About a decade back, the Centre for European Studies, Jadavpur University, organized an international seminar around identity politics. Dr. Nandinee Bhattacharya (Calcutta Girls College) and I presented a paper entitled Imagined Authenticities: National and Supranational Identity Building in Kashmir and Tadzhikistan. Subsequently much time has lapsed. The present essay is based on the portion on Kashmir, for which I was mainly responsible. As I could not get Dr. Bhattacharya’s permission before publishing this in a slightly different form in a printed journal, I have been forced to omit her name. But I wish to record that the arguments developed here have her inputs too.
Kashmir and Central Asia
There is a long stretch, from Kashmir via Afghanistan to the ex-Soviet Central Asia, where ethnic, linguistic, religious and other identities jostle uneasily. Plural identities might not have caused any harm, were it not for the fact that each identity is held up by its champions as the sole authentic identity. In this essay, my concern is to argue that imagined histories of authenticity do not provide convincing cases for contemporary forms of unity. Instead, they often result in destructive conflicts. One could mention Afghanistan and Tadzhikistan as other such cases. Space constraint and the need to present a focused narrative prevent me from doing so at any length. But a few points will bring out one highlight, which I would like to return to at the end of the essay. Tadzhikistan and Kashmir have certain similarities. Both have been parts of multi-national, multi-ethnic states. Both have, in the past, had tolerant religious traditions. But there have also been important differences. The point I wish to make is not that these are identical, but that historical patterns cannot be unquestioningly called into the service of any force. Texts of contemporary or modern history, documents, agreements and violations of agreements, and so forth, might be of more use in working out legalities. But the building of modern nations and states in a democratic manner, where citizens can really control their lives, and not simply take part in make believe electoral farces, calls for a sharp questioning of all prevailing claims of authenticity that can impose totalitarianism in the guise of democracy coupled with “national security”.
Imagined Authenticities, Contradictory Claims
In the case of Kashmir, three mutually incompatible claims have been standing against each other, and bleeding the place to death. If this last clause sounds hyperbolic, let us look at some figures. According to Bilal Hussain, a Srinagar based journalist, writing on 11 September 2010, “Due to the ongoing political unrest the loss suffered by the valley would be around INR 20 to 25 crores a day as the impact doesn’t include all economic sectors and for 80 days it is around INR 1600 crores”.  Interestingly, Hussain is actually trying to reduce the loss claims made by the Government of India, arguing that this is a ploy by the state to put pressure on the agitators. Other estimates exist, like the one by Dr. Angana Chatterjee, Professor, Department of Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies and Co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir. Chatterjee has claimed in a recent article that since 1990, Kashmir’s economy has incurred a loss of more than 1,880,000 million Indian Rupees ($40.4 billion U.S.). 
As for actual deaths, the figures are absolutely shocking, if only Indians were not fed information that contradicts them incessantly. Chatterjee’s article mentions that the Indian army, paramilitary forces and the police have killed (executed is her word) 109 persons between June 11 and September 22 of 2010. And this was no extraordinary summer. According to Kashmir Watch, this is the general picture of Kashmir:
THE VIOLENCE UPDATE 
Since 1989: 93,092
Since 1989: 105,769
Since 1989: 107,298
Since 1989: 9,894
Since 1989: 22,708
And these exclude certain other dimensions that cannot be excluded when looking for the total picture, including killings by armed groups calling for independence as well as armed groups trained by Pakistan for its own goals.
The three contested authenticities are Kashmir’s authentic national claim, Kashmir’s Islamic and consequent Pakistani identity, and Kashmir’s being irrevocably Indian. Each of these is based on certain myths about history. While in this essay my main focus will be on the Indian claims and the myths involved, I do propose to look at the other options as well. It is my argument that both the Indian and the Pakistani claims are based on profoundly illegitimate bases. It is my further contention that a simplistic argument about the right of nations to self-determinations does not clarify the issues, since who is the nation is an important question here.
The Illegitimacy of Indian and Pakistani claims
India claims that by the Instrument of Accession signed by the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, followed by the fact that the Constituent Assembly of India had members from J&K, and that the J&K Constituent Assembly itself accepted the accession, and finally that there have been repeated democratic exercises, show that Kashmir’s accession to India is final. I propose to show that these claims are based on hiding gaps. At the time the instrument of accession was signed India had promised to hold a referendum, never held subsequently. The elections in Indian administered J&K, have repeatedly been heavily doctored elections. And legal processes have been flouted in the process of building up the so-called Indian claim. As only a clear historical narrative can establish the foregoing, we will shortly go into such a narrative.
The Pakistani claim is simpler, but no less dangerous. Pakistan was created on the basis of the claim that Muslims constituted a separate nation in India. This was a great distortion of the democratic ideal of the right of nations to self determination. That was a demand formulated in the context of oppressed nations and oppressor nations, and where the oppressed nation was founded on at least some kind of democratic principle. It can be argued that all nation-states are based on certain exclusions and marginalisations, but the experience of Israel, Pakistan, and similar cases clearly show that nation states defined by religion are bound to exclude minority religions. Secondly, the historical experience of Pakistan showed that religion is a poor foundation for a nation. Muslims remaining in India were as numerous as those who went to Pakistan, yet the creation of Pakistan by equating Islam and national identity left those in India vulnerable to Hindu communal charges of being crypto-Pakistanis. Moreover, Islam proved to be a poor basis of nation building, as it led to the imposition of West Pakistani domination over East Pakistan, and conflicts culminating in the breakup of the country and the emergence of Bangladesh.
Kashmir is Indian (And Damn Arundhati Roy)
To the average Indian, Kashmir’s accession to India appears cast in reinforced concrete. The mythic elements in its construction and repeated reconstruction are usually elided. Yet a careful scrutiny of events and of texts will disclose severe problems with the official Indian claims. To begin with, Jammu and Kashmir was not part of British ruled India, but a princely state. This, and the earlier history, of the territories in dispute cannot be ignored if we were looking for solutions where humans and their aspirations matter.
