Jammu and Kashmir: Why a myth is being floated that Maharaja Hari Singh delayed accession

Ramesh Tamiri

Documentary makers and Delhi-based Kashmir experts need to do more research before embarking on their project.

Why a myth is being floated that Maharaja Hari Singh delayed accession because he was toying with the idea of independence.

Maharaja Hari Singh

Upto the time Partition Plan was announced in June 1947 Princely order believed that they had a choice to stay away from both the dominions after the lapse of British paramountcy. Many princely states toyed with the idea of independence. If Maharaja Hari Singh was also infatuated with this idea there was nothing unusual.

But terms of Partition Plan ruled out the idea of independence and princely states had to join either of the two dominions.

Maharaja Hari Singh was not naive not to understand this.

Now the choice before him was to join India or Pakistan.

In June 1947 Mountbatten sought to influence him to join Pakistan. Maharaja knew well accession to Pakistan would mean massacre of non-Muslim population and even losing Jammu.

Maharaja Hari Singh made up his mind to join accession in June 1947 itself.

Three factors delayed accession:

  1. Congress leadership was divided on the issue.The priority of one faction was Junagarh and Hyderabad and Kashmir later. Senior leader Shiban Lal Saxena was sent to Srinagar to advice Maharaja that he should not hurry in accession to India until issues of Junagarh and Hyderabad were decided.
  2. Nehru was interested in Kashmir coming to India but refused to accept accession till power was handed over to Sheikh Abdullah. Maharaja seriously doubted Sheikh Abdullah on two counts.One, he was not sure if Abdullah was seriously committed to accession to India. Two,he knew getting Sheikh Abdullah into Govt. would mean his losing his rule and also disempowerment of Jammu. Maharaja threw positive gestures at Sheikh but was vary of sharing power with him.Maharaja was proved right. He not only lost power but was even exiled and Jammu subjected to long continued secondclass treatment by communal political elites of Kashmir.
  3. J&K had 70% Muslim domination in 1947. Any hasty decision by Maharaja would have provoked war which the state was not ready to handle. Pakistan had infact started Muslim revolt in Poonch in August 1947 itself. He sought to buy time till state was in a better position to face Pakistan. This he did quite deftly which merits a detailed study. By second week of September 1947 Maharaja was convinced that internal and external situation was ripe for going to accession with India. Detailed study of documents of the period amply testify it.

National Conference and the Communist group in Kashmir were planting fake stories to defame Maharaja. New Government infact engaged two prominent personalities, one local and one from outside, to conduct this campaign.

It is really disgusting that fake narratives should still have takers.

Ramesh Tamiri is a scholar who gives a deep insight into Kashmir affairs and history through his fact-based, unbiased and objective writing.

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