Indian Independence Act and J&K:  Diversion of facts and assertion of political versions

31 Jan 2018 15:17:37



Pankaj Gupta

The history of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is quite tumultuous and many individuals like me have heard about J&K issue, since our childhood, only in the context of terrorism and separatists. Even the higher educational institutions never discuss about the Indian Independence Act and the accession of princely states, like J&K, with factual and legal substances. Since, the entire narrative of J&K issue has been spread by selective personalities, with their own political agenda, the supply of authentic information was quite a big challenge. So, whatever has been told by Pandit Nehru or Sheikh Abdullah or separatists was taken as the ultimate truth. Unfortunately, even the next generations of political dynasty class (like Farrukh Abdullah or Omar Abdullah) did not do much to contain the spreading of false propaganda. It is also a fact that though many a people talk about the speciality of J&K yet more than specialty the state was in news for wrong reasons. Therefore, it is essential that the discussion shall take place on J&K based on facts. It is surprising that the legislative provisions of Indian Independence Act, in relation to J&K, had never been discussed. Had that been discussed, many of the people would have been able to distinguish between the real problem of J&K and the false propaganda about the state. It is also important to note that a country has to run by the rules of written legislations and constitution yet in the context of J&K it has been running on the whims and fantasies of the political class. The truth that has been available in the Indian Independence has never been discussed or brought forth within the purview of public scrutiny because of some obvious political inclinations.

People are much accustomed to the tradition of worship and blind believing. I think it is fine to have some believe on natural power since the nature has created us and we have complete freedom to worship it in the manner we consider appropriate. But worshipping the human being is quite dangerous, whether it is of a religious leaders or political leaders, because it makes us blind believers. It is surprising that even the educated class also becoming blind believer of the political narrative. The term ‘Bhakt’, in the context of politics, has been used sarcastically for the people who believe in the leadership of Modi. But it is quite unfortunate that the same people who criticised Modi supporters and label them as ‘Bhakts’ are themselves not different from such supporters. Unfortunately, most of these accusers do not want to have a dialogue on the facts and they close their ears, mouth and eyes when something, contrary to their belief, is discussed. Such people live in the fantasy created by their political ideologue, which they do not want to break. So, humanity takes the backseat and even the incorrect information is passed on. I think this selective passing of information must be challenged.

India is one of the largest democratic country and unity in diversity is the distinct feature of this country. There are different religions like Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, etc. There are people placed in different income brackets and have been divided as poor, middle-class and upper class etc. People also identify themselves on the basis of language and region yet one thing unite them and that is the feeling of being an Indian. India has gone through a tumultuous history, wherein the people have sacrificed their lives for India’s Independence and went into anonymity. Though their contribution is not less than any of the prominent figures yet finding their name would be a daunting task. It is also a hard fact the India’s Independence was followed by the gory acts that has shaken every human being. Yet people have side-lined their differences and living the life with bonhomie. At the time of Independence, british India was divided into two dominions i.e. India and Pakistan. The Pakistan choose to become a Muslim country whereas India remained secular. The entire country, before Independence, was governed through an administrative arrangement of the Britishers wherein the 65% of India was directly governed by them and 35% indirectly through the rulers.


Indian Independence Act is one of the vital Act in the history of India as the two-nation theory was given legal shape through this Act and new dominion namely Pakistan was created from British India. Though there are other sections in the Act but in the context of J&K, like any other princely state, section-2, 5 and 7 are most important to understand, as it will help in understanding the case of J&K accession to India. Section-2 of the said Act divided the entire nation into two dominions. It is important to note here that this provision was applicable only in the matter of British India and not the 35% of the Indian states (or princely states), which were governed by the Britishers through the respective rulers of the states. Such princely states were more than 550 at the time of independence and J&K was one such state under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. The fate of these 35% of India was to be decided by its respective rulers and they have to exercise their choice of joining to either of the two dominions. This section only made the mutual consent essential in the matter of inclusion or exclusion of any of these princely states. Section-5 is about the provision of governor general for the two dominions. Section-7 mentions that on the appointed day, which was 15th August 1947, the British rule will come to an end in India and the princely states. But this section also gave power to the rulers of the princely states to take decisions in certain matters, wherein the legislative provisions are to be abrogated. This section mentions that “the provisions in question are denounced by the Ruler of the Indian State or person having authority in the tribal areas on the one hand, or by the Dominion or Province or other part thereof concerned on the other hand, or are superseded by subsequent agreements”. So, this section also construed that the appropriate authority in the matter of princely state was the ruler and the assent of the rulers of princely states was of paramount importance, as without their consent accession would not have taken place.

Though Indian Independence Act was passed by British parliament on 17thJune, 1947 and got Royal assent on 18th July, 1947 yet the fate of the princely states were largely decided on 12th may, 1946 when the memorandum on state treaties and paramountcy presented to Nawab of Bhopal and chancellor of chamber of princes in India by Cabinet Mission. Also, there was no pre-condition for accession except the decision of the rulers. Even the Mountbatten Plan of 3rd July, 1947 discussed about partition of India wherein it was left to the wisdom of the rulers to accede to either of the two dominions on the condition of contiguity, though it was advised to the rulers to join either of the two dominions in their own interest. So, the Maharaja Hari Singh joined India through the Instrument of Accession, which was a standard document used in case of any other princely state. Unfortunately, the Indian Independence Act has never been discussed in right perspective otherwise many issues would not have arisen. Also, many problems could have been avoided if the correct information would have been supplied. Unfortunately, the false propaganda was in forefront whereas the real facts were never discussed. This entire experience bolstered in spreading the wrong perception and the entire narratives on J&K were discussed only around a few selective politicians, who added fuel to the fire.

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