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Jammu and Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistani Conflict

324 pages
The Kashmir Valley has been the consenting victim to a process of rewriting of history. Many Kashmiris, since they proclaim attachment to the concept of "azaadi" (a synonymous of "independence"), forget various parameters that have marked their history (specially with Pakistan). This book is a translation from French of a work published in 2005: Le Cachemire dans le conflit indo-pakistanais (1947-2004).
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Jammu and Kashmir
N a t h a l e n e R e y n o l d s
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu and K ashmir in the IndoPakistani Conflict 19472004
Nathalene Reynolds
Translated from the original French.
An additional chapter covering developments during the period 2005-2016 will soon be available on-line at www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=auteurs&obj= artiste&no=10853.
© L’Harmattan, 2016 5-7, rue de l’Ecole-Polytechnique, 75005 Paris http://www.harmattan.fr diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr ISBN : 978-2-343-09613-1 EAN : 9782343096131
INTRODUCTION The Partition fulfilled, at least in part, the wishes of the Muslim League of Mohammed Ali Jinnah which argued for the ‘Two Nation Theory’ (the existence of separate Hindu and Muslim nations in British India). Pakistan’s independence(Pak-i-stan – th ‘country of the pure’) was proclaimed on August 14 1947; India’s 1 2 turn came the following day . The communalist carnage that accompanied the decision to partition the sub-continent did not augur well for future relations between the rulers of New Delhi and 3 Karachi . Moreover, the latter feared that India would try to undermine their fragile rule, with a view to later integrating Pakistan’s provinces into its territory.  Indeed, several princely states out of the total of some 565, which were directly linked to the British Crown (whose prerogatives were limited to defence, foreign policy and communication with other states), had opted for neither India nor Pakistan. Leaving Jammu and Kashmir to one side, there was a list of ten principalities of significance that were to go to the new state of Pakistan and which, by March 1948, had done so. The status of the small state of Junagadh situated in Indian Kathiawar and of Hyderabad (Deccan) were still to be determined, India having managed to settle the issues of the great majority of the territories located within its sphere. The cases of Jammu and Kashmir and Hyderabad, both large states, were in a sense comparable: the Nizam of Hyderabad – a Muslim prince – ruled over a Hindu majority population with the support of a Muslim elite. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, who belonged to the Hindu dynasty of the Dogras, governed a state whose population 4 was Muslim in majority , and he relied on the support of an elite
1 th India became a republic on January 26 1950, while the Islamic Republic of Pakistan came st into being in 1956 (on February 21 of that year, the Constituent Assembly voted for the rd country to become the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’; on March 23 , the Constituency was promulgated). The two states nonetheless remained members of the Commonwealth. 2 The term communalism refers to violence between different communities, notably Hindu, Muslim and Sikh and more recently Christian. 3 In 1958, President Ayub Khan decided to create a new capital city; Islamabad officially th replaced Karachi on October 26 1966. The construction of Islamabad had started in 1961, with government bodies being temporarily transferred to Rawalpindi. 4 The princely state, which spread across 220,000 square kilometres and included peaks of more than 6,000 metres above sea-level, was made up of five parts – Jammu, Kashmir, 7
dominated by his co-religionists, in particular Dogras, the majority population of the province of Jammu from where the reigning dynasty came. The revolt of Hyderabad, and especially its province of Telengana, was based, at least initially, around economic and social claims; the majority wished to be attached to the Indian Dominion. The movement in Jammu and Kashmir, in contrast, was first and foremost a political one. It developed, however, against a backdrop of the ethnic mosaic making up the princely state, itself of fairly recent creation: under the terms of the Treaty of Amritsar of 1846, Gulab Singh, who had been ruler only of the region of Jammu, had gained the territories of Kashmir, Ladakh (up to the Dras River), Gilgit and Chenab from the British. For the two new dominions born out of the Partition, Jammu and Kashmir represented a symbol. The authorities of Pakistan considered the accession of the princely state to be indispensable in order to demonstrate the truth of the ‘Two Nation Theory’. The Indian National Congress had finally given in to the Muslim League’s demand for partition. However, this did not mean it acknowledged the existence of two – Hindu and Muslim – nations. It did, though, accept the right to self-determination of the princely states. In the same way, it conceded that if Jammu and Kashmir had been put under the direct administration of the Viceroy, it would have joined Pakistan. Jinnah, for his part, advocated the attachment of Muslim majority areas to the new Pakistani state, at the same time as noting that in the princely states the decision was for the princes – maharajas, nizams, nawabs… 5 The Congress Party was seeking to create a secular state. Nonetheless, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League expressed doubts as to Congress supporters’ sincerity in promoting a secular approach. To back up their claim, they could cite the interest of Congress – at the very least its right-wing – in Kashmir, Baltistan, Ladakh and Gilgit. In the first of these, Muslims were estimated on the eve of independence as making up a little more than 50% of the population. The districts of Poonch, with the exception of the town of Poonch itself, and Mirpur were almost entirely Muslim. The Valley was around 90% Muslim. In the northern part of the state, Gilgit and Baltistan, the population was almost exclusively Muslim, while Ladakh was populated with Buddhists and Shia Muslims. These religious differences were matched by ethnic ones. 5 India employs the term ‘secularism’. It has similarities to the term ‘lay’ as used in Europe. In practice, the administration has generally sought to demonstrate an equitable treatment of different religious communities, rather than, in the French republican sense, of seeking a firm separation between the state and religion. 8
considered as the cradle of the Pandits, members of the priestly Brahman caste. The Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, himself seemed far from insensitive to this dimension, whatever his attachment to progressive values.  Jammu and Kashmir was also of interest by virtue of its strategic position. Apart from a border with India and Pakistan, the princely state formed a natural border, neighboured Tibet, the Chinese province of Xinxiang, and – almost – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from which it was separated only by the narrow band of the Afghan Wakhan corridor and a small area of Xinxiang in the Taghdumbash Pamir. It was thus coveted; both dominions had affirmed right after their independence their objective to become regional or even global powers. In addition, the Partition had deprived India – which regarded itself the heir to British India – of a part of its water resources, as well as wheat-producing territories, such as Pakistani Punjab. These ‘losses’ reinforced the importance of the rivers of Jammu and Kashmir that ensured the prosperity of the agriculture of the princely state, and in particular the Kashmir Valley. The aim of this short study is to examine the issue of Jammu and Kashmir as it impacted on the internal and external policies of India and Pakistan. After lengthy study of the available bibliographical sources, we have chosen to rely on archival documents and a range of other works of interest. The latter will enable the reader to gauge both the range of sources on Jammu and Kashmir and the divergent character of the analyses made of these. It is not, however, an exhaustive history. We will therefore only look occasionally at certain corollary questions, such as the ‘rewriting’ of major events undertaken by both India and the Kashmiris, the latter, after the end of the 1980s, very often drawing on Pakistani ‘re-readings’. Indeed, when looking at the increased tension of past years in 6 Jammu and Kashmir under Indian administration , many of key 6 We will on occasion take the liberty of referring to this area as the ‘former princely state’ or ‘former principality’. In fact, the Jammu and Kashmir of its earlier borders is today divided into various parts: Indian Jammu and Kashmir that Islamabad refers to as Indian-occupied Kashmir, or Indian-held Kashmir; and Azad Kashmir (‘Free Kashmir’) that New Delhi qualifies as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Gilgit and Baltistan have been integrated into Pakistan’s Northern Areas since 1949, apparently in a bid to stifle any independentist sentiment, or to prevent the establishment of a larger Azad Kashmir that might be capable of 9