Fact: Princely State of J&K Acceded to Indian Dominion.

23 Mar 2016 13:07:18


Princely State of J&K Accedes to Indian Dominion.

The text of Instrument of Accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh was the same as was signed by other rulers of the princely States. Similarly, the acceptance of the Instrument of Accession by the Governor General was also identical in respect of all such instruments. He was to write, “I do hereby accept the Instrument of Accession.” It could not be conditional as a  mere acceptance by the Governor General was complete and final.{ Indian Independence Act, 1947, provided that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as INDIA, and that the Government of India Act, 1935, shall with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor-General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India; The Act further provided that  the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor-General provided that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof }

A close  look at the Instrument Accession that Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir  signed on 26 October 1947 and as was accepted by Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, on behalf of Government of Indian Dominion on 27th October 1947 would  reveal that very vital questions remain still unanswered as regards the manner in which  Government of India  disposed of the Instrument of accession as was sent by Maharaja Hari Singh through Mr. V. P. Menon. ( a Secretary in States Ministry GOI ) .The questions  should agitate  the reasoning minds  for a better understanding  so that a widely acceptable  thought  could be made to emerge to settle the confusions as created over the years in the innocent minds of subjects of Jammu & Kashmir in general and those from Kashmir Valley in particular.

I would refer to some specific portions of the Instrument of Accession of J&K with India that was signed by Maharaja  Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir on 26 Oct 1947. The instrument said :  I quote contents of the Instrument of Accession  where it says that :

“ Where as the Indian Independence Act , 1947, provides  that as from the fifteenth day of August 1947 there shall be set up an Independent Dominion known as India, and that the Government of India Act of 1935 , shall,  with such omissions , additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor – General may by  order  specify be applicable to the Dominion of India. And where as  the Government  of India Act’1935, as so adapted  by the Governor General, provides that an Indian State may accede  to Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof : Now therefore, I, Shriman Indar  Mahandar Rajrajeshwar Maharajadiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu and Kashmir  Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State in the exercise of my sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute  this my Instrument of Accession and ……

3… I accept the matters specified in the schedule thereto as the matters  with respect to which the  Dominion Legislature can make  laws for this State….5.. The terms of this my Instrument of Accession shall not be varied  by any amendment of the Act or of the Indian Independence Act ,1947 , unless such amendment is accepted by me , an Instrument supplementary to this Instrument…

8.… I hereby declare that I execute this Instrument on behalf of this State and that any reference  in this Instrument  to me or to the Ruler  of the State is to be construed as including  a reference  to my heirs and successors” need to be observed for the purpose. . And Lord Mounbatten of Burma, the then Governor General of India  signed the acceptance on 27 October 1947 as ……… “ I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession dated this 27th day of October , nineteen hundred and forty seven”.

Hari Singh’s letter dated 26 Oct 1947 :

The Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja was covered with a letter of circumstances & reasons and so was the acceptance of the Instrument of accession .Maharaja Hari Singh did try to explain some reasons in his letter dated 26 October 1947 addressed to Mountbatten  Governor General of India ( GGOI ) for not signing the Instrument of Accession with either Dominion by 14-08-1947.   No doubt Maharaja of J&K  as per the Indian Independence Act 1947  read with


Government of India Act 1935 was  the only authority to take a decision regarding  a State of British Empire that was  outside British India  and make any observations on the circumstances as prevailed around him while taking a decision regarding accession to any of the dominion or otherwise relationships.

Maharaja in his letter said, I quote a;“ I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request the  immediate assistance  of your Government. As your Excellency is aware , the State of Jammu & Kashmir  has not acceded  to either of the Dominion of India or Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with China. In their external relations  the Dominions of India and Pakistan can not ignore this fact.

The Maharaja further said, “ I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interests of both the dominions  and of State to stand Independent, of course  with friendly  and cordial relations  with both……The mass infiltration of tribesmen drawn from distant areas of North West Frontier Province, coming regularly in motor trucks, using the Mansehra-Muzaffarabad road and fully armed  with up-to-date weapons, cannot possibly be done without the knowledge  of the Provincial Government of North West Frontier Province  and the Government of Pakistan. Inspite of repeated appeals made by my Government no attempt has been made  to check these raiders or to stop them from coming  into my State. In fact, both radio and press of Pakistan have reported these  occurrences . Pakistan radio even put the story that a provisional government has been set up in Kashmir”….Regarding his people the Maharaja said, I quote :“ The people of my State, both Muslims and non Muslims , generally have taken no part at all…… “.With the conditions  obtaining at present  in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from India Dominion……. Naturally they can not send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government.” …” I may Inform your Excellency’s Government that it is my intention to at once set up an interim government and ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities  in this emergency with my Prime Minister. “

Lord Mountbatten also wrote  to Maharaja on 27 Oct1947:

Lord Mountbatten also wrote a letter dated  27 Oct 1947 to Hari Singh  acknowledging the Instrument of Accession  as signed by Hari Singh on 26 Oct 1947. This letter surely has left some vital questions unanswered. Even Jawahar Lal Nehru’s then Cabinet could be questioned for the same , I would say even Vallab Bhai Patel could be . The core of the letter is reproduced here for those who would like to join the discussion initiated by me.