For Kashmiris, the crucial rupture in their history dates from 1586, the year when the Mughal emperor Akbar conquered Kashmir. Islam had come to Kashmir through Sufis, and as a result it had been both peaceful and heterodox.  Prominent Sufi saints like Nur-ud-Din were revered by Hindus and Muslims alike, while later on orthodox Islamic currents found it difficult to swallow the specificities of Kashmiri Islam with its syncretic tendencies.  So in the history of Kashmir, religion was not the basic divide, contrary to recent communalist claims. From the Mughals Kashmir passed to the Afghan empire of Ahmad Shah Abdali, and then to the rising Sikh empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was Ranjit who gave Jammu as a jaigir to his nobleman, the Dogra Rajput chieftain Gulab Singh.
The establishment of the Dogra monarchy in particular calls for close scrutiny, for the official Indian claims hinge on the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, and therefore on his sovereign right to make such decisions alone. At the beginning of the 19th Century, Kashmir was still part of the Durrani Empire. Ranjit Singh’s own title of Raja had come from Zaman Shah, the Afghan ruler.  Ranjit had made an abortive attempt on Kashmir in 1813, aided by his Dogra general Gulab Singh. The latter was a Dogra Rajput whose father held the jagir of Andarwah in Jammu.  Taking advantage of the weakness of the rulers of Jammu, Ranjit conquered Jammu in 1808. Gulab Singh joined his court as a military officer. As a reward for switching over and for his other services, Ranjit made him a Raja and awarded Jammu to him as a vassal kingdom.  Eventually, in 1819 Ranjit conquered Kashmir from the Afghans. In 1841, Zorawar Singh, a general of the Sikhs, invaded Western Tibet and though he died, the attack confirmed the possession of Ladakh by Kashmir, and of the possession of Kashmir by the Sikh kingdom. Meanwhile, Ranjit had died in 1839. The British East India Company was jockeying for influence in the Punjab. After the death of Ranjit, during the turbulent times in the Lahore court, Gulab Singh played a two-faced game, ultimately helping the British through his activities. After the defeat of the Sikhs at the first Anglo-Sikh war, the Treaty of Lahore, imposed on them, compelled them to cede territory and also to agree to pay reparations worth 15 million rupees. When they failed to do so, they were ordered to cede Kashmir to Gulab Singh. For this, Gulab Singh paid a one-time sum of 75 lakh rupees, and a token yearly tribute – a dozen pashmina goats, one horse and three pairs of Kashmiri shawls, by the Treaty of Amritsar (1846). Kashmiri nationalists were subsequently to call this a bill of sale, not a treaty.
All foreign domination had been oppressive. But Dogra rule was particularly terrible. Prof. J. B. Das Gupta has drawn a rosy picture of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir under Ranbir Singh.  Kashmiri nationalists, by contrast, viewed Ranbir as a tyrant credited even with the murder of poor peasants en masse just to show inspectors sent by the British an absence of poverty stricken Muslim peasants.
In 1947, some 77% of Jammu and Kashmir were Muslims. But the Dogra rulers had a purely Hindu Rajput bureaucracy. Even Kashmiri upper caste Hindus, generally called Pandits, though generally better educated, had little space in the ruling echelons. Prem Nath Bazaz, a Kashmiri Pandit political activist, gave a detailed account of the conditions of Kashmiri Muslims. 
Thus, the Dogra rulers were utterly unrepresentative of the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and any claim that accession to India was lawful and final depends on two claims, which are both easily contestable. The first claim is that since culturally Kashmir was part of India, therefore the unification was legitimate. The second is that the Union of India was the residuary legatee of the paramountcy formerly claimed by the British power, and therefore accession to India was legitimate. Given the existence of Pakistan, the second claim is of course incorrect, because the authority of the imperial power was divided between these two states. As for culture, Kashmir had as much Indian culture as Central Asian culture. In addition, to make a common culture the basis for any claims about national unification could be extremely dangerous. One might then argue that Nepal too should be a part of India, for it too is culturally close to India. Finally, we have to take into account the rise of Kashmiri nationalism and its role and impact. Kashmiri nationalism began with protests by Muslims against oppression and discrimination, including discrimination on religious grounds. They formed the Muslim Conference. But its most important leaders, like Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, were secular, and in the very first formal conference of the organisation, he said that the struggle in Kashmir was not a communal struggle. From the beginning it appealed to all communities, and in 1939, the name of the organisation was changed to Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. In 1944, it adopted a Manifesto known as “New Kashmir”, which called for a constitution, and proposed an economic alterative. Politically it called for full democracy, equal rights for women, equal opportunities for all, and the institution of democratic self-rule at all levels. It wanted Urdu as the lingua franca, while seven languages were to be granted the status of national languages in Kashmir. In the economic sphere it wanted the abolition of jagirs and chaks (large laded estates – based on royal grants, for loyal service, for compensation against military command, etc). It called for an egalitarian society.  This was far more radical than anything proposed by the main Indian bourgeois party, the Indian National Congress. By 1946, the NC was to launch a Quit Kashmir movement against the oppressive ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh.
In 1946, with the British officially stating they would hand over power to responsible governments, an interim government was formed. Hari Singh did not join it. The Muslim League, the major Muslim communal party, supported this, claiming that the Princely states had full sovereign right not to join the constituent Assembly.  The League, with a considerable landlord-princely component in its leadership, believed even Hindu rulers might be tempted to join Pakistan, where their class privileges would be better protected. In this situation, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir had three options – joining India, joining Pakistan, or remaining independent. The distinctive feature of this princely state was that it had a Muslim majority population with a Hindu ruler.
The Hindu communal organisation J&K Hindu Sabha strongly campaigned that a Hindu ruler should not join secular India. The Muslim communal Muslim Conference, formed by a minority from the National Conference, demanded an independent Kashmir and a separate constitution. The National Conference, the most popular organisation, was not consulted by the Maharaja. In the event, Pakistan, India and the Maharaja were all agreed in affirming that the people need not be directly consulted at all. This has major implications for subsequent developments and the claims made about them.
Under Section 7(i) (b) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the suzerainty of the British Crown over the Indian princely states lapsed with effect from 15 August 1947. On November 1, 1947, Mountbatten, in his capacity as Governor General of India, wrote to his counterpart, M. A. Jinnah, Governor General of Pakistan, suggesting that when the ruler and the majority of subjects belonged to different communities, and where the state had not acceded to the Dominion whose majority community was the state’s own, the final decision of accession should be decided by an impartial reference to the will of the people. 
This was after Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession (26 October 1947). So the Hed of State was offering a democratic final solution. One could argue that he did so knowing well that Jinnah would reject his offer, but the fact remains that such an offer was made. One could also argue that he was acting against Indian interest, but this flies in the face of the other widespread belief that he engineered the change in the Radcliffe award whereby Gurdaspur district was added to India, giving a line between India and Jammu and Kashmir.
Signing the Instrument of Accession
The conditions under which the Instrument of Accession was signed, and the legal details, need to be understood here. Attempts by Hari Singh to assert his supremacy and fear of a democratic election had led to Hindu communal repression of Muslims in Jammu and Poonch. This sparked off a revolt, backed by Pakistan. A Pakistani general, ostensibly on leave, commanded the rebels. The invaders approached Kashmir Valley, and the Maharaja’s government fled. This was when the Maharaja sought Indian help, and was told that unless he signed the Instrument of Accession India could not/ would not help him. The day after the signing of the Instrument, Indian troops were airlifted to Srinagar, the capital. An undeclared war began. On 2 November 1947, Indian Prime Minister Nehru in a radio broadcast reiterated that the accession of Kashmir should be settled by a reference to the people.  Thus, Mountbatten was not acting against his Prime Minister. The two had similar stands, and this seems to have been based on an understanding, probably correct if we consider that particular moment, that if in a referendum the choice was posed between democratic India with some scope for autonomy and a landlord dominated Pakistan, the majority, including the then most powerful nationalist Kashmiri organization, the National Conference, would opt for India. But the formal position is, India did make this offer, but never kept faith.
The Instrument of Accession signed by Hari Singh had certain important points:
1. He acceded to India only in respect of defence, external affairs and communications.
2. The terms of accession were not to be changed without the ruler’s consent.
3. The Instrument did not commit the sovereign to acceptance of any future Constitution of India.
4. All powers except those specifically acceded remained the powers of the ruler of Kashmir. 
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was then governed by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution Act of 1939. As Dr. A.S. Anand, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, pointed out in his Ph.D thesis, the instrument thus clearly indicated that the state was to be governed by the old Constitution Act till the people of Kashmir formed their own constitution. The state had voluntarily surrendered three powers only and the government of India could not enlarge the space of its jurisdiction at its own discretion. 
However, from the start, these democratic statements were being nullified. The Instrument of Accession was signed by Hari Singh because his rule was under multiple threats. He had attempted to assert Dogra supremacy, and his launching of Hindu communal repression had sparked off a reaction, with Muslim rebels being backed by Pakistan. The ultimate result was a considerable loss of autonomy, as we have just seen. As noted, on 2nd November, 1947, Nehru in a radio speech stated that the accession of Kashmir should be settled by a reference to the peoples. But when the UN Security Council adopted a resolution in favour of a plebiscite, the Indian Government was caught on a the wrong foot. Formally, India accepted the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP)’s 13th August, 1948 resolution on a plebiscite, but by 12 January 1949, Nehru was writing to Sheikh Abdullah that the plebiscite would perhaps never be held.
From 21st April, 1948 to 2nd December, 1957 there have been a series of UN proposals for a referendum. The early democratic claims notwithstanding, India clearly rejected these proposals – on each occasion, due to plausible reasons, but making it clear that the Kashmir accession was becoming a non-negotiable issue.
Internally, the same contradiction between democratic claims and the reality were visible. On 27th May, 1947 Sir N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar proposed the nomination of four members from Kashmir to the Constituent Assembly of India. When objections were raised, he responded that if as a result of a plebiscite Kashmir left India, India would not stand in the way of Kashmir’s separation.  On 16th June, 1947, Sheikh Abdullah, Mirza Mohammed Agzal Beg, Maulana Mohammaed Syed Masoodi and Moti Ram Bagha took the pledge and signed the register of members of the Constituent Assembly of India. 
By then negotiations had began on the terms of Kashmir’s membership of the Indian Union. It was agreed that Kashmir was to have its own constitution and the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was to determine in respect of what other subjects the state would accede. 
Already both the Government of India and the Kashmiri nationalist leadership were moving away from a democratic principle, though a case has been made out that Abdullah tried to stick as close to the principle as possible.  Instead of first organizing elections, they were negotiating among themselves. Yet in October 1947, Abdullah had asserted that the establishment of democracy should come first, and any question of accession should be discussed later.
According to even scholars critical of India, like Alastair Lamb, a plebiscite at that stage would have resulted in the state according to India, because Abdullah, finding full independence impossible, preferred India. In that case, why did Indian leaders demur? It is only possible to speculate. But perhaps the supposition that this might lead to complications elsewhere would not be very fanciful. So they opted for support to Abdullah as someone, in Nehru’s words, “who would deliver the goods to India”. So, in March 1948, Abdullah became Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, but the elections to the Constituent Assembly were held only in 1951. And these elections were typical of elections in Kashmir. The National Conference won all 75 seats uncontested, as every opposition candidates’ papers were rejected.
It is likely that the National Conference would have won a majority of sets in a fair election. But these suppositions –- that India could have won a plebiscite, that Abdullah could have won in fair polls – are simply hypothetical conjectures and they do not negate the fact that in neither case were democratic means used.
Meanwhile article 306A of the Indian Constitution had been drafted by Ayyangar (this was, with modification, the future article 370). But after Abdullah and his fellow Kashmir delegates had accepted one version, a different version was moved and passed. One consequence of this change was that in the earlier version, Abdullah’s dismissal would have been a constitutional impossibility.
The article provided that the power of the Indian Parliament to make laws for Kashmir would be limited to those matters which corresponded to the Instrument of Accession, and those which were accepted by the Government of the state, this last being defined as “the person for the time being recognized by the president as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s proclamation dated the fifth day of March, 1948”.
The Article further provided that even this concurrence was temporary, and had to be ratified by the state’s Constituent Assembly. The authority of the Government to give concurrence was to last only till the Constituent Assembly of the state was convened. If this means what it says, the power of concurrence disappeared the moment, in 1951, the Constituent Assembly met. Yet, successive state governments, put into office through rigged elections, have continued to give “concurrence” even after 1956, when the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir ceased to exist. Till 1986, Article 370 has been repeatedly amended. Even Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, by which an elected state government can be dismissed by the Central Government at the report of the Governor (who is always a stooge of the Central Government) has been applied.
In 1968, in the Sampat Prakash case, the Indian Supreme Court delivered an outrageous judgment. It brushed aside Art 370, and ruled that the President of India could go on adding to the Union’s powers with the concurrence of the State Government. 
For lack of space, and because I am interested in establishing the spuriousness of India’s claims even when viewed in Indian legal-constitutional terms, I have stuck mostly to legal and constitutional documents, though the political ones make equally interesting reading. Despite Abdullah’s conditional preference for India, he had never accepted the accession as final. He had hoped that with the help of the Indian Constitution, a secular, democratic polity could be built up in Jammu and Kashmir, and a neutral state, patterned somewhat after Switzerland, could eventually emerge. When it became clear that on the core issue of accession he could not be budged, he was removed. From 9th August, 1953 to 8th January, 1958, from 30th April, 1958 – 6th April, 1964, and from 8th May, 1965 to 2nd January 1968, he was in prison. At no stage was he tried and convicted. A whole series of Indian scholars and journalists have spilled quarts of ink trying to prove that he took advice from Moscow, from the US, etc .  The simple reality seems to be, in refusing to be a stooge of Delhi, he left India’s rulers no option but to incarcerate him. The subsequent ministries of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, G.M. Sadiq, Syed Mir Quasim, were formed by blatant rigging.  Using such pliant agents, by 1964, Jammu – Kashmir was made a simple province. Formally, Article 370 was retained. But the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir were totally thwarted. Such an ostensible resolution of the “Kashmir problem” carried within itself the seeds of destabilization. When, from the 1980s, armed militancy developed, the response of official India, including the Governmental left, has been to say that this was simply Pakistan sponsored and communal. As a matter of fact, two very distinct strands existed among the militants. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, in particular, represented the same secular nationalist politics earlier represented by the National Front. The rise of militancy reflected a growing feeling among Kashmiris that any peaceful, democratic solution was impossible. This could not be admitted by the government of India, because such an admission would be tantamount to accepting that the people of Kashmir had not accepted the supposedly secular democratic Indian Union.
I propose to examine the problems of the Kashmiri nationalist identity later. But I would like to conclude this section by arguing that the constitutionality of Kashmir’s accession to India is, even from internal evidence, indefensible. For this reason, India was forced, after the mid-60s, to shelter behind the Soviet veto over Kashmir. Today, as the world changes, all arguments about the legitimacy and finality of Kashmir’s accession ring hollow.
Muslims Must be in Pakistan (or, the Pakistani Rhetoric)
Because of India’s patent undemocratic actions, including by now two decades of bloody suppression of civil resistance as well as terrorism through state terrorism, the Pakistani claims get less careful scrutiny from Indians who condemn India’s atrocious record, and in this paper too, they will be treated much more briefly. However, since Pakistan, a state that for most of its existence has had a very tenuous relationship with democracy, claims to stand by the democratic principle of the right of a nation to self determination, some examination of Pakistan’s role and claims are essential.
The Pakistani claim to Kashmir is based on even more convoluted grounds than are the Indian claims. Pakistan, in fact, has two claims. The original claim was that since a majority of Jammu and Kashmir were Muslims the state should have gone to Pakistan.  Pakistani politicians and communal nationalist historians have waged a long battle to establish that there was a conspiracy from 1947. They assert that the Radcliffe award was influenced by Mountbatten’s pro-India tilt. Had the Gurdaspur District not been give to India, the Maharaja would not have had any option of acceding to India. 
Even if Mountbatten’s or Britain’s alleged pro-India tilt concerning Kashmir is conceded, however, the Pakistani claim is a difficult one to accept. Pakistani was created on the basis of a reactionary ideology. The rulers of Pakistan were evidently arguing that this ideology should be pushed back to the past. Their speculative argument went something like this: The communal division was accepted in British India. Had Kashmir not been given to the Dogra ruler in 1846, had the British annexed it outright, then Kashmir too, would have gone to Pakistan. Hence Kashmir ought to go to Pakistan. [One could argue that such counterfactuals can be pushed back continuously. Had Babar been defeated at Khanua, the Rajputs might have reasserted their domination over North India. Had the ecology not changed, the Indus Valley Civilisation might not have died out and in that case the Vedic peoples would not have settled in much of North India.]
The Pakistani claim, based on a communal logic, has had consequences of various sorts for over sixty years. To begin with, the sequence of communal tension and violence, and Pakistani help to the insurgents, in 1947, has been explained in opposite ways by Indian and Pakistani Politicians. Gilgit, the western half of the Northern Areas, had had an almost exclusively Muslim paramilitary force, the Gilgit Scouts. Gilgit, though forming part of Jammu and Kashmir, had been leased by the British since 1935. When the leased area was returned to the Maharaja, the governor sent by him found the Gilgit Scouts in a state of near rebellion. The accession to India was followed by full rebellion. Pakistan therefore contends that the Gilgit Agency, by way of a popular upheaval, had gone outside the area of conflict in Kashmir. 
The rising in Poonch was of a different kind. Poonch had not taken Dogra rule happily. The Dogra ruling class had been essentially Hindu, and Muslims, whether of the Kashmir Valley or of Poonch, had been oppressed. In June 1947, a tax–refusal movement broke out in Poonch, and shortly turned into a separatist agitation. This led to massive state terror and communal violence on the Muslims.  In Jammu, too, Hindus and Sikhs, organised or backed by the RSS and the Akalis, attacked Muslim villages. It is estimated that some half a million Muslims left their homes or died. The survivors took shelter in Pakistani territory. 
