Sunday, February 15, 2015

Scanning The Dixon Plan

Sir Owen Dixon was a judge from the Australian High Court, whose meticulous report drafted to UN in 1950 received a commendation for the obstinacy of his analysis of the Kashmir resolution from the Security Council. He is regarded as an Australian scholar of impeccable credentials. 

Infact Major William Alan Reid, who was an observer with the U.N Military Observers Group in  Kashmir (UNMOGIP) got inspired by his work for his B.A Honours thesis titled “Sir Owen Dixons Mediation of the Kashmir Dispute” (July 2000) for which the writer is greatly indebted.  Reid is currently working on the doctoral thesis for the same subject. He has even consulted his notes, some of his fifty interviews, his diary and personal correspondence as well as the Australian archives, besides other published works.  To add more facts, there has been a tradition of Australian scholarship on India represented by Professors like Robin J Moore, Ian Coplan and B. Millar to name a few. 

Academia studying Kashmir conflict will also be familiar with Richard Snedden’s  thesis ‘ Paramountcy Patrimonialism and the Peoples of Jammu and Kashmir, 1947-1991 (May 2001).’
Dixon Plan has a certain incisive analysis about the dispute. It assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, split Jammu between the two, and had suggested a plebiscite for the Kashmir dispute. When Dixon had met Nehru in June 1, 1953, he had told Dixon that “he was the only person to have grips for the Kashmir question.”  But Nehru was reluctant to accept all the conditions of the plebiscite on which United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan had arranged a ceasefire.

When Secretary for Kashmir Affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sahay, had informed the Australian High Commission (AHC), in New Delhi before Dixon’s arrival in New Delhi as a mediator, Nehru, at that time, had developed second thoughts about the partition cum plebiscite plan,  irrespective of the fact that he had told the British High Commission Archibald Nye on September 9th that a proposal for a plebiscite had been taken for the valley excluding the Gilgit areas.

Patel and Nehru however had later agreed that the plebiscite was unreal. They had feared that many non-Muslims would have been faced by an exodus to other parts of India.  Nixon was also going to try for a demilitarisation plan. Nehru had pointed out some borderline on the map during the meeting, in May 1950, presumably an offer to Pakistan in which Bajpai and Sahay were also involved.

In Nehru Liaquat talks on April 8, 1950, the issue of East Pakistan refugees was raised and there was a consensus raised by Bajpai at MEA meeting with US ambassador Loy Henderson that Kashmir issue be resolved before the arrival of mediator. However, Dixon had a fair prospect of success a month after but the legal interpretations had become complicated.  Reid discloses that in 1949, the UK government too questioned the legality of Kashmir ‘s accession to India. The issue was circulated to US, Australia and Canada as well. Dixon too had been given a copy in 1950.

The British State Department’s Legal Advisor as well as the British Foreign Office held that the accession was ‘invalid’ in terms, and it could not establish a relationship with either of the dominions, and that the resolution of Kashmir was vouchsafed under stable conditions. All these developments and previous analysis by political analysts form an important component of the Kashmir’s resolution problem, as drafted in the journals of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).

The Indian white paper on Jammu and Kashmir also suggests that the accession was purely provisional. Mountabatten’s letter to the Maharaja in October 27, 1947 also stated that the dispute be settled according to the wishes of the people. That’s why UNCIP had installed a Plebiscite Administrator for the sole purpose.

Nehru infact reiterated to Dixon that Kashmir’s accession to India should be done through the Constituent Assembly in May 1950. It was elected in 1951. Then Dixon melancholically added:  “ The valley of Kashmir lost all its beauty for me. The lakes became nothing but stagnant swamps, the green fields became quagmires of exhausted earth and water in which primitive man and his oxen continued to wallow, and the picturesque house boats, insanitary repositories of furniture and other junk by which infections and contagions were passed from one lessee to another , season after season, I saw it all through bacteriological haze and wondered what either side wanted.”

