I am no political analyst but I am compelled to write this because my nationalist self will not allow me a quieter repose otherwise. With so much talk going around in current arena about nationalism and anti-nationalism about an impactful retaliation and considering the long term repercussions of such retaliation. Well, these are political decisions but then so were many other decisions or mistakes of the past whose long term effects have resulted in our present day crisis.
What are these mistakes I am referring to? Well, as I said earlier, I am attempting to dwell into the subject like a common man with only my nationalist pride as the tool to analyse the dark pieces of history and let me tell you nothing more was ever needed to avoid these grave national crimes, and surely you can’t agree more for my designation of word- national crime- for these blunders.
Let’s study these for our own knowledge (and that of the people like me) and then, possibly, make a pragmatic correlation with our present crisis for a firm decision that we, as members of a sovereign nation, need to take.
Four gravest mistakes
- Incorporation of article 370
Contrary to my original belief that article 370 was incorporated into the Indian Constitution as a prerequisite for the accessions of J&K, I now, have a clearer understanding that this was rather given as concession to please his Kashmiri friends by a softish Prime Minister who failed to realise it’s inherent implications ( I would like to believe this as the cause of concession rather than to believe that he did it despite full knowledge)
After our independence in 1947 first two years were consumed in brainstorming and drafting the constitution for new India and just ten days before the writing of the constitution was to be completed i.e. 26th of November 1949, Sheikh Abdullah and three of his associates from J&K approached the then prime minister of India Mr Nehru and demanded special privileges for the state of J&K saying that it was a Muslim majority state and that on this ground the state and it’s people be allowed special concessions. Mr Nehru directed them to meet Dr Ambedkar, the chairman of the drafting committee of the Indian constitution and asked them to submit their proposal.
However Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, such a learned patriot that he was, upon examining the proposal rejected it outrightly saying that he cannot backstab and commit this act of treachery by providing for provisions that allows discrimination among the people of India.
Nehru then presented the same proposal before the working committee of congress hoping for its approval but perhaps, to his utter disbelief, working committee also, unanimously rejected it. Left with no other option Nehru directed Sardar Patel to somehow incorporate the same in the constitution of India while he himself was on his visit to UK. Sardar Patel unwillingly complied lest he may accused of conspiring against his own prime minister but he added and made it clear that this will be a temporary and transient provision.
Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar boycotted and walked out of the session which passed this motion.
What was behind this unshakable interest by Mr Jawahar Lal Nehru to incorporate a provision that did not have the sanction of his Law minister and that of his entire working committee…pseudo idealism, mistaken concept of morality or some vested interest?
2.The Tibetan Blunder
Tibet was not only a close ally and shared closed cultural ties with India but also was the region of immense strategic importance for the security and sovereignty of the country. Tibet was an independently governed and peaceful buddhist neighbour till 1949 before its invasion by the people’s liberation army of China. China, while keeping prime minister Nehru busy with its carefully crafted Lollipop of ‘Hindi-Chini- Bhai-Bhai’ very cleverly and deceitfully captured Tibet. India not only did nothing to oppose China but also sanctified the Chinese military occupation of Tibet by accepting it as a region of China in the 1954 Sino-Indian Agreement on trade with Tibet there by conceding a strategically important region to its hostile neighbour giving him military access close to our borders.
China developed its nuclear station in Tibet, and the region from where few of the major Indian rivers originate has become a nuclear dumping ground for the Chinese.
Such was the result of mistaken sense of morality and irresolute leadership.
3. 1971 Fiasco
The story of 1971 Indo-Pak war is difficult to comprehend by any Indian with a sane frame of mind. There isn’t a parallel in the history where a leader of defeated nation gets a bargain much better than his conqueror.
India secured a comprehensive victory over its weak but immoral neighbour liberating east Pakistan separate from from the west and capturing about a lakh of its soldiers as prisoners. While most of the Indian attention was concentrated in the east where it made a significant victory, on the western front Pakistan managed to gain jump-of regions in Kashmir and some areas of Punjab. After the war was over and Gen. Ayub Khan walked in as the leader of a defeated nation to sign the Shimla agreement in 1972 to beg for the release of his soldiers, shockingly, for some inexplicable reasons Mrs Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India conceded an unpardonable bargain.
- All the 95000 prisoners were released.
- Line of cease fire, which was somewhere between the previous line of control and the international border became the new accepted the Line of control.
- Pakistan was allowed to keep areas of Kashmir which it captured as POK.
- Kashmir was formally recognised as the ‘Disputed area’ which was not the case in the pre war era.
- Both sides agreed upon solving the Kashmir issue bilateral and without use of force.
Imagine a situation where the leader of defeated army woes not to use force in future against an army ten times it size. The situation couldn’t have been described more aptly than a sports commentator of that time.
“India manages to snatch diplomatic defeat from the jaws of victory”
With a strong ally like Russia standing by its side keeping China at bay, India could have regained POK and easily severed China’s land access to Gilgit and beyond.
4.Refusal to be part of UNSC as permanent member
There are documentary evidences including Mr Nehru’s own submission that India was offered a permanent seat in UN security council in preference to and also in addition to China by both US and Russia. Owing to his moderate idealism and misguide sense of international morality Mr Nehru refused the offer saying it will cause unrest in the region and China was a better candidate for the same. Needless to say that China grabbed the opportunity and today it is using this to humiliate India at every forum.
If we analyse these mistakes today, I am sure it will create a huge sense of defect in all of us about the kind of leadership we have had- weak, indecisive and lacking a clear foresight committing an unpardonable crime for generations to come.
Why am I analysing these mistakes today, because it feels condescending to know that we have been, for decades, ruled by weak and compromising rulers. The ruler of a nation should possess qualities that are both appropriate and sufficient to safe guard the interest of its people, merely being a good statesman, good at heart, is not good enough.
We as citizens of this country should send clear message to our present leaders that they need to take strong retaliatory measures as for as our present day crisis with Pakistan is concerned be it diplomatic or military or any other and not repeat the grave mistakes committed in the past.
This writing is very incisive. As a contrast, the Pokhran test made us feel proud of our nation’s capability and leadership. I can only imagine the morale of our army after the 71 war.
Very well explained and laid out. I agree that article 370 of our Constitution was a grave mistake. I hope I leaders see it so and repeal it. Good work Shishir.
Very informative blog.Keep it up shishir.
Thanks a lot, sir