By September 1947, the Muslim conference activist Muhammad Ibrahim Khan had organized a base in Pakistan from which he tried to help co-ordinate the revolt. The Pakistan government for its part put pressure on the Maharaja. Clearly, both Pakistan and India were looking avidly at a tasty piece of real estate. Pakistan’s tactics in Kashmir were similar to the Indian tactics with the Nizam of Hyderabad. By mid-October, Mehar Chand Mahajan, the Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister, was warning Pakistan that unless Pakistan improved the political and economic relations with Jammu and Kashmir, his government would not hesitate to accept friendly assistant from other forces. Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, reacted by threatening dire consequences.  On 24th October, a huge number of tribesmen from the NWFP invaded Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani soldiers “on leave” joined them, and were led by Major General Akbar Khan. This force entered Poonch, then went on the Baramulla district in the valley. In Baramulla they carried out extensive looting and destruction. In the town of Baramulla alone, nearly 3000 people died.  Liaquat Ali claimed that spontaneous anger of the tribes people in the face of atrocities committed against their co-religionists in Kashmir caused the attacks.  It is possible that with the appointment of Mahajan as Prime Minister, apparently with Indian conservative leader and Union Home Minister Patel’s advice, Pakistan’s position did indeed harden. Moreover, the first “Azad Kashmir” government was formed before the tribal raid. This happened on 3rd October, 1947 at Rawalpindi. This was followed by a second Government, formed on 24th October. 
To sum up the discussion on this point, then, the Pakistani claim to Jammu and Kashmir on religious ground was to lead to Pakistani support to an invasion of the state by non-Kashmiris. This pattern has continued, with religious fanatics of various places being given the facilities by all Governments of Pakistan to carry out terrorist activities.
The question of how valid this claim was, leads to several interesting issues. Some are counterfactuals now, yet deserve close scrutiny. The formation of Pakistan had followed votes. No representative elected assembly existed in Jammu and Kashmir. But all contemporary evidence suggests that the National Conference would have dominated such a body, though it would of course not have had the 75-0 presence it did through judicious help from the Government of India. Abdullah had been opposed to the two nation theory, and if anything had been to the left of the Congress (Noorani even claims many NC members were friends of the CPI and that the NC leaders on occasion used the kind of language to be found in the Adhikary thesis on national self determination).  In the election to the Praja Sabha, a partially elected (only 30%) legislative assembly in the 1930s, the Abdullah led party (then still called Muslim Conference) had won a majority of the seats up for popular votes. The “Quit Kashmir” movement led by the National Conference in 1946 had been widely supported. Consequently, one can ask how far the called for Pakistan would have been heeded. Something that is widely recorded and is not a counterfactual is that the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley resisted the Pakistan-backed invasion, at a time when the Maharaja and his entourage were turning tails. According to the census of 1941, Kashmir had a population of 4,021,616 of which Muslims accounted for 77.11% and were overwhelmingly dominant in the Valley.  Thus even the communal logic cannot be established for Kashmir.
The second argument used by Pakistan has been the demand for a plebiscite in Kashmir. As Robert Wirsing puts it, “it was at the outset of the Kashmir dispute, and it has never ceased to be the legal hinge on which much of the Pakistani position on Kashmir depended.”  This is why Pakistan has, at all stages, maintained the fiction of the Azad Kashmir Government. However, Pakistan’s “Support” to plebiscite has been support to Jammu and Kashmir joining Pakistan. This was established clearly when a nationalist Kashmiri struggle for full independence surfaced. In fact, a conscious policy decision was taken to cub the sentiment for independence. Wirsing cites a Pakistan based Kashmiri observer as stating that in February 1990, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Chief of Army Staff Aslam Beg, and the President and the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir held a meeting in which they considered the possibility that the JKLF led struggle could make Pakistan lose the whole of Kashmir.  Pakistani troops and riot police opened fire on unarmed Kashmiri nationalist protest marchers, killing at least 12. 
Despite Pakistan’s lip-service to the plebiscite, the Pakistani position is explicable in equally annexationist terms. While India uses the Instrument of Accession and subsequent “legal” developments to buttress Indian claims, for Pakistan the UNCIP resolution on plebiscite is the legal fiction by which that country wishes to absorb Kashmir. And for this, the ultimate ideological justification remains the long exploded Two Nation Theory, shown to be utterly false and rejected by the majority of Pakistan (who felt dominated, fought and created independent Bangladesh). Pakistan has to rely on its control over “Azad Kashmir”, as well as the importation of communal Muslim forces having nothing to do with Kashmir, in order to shore up its fighting forces.
The Problems of Kashmiri Nationalism (Or, Kashmiriyat and Islamic Fundamentalism, The Valley and the Rest of the Province)
Finally, we come to the Kashmiri nationalist effort at identity building and claims for independence. The National Conference in earlier times, and the Jammu – Kashmir Liberation Front more recently, fall in this category. Their basic claim is based on the democratic principle of self – determination. This is backed by the history already briefly narrated, namely, the conquest of Kashmir by Ranjit Singh, followed by the conflict between the Sikh Kingdom and the British and the Treaty of Lahore, and the award of Jammu and Kashmir to Gulab Singh. They also stress that Kashmir had a composite identity cutting across religions. In the late 1930s this was a key reason for Abdullah persuading his party to change its name from the Muslim Conference to the National Conference. However, the history to which they appeal is a double – edged sword.
The rise of Kashmiri nationalism, consequently began with protest by Muslims. However, the most important leader of the Muslim conference, Sheikh Abdullah, was secular, and in the very first conference, he said that the struggle in Kashmir was not a communal struggle. From the beginning, the NC appealed to all communities. In 1939, the special session of the organization changed its name to all Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. In 1944, it adopted the “New Kashmir” Manifesto, discussed earlier.
However, the history of the National Conference since 1947 shows a growing gap between the Kashmir people and the party claiming to represent them. We have already noted Abdullah’s willingness to stand in place of a democratically elected representative body. At the same time, Abdullah’s government began a series of reforms which hit the jagidars. A land ceiling was fixed and 396 huge jagidaris were abolished. Nearly 1,00,000 acres of land were taken over by the government. Ruinous loan incurred by poor peasants were written off. A number of Muslims were appointed to government posts, ending a century of Dogra anti–Muslim policy. Contrary to claims by the Praja Parishad (the Jammu – based Hindu communal party) this reflected no Muslim communal orientation.  Abdullah was moving against the exploitation of Kashmiris. Since the majority of Kashmiris, especially the lower classes, were Muslims and the majority of exploiters were Hindus, any pro-poor policy could be falsely portrayed as Muslim communalism. Had the NC been Muslim communalist, Abdullah would have pressurized Hari Singh to opt for Pakistan, or he could have outright supported the Pakistan backed invasion. Both before and after accession, Muslims in Jammu were under attack from Hindu communities, egged on by Hari Singh, while Abdullah and the NC kept the Hindus and Sikh of the valley safe. The Praja Parishad, founded by RSS cadre Balraj Madhok, mobilished disgruntled landlord and bureaucratic elements who wanted to crush the NC, and do so, they wanted to abolish the autonomy and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
By 1949, Abdullah was becoming disenchanted with Indian leaders and their attitude to Kahsmir. This was what led to his eventual ouster. Abdullah’s supporters in the Plebiscite Front formed by Mirza Afzal Beg continued to protest the illegal unification of Kashmir to India.
The renegade National Conference leaders who had sided with Delhi eventually turned into Congressmen. In 1972, in order to block nationalist unrest, Indira Gandhi, started a back-handed promotion of the Jamaat – I – Islam. This was a standard pattern, as when she promoted Bhindranwale in the early stages in the hope that this would weaken the Akali Dal. The congress leadership thought that politically and morally, having the Muslim communalist Jamaat as the main opponent was advantageous. At that moment, the congress had a “left” image. Cold War politics meant USSR support to the Indian Government. The Indian mainstream left, finding the Jamaat as the “enemy”, happily extended support. Thus Muslim communalism was re-introduced by the Indians as well, in order to weaken the nationalists.
In 1972, the Simla Agreement, signed at a time when Pakistan was weak, declared the Kashmir issue as a “bilateral issue”. This did not only mean excluding the UN. This also meant excluding the people of Kashmir. This was followed, gradually, by Pakistan opting to tighten control over “Azad Kashmir”. It was in these circumstances that the aged Abdullah finally abandoned the demand for self – determination. The 1977 elections, the first fair elections in Kashmir, saw the revived NC win 47 out of 75 seats.
However, by this time, Abdullah, after his compromises, seems to have viewed Kashmir as his fief. Typical of Indian political dynasties, he had his son Farooq, a political novice, nominated as his successor.
The 1983 elections were crucial in Kashmir. During election campaign, the NC was dubbed anti – national. Nonetheless, not only did it win 40 of the 42 seats of the valley, but it won 38% of the votes in Jammu.  In 1984, as part of Indira Gandhi’s standard toppling games, Farooq’s government was toppled with the help of Governor Jagmohan. After Indira Gandhi’s death, communalism was given a further boost by the new government. By 1986, Jagmohan was ruling directly through the application of Article 356. During his tenure, there was a systematic drive against Muslims. He refused to acknowledge the Kashmiri national identity. So he chose do deliberately communalize the situation.
In late 1986, Farooq Abdullah, ignoring the public opinion in Kashmir, submitted to the Central Government. Politicians in the valley protested and formed the Muslim United Front. With open help from army and police, the NC – Congress alliance carried out massive rigging.
Supporters of the Indian rulers, like M. J Akbar, claimed this was a war between democracy and secularism versus Muslims fundamentalism.  But India Today, for example showed clearly the extent of rigging.  Moreover, the Indira-Rajiv congress, repeatedly playing a “soft” Hindu card to protect India’s “integrity” was hardly secular. Farooq’s surrender to those forces ended the credibility of the NC as a nationalist force.
This led to the revival of the Jammu – Kashmir Liberation Front. Originally formed by Maqbool Butt, the JK National LF had been based in Pakistan. In 1971, Hashim Qureshi and other members of the organization hijacked an Indian Airlines flight. In 1976, Butt was arrested after entering India. In 1984, the murder of Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mahtre was followed by the hanging of Butt.
The arrest of Butt and his associates in 1976, had led to the collapse of the JKNLF. Then, in 1977, Amanullah Khan founded the JKLF in London. Ananullah had been a follower of Butt. Till, 1987, however, the JKLF had no influence. It was the developments of 1984-87 that led to nationalist and democratic sentiments turning to the JKLF. The rise of the JKLF, however, posed a series of questions. The whole nationalist claim began to unravel.
To start with, the Kashmir of the Dogra Maharajas was, as we saw, barely one century old in 1947. The appeals to historic Kashmiriyat could not encompass Gilgit, Hunza, Ladakh, Jammu and Poonch. Siddhartha Guha Roy, a leftist supporter of Kashmiri nationalism, admits this partially, but does not understand its implications.  How could the JKLF, or any other force claiming to be Kashmiri nationalist represent (or claim to represent) the different regions unless their political and social programmes clearly addressed those regions as well? The real mass support to the struggles have been essentially confined to the Kashmir valley. The census of 1981 showed the valley having 52.36% of the population, while Jammu had 45.39% and Ladakh 2.24%. Secondly, the Muslims themselves are not totally homogeneous. In Kargil district, most Muslim are Shias, while in the valley, most are Sunnis. Jammu Muslims have greater affinity with those of the Punjab and of Pakistan controlled Azad Kashmir. Consequently, to bring all these forces into a common fold calls for shifting from Kashmiri national identity to an Islamic identity.
The imperatives of armed struggle and unification of all the Muslims thus clashed with the ideal of Kashmiriyat. The consequence has been a failure of the nationalists to clearly define their goal or sometimes the adaption of retrograde measures. Hasim Qureshi, a one-time cadre of Maqbool Butt, argued that Amanullah Khan and his followers were taking a politically disastrous course in resorting to armed struggle. As he wrote: “Pakistan fully exploited [the] Liberation Front to realize its objectives and then abandoned it.. . the organization’s ideology also was publicised as India’s alternative plan . . . pseudo – Islamists . . . were goaded into issuing decrees (fatwa) that independent Kashmir was against Islamic system” 
As with many other nationalist movements that in the second half of the 20th century have fought against other, hegemonic nationalist movements and their inheritor states (East Timor and Aceh Vs Indonesia, for instance), The Kashmiri National movement had to confront the question of what strategy to take. For Amanullah, it seemed evident that alignment with Pakistan was essential. In forming, at a later stage, the All Party Hurriyat Conference, where supporters of independence and supports of Pakistan co-exist, and in not presenting any programme beyond independence from India, the JKLF likewise treated it as self – evident that since India was violating civil liberties in a massive way, any ally was permissible against India. This, however, meant ignoring the fact that the same pattern was being played out on the other side of the border, and also in ignoring the reality that if at all a pan-Kashmiri national identity could be built in the late 20th and early 21st century, that would not be possible under a Muslim fundamentalist banner or through alliances with it.
In 1996, elections were held in so-called Azad Kasmir. Discussing those elections, Hashim Qureshi pointed out that Baltistan and Gilgit areas were excluded from the general elections. Out of 48 seats in all, 12 seats are reserved for Kashmiri migrants (mohajirs) scattered all over Pakistan. In Qureshi’s words, “Past experience shows that these 12 seats are invariably captured by the candidates of the party which is in power in Islamabad.”  Indeed, the PPP swept the 1996 polls. However, as Qureshi repored it : “most of the nationalist groups in AK formed an alliance . . . while filing their nomination papers, these candidates refused to sign the oath document prescribing Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan and of loyalty to Pakistan. The nomination papers of all the 34 nationalist candidates who had refused to sign the oath documents were, therefore, rejected . . . in the eyes of the rulers of Pakistan . . ., Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan means the independence of Kashmir.” 
The adoption of Islam as the rallying cry, rather than Kashmiri nationhood, has also led to other problems. Islam came to Kashmir through sufis like Bulbul Shah and Shah Hamadan. It offered an alternative to the oppressive caste system. The only significant groups of Hindus left in the valley were the Brahmins (Pandits). The sufis of the Muslims were called rishis by the Hindus. Shiekh Nur-ud-Din, the saint of the Chrar – e – Sharif, was called Nand Rishi by the Hindus. But therefore, to “orthodox”, fundamentalist Muslims, this is unacceptable. One has only to look at the politics of some of these groups, who in recent times have been trying to impose codes of behaviour on Kashmiris. This ranges from imposition of dress codes to “purifying” Kashmiri Islam.
No Easy Solution
In a recent seminar, Arundhati Roy and Varvara Rao shared time with S A S Geelani. Roy seemed to have some hesitations, but Rao was clear. The simplistic logic, to the effect that since the Indian state was the main enemy, and since he was an Indian, he should form an alliance with any opponent of the Indian state led him to ignore the role of Pakistan, as well as the role of Islamic fundamentalism. It is of course part of a Maoist (a term I use generically, not necessarily to mean the CPI Maoist) political culture in recent times, that Islamic fundamentalism is seen as a progressive anti-imperialist force.  What such support fails to recognize is that any support for an Islamic fundamentalist/communalist call for Kashmir’s independence must have as its inevitable consequence the breakup of Jammu and Kashmir, with Hindus and Buddhists claiming independence from Kashmir on the same religious grounds, and no real logic to oppose them. Any attempt to apply mechanically the Bolshevik call for self-determination up to secession breaks down here. One will have to remember that in Central Asia, indeed, the Bolsheviks followed a somewhat different strategy. If, hypothetically, the Kashmir of Hari Singh were put back and given independence, we would immediately see regional, linguistic ethnic, and religious differences emerge as major impediments to nation building, as has been the case in Tadzhikistan. As long as the nationalist movement relies on aid from Pakistan, the creation of a patch – work front including Muslim fundamentalists, and the absence of a clear alternative beyond just the call for independence from India, it, too ties itself up in contradictions. The authenticity which it asserts is that of conservative nationalism. Yet in 1944, or 1946, the new Kashmir document and the Quit Kashmir movement had actually represented much more radial democratic and secular force.
In conclusion, I would like to argue that the survey of history, if it shows anything, indicates the disutility of appealing to imagined authenticities. The Islam of groups like Harkat, or Dukhtaran – e – Mallat, has no roots in Kashmir’s history, and imposing this “authenticity” on locals involves the application of terrorism directed against the Kashmiri society which they are supposed trying to liberate, not merely armed battles against the Indian state and its military or other agencies. The appeal to the “sale of 1846” is historically valid and an emotive appeal. But it necessary involves separating Kashmir valley from the totality of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The solution in J & K, whether in favour of independence, or autonomy within the frameworks of India and Pakistan, or a loose federation, can only come about after certain initial preconditions are not.
(i) India stops the constant atrocities, and acknowledges that atrocities have been committed and begins taking action against the perpetrators, to start with by ending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
(ii) India and Pakistan give up pretending that the solution at ready exists, based on their rival claims.
(iii) All contending forces in Jammu and Kashmir are represented in negations.
(iv) Regional, ethnic, linguistic and religious identities are respected.
It is likely, that a plebiscite will go in favour of the independence of Kashmir. We have argued that India’s legal grounds for opposing the plebiscite are based on substantial force and legal fraud. But more than half a century down the line from the accession, the situation is now such, that Ladakh and Jammu will clearly baulk at going along with the valley. The JKLF has no answers that appear adequately convincingly to people in Jammu. A segmented plebiscite, or a plebiscite that offers three options – accession to India, accession to Pakistan, independence – are likely to throw up different answers. If, in the end, the Kashmir identity and territorial integrity are worth saving, Kashmir nationalism needs to come up with better long term programmes, based on contemporary ground realities.
 P.N.K. Bamzai, A History of Kashmir, Delhi 1962, pp.14-29 for the religious changes.
 See Md. Ishaq Khan, Kashmir’s Transition to Islam: The Role of the Muslim Rishis, Delhi, 1994.
 K. M. Panikkar, The Founding of the Kashmir State, London, n.d., p.21.
 Ibid, p.13.
 Ibid, p.31.
 J. B. Das Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir, The Hague, 1968, pp.31-32. He tells us that a rupee would buy 80-100 lbs of rice or 12 lbs of meat. But he does not say how many rupees the peasant saw.
