Historians have gone far beyond the lengths & breadths of India to describe Kashmir as the APPLE of Nehru’s eye, to project his emotional attachment for Kashmir as his roots and his love for Kashmir was more like the love for a beautiful woman. Indeed the fact that most of us are ignorant about is that the sole leader who was responsible for Kashmir to be an Integral part of India was Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
Till September 13th 1947 Patel had always been lukewarm towards the accession of Kashmir to India. But on hearing Jinnah’s acceptance towards Junagadh’s accession to India, he thought “If Jinnah can aspire for a Hindu majority state with a Muslim ruler, why can’t I aspire for India to want Kashmir’s accession even though its a Muslim majority state with a Hindu ruler”. This spark in Patel’s mind lead to a series of strategic plans which later became the History of Kashmir’s accession to India.
In early October the government received intelligence reports that Kashmir was under the Threat of attack from Tribesmen from Pakistan and on October 22nd 1947 the threat became a reality. Around 5000 tribesman with arms and ammunition attacked and burnt down the town of Muzzafarbad on the same day. Brigadier Rajinder Singh along with 150 of his men attained martyrdom at Uri with the intent of delaying the attack of the capital Srinagar and there by saving precious time. The whole of the Muslim and military force came to a stand still in Kashmir and the Maharaja Hari Singh unable to cope up with the lawlessness created in the state had to flee to Jammu immediately. While the Maharaja desperately called for the Indian Army’s help, Sadar strategically placed two simple commitments from him
1) Sign the Instrument of Accession before dispatching Indian troops to Kashmir
2) Request for Military help from India, in writing from the Maharaja
With no other option, the Maharaja succumbed to both the points laid down by Sardar and immediately the Indian battalion swung into action securing the Srinagar’s airport and advanced towards Baramula, 35 miles from Srinagar, to halt the raider’s attack. Brigadier L.P.Sen, the commander of Indian forces, in an ingenious plan retreated the Army to a point five miles from Srinagar, lured the tribesmen into the city and exterminated them in an all out attack. In the midst of all the action, all Jinnah could do was to remain a mute yet angry spectator. The Indian army was in the verge of victory and it was only a matter of time before the entire state was freed from the clutches of raiders.
With the insistence of Nehru wanting Shiekh Abdullah as the premier of Kashmir, the shaping up of its future slowly faded away from the influence of the Ministry of States headed by Patel. Nehru entered the arena by creating a separate Ministry of Kashmir headed by Gopalswami Ayyangar who directly reported to him. Furthermore on Mountbatten’s persuasion Nehru reached the doors of UN for settling the Kashmir’s dispute with Pakistan thus opening a Pandora box resulting in the state to be in a perpetual state of confusion till today.
Though clearly India was the stronger side to acquire the state into its dominion, a few misguided acts from our 1st Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru dented the perspective of having a trouble free state called Kashmir.