Lord Montbatten said, I quote : “Your Highness’s letter dated 26 Oct 1947 has been delivered to me  by Mr. V.P.Menon. In the circumstances mentioned  by your Highness, my Government have decided  to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistent with their policy that in the case  of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided  in accordance with the wishes  of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that , as soon as the law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared  of the invader, the question of State’s accession should be settled  by a reference to the people. Meanwhile, in response  to Your Highness’s  appeal for military aid, action has been taken today to send troops of Indian Army to Kashmir, to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives, property and honour of your people. My Government and I note with satisfaction  that Your Highness has decided  to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form  an interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.”

Important Point

Maharaja in his letter of 26th Oct 1947  had said “The people of my State, both Muslims and non Muslims , generally have taken no part at all. It is worth noting here that the letter from Mountbatten was dated 27 -10-1947 and by then neither the Maharaja nor Government of India had gone to UN / UN Security Council . India had made a complaint against Pakistan in Security Council on 1-1-1948. And so strangely on the on set itself { 27 Oct 1947 } Lord Mountbatten  Governor General of India  did not accept the instrument of Accession dated 26-10-1947 as signed by Hari Singh in full and  Lord Mountbatten on behalf of his Government laid down the condition of  final settlement of the Accession by reference to the people and  he classified J&K State as a State where the issue of Accession was a dispute.

In the circumstances as explained by Maharaja in his letter there was no reference of any dispute or resistance from the people of his State whereas Mountbatten had written to Maharaja that,  “In the circumstances mentioned  by your Highness, my Government have decided  to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistent with their policy that in the case  of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided  in accordance with the wishes  of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that , as soon as the law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared  of the invader, the question of State’s accession should be settled  by a reference to the people”. Whereas the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir who was the sole designated authority to assess the circumstances and requirements of his Princely State, after the lapse of British Paramountcy, had no where given any indication that there was a accountable objection to accession with India from his people as could over ride  Prince’s right for decision making as a Prince of State.

The Maharaja had nowhere talked of any dispute regarding accession of J&K and involvement of people of Jammu and Kashmir State { even Kashmir Valley in particular , rather in Kashmir valley persons like +Mohd Maqbool Sherwani were tortured to death by invaders for offering resistance to their plans  } in the turmoil / emergency that prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir  in Oct 1947. [+Mohd Maqbool Sherwani : A civilian 19-year-old unsung hero, who laid down his life in 1947. Very very few people  outside Baramulla do in 2010 know about Mohd Maqbool Sherwani, how he died and what decisive role he played in saving Srinagar from falling to raiders / Pakistani raiders who attacked Kashmir. ..

Sherwani was a  boy of 19 who single-handedly thwarted the advance of thousands of raiders (Kabailis) from Baramulla , thereby giving some lead  time to the Indian Army to land in Srinagar. He went around on his bike telling the Kabailis, who stormed Baramulla on October 22, 1947, not to advance towards Srinagar as the Indian Army had reached the outskirts of Baramulla. His bluff worked. The enemy froze in its tracks for four days. By then, 1st Sikh had landed in Srinagar, on October 27 { now celebrated as Infantry Day }.

Later the tribals / Kabailies crucified him and shot dead. One  Ali Mohammed Bhat, recollected after 60 years that  the Kabailis couldn’t digest that a young boy had fooled them. He had seen  a Kabaili on a motorcycle with an almost dead Sherwani slung across the petrol tank who was later was put on a wooden cross, nailed and fired upon 10-15 times. “Sherwani”  remained like that for two to three days and his  body was brought down when the Army reached the place. Army got time  to prepare for  the historic Battle of Shalateng, near Srinagar where over  700 raiders were killed.  As per Col Harwant Singh (Retd) who fought at Shalateng, Sherwani’s contribution changed the complexion of the 1947 operations tide in India’s favour. No doubt Acknowledging Sherwani’s contribution, the Army’s 19 Division has set up a community hall here in his memory at a cost of almost Rs 1 crore.

One  Francis Rath, an octogenarian Baramulla doctor, said, “I was on my way to Srinagar after the fighting was over. Vultures and dogs were feeding on the bodies of the Kabailis. Shalateng became their graveyard because of Sherwani…..The sacrifice of one  Master Abdul Aziz too was exemplary. The invaders who raped the nuns and wanted other non-Muslim women to be handed over to them, Master Abdul Aziz, a tailor by profession, held the holy Quran in his hand and said that they can touch the women only after they pass over his dead body and the holy Quran. The brutal killers did not spare him either.}+

Then why this condition

Then why this condition of settlement of issue of accession by reference to the people and what was the basis for Government of India to call the issue of accession a dispute as regards J&K when Maharaja Hari Singh Bahadur in his letter dated 26 Oct 1947 had clearly informed that the people of his State ( J&K) , both muslims and non muslims, had taken no part at all {were not by and large involved in the disturbed conditions as prevailed in the State at time in view of the aggression from across the borders along with the newly created  Dominion of Pakistan }, remains unanswered.

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