 Prem Nath Bazaz, Inside Kashmir, Mirpur, 1987 (original edition, 1941), pp.252-3.
 All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, New Kashmir, Lahore 1944, for the full text.
 Balraj Puri, Kashmir Towards Insurgency, New Delhi, 1993, p.8.
 Durga Das, Ed, Sardar Patel’s Correspondence, 1945-50, Ahmadabad, 1971, p. 73.
 S. N. Dhar, International Relations and World Politics Since 1919, New Delhi, 1982, p.612.
 Government of India, White Paper on Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, 1948, p. 17.
 A.S. Anand, The Development of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Jammu, 1980, P.121.
 Constitutent Assembly Debates, Vol. VIII, P. 373.
 Ibid, p.95.
 Durga Das, Ed, Sardar Patel’s Correspondence,, p.276.
 AIR 1970, SC, 1118.
 Prof. Jyoti Bhusan Das Gupta in a remarkable feat, supposes both kinds of influence. J.B Das Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir, Ch. 7.
 In 1957 Bakshi’s party polled 96% votes. In 1962 Nehru wrote to Bakshi advising him to lose a few seats in the future (cited in M.J. Akbar, India – The Siege within, Harmondsworth, 1985, P 258). In 1972, by Mir Quasim’s admission fair polls would have meant a victory for the Plebiscite Front, Formed by Afzal Beg. (Mir Qasim : My life and times, Delhi, 1991, p106).
 This has entered the Pakistani communal mindset very firmly. For just one such example, see Kashmir, Manavadar and Junagarh are Pakistan: “Tehrik e Ilhaq e Pakistan” is alive. In http://rupeenews.com/most-popular-a… (accessed on 22 November 2010). This boasts about the Two Nation Theory, and interestingly, argues that both Kashmir, where the ruler was Hindu but the majority of the population was Muslim, and Junagarh, where the ruler was Muslim, but the majority of the people were Hindus, should belong to Pakistan.
 Chaudhuri Muhammad Ali, The Emergence of Pakistan, New York, 1967 for example. However, while the first generation of books dealing with the Kashmir issue by and large rejected the Pakistani claim, more recent studies suggest that the possibility of a viceregal influence cannot be ruled out. See, e.g. R.J. Moore, Making the New Commonwealth, Oxford, 1987, p31. Christopher Beaumont’s revelations lent further credence to this view. Beaumont was secretary to Radcliffe in India. He said that Radcliffe had in fact originally allotted Ferozepur and Zira tehsils to Pakistan, but Mountbatten had arranged a lunch meeting, after which Radcliffe had make the changes. The report of Beaumont’s written statement, originally deposited at the All Souls College, Oxford appeared in The Daily Telegraph, London, 24 February, 1992. Finally Alastair Lamb’s Kashmir : A Disputed Legacy, 1846 – 1990, Hertingfordburg, UK, 1991, makes out a stronger case. In his opinion Britain was not going to throw away a century of policy by allowing Russian penetration through weak successor states. British strategists would have considered India a better choice as the new guardian of the northern frontier.
 For a Pakistani version of the Gilgit uprising, see A. H Dani, History of Northern Areas of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1989, pp. 326-407. India views of course, hold that the Gilgit revolts coming after the accession, was no popular revolution, but a Pakistan – backed revolt of military troops. See, for e.g. F.M. Hassnain, Gilgit, The Northern Gate of India, New Delhi, 1978, pp 122-58. See Also Robert Wirsing, Pakistan’s Security under Zia 1977-1988, New York, 1991, pp. 150-53 for the views of “Azad Kahmiris”.
 Alastair Lamb, Kashmir, p.123.
 Government of India : White paper on Jammu and Kashmir, 1947- 56 New Delhi, pt I, No. 19.
 This is the figure mentioned in Blood in the Valley, Bombay, 1995, p.27. V.P Menon, The Story of the Integration of the Indian States, Calcutta 1956 has the much higher figure of 13,000.
 For a defence of the Pakistani position, see A.H. Suhrawardy, Tragedy in Kashmir, Lahore, 1983.
 J.B. Das Gupta Jammu and Kashmir, pp. 233-4.
 See A. G. Noorani, ‘Myths and Reality’.
 Encyclopaedia Britannica, London 1957, Vol. 13, p. 290
 Robert Wirsing, Pakistan’s Security under Zia 1977-1988, p.70.
 Ibid, pp.122-3.
 New York Times, 13 February, 1992.
 Kashmiri Hindu communalism, as well as Indian conservative politicians, thought or claimed otherwise. Pressure was put on Abdulah to moderate the reforms. Even so, here is a present day Hindu communal version. “After independence and accession of Jammu & Kashmir state to India, Kashmiri Pandits were pushed back to the barbarous Afghan era. They were given the sugarcoated doses of poisonous toxics. Article 370 of Indian constitution just reduced them to cipher and liquidated their population. Under the pretext of economic reforms, their jagirs were confiscated and distributed among the Muslim peasants. The administration of Shaikh Abdullah adopted malicious and pernicious approach towards the Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir”. (An extract from an essay entitled ‘The Kashmir-History’, http://kashmirihindu.wordpress.com/… , accessed on 22 November 2010.).
 Sumantra Bose, The Challenge in Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, p. 41.
 Asghar Ali Engineer ed., Secular crown on fire: the Kashmir question. Delhi, 1991, pp 288-92.
 See Anne Dos Santos, Military intervention and secession in South Asia, Westport, Conn, p.71.
 S. Guha Roy, Kashmir : Bharater Samprasaran Bonam Mukti Sangram, Calcutta 2nd Edition, 1999, p.36.
 H. Qureshi , Kashmir: The Unveiling of Truth, Lahore, 1999, p. 69.
 Ibid, p.213.
 Ibid, p.216.
 See for a Marxist view of Islamic fundamentalism , Gilbert Achcar, Eleven Theses on the Resurgence of Islamic Fundamentalism, in http://www.internationalviewpoint.o…, accessed on 23 November 2010.
* From Radical Socialist (India), Wednesday, 09 February 2011 22:25: