CABINET MISSION PLAN AND  JAMMU KASHMIR

15 Jan 2018 11:48:20


 

I shall just draw the attention to a few of the records that are  related to  independence of  British India, preparations before passing of Indian Independence act , exercise done by British for peaceful transition and  facilitating entering in to some relationship  by the Freed Princes  with the Indian Dominion / Pakistan Dominion / Staying outside on interim basis / permanent basis till  the Dominions  / Princes draw out their own constitutions / policy of governance  { particularly as regards the Princely States after the Crowns cover / Paramountcy would not be available to the Princes in practice }.  So , those who  contest that the Indian Independence Act 1947 lays down that Princely States will have to  / or can accede to either dominion only for three subjects  had made / are making over statement. The Indian Independence Act 1947 of British parliament  no where said like this. No doubt as said earlier  inview of the time and circumstances in hand  the best immediate  path that was suggested / taken  was that the acceding states that did not decide immediately for total merger. As an immediate measure it was decided to accept  Paramountcy of the either dominion for  three subjects that earlier the Crown handled to avoid crisis and misgovernance. It needs to be appreciated that Sir Cyril Radcliffe  who got hardly 6 weeks to decide final boundaries for  new Dominion of Pakistan to be carved out from British India {commonly understood as Radcliffe Line} before 15th  Aug.,1947, could not complete the exercise about the future of the Gurdaspur District of East Punjab. 

In 1927 the British proposed a Constitution for India on the recommendations of  the Simon Commission, but without success. The election of  Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government in 1929 aroused  new hopes for progress towards self-government in India. Gandhi travelled to London. The fall of the Labour government in 1931 weakened the hopes. The British for the first time proposed in the 1935 Government of India Act, to hand over substantial power to elected Indian provincial legislatures, with elections to be held in 1937. After the elections the League took office in Bengal and Punjab with Jinnah again taking over the reins. Congress won office in most of the other Indian states. At a League Conference in Lahore in 1940, Jinnah said: "Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs and literature”.

The world economic order changed after 2nd World War. By 1946 the British had neither the will, nor the financial or military power, to hold India any more.

 Early in 1946, the Labour Government in Britain dispatched an all-party parliamentary delegation  { also known as Cabinet Mission } to India to meet Indian leaders to stress  the British desire for an early settlement of the Indian constitutional issue. The British Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India aimed to discuss and finalize plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership, providing India with independence under Dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations . Britain's Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, sent  the mission to  India   ( three Cabinet Ministers, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr. A. V. Alexander ). The mission arrived on March 24, 1946. The Mission purpose was:

  1. Hold preparatory discussions with elected representatives of British India and the Indian states in order to secure agreement as to the method of framing the constitution.
  2. Setting up of a constitution body.
  3. Setting up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties. The negotiations were conducted on behalf of the Congress by Abul Kalam Azad assisted by Nehru, Patel and Gandhi. The negotiations were bogged down on the basic question whether India was to remain united or to be split up to satisfy the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan. The Congress opposed to the partition of the country.


The Cabinet Mission also presented a Memorandum on States Treaties and Paramountcy to His Highness the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes {Nawab of Bhopal} on 12th may, 1946.  The brief  from the text said the following:

 

1.”Prior to the recent statement of the British Prime Minister in the House of Commons an assurance was given to the Princes that there was no intention on the part of the crown to initiate  any change  in their relationship with the Crown or the rights guaranteed by their treaties  and engagements  without their consent. …….. ”

 

The Chamber of Princes has since confirmed that the Indian States fully share the general desire in the country for immedia:te attainment by India of her stature. His Majesty’s Government have now declared  that if the successor Government or Governments in British India  desire independence , no obstacle  would be placed  in their way. The effect of these announcements is that all those concerned with the future of India  wish her  to attain independence  within or without  the British Commonwealth . The delegation has come here to assist in resolving the difficulties which may stand in the way of India fulfilling this wish.

  1. During the interim period , which must elapse before the coming into operation of new constitutional structure under which British India will be independent or fully self governing , the paramountcy will remain in operation. But British Government could not  and will not in  any circumstances transfer paramountcy to an Indian Government

 

When  a new fully self governing or independent government or Governments come into being in  British India, His Majesty’s Government ‘s influence  with these Governments  will not be such as to enable them  to carry out the obligations of paramountcy. Moreover , they cannot contemplate that British troops would  be retained in India  for this purpose. Thus, as a logical sequence and in view of the desires expressed to them on behalf of the Indian States, His Majesty’s Government will cease to exercise the powers of paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States which flow from their relationship to the Crown will no longer exist and all the rights surrendered by the states to the paramount power will return to the States. Political arrangements  between States on one sides and the British Crown and British India  on the other will thus be brought to an end . The void will have to be filled either by the States entering into a federal relationship with successor Government or Governments in British India, or failing this, entering into particular political arrangements with it or them.

Cabinet Mission proposed Plan of 16 May 1946 (Promulgated on May 16, 1946), the plan to create a united dominion of India as a loose confederation of provinces came to be known its date of announcement:

 1.A united Dominion of India would be given independence.

 2 Muslim-majority provinces would be grouped - Baluchistan, Sind, Punjab and NWFP would form one group, and Bengal and Assam would form another (Assam was a Hindu-majority province, while both Punjab and Bengal consisted of large populations of Hindus and Sikhs).

3 Hindu-majority provinces in central and southern India would form another group.

4 The Central government would be empowered to run foreign affairs, defence and communications, while the rest of powers and responsibility would belong to the provinces, coordinated by groups.

Cabinet Mission Proposed Plan of 16 June 1946 (An alternative plan proposed on June 16, 1946 was to arrange for India to be divided into Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan. The princely states of India would be permitted to accede to either dominion. Though not immediately accepted, this plan proved very near to the final settlement later.

When talks nearly broke down, Attlee sent Earl Mountbatten, India's last Viceroy, to negotiate the partition of India for early withdrawal of British. From all technical angles the Accession of J&K as of 1947 with Indian dominion is complete and legitimate. Under the Indian Independence act Prince of J&K was the only designate authority to decide for Accession. Maharaja Hari Singh unconditionally acceded to Dominion of India and also initiated for a duly elected Constituent Assembly where all the 75 National Conference leaders got elected. Though not required as per the instrument of Accession signed by the Prince of J&K, still the Constituent assembly also confirmed the accession with India.

The separatists and votaries of conditional accession plead that J&K cannot be compared with other   Princely States   that acceded with India. Some of the separatists were successful in spreading the forged message that the Instrument of accession signed by Maharaja Hari  Singh was special one and unlike other States it was only for three subjects. They have also succeeded in carrying messages to innocent masses in Kashmir valley and outsiders against the accession. (Professing simultaneously against trueness of 1947 Accession.) They have taken decades , so  India too will have to work hard to defeat  the   anti accession ideology and convictions that might  have { in fact have }  registered confusions, misunderstandings  or / and  protests  in the minds of people of J&K in general and Kashmir Valley in particular. Whereas the fact was that  structure and the text and the spirit of the instrument of accession  used by almost all princely states that acceded India dominion was the same. I shall produce here some relevant portions from the Address by Lord Mount Louis Mountbatten < Representative of the British Crown > to  a Special Full Meeting of the Chamber of Princes on 25 July 1947 :::

” …It took two years to separate the   province of Orissa from Bihar. Gentlemen , we decided that in less than two and half months  we shall have to go  through the partitioning  of one of the biggest  countries in the world with 400 million inhabitants. There was a reason for the speed. I was quite certain that while the British lordship  remained  no satisfactory conclusion could be reached psychologically between parties . So once the two governments set up and separated, they would be able to try and finish out the details in an atmosphere of goodwill. Now the Indian Independence Act releases the States  from all their obligations  to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom technically and legally independent. The first step was to set up a machinery by which it was possible to put the two future Governments of India ( The Dominion of India  and Pakistan) into direct  touch with the States. So I conceived the scheme of setting up two States departments with in the future Governments. The States Departments  are to take over  those subjects  gradually which have  nothing to  do with paramountcy but which  will be concerned  with relations  with neighbouring  States  and also provide the machinery to negotiate in such matters. In India  States Department  is under  the admirable guidance of Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel with my own Reforms Commissioner , Mr. V. P. Menon , as Secretary. In Pakistan the department is under Sardar Abdur  Rab Nishtar with Mr. Ikramullah as Secretary.But when I say that they are at liberty to link up with either  of the Dominions, may I point out that there are certain geographical compulsions  which can not be evaded ? Out of some thing like 565 States, the vast majority are irretrievably  linked geographically with the Dominion of India. The problem therefore  is of the greater magnitude with the Dominion of India than it is with Pakistan. In case of Pakistan the states though important are not so numerous, and Mr. Jinnah the future GG of Pakistan, is prepared to negotiate  the case  of each State separately and individually. But in the case of India where the overwhelming majority of States  are involved , clearly says negotiations with each State  is out of question. . The first step that I took was to suggest that in the Bill before Parliament …the Indian Independence Act… a clause should be put which would enable certain agreements to continue  until renounced by either side. That was only done to ensure that there should be some continuity if in short time available it was not possible to  get the agreement through with every State  representative. It does not replace the need for stand still agreement. ; it gives a small breathing time. …… Now I say it is not an exaggeration to say that  most Rulers and Dewans were apprehensive as to what results when paramountcy  lapsed. …..You can imagine how relieved I was, and I am sure you will yourself have been equally relieved, when Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel on taking over the States Department made, if I may say so, a most statesmanlike statement of what he considered were the essentials towards agreement between the States and Dominion of India.  Let us turn for one moment to the Cabinet Mission of 16 May 1946. In this  Plan the proposal was that the States should surrender to the Central government three subjects. Defence, External Affairs and Communication. That was a plan, that to my belief  every Ruler and State accepted as reasonable, fair and  just.Therefore , I am sure you will agree that these three subjects  were  handled  for  your convenience and  advantage  by a larger organization.The draft Instrument of Accession  was  circulated  as a basis for discussion { and not for publication} to the representatives of the States provided  the States accede to the appropriate Dominion on three subjects only without any financial liability. But I must make it clear that I have still to persuade the Government of India to accept it.  But many may be surprised to learn that that New Delhi has not been able to carry the fact down to people that the draft instrument of accession proposed to all the Princely States had the same subjects and text.

The Princely States that acceded Pakistan were very less in number. Some of them were not more than small Jagirs. The states that could be  listed are  Amarkot (Umerkot) in Sindh Pakistan (also known as Rana Jagir population 12000, Amarkot Ranas extended assistance Mughal  Humayun when he was escaping the Afghan  Sher Shah Suri, it is said that it became the birthplace of Akbar), Amb (Tanawal state) Pakistani Frontier state , Baltistan (western Tibetan kingdom, since 1840 subject to J&K) in Pakistan occupied J&K, Chitral Pakistani Frontier State ,Dir (Dhir) Pakistani Frontier State , Hunza Pakistani Frontier State, Kalat in Pakistani Baluchistan ,Khairpur in Pakistan ,Kharan in Pakistani Baluchistan ,Las Bela in Pakistani Baluchistan ,Makran in Pakistani Baluchistan ,Swat Pakistani Frontier State  and Bahawalpur.

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