Monday, May 11, 2020

Nehru on Plebiscite to Sheikh, 1947




Dwarkanath [Katju] writes to me that there is strong feeling in the leadership of the National Conference against referendum. I know this and quite understand it. In fact I share the feeling myself. But you will appreciate that it is not easy for us to back out of the stand we have taken before the world. That would create a very bad impression abroad and more specially in U.N. circles. I feel, however, that this question of referendum is rather an academic one at present. We have made it clear and indeed it is patent enough that there can be no referendum till there is complete peace and order in Kashmir State and all the raiders have been pushed out. As far as I can see this desirable consummation will be be achieved for some months yet. In the Pooch area it is quite possible that these raiders might continue to function in the hills and it might not be worthwhile for us to make a major effort to push them out during the winter. Thus for some months the question of referendum does not arise in any practical form.

These months will be full of developments and those developments will govern future events including the possibility of having a referendum. If this struggle lasts for several months, the chances of referendum automatically fade out.

If we said to the U.N.O. that we no longer stand by a referendum in Kashmir, Pakistan would score a strong point and that would be harmful to our cause. On the other hand, if circumstances continue as they are and the referendum is out of the question during the next few months, then why worry about it now? Indeed I have seen an argument in an English newspaper partly supporting out viewpoint about the referendum and saying that other events are deciding the issue and that in any event there can be no referendum before the spring.

There is no difference between you and us on this issue. It is all a question of the best tactical approach. I would personally suggest to you not to say anything rejecting the idea of a referendum but to lay stress on the fact that the people of Kashmir, by their heroic resistance, are deciding the issue themselves; also that it is a little absurd for people to carry on a little war in Kashmir and, when defeated, to want a referendum. If there is any serious intent on their part, they should have stopped this war and drawn back the raiders.


~ 21 November 1947. Nehru writes to Sheikh Abdullah on murmurs inside NC against referendum. These guys knew as long as Pakistan was the aggressor there was going to be no referendum. For them it was just an academic exercise.   

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Above. Selective mishmash quotes of Nehru often peddled in Pakistan Propaganda. The objective being to fool present day self declared Nehruvian about their legacy. 
Below: Full context of "If we did anything of the kind", provided by Stanley Wolpert
Nehru's ambassador to Pakistan had suggested that India hand over Pakistan for the sake of peace.
Nehru explaining what it would mean for India.  
"you hinted at Kashmir being handed over to Pakistan...if we did anything of the kind our Government would not last many days and there would be no peace...It would lead to war with Pakistan because of public opinion here and war-like elements coming in control of our policy. We cannot and we will not leave Kashmir to its fate...The fact is that Kashmir is of the most vital significance to India...[H]erelies the rub...We have to see this though to the end...Kashmir is going to be a drain on our resources, but it is going to be a greater drain on Pakistan."

That Kashmir was going to be drain was becoming a pitch in certain circles in India. In 1952, Ambedkar naively said, "the matter is within the charge of the UNO and I do not think that Pakistan would be so foolish as to invade Kashmir or to invade this country in the teeth of the U.N.O. decision on the subject. Therefore, again, why are you maintaining this Army?"

 In Feb 1954, Pakistan started getting weapons and training from America. A decade later they were ready with Operation Gibraltar, an exercise straight from CIA's Bay of Pigs cookbook.
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Ronald Searle's Nehru cartoon. Punch Cartoon. 1957. Peacekeeper in Egypt, asking for UN and US intervention. Painted Warmonger (like Modi) when it comes to Kashmir. All driven by world politics and individual interests of power countries.

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