silent, strong and pragmatic with a complete hold on congress party organization — rightly credited with creating a unified India by integrating 565 princely states in it — he would have included Kashmir also in it if allowed to do so by Nehru. The only blot on him was the insinuation that he failed to protect his beloved Bapu. The slur only hastened his end in Dec 1950.

Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah

Charismatic Kashmiri leader who never let go of his dream of ruling an independent Kashmir even while masquerading as a secularist — architect of Article 370 along with Nehru. He must share with Nehru the grave consequences. Lion of Kashmir brought Nehru under his spell from 1938 onwards to the extent that in May 1947 when he was arrested by the Maharaja for sedition, Nehru represented Sheikh as his lawyer and was even arrested in Jun 1947 by the Maharaja while trying to enter J&K. Finally Nehru had to eat the humble pie by arresting Sheikh Abdullah for sedition on 9 Aug 1953.




Maharaja Hari Singh

The Maharaja saw an opportunity at the end of British Raj to keep Kashmir as the Switzerland of the East. Trying to repeat history when his ancestors – Maharaja Gulab Singh and Ranbir Singh gained handsome dividends by keeping aloof during the Sikh War and Great Mutiny, Hari Singh tried to sign a standstill Agreement with India and Pak at the time of independence, Pakistan signed, India declined. Maharaja died a lonely man, forced to abdicate and exiled from his beloved land.

The Drama Unfolds

Having finalized the text of Article 370 with Sheikh Abdullah, Nehru brought in Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, IAS, as a minister without portfolio to help him deal with Kashmir portfolio and plead the case of Article 370 in the Constituent Assembly. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar had been prime minister of Kashmir for six years with Maharaja Hari Singh. When Sardar Patel expressed his misgivings, this is what Nehru had to say on Dec 27, 1947.

“Gopalaswamy Ayyangar has been especially asked to help in Kashmir matters. Both for this reason and because of his intimate knowledge and experience of Kashmir, he had to be given full latitude. I really do not know where the States Ministry (Sardar Patel’s ministry) comes into the picture except that it should be kept informed for the steps taken. All this was done at my instance and I do not propose to abdicate my functions in regard to matters for which I consider myself responsible. May I say that the manner of approach to Gopalaswamy was hardly in keeping with the courtesy due to a colleague.”

The Sardar thereupon resigned and the matter fell in Gandhiji’s lap to bring the two colleagues together. During this period, V Shankar, IAS was the personal secretary to Patel and had maintained a record of all events. It is clear from these records that Nehru finalized the draft of Article 370 alongwith Sheikh Abdullah without even informing Patel. Thereafter it fell to Gopalaswamy Ayyangar to get the draft passed in the Constituent Assembly discussions. The proposal was torn to pieces by the Constituent Assembly and also Congress Party Executive.

Nehru, who was abroad at the time, swallowed his pride and rang up Patel and requested him to get the Article 370 approved It speaks volumes of Patel’s loyalty to a colleague that despite his own and others misgivings, he managed to convince the members of Constituent Assembly and Congress Party Executive. But to V Shankar he said “Jawaharlal Royega”. V Shankar, in his record has described the meeting of the Congress Executive Committee “The meeting was one of the stormiest I have ever witnessed barring the party meeting which discussed the proposition relating to Rajaji becoming the first President of Indian Republic. The opinion in opposition to Gopalaswamy’s formula was forcefully and even militantly expressed and the issue even brought in the sovereignty of the Constituent Assembly to draw up the Constitution without being tied down to the apron-strings of the Kashmir State Constituent Assembly. In such a situation even Maulana Azad was shouted down.

The Party was in uproar. The Sardar had to plead that because of the international complications, a provisional approach alone could be made leaving the question of final relationship to be worked out according to the exigencies of the situation and mutual feelings and confidence that would have been by then created. Once the Sardar had taken charge, all opposition to the draft was silenced” And how Nehru responded to this great act of loyalty on part of Sardar? On 24 July 1952, after Sardar was no more, Nehru made a detailed statement on Kashmir in the Parliament on slow integration of Kashmir into India Union and mentioned that “Sardar Patel was all the time dealing with these matters.” Even Gopalaswami Ayyangar was dismayed at this blatant lie and mentioned to V Shankar “It is an ill return to the Sardar for the magnanimity he had shown in accepting Panditji’s point of view against his better judgment.”

~ Maj Gen Sheru Thapliyal

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13 Responses to "The Untold Story of Article 370"

  1. Shashi Kiran G M  April 18, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Very Informative!! I like a Lot of articles from Sanskriti..

    Reply
  2. shyamala  April 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Very informative to our new generations mistakes our politicians buried.

    Reply
  3. irshad  May 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    very simple article proving how much cheatful have been the founders of Indian Nation .to their own nation …how come they will be sincere to Kashmiri Nation.and later history proved all above wrong Sheikhs stood most loyal to Indian politics for their own benifits

    Reply
  4. Chandra Segaran Nair  May 22, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I believe this peace of info must find its way into our schools history books.Currently the children are fed with rubbish hiding true facts.It is our onus duty to up date our children with the truth as it is.All efforts must be made towards that end.

    Reply
  5. Rajiv Ahuja  May 29, 2014 at 5:45 am

    India will never forgive Nehru ? Chanakya has rightly said. Leaders should tread carefully because the consequence of a wrong decision the future generation will pay.

    Reply
  6. Ravi Prakash  May 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Oh my god….

    Reply
  7. GANESSH IYER  May 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

    ALL THE INFORMATIONS MAY BE TRUE BUT THE FACT IS FACT, THE PERSON INVOLVED GOT THE FAVOUR THROUGH THE DOCUMENTS MADE CLEARED AND WE ALL ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE OF SELF CENTERED BLOODY PEOPLE. At any cost the 370 should be removed and should get the holdings of the land occupied by Pak and China at the earliest i.e before the end of this term of BJP.

    Reply
  8. Mongam Venkata Gandhi  May 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Pandit.Jawaharlal Nehru has given the special status to Jammu and Kashmir on a temporary basis but the same has been continued as the Nehuru family was under rule till 1989. After that coalition Govt.s came and all the Governments are run with the support of J&K Government and during NDA rule from 1998 to 2004 not touched the issue on secular lines.
    From 2004 to 2014 the Govt is UPA
    Now people of India given mandate to NDA and they will solve the problem.

    Reply
    • Rajiv Ahuja  February 24, 2015 at 4:46 am

      How ?

      Reply
  9. Bharat  June 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    So Patel shares an equal share of the blame – he should have let one man cry and millions live in peace.

    Reply
  10. Ramlal Hirani  August 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Bharat, Sardar Patel is not to be blamed as he was loyal to Gandhiji and even Gandhji let him down by not making him a first PM of India although with majority vote, but Patel never ever argued with Gandhi.
    But Gandhi was always supportive of Muslims and so has Congress party ever since.
    Now is the time to remove article 370, if it doesn’t happen then India is going to loose Jammu-Kashmir
    and many other Indian States to Muslim rulers….Hindus are responsible for not making a Hindu nation, all these so called seculars including Hindus are supporters of Muslims, and they have their way of getting rid off non Muslim….

    Reply
  11. Sanjay Choudhry  September 19, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Sardar Patel was brilliant but had two weaknesses: His desire to be magnanimous with his colleagues against his better judgement, and his blind loyalty to Gandhi who kept shortchanging him. Nehru and Gandhi both were petty and inferior people. Gandhi thrived because rural Indians with “uncultivated minds” treated him like a saint. Nehru thrived because of inferiority complex of Indians in front of Westernized Indians who spoke English. Sardar was the true leader of men but he deferred to Gandhi who had taken a shine to Nehru. Ultimately, Gandhi is responsible for the mess and promoting Nehru much above his station in life.

    Reply
    • Rajiv Ahuja  February 24, 2015 at 4:49 am

      I totally agree with Mr. Sanjay Choudhry.

      Reply

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