Dixon regarded Pakistani Army in occupied Kashmir as instruments of coercion in various conversations with Maulana Azad.  Dixon then tried to meet with Sheikh Abdullah, who ruled like a fiefdom in a police like state, and had  even prepared papers on major issues related to demilitarization, and forms of partition by staying at taverns in Srinagar and even met Liaquat and Nehru for drafting of the plebiscite from July 20 to 24, but was only assured of semantics and reservations.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dilemma Over Kashmiri politics

Having read many authors and being analysing the taunt history of Kashmir for a while, I often get crude gut feelings. I feel agitated of not having faith in the regional electoral system and in the idea of India.

Many Kashmiri people feel reluctant to call themselves patriotic Indians, even though there have been attempts by pro- Indian parties and its leaders to win our hearts. The question which Indian leaders should ask themselves is why aren't many Kashmiri people passionate Indian nationalists? Isn't Kashmir a dispute which is recognised world over? Why are our concerns only sought over by the Indian law, by convictions of ideological treacheries to the Indian nation.

The case of Ireland and the recent Scotland referandum have been effective exercises for perceiving the political and ethnic realities in these countries.  But in our case there have been such blatant naiveties in the lack of good judgement for emendations of our constitutional machinery by our local politicians. 

Any voice of Kashmiri nationalism is hostile. Promises of infrastructure and other forms of economic well being don't pay over on our aspirations. This electoral system in Kashmir which has been running in a sorry state of strategic alliances for a while, where enemies are made friends for power is a shallow answer by India to Kashmir, where they want the world to perceive that all is well inside the Kashmir territory. Is this administrative turpitude through elections an answer to the Kashmir problem? Why is India behaving deaf and dumb to the international outcries for solving the problem?

"Technically, I hold an Indian passport, but I don't call myself as an Indian," a Kashmiri said, who i read somewhere. Indian politicians rather call people like us 'fringe elements of the nation and 'traitors who have been fed by the enemies of India' and so on. After all, they are responsible for ethnic polarisation through debase ideologies which had roots in European fascism: Hindus came before the Muslims came, but why take this as an excuse to inflict discrimination on certain groups? 

There are many leaders in India who believe Muslims are not part of the emancipation of the Hindu race, unless and until they betray their ideals and principles.  These ideologies have ended communities in a blood feud, that actually paved way for seculars, whose philosophy emanated from the west, to rule a country with diversified faiths. Kashmir and its neighbouring territory in the state too have resulted in similar inclinations.

People with ideologies like me either end up disappeared or get interrogated in a torture cell. But they forgot the historical mistakes done by turncoat politicians at the expense of Kashmiri blood and for myriad anarchies for which India has no answer. They cannot address the root problem. The rebellions which have happened in Kashmir, the intensity of them amidst world's most militarised apparatus are nothing less than extraordinary. India has tried to smarty get away with it and has inflicted its opinion and power on us through various harms.

One thing which is for sure. India wants the land of Kashmir. They won't care if we have to go to Pakistan like what happened in partition. The demography of the region which includes Jammu and Ladakh are having variant political opinions, and India has imposed many problems in a controversial land which include Hindu nationalism, pogroms, hate speeches, state corruption, incompetencies in leadership and diversified political mandates through evasive manifestos that lead us nowhere. In Pakistan, if any Kashmiri speaks against its national union, he also ends up behind bars.

Azad Kashmir has been taken in a larceny by Pakistan, by controversial military aggression and now they want the Indian part as well. Militarism and wars are an answer by these two countries for helping the impoverished Kashmiri race. This is a dilemma in which we suffer. Many Kashmiris are not Indian patriots nor Pakistani patriots. Kashmiri people are looked upon suspicion due to the calamities which have been created by the political class.  The nationalism of Kashmir, sadly, has also been betrayed by Kashmiri Hindus who now take alliance with Sangh Parivar, than having concerns for their own Kashmiri brethren.

We should never run away from realities. Ours politics should not be taken as war of identities to enjoy power. Many Muslims of Kashmir have also forgotten their Sufi traditions where their esoterism taught peace and community betterment for all.  Kashmiriyat is vanishing from our land. If we want Kashmir to be a country, who will lead us? We dont have the foundations for it. But this is the only scenario which will never cease from truth, no matter how weak our struggle becomes.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir