Monday, 30 September 2013

“I Would Be Happy To See a Real Miracle Before I Die”:

Basava Premanand

We are now moving to the end of the first volume of the series under "Science Versus Miracles". All the experiments explained here are found in books on Magic and in scientific literature. Using these methods. unscrupulous godmen and psychics have been exploiting the gullible. Even scientists like Dr. Bhagavantam. P. K. Banerjee. Venu Mukunda, Sudarshan etc., have fallen a prey to their exploitation.

Unless the government changes its education policy the country has no future. Now education is in the hands of the unscrupulous who propagate miracles, superstitions, and blind beliefs. Science is only the knowledge of nature and Universe. Unless our people are educated in Scientific Temper we have no hope. The gullible will go after miracle men for an ear solution to their mundane problems. However much we expose the godmen, the credulous will go to the next one who has yet to be exposed.

Even those who are exposed appear again when people forget the exposure and the new generation comes up. For instance, Ganapathi Satchitananda Swami of Mysore, Amritananda Mayi of Kerala, and the Sweet Baba of Satara are raising their heads and are becoming powerful. Ganapathi Satchitananda Swami was exposed by the Narasimhaiah Committee in 1970's. He himself confessed that he has no miraculous powers. Amritananda Mayi went underground in 1983 when the police confronted about 26 women who claimed to be possessed by gods and goddesses.

The Sweet Baba of Satara was exposed in 1981 `while I was in Maharashtra conducting Vijnan Jatha. He was created by some scientists who wanted to start a parapsychology department in Pune University. The scientist behind this was a colleague of Dr. Rhine of the parapsycholoy department in Duke University in the United States. Recently Sweet Baba was in the news. A UNI reporter alleges that he had investigated the Sweet Baba. made him wash his hands and when he touched something it tasted sweet. The reporter does not know the method of magicians. With a little of saccharin on his cloth after his hands are washed, and he touches the cloth stealthily he can make hundreds of people taste sweetness wherever he touches.

We have vet good laws to protect the people from being exploited by these frauds. The section 420 of the CPC is for cheating. The Medical Council Act says that none can practise medicine unless he has registered himself in the Medical Council after passing the medical examination. We also have a Medical Practitioners Act which restricts the quacks from practising medicine. We have the Magical Remedies Objectionable Advertisement Act which prohibits advertisements of magical remedies. We have a consumer Protection Act and the Monopoly Restriction of Trade Practises Act. But what use are these laws if the Law Enforcement Department does not enforce them by taking action against such crooks?

Though our ministers and the President have taken oath on our Constitution that they would protect our Constitution and Laws made under the Constitution. we find them visiting such crooks and patronising them.

When the Supreme Court has passed judgement when the Tibetans were arrested when the Chinese Premier visited India, that it is the right of even citizen to protest and agitate peacefully. We were arrested on 1.1.1986 by the Police of Andhra Pradesh when we marched to Puttaparthi to protest peacefully and explain to the people of Puttaparthi the tricks behind Satya Sai Baba's miracles. Though I had asked the State Authorities to give me protection, they protected the self proclaimed god and harassed us.

We have the press Council Act by which we can approach the Press Council if the press publishes articles without any truth in them. But the Press Council does not take any action on such-petitions when the Chairman of the press Council is also an inner circle member of the godman.

We were arrested on the plea that our peaceful protest would create law and order situation as Satya Sai Baba is very influential and his followers would get angry! That means the police would only protect the criminals and no the individual if the criminals are powerful.

When the Defence Department, Finance Department and the Home Department of the Government of India were informed of the smuggling of Indian Weapons to Uganda by Satya Sai Baba in exchange for Congo Gold, they were all silent, saying. that the matter is still under investigation Even after twelve years the investigation is not over. That means that the government also may be a party to the smuggling.

Under the Treasure Trove Act, all the things found under the earth belongs to the government. When complaint was made to the law enforcement department about an 18" inch gold Krishna Idol allegedly' taken from the earth and presented to the former Maharani of Rajkot, they were silent. When Satya Sai Baba has made gold, gold ornaments, diamonds and precious stones allegedly by his Supernatural power and presented them to influential, and even to Supreme Court Judges and their family members, when the Gold Control Act prohibits making of gold, possessing of gold and gifting of gold unless permitted by the gold Control Authority, the High Court Judge and the Bench found that Satya Sai Baba had "Materialised" gold in a split of a second and so it does not come under Gold Control Act. When the law of Conservation says that nothing can be created nor destroyed, without any evidence or record, the High Court dismissed my petition against Saga Sai Baba for contravening the Gold Control Act.

Unless the people come together to see that our law is enforced against the culprits. exploitation will continue. Otherwise people will have to take the law in their own hands. This will lead our country into chaos. This is what is happening in India. The militant activities are increasing day by day wherein thousands of innocent people are being murdered. The government cannot suppress the people without enforcing EQUALITY OF LAW AND JUSTICE and encouraging illegal activities and fraud. They have the dub to protect the citizens being exploited by the frauds. Let us hope that the government of India `will come forward in enforcing law and protecting the gullible people.


I have been in search of miracles since I was twelve years of age. So far I have come across more that a thousand five hundred miracles and psychic phenomena. But when they were investigated, they were all tricks. From my experience I do not know whether I might yet come across a real miracle before die.

Friends. if any of you believe that you have come across a real miracle, supernatural, occult, psychic and spirit phenomenon, kindly let me know in detail what it is and where it is happening, with the address so that we can investigate it and find the truth. I would be happy to see a real miracle before I die.

Now a test for your intelligence and observation: In Gujarat a godman accepted our challenge and came forward to do a miracle. Our challenge was that he should burn a currency note which we give and produce again the -me number current note (But what he did was to take a rupee note from his pocket and ask us to see whether it was genuine or counterfeit. We were to write down the serial number of the note, burn it and give him the ash.) Then the note was burnt and the ash given to him, he mixed it with water which he drank. Immediately. he started having labour pains and through his mouth he "delivered" the same note with the same serial number. We washed it and examined it and found it was genuine.

This is the simplest trick I have ever come across.

I have put this test to thousands of people who have heard me in about seven thousand lectures. Many came forward with answers and I found that this trick can be done in hundreds of ways. I want you to think and let me know how it could be done.

B. Premanand
Convenor, Indian Committee for the Scientific
Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
11/7, Chettipalayan Road
Podanur 641 023 (Tamilnadu)

We are also making a video library of the miracles explained in this volume.

There will be more than ten volumes in this series which will explain about 1500 miracles, psychic and supernatural phenomena. A second volume is being prepared which will explain all the miracles Satya Sai Baba claims to have performed in his biography "Satyam Sivam Sundaram" in four parts.

Belief in god is a philosophy of life. When you believe that god is all powerful then he does not need the help of his followers to protect him. Nor is he a beggar. He does not need any middlemen to help him with money. You pray directly to him and if it gives you peace of mind and courage, well and good. But do not allow others to exploit you in the name of god.

Work hard to cultivate a scientific temper, humanism, and a spirit of enquiry: Educate others around you by instilling in them a scientific temper aid the spirit of enquiry. This will help our country to progress.

The Challenge 

Professor A. T. Kovoor, since 1963, had declared an award of Rs. 1, 00, 000/- for anyone who could demonstrate supernatural or miraculous powers under fraud-proof conditions. This was his challenge:

I, Abraham T. Kovoor of "Tiruvalla", Pamankada Lane, Colombo-6 do hereby state that l am prepared to pay an award of 1, 00, 000 Srilanka rupees to any one from any part of the world who can demonstrate supernatural or miraculous powers under fool-proof and fraud-proof conditions. This offer will remain open till my death or till I find the first winner.

Godman, Saints, Yogis and Sidhas who claim that they acquired miraculous powers through spiritual exercises and divine boons win this award if they can perform any of the following "miracles" 
  1. Read the serial number of a sealed up currency note.
  2. Produce an exact replica of a currency note.
  3. Stand stationary on burning cinders for half a minute without blistering the feet.
  4. Materialise from nothing an object I ask.
  5. Move or bend a solid object using psychokinetic power.
  6. Read the thought of another person using telepathic powers.
  7. Make an amputated limb grow even one inch by prayer, spiritual or faith healing powers, Lourdes water, holy ash, blessing etc.
  8. Levitate in the air by yogic power.
  9. Stop the heart-beat for five minutes by yogi power.
  10. Stop breathing for thirty minutes by yogi power.
  11. Walk on water.
  12. Leave the body in one place and reappear in another place.
  13. Predict a future event.
  14. Develop creative intelligence or get enlightened through transcendental or yogic meditation.
  15. Speak or understand an unknown language as a result of rebirth or by being possessed by a spirit. holy or evil.
  16. Produce a spirit or ghost to be photographed.
  17. Disappear from the negative when photographed.
  18. Get out of a locked room by, spiritual power.
  19. Increase the quantity by weight of a substance by divine power.
  20. Detect a hidden object.
  21. Convert water into petrol or wine.
  22. Convert wine into blood.
  23. Astrologers and palmists, who hoodwink the gullible by saying that astrology and palmistry are perfectly "Scientific", can win my award if they can pick out correctly - within a margin of five percent error - those of males, females, and living and the dead from a set of ten palm prints or astrological charts giving the exact time of birth correct to the minute, and places of birth with their latitudes and longitudes. 

I invite miracle performers like Satya Sai Baba, Pandrimalai Swamigal, Neelakanta Tathaji, Nirmala Devi Srivastava, Pujya Dadaji, Dattabal, Triprayar Yogini. Gtirudev Anandamurthi, Kamubhai, Chinmayanand, Acharya Rajneesh, Muktanand, Swami Rama, Swami Haridas, Sivabalayogi, Bhagavan Gnanananda, Gurumaharaj-ji, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Hazarath Ali, Dr. Vadlaimudi, C. S. Teerthangar, R.P.Tiwari, Uri Geller, Ne1iya Michailova, Jeane Dixon, Sybil Leek and the numerous "professors" of astrology and palmistry, in India and numerous other gurus, swamijis, mahatrnas, acharyas, andas, babas and bhagavans who have found fresh pastures and wealthier gullibles in Western Countries, to take up my challenge and prove to skeptics like me that they are not hoaxers.

Dr. A. T Kovoor fell ill with cancer in 1976. I therefore continued his challenge after his death. 

Rules covering my offer concerning psychic, supernatural or paranormal claims:

Since claims will vary greatly in character and scope, specific rules must be formulated for each claimant. All claimants must agree to the rules set forth here before any formal agreement is entered into. A claimant will declare agreement by signing this form where indicated before a solicitor, commissioner for oaths, or notary public and returning the form to me. The eventual test procedure must be agreed upon by both parties before any testing procedures take place. l shall not act as a judge. Nor shall l design the protocol independently of the claimant. -All claimants must identify themselves properly before any discussions take place. Owing to the large amount of correspondence exchanged on this subject, all correspondence must include a stamped, self addressed envelope.

I, B. Premanand, will pay the sum of Rs. l00,000/- (Rs. One hundred thousand only) in Indian current to any person or persons who will demonstrate any psychic, supernatural of paranormal ability of any kind under satisfactory observing conditions. Such demonstration must take place under the following rules and limitations: 
  1. The claimant must state clearly in advance. and the claimant and B. Premanand will agree upon what powers or abilities will be demonstrated. the limits of the proposed demonstration (as far as time, location and other variables are concerned) and what will constitute both a positive and a negative result.
  2. Only an actual performance of the stated nature and scope within the agreed limits is acceptable.
  3. The claimant agrees that all data of any kind (photographic, recorded written or other) gathered as a result of the testing may be used freely by me in any way I choose.
  4. Tests will be designed in such a way that no judging procedure is required. Results will be self-evident to any observer, in accordance with the rules which will be agreed upon by all parties in advance of any formal testing procedure taking place. No part of the testing procedure may be changed in any way without the expressed agreement of all parties concerned.
  5. I may ask the claimant to perform informally before an appointed representative, if distance and time dictate that need. for purposes of determining whether the claimant is likely to perform as promised.
  6. l will not pay for expenses incurred by the claimant such as transportation, accommodation. or other costs.
  7. When entering into this challenge, the claimant surrenders any and all rights to legal action against me, as far as this may be done by established statutes. This applies to injury, accident or any other damage of a physical or emotional nature and/or financial or professional loss of any kind.
  8. Prior to the commencement of the formal testing procedure, 1 will give my draft for the full reward amount into the keeping of an independent person chosen by the claimant. in the event that the claimant is successful under the agreed terms and conditions, that draft for Rs. 1,00,000- shall be immediately surrendered to the claimant by the person holding that draft, in full settlement.
  9. Copies of this document are available free of charge to any person who requests it and sends the required stamped, self addressed envelope to me.
  10. This offer is made bye personally, and not on behalf of any other person, agency or organization, though others may become involved in the examination of claims, and others may add their reward money to mine in certain cases.
  11. This offer is open to any and all persons, in any part of the world regardless of sex, race, educational background or other-factors, and will continue in effect until the prize is awarded, or until my death. My legal will states that. upon my death, the bard amount will be held in escrow and in charge of the Indian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, 1/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podanur 641 023 (Tamil Nadu) India which is then empowered to continue the offer for a period of ten years after my demise, after which the reward amount can be used by them according to the objects of the Committee.
  13. The claimant should demonstrate his powers at the place, date and time fixed.

The claimant, by signing, notarizing and returning this form, signifies agreement with the above rules.

Indian Skeptic
c/o B. Premanand
11/7, Chettipalayam Road
Podanur 641 023
(Tamil Nadu) India

Friday, 20 September 2013

All India Anti-Superstition Bill: Letter from Prabhakar Nanawaty

We reproduce an email received from Mr. Prabhakar Nanawathy, Editor of "Thought & Action", the organ of Andhashradda Nirmoolan Samiti (ANiS, founded by Dr Narendra Dabholkar), which was instrumental in getting the anti-superstition bill passed by the Maharashtra Assembly.

The Samiti is now planning to have a similar bill passed by our Parliament.

You may contact Mr. Prabhakar Nanawathy through his Email ID:

Dear friends,

We at ANS, are contemplating Anti - Superstition Bill at all India level.

In this respect we need your help on following:

Typical superstitions prevailing in our country – since we are talking of an all India legislation, we should try and give examples from different parts and not just Maharashtra .

Particular superstitions related to women – aangaat yene, denial of worship, witch hunting, exclusion of widows, practices related to pregnancy, reproductive cycle, etc. with the materialist explanation for each phenomenon in brief to point out the irrationality in them.

You may name these superstitions in local language and give a few details in just a sentence or two. For example, In Maharashtra we have superstitions like Karani, Jaran - Maran, Bhanamati, Vashikaran etc. Similarly other states may have such practices.

We need just a few names.

I hope you will do the needful. (This is bit urgent. Quick reply will help us immensely.)



Our Pledge to Kashmir

Jawaharlal Nehru

I must express my gratitude to the many hon. Members who, in the course of this debate, have spoken generously about the policy that the Government has pursued in regard to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. While we have had an abundance of generous acknowledgement of our policy, we have had criticism also. I welcome the latter, because it is always helpful in understanding a particular position. In this very difficult and delicate matter, criticism will be especially helpful, because the more aspects we examine the more light will be thrown upon the problem.

We have dealt with this matter for nearly five years now. We have fought on the battlefield for over a year and many of our brave young men have gone to Kashmir and remained there. We have fought this fight in many a Chancellery of the World and in the United Nations; but above all, we have fought this fight in human hearts-the hearts of the men and women of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. With all deference to this Parliament, I would like to say that the ultimate decision will be made in the minds and hearts of the men and women of Kashmir and not in this Parliament or at the United Nations. We have dealt with the problem of Kashmir in a variety of ways in various fields of action. 'We have not, however, solved it, although we have made progress in a particular direction. I want to be perfectly frank with this House and promise no speedy solution. Why should I make promises which I might not be able to keep? And may I remind this House that there are numerous problems today, big problems, affecting the world's future which remains unsolved, which drag on from month to month and year to year without solution? One has to be thankful if these problems do not grow worse. That itself is supposed to be a great mercy and a blessing. It is all very well for people in foreign countries to say, 'Why don't you solve this question of Kashmir? It may lead to big things, perhaps, to a world conflict.' Many people in foreign countries are generous with their advice. One feels tempted to tell them that they also have vital problems to solve, whether it is in the Far East or in Europe or elsewhere and that their problems also some­how drag on from year to year. Why do they not find a solution to these before offering advice to us? How is it that we are at fault because we cannot solve the question of Kashmir while they, who censure us, are above reproach, though they fail to solve their problems? Not only do their problems remain unsolved but preparations are also made to create problems for the future. Anyhow, this would be a cheap reply for us to make to them, because we are all in difficulties; we are all struggling against things which, perhaps, are not entirely within the control of anyone country or any one people.
Courtesy: Wikipedia

I should like this House to continue to consider this problem as it has been considered in the past, that is, in all its aspects, forgetting for the moment the minor things, the lawyer's points if I may so call them with all respect to lawyers. The latter certainly have their place, provided they keep it. My honourable friend, Dr Mookerjee, has said a great deal about this clause and that clause. If I have the time I shall deal with the points he has raised but it is of little importance what this clause or that clause says. What is important is the way you approach the problem and its fundamental basis. It is also important what your objective really is and how you propose to gain it. If it is your objective - as I shall claim it should be, for there can be no other - ­that this problem must be decided by the people of Kashmir then you must adopt a policy by which that end can be gained. Why issue threats? Why talk to them and tell them they must do this or must not do that? I am called a Kashmiri in the sense that ten generations ago my people came down from Kashmir to India. That is not the bond I have in mind when I think of Kashmir but other bonds which have tied us much closer. These bonds have grown much more in the last five years or so. When I talk of my ties with Kashmir, I am only a symbol of the vast number of people in India who have been bound together with Kashmir in these five years of conflict against a common adversary. First of all, let me say clearly that we accept the basic proposition that the future of Kashmir is going to be decided finally by the goodwill and pleasure of her people. The goodwill and pleasure of this Parliament is of no importance in this matter, not because this Parliament does not have the strength to decide the question of Kashmir but because any kind of imposition would be against the principles that the Parliament upholds.

Having come to the conclusion that the future of Jammu and Kashmir State can ultimately be decided only by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, let us fashion our other policies accordingly and let us not find fault with every little thing because it does not fit in with our wishes. Many things have happened in Jammu and Kashmir which I do not approve of; but there it is. I have no doubt many things have happened and will happen that neither my honourable friend on the Opposite side of the House nor I will approve of, just as many things happen in the rest of India that I do not approve of. I do not control everything that happens in India. But what is our approach going to be? Whatever it is, we must not do anything which will counter it or under­mine it or uproot it and which will encourage the hands of those who are opposed to us-our enemies. That is the basic thing which we must understand. Let us be clear about it. You can criticize Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah is no god. He commits many errors and will commit many more. He is a brave man and a great leader of his people. That is a big enough thing. He has led his people through weal and woe and he has led them when they were facing grave disaster. He did not shrink from leadership at that time that is a big enough thing to be said about any man. If he has failings, if he has made a mistake here and there, if he has delivered a speech which we do not like, what of that? Bigness is bigness in spite of a hundred mistakes. And in any case, the question is not whether we like Sheikh Abdullah or not. It is a bigger matter than any individual.

The question of Kashmir, as this House well knows, certainly has not been for us a question of territory. Finan­cially, we gain nothing from it. On the contrary, it may cost us a good deal until the State ultimately develops; and it is bound to develop because it is rich in resources. Nevertheless, we have not cast covetous eyes upon Kashmir or hoped for any gain. We have cast eyes on Kashmir because of old bonds, because of old sentiments and new sentiments also Kashmir is very close to our mind~ and hearts and if by some decree or adverse fortune Kashmir ceases to be a part of India, it will be a wrench and a pain and torment for us. If, however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them against their will, however painful it may be to us. That is the policy that India will pursue and it is precisely because India stands for such a policy that people will not leave her. People will cleave to her and come to her. Our strongest bonds with Kashmir are not those that are retained by our Army or even by our Constitution to which so much reference has been made but those of love and affection and under­standing and they are stronger than the Constitution or laws or armies.

Many of the arguments that some hon. Members of the Opposition have advanced seem to me to be inapplicable. It is easy to criticize many things that have happened in Kashmir. It is natural that one should want to better certain things but that is a different matter altogether. The question is whether in doing so you are coming nearer your aim or being an obstacle in the way of your very objective. The hon. Member who spoke last is a representative-much more so than I am-of a minority community of Srinagar, the Kashmiri pandits. He gave you a graphic account of the days when everybody in the Valley of Kashmir-Muslim or Hindu but more especially the Hindus and the Sikhs ­lived in terror of what the morrow might bring. Nobody knew what would happen or, perhaps, they knew too well. The people of Kashmir, especially the women of Kashmir, have a great reputation outside Kashmir also. The women of Kashmir, both Hindu and Muslim, were taken away in considerable number by the raiders and others, sometimes as far as Afghanistan and even beyond. There are cases where these women were sold for a mere pittance. Hon. Members should try to understand how these stories and these accounts must have affected the people of Kashmir, how they must have lived in fear lest their own mothers, sisters and wives should suffer a similar fate on the morrow. It must be recognized that the people of Kashmir have lived through fire and have faced it; they did not run away from it.

Looking back at these five years, I think that the people of Kashmir, the people of India and, if I may say so with all humility, the Government of India have stuck to the right path in spite of numerous small mistakes that they may have made. We have pursued the policy we considered right even when it appeared most inopportune; sometimes our attitude displeased certain people; sometimes a little swerving to the right or to the left would have gained us an advantage in foreign countries-and foreign countries had begun to count for us. It did not matter much what we thought of them; but there they were, sitting in the Security Council and talking a great deal. Sometimes they talked sense; at others they did not. We had to put up with their attempts to judge us and to judge something which was so important to us. Kashmir was not important to us because of any territorial designs on our part as somebody suggested but for the other reasons that I have mentioned. People in other countries thought of Kashmir merely as a geographical unit. It was only a plaything for them while it was very much in our hearts. Our history and our circumstances had made Kashmir so closely associated with our feelings, emotions, thoughts and passions that it was a part of our beings. Certain foreign countries tried to deal with the Kashmir question in a casual way and talked of India's imperialism and her territorial designs. We restrained ourselves but very often there was anger in our hearts-anger at this intolerant criticism, at the presumptuous way in which people talked to us, to this great country of India. They had the audacity to talk of imperialism to us when they were imperialists themselves and were carrying on their own wars and themselves preparing for future wars. Just because India tried to protect Kashmir from territorial invasion, people had the temerity to talk of India's imperialism!

Well, as I said, we restrained ourselves and we shall still endeavour to restrain ourselves in future but restraint does no~ mean weakness. It does not mean giving in. We were firm and convinced of the rightness of our position because, as I said-and I said it in all honesty-I have searched my heart and looked into every single step I have taken in the matter of Kashmir but cannot find that any of the major steps we have taken has been wrong. Although it is my Government that is ultimately responsible for the part India has played, I have been personally concerned with every single step taken during the last five years. Of course, in retrospect, there are things that I could have done differently -some minor things-but I do not see how any major step we have taken could have been taken in a way other than in which it was done. When we sent our young men flying over the mountains to Kashmir at the end of October 1947, there may have been a miscalculation; but it was fundamentally a right step demanded by circumstances. We may have erred sometimes because we were anxious to preserve peace and to avoid war at all costs; but I would always like to err in that way. For people to accuse us of avarice or covetousness, of imperialism, of breaking our word and pledge, is grossly unfair. I have said before and I repeat that every single step we have taken has had conviction behind it, every single word or pledge we have given to the United Nations or to the United Nations Commission or to anybody else who has come here has been kept to the letter and every single assurance has been carried out. All this is much more than can be said for Pakistan in this matter, because the entire Kashmir business is based on a fundamental lie-the lie Pakistan has told in denying that she invaded Kashmir. If Pakistan wants Kashmir, let her go there and fight. But why lie about it? The armies of Pakistan were in Kashmir for six months and then they denied the whole thing. When you base a case on a lie, the lie has to be repeated; and it was repeated in the Security Council month after month. Their armies were still in Kashmir and their Foreign Minister went on saying that they were not there. That was an astonishing thing. When the United Nations Commission was here and was on the point of going to the front and when there was no possibility of concealing this fact any longer, they admitted it. They had to admit it and a statement was submitted by the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan army who was a well-known British Officer. The statement was to the effect that he had been compelled, in the interests of protecting Pakistan, to send his armies-the Pakistan armies-into Kashmir. He was afraid that India was going to invade Pakistan across Kashmir from somewhere in Central Asia!

That was the beginning of the extraordinary story of Kashmir and it is as well that it is repeated again and again, because people are apt to forget it. This matter has become international and is talked about in the various capitals of the world. This simple story, these simple facts of invasion, of brigandage, loot and arson are forgotten and passed over casually while other discussions take place. It has been an amazing education for many of us these five years: education in world politics, education in how nations can behave, education in how great countries get distorted vision and cannot see straight in the simplest matter when it so suits them. Perhaps, I am talking a little beyond my present brief. To come back to the future of Kashmir, I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our convic­tion and one that is borne out by the policy we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but everywhere. Though these five years have meant a lot of trouble and expense and in spite of all we have done, we would 'willingly leave Kashmir if it was made clear to us that the people of Kashmir wanted us to go. However sad we may feel about leaving, we are not going to stay against the wishes of the people. We are not going to impose ourselves on them at the point of the bayonet.

Of course, this does not mean that we are prepared to do what we consider wrong if the people of Kashmir should desire it. If they want us to do something wrong in Kashmir, we shall refuse to do it. We may even say, 'We would rather not have any association with Kashmir than have the wrong kind of association.' That is certainly conceivable. Nobody can force on us an association we do not want just as we cannot remain in Kashmir against the will of the people. An association is a matter of mutual understanding and affection, it is a voluntary union of parties who wish to have ties with each other. In our desire to gain the goodwill of the people of Kashmir, we cannot afford to provoke the ill-will of our own people. We are not considering this matter as a bargain or as a matter between strangers. We are almost a part of each other and are considering a difficult and delicate problem together as partners in order to try and find a way out. The way out may not be completely logical; it may not be completely reasonable from the point of view of this law or that constitution; but if it is effective, then it is a good way out.

I should like to say one more thing in this connection although it is, perhaps, not to the point. I am afraid of saying it because there are so many lawyers here. When the British left, there was a good deal of misunderstanding about the situation that ,ras created in India by the Partition and because of the statement about the Indian States issued by the United Kingdom. I shall venture to put forward my own view, functioning, for the moment, as a jurist and a constitutional lawyer. The Partition took away a certain part of India with our consent; but the rest of India, including the States, remained as a continuing entity. Till something happened to separate the States from India they were a part of India. We were not created by partition as Pakistan was. India was, India remained, India is, India will be. So, every State, till it arrived at a decision to the contrary, would continue to have the old relationship with India.

By the removal of the British power from India in 1947, we were, to some extent, thrown back to the days 'when the British first came. That is an interesting and good parallel to pursue in other ways, too; but I shall not pursue it, because it may lead to controversial matters. When the British power established itself in India, it became evident that no other power in India could remain independent. Of course, these powers could remain semi-independent or as protectorates or in some other subordinate capacity. Accordingly, the Princely States 'were gradually brought under the domain and suzerainty of the British power. Similarly, when the British left India, it was just as impossible for old bits of Indian Territory to remain independent as it had been during their regime. At that time Pakistan was, of course, out of the picture. For the rest, it was inevitable that the princes and others, 'whoever they might be and 'whether they wanted it or not, must acknowledge the suzerainty of the sovereign domain of the Republic of India. Therefore, the fact that Kashmir did not immediately decide whether to accede to Pakistan or to India did not make Kashmir independent for the intervening period. Since she was not independent it was our responsibility as the continuing entity to see that Kashmir's interests were protected. I wish to say this, because it was undeniably our duty to come to Kashmir's aid, irrespective of whether she had acceded to India or not. On account of the continuing entity, India's responsibility to all the other States remained unchanged except in the case of those that had definitely and deliberately parted company.

The word 'monarchy' has been used a good deal. I do not understand in what sense it was used. We have no monarchs in India. I understand the meaning of the word 'monarchy' but it does not apply in the present case. I do not know why such words should be employed unless the aim is to delude us. There are some persons who, by the generosity of our States Ministry, are still called 'rulers.' I do not know why, because they rule nobody. Our States Ministry in the last three or four years has been known for its generosity and I am afraid we shall suffer for that generosity for a long time to come.

There is no monarchy in India. In certain places there are princely families who have unnecessarily large endowments. They hope to live on these endowments for generations to come. There are also a few Rajpramukhs. At the moment, we have three States that are headed by Rajpramukhs; in some instances, there are groups of States and one of the ex-rulers has been chosen to be Rajpramukh for life.

Some of the Rajpramukhs are, undoubtedly, excellent people; others are not quite so excellent. It is true that the idea of giving tenure to a person in a responsible office for life is not entirely in keeping with modern thought. One must remember the particular context of events and not be too critical of what was done. When this step was taken, hundreds and hundreds of States had to be absorbed into India within a few weeks. At that time, a number of princes might well have given a lot of trouble; in fact, some were on the point of giving major trouble. Some did give trouble secretly. When our other troubles came, some of these princes and their families and cousins and uncles did a lot of harm and injury by giving money and guns to gangs of rowdies to go about creating mischief.

That was the position: there were hundreds and hundreds of independent States in India, which were uncertain of their future, afraid of their own people, afraid of the Government of India and left in the lurch by the protecting hand of the British power. We could have decided many things at that time. We could have decided, if you like, to remove them completely from the scene or to come to terms with them and buy immediate peace in a moment of grave peril to the country. It is very well for us to be wise after the event but I think Sardar Patel acted very wisely. There was great danger that India might go to pieces under the stress and strain of the passions raised by the Partition, the huge killings all over the country and the communal atrocities. The reactionary jagirdari and feudal elements threw themselves into the picture just to create trouble and disruption and in the hope that they could enlarge their domain in the general confusion. It was foolish of them to hope that; nevertheless, that is how their minds worked. In such circumstances, one had to take a decision. Chiefly Sardar Patel and partly all of us arrived at the decision that it was better to consolidate India rapidly, even though it cost a great deal of money, than to let waste­ful fratricidal warfare and disturbances continue. Apart from other things, even from the point of view of cost, the latter would prove to be more costly in the long run, besides leaving a trail of bitterness. Therefore, we made certain rapid settlements which, financially or otherwise, were hardly fair; but this was the price we had decided to pay for the quick settlement of a very difficult and vital problem.

I shall not go into the details of how we propose to deal with these matters in future. Obviously, such matters will have to be dealt with in a friendly spirit because what happens in one place undoubtedly has its reactions and repercussions in another. What is happening or is likely to happen in Kashmir is bound to have its reactions elsewhere.

The honourable Dr Mookerjee also referred to Article 352. He said a great deal about it and asked me whether certain other articles dealing with financial chaos or emer­gency and with the breaking down of the Constitution would be applied in this case. I shall answer him. At present, we are not applying those articles. We have not even put them forward for consideration. I would beg the House to remember that we have to proceed on the basis laid down by that stout builder of our nation, Sardar Patel. At the time our new Constitution was being finalized, the question of Kashmir came up and was dealt with in Article 370 of the Constitution. I would ask the hon. Member to read Article 370, because if he discusses this question now, he must do so on the basis of the Article which had been agreed upon and which is a part of the Constitution we have given ourselves.

It is true, as has been pointed out, that the Article in question was not a final and absolute provision. That Article itself was a transitional one. But it laid down the method of decision in the future. It laid down the mode of procedure and prescribed the manner in which additions could be made to the subjects. Altogether, there were two classes of subjects. One related to the three major subjects or rather to the three categories of subjects, namely, defence, communications and foreign affairs. If any change was to be made in the inter­pretations of these, the President was to do it in consultation with the Kashmir Government or the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir. In regard to the other subjects, the words used are "with the concurrence of" and not "in consultations with."

Why, then, should anybody complain that we are going outside the Constitution, that we or the people or the Govern­ment of Kashmir are committing a breach of the Constitution? It may well be "that the Government of Kashmir will ask us to do something which we do not consider proper. In that case, it only remains for us to talk to each other and find a way which both consider proper. If we fail to arrive at an agreement then, of course, that thing cannot be done and the consequences have to be faced. The consequences may not be agreeable to them or to us but there is no other way. There is no question - as some of the amendments of hon. Members seem to imply - of our issuing some kind of decree or sending a compulsory order. I do submit that we have approached this matter and we shall always approach this matter in a spirit of friendship because we have to remember that there are many aspects to this question, both external and internal. The internal aspect is at present the responsibility of the Kashmir Government.

The activities in that part of Kashmir which is called 'Azad' Kashmir - wrongly so, since it is under Pakistan - have an effect on other countries. Foreign countries naturally have an effect on India and so on. There are so many aspects to the problem that you just cannot look at it from your own point of view only. It may be that the people of Kashmir have a particular aspect in view which you have not consider­ed. It is possible that you may be convinced if you consider it. Dr Mookerjee complained that he was not consulted about certain things. Surely, Dr Mookerjee will not expect Sheikh Abdullah or a member of this Government, in the course of important talks to be constantly consulting others. It is impossible; it cannot be done. Apart from those who had a particular commission in connection with this matter, even the members of my Cabinet were consulted only after the talks were over. Sheikh Abdullah was anxious to meet the Members of the Opposition. He did not have the advantage of meeting Dr Mookerjee but he did meet his colleague, Mr Chatterjee, and he had a two-hour talk with him. I was not present at the talk but Mr Chatterjee was good enough to write to me and inform me that he had been influenced by what Sheikh Abdullah had told him. He further said that he now realized that there were many aspects which had not been put before him earlier.

I should like to refer to Article 352 which deals with the proclamation of emergency. It reads as follows: "If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or of a part of the territory thereof is threatened, whether by war or external aggression or internal disturbance, he may, by Proclamation make a declaration to that effect. ... "

In a sense, the President can do all manner of things, including taking charge of the whole State. 'What we suggested and agreed upon in these talks was that where there was a reference to internal disturbances, this action should be taken with the concurrence of the Government concerned and that such concurrence was not necessary in case of aggression or war. Undoubtedly, that is a varia­tion in favour of that Government and hon. Members are entitled to criticize it. Will hon. Members kindly recall the basis from which we started? We start from Article 370 for the present moment. Article 370 rules out Article 352 and all the other articles. That is to say, at the present moment, keeping strictly to the Constitution as it is applicable to Kashmir State, none of these provisions apply. So that, all we have said in regard to the Supreme Court or to the President's other powers, is new and must be included in the Constitution of Kashmir. The supremacy of the President or this Parliament or Supreme Court only applies to Kashmir to the extent to which they accept it. It is not as though we were giving away something. We have very specifically laid down this very important provision of the Constitution, that the President can take charge of the whole State itself under a grave emergency. This should apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir except in the case of internal disturbance, when the concurrence of the Government of Kashmir is necessary. This seems very odd and some people say, 'How can you ask or wait for their concurrence?' It is not really such an odd provision; because when the whole State is in a chaos, then nobody waits for anybody's concurrence and the necessary steps are taken. The particular phraseology of the Article is taken from the American Constitution, where the Federal Government can take charge of the State in an emergency with the concurrence of the State Government. Undoubtedly, it is open to hon. Members to criticize this; but there is nothing very odd or very special about it and, in the circumstances, we felt that it was better for us to accept this form rather than none.

The fact that we have been considering these provisions, whether they are emergency provisions or they concern the President's special powers or Parliament's powers in a certain domain or the Supreme Court, is surely an indication as to where sovereignty lies. I am, perhaps, being rash; but I am talking about the Constitution and legal matters. Obviously, in a federal constitution, federal sovereignty is divided between the Federal Centre and the States. In a moment of crisis, however, sovereignty may vest with the Federation or Centre. I see that the Law Minister apparently does not agree. I am not quite sure but whatever the case, it is a small matter. Whether sovereignty is to be divided or not in a Federation is an old argument.

I started with the presumption that it is for the people of Kashmir to decide their own future. We will not compel them. In that sense, the people of Kashmir are sovereign. They are not sovereign in the sense that they cannot accept the Constitution and then break it. They cannot enter into a partnership with us and accept that part of our Constitution over which we are sovereign and then try to evade it. But they are sovereign in the sense that they may accept the whole or reject the whole; or they may come to an agreement with us on particular matters that they do not want to accept along with our Constitution.

I have taken a lot of time and I hope the House will forgive me for it. In a few days, my colleague, Mr Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, will be leaving for Geneva. I will not be very truthful if I say that I expect great things to happen; but we have to carry on with the rough and the smooth of it and not run away from it. Our good wishes go with him but, above all, our good wishes should go to the people of Jammu and Kashmir State, who have become the plaything of international politics and even of our debates.

Speech in the Loka Sabha, August 7, 1952

Courtesy: Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches 1949-1953 (Page: 109-123)
(First Published: January 1954, Fourth Impression: June 1967)
Publications Division
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Government  of India

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Polarization with a difference: Muzaffarnagar Violence

Ram Puniyani

Communal violence has been the bane of Indian society, more so from last three decades. One can see its coming up prominently from 1893 to begin with and then it went through different phases. It became stronger after 1937, peaked in 1946 and then the post partition holocaust shattered the lives of lakhs of people. After a gap of a decade it started coming up again from 1961, Jabalpur violence, later anti Sikh violence of 1984 was not just violence, it was genocide. At different levels after this we see the big surge, Meerut, Maliana, Bhagalpur, Mumbai, Gujarat (post Godhra) being the worst of them. Pre partition it was both communal parties Muslim League-Hindu Mahasabah, and the communal patriarch RSS, which were major players in this dastardly game. This phenomenon led to the polarization along religious lines. This polarization was the hallmark of this violence which kept going up. The stereotypes about ‘other’ community kept worsening up; still the intercommunity rupture was not total or complete. The intensity about adverse sentiments about ‘the other’ went going up gradually, remaining at subcritical level till probably 1992, after which the ghettoisation of minorities started becoming a prominent urban phenomenon, and the misconceptions about minorities became a major part of social common sense. The other observation was that the communal violence, which is the superficial manifestation of politics in the name of religion, is predominantly and urban phenomenon. Many a social scientists made it the fulcrum of their understanding and blamed urbanization as the bane of our society, which was responsible for this type of violence.

As the matters stand after the recent Muzaffarnagar violence, it is clear that communal violence being a major phenomenon in urban areas was just a phase of this process. Having polarized the urban populations, the agenda of communal outfits has now targeted the rural areas. Its implications surely are going to be more disastrous for our nation as a whole and it is time that the dangers are assessed of the trajectory of this process. There are many factors about Muzaffarnagar violence, which should make us sit up and take notice. So far the communal violence in different parts of the country benefitted the RSS-BJP in a major way and the litmus test of this was the increased social presence of RSS affiliates in those areas affected by violence and increase in political strength of BJP in electoral arena. Gujarat is a classic case where after the post Godhra violence, BJP has dug its heels in the state, and RSS affiliates are ruling the streets.

As the political players calculate on the political chess board, this time there were two players who thought they will benefit. On one side from the usual beneficiary, the BJP associates, which in the aftermath of 84 Kosi Parikrama, activated its workers in this game of polarization. The other player, the Samajvadi party, probably calculated on the similar lines, if Hindu polarization benefits BJP, Muslim polarization should benefit Samajvadi party was their thinking, which let the violence happen. It is also true that since Samajvadi party came to power a year and a half ago, communal violence has gone up in Uttar Pradesh.
In this case of Muzaffarnager violence, it started as three boys got killed on the pretext of teasing of a girl or a skirmish on the road (there are two versions of the beginning of the episode). There was enough time to see the dangers of such an inter-religious violence and control the same. But that was not to be. The officers in violation of the rules and even the imposition of 144 in the area let the Mahapanchayat of over a lakh people take place. The caste-communal outfits are patriarchal to the core and slogan-theme ‘Bahu Beti Bachao’ (save daughters and daughters-in-laws) was enough for the village Jats to turn up in large numbers with weapons. Communal propaganda is taken to the higher pitch. And so the communal violence enters the villages. And here the BJP communalizes the social space. Though it did not have much base amongst Jats, this occasion was cleverly manipulated to introduce divisive politics. Two factors were made use of. One the image of Modi as the savior of Hindus. Now Jat goes from the caste identity to Hindu identity. In communal politics religious identity is the foremost. The Muslim crowds also confront, play some role in violence but as is the usual case the partisan police machinery does not do its job in an objective manner and the result is a lopsided violence more against minorities, displacement and increase in the sense of insecurity amongst minorities follows.

The Samajvadi party’s gamble will pay or not, time alone will tell. During the reign of Samajvadi party the monster of communal violence has been permitted to come out as is obvious from the observations that during Akhilesh Government every month nearly two acts of violence have taken place. How come during previous regime of BSP, the monster of communal violence had been restrained? Same officers, same people. Surely it is up to the ruling Government to let the violence take place or not. Communal forces, BJP and company, always keep instigating it and looking for opportunity to unleash violence. In UP the additional factor of course has been the presence of Amit Shah, who is on bail and who has the experience of Gujarat carnage, his role will have to be watched, but as such the RSS-combine machinery is in place and can take such assignment on the drop of a hat. While at one level, the instigation used was to propagate that ‘our’ daughters, daughters-in-laws are not safe, on the other hand a BJP MLA uploaded a video clip showing some people dressed like Muslims killing two young men brutally. This was a video shot few years ago in Pakistan when two young persons were lynched by the mob with the suspicion that they are dacoits. It went viral on the social media, which is reaching villages in good measure, and created a hostile atmosphere.

As such earlier Jats and Muslim has affable relations, but from some years few tensions cropped up and the recent violence drove a deep wedge amongst these two communities and violence could spread to the villages. The tragic factor is the propagation of Modi, as a ‘strong’ leader who can save us (Hindus). The major back up of communal forces is to promote an autocrat, on the backdrop of the massive propaganda that majority community is not safe due to the miniscule minority. So Modi is supposed to fill the gap of a powerful leader which can protect the majority community. All this is far from true but popular perceptions have gone on and on and the contestation to these misconceptions has neither been effective nor far in reach.

Lesser said about the role of police and administration the better. The administration has powers enough to ensure that such violence does not take place and if at all it takes place, it can control it in a day or two. Many of those in top echelons of administration-police have a biased mindset, and this if supplemented by the calculating Government, that violence will benefit their electoral prospects, the tragedy takes no time to flare up. UPA Government had promised to bring a Communal Violence Prevention bill. The subcommittee of NAC did lot of home work has submitted a draft of the bill. Surely there may not be a consensus on the draft, but probably by putting it to the grill of different mechanisms, the grain of the draft can be saved from the chaff to ensure that the officers and those in seats of power who do not do their job as per the norms of Constitution are punished. The provision for punishment to the officers guilty of dereliction of their duties, acts of commission and omission are a must. The political leadership has to be taken to the task for its inaction at the crucial time. The communal forces have to be combated at ideological, social and political level if we wish to have the country with communal peace and amity. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Are Goan Catholics Culturally Hindu?

Ram Puniyani

Identity issues are at the fore in current times. Those basing their politics on the identity issues have lot of assertions about who the ‘others’ are. There is a constant ongoing attempt to assimilate them in the umbrella of their religion and culture. Current times, where religious nationalism dominates, the scene is that amongst all our multiple identities, the religious one is kept at the fore. In this attempt one recalls that it was Murli Manohar Joshi of RSS-BJP who coined the term Ahmadiya Hindus for Muslims and Christi Hindu for the Christians. Not only this is meant to assimilate the other religious minorities, RSS has also been saying that Sikhism is just a sect of Hinduism not a religion by itself. There are multiple assertions at different times; the goal is to somehow label all the people under the umbrella of Hinduism, to label most as Hindus, either on the ground of religion or culture. Sometimes Muslims are told that their ancestors were Hindus and so what has changed is just the mode of worship.

On the same pattern the Goan Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is the latest one in this direction of appropriation of the ‘other’.  In an interview he put forward his take on the issue of culture of Goan Catholics. Talking to the New York Times India blog (06, Sept 2013) he said that Catholics in Goa are culturally Hindu and that India is a Hindu nation in cultural sense.

Sec Cathedral, Goa (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

What is this Hindu culture Parrikar is talking about? Let us understand there is no uniform Hindu culture. Amongst Hindus the cultural variations are vast; they are affected by the region, the area in which they live, caste and economic status amongst other things. The hall mark of the society is that culture is basically diverse and most affected by region, so culture generally is not labeled with religious prefix. Diversity is the core of culture of the society. Parikkar does say that culture of a Goan Catholic is different from the one in Brazil. Let’s remind him that culture of Catholics in every country is different. Within the same country it is again not uniform. To say that there is something like Hindu culture out there is an attempt to hegemonize, to impose some sort of homogeneity on something whose life breath is diversity.

There have been the theorists who argued that as different cultures meet they will merge into uniformity, what is popularly called as the ‘melting pot’ model. This is not what the society has seen. What has been observed is the ‘mosaic model’ or a ‘salad bawl’ model, where different shades, colors remain and add to the beauty of the whole. In cultural arena a dynamic interaction and some synthesis does take place while the different shades also continue to add their essence to the whole. There are many Hindus who will visit the Dargah of a Peer or Sufi saint and many Muslims who follow the Hindu saints of medieval times. Many a time’s food habits also become important ingredient of culture. While currently it is projected that eating beef is against Hindu practices there have been large number of Hindu communities eating beef. At personal level one recently came across a Hindu family on a tour to Europe, which was longing to relish beef. The tour operators had organized a vegetarian- non beef meal for the Indian tourists. This family made their own arrangement to eat beef somehow. Anthropological survey had identified large number of Hindu communities consuming beef. Now how will Parikkar handle the fact that Goan Catholics consume beef as well as pork, will he call it a ‘Hindu culture’? Currently cow is one of the major tool-symbol of Parrikar brand of politics, the one of Hindutva. How will Parrikar engage with Catholics eating beef?

Catholics of Goa may not have much in common with Catholics of other countries but that does not make them part of ‘Hindu culture’, if at all such a category can be coined. The core point is cultures cannot be restricted to religious categories. There are nearly 56 Muslim majority countries in the World, and their culture is as diverse as the cultural diversity within India. There is a vast range. Hinduism has been mostly restricted to India, there are Hindu communities in different parts of the World to be sure, but culturally they are as diverse as any other religious community.

So why is RSS swayamsevak Parikkar trying to appropriate the Catholics into Hindu cultural fold? The idea is that RSS-Parrikar politics is founded on the premise that India is a Hindu nation. So something Hindu has to be tagged on to other religious communities to claim their support at electoral level. There is a complex policy towards minorities as far as RSS progeny is concerned. At electoral level their support has to be won over, so some sort of Hindu label is to be put on them. There is also an attempt to impose Hindu norms on them, so some times they are called Ahmadiya Hindus or Christi Hindus. This gives RSS politics a scope to force them to adopt Hindu deities over a period of time. At the level of Governance and social politics, the idea is to subjugate them through violence and marginalization. We have seen enough propaganda-blames on Christians and Muslims, blames about conversion, beef eating, loyalty to other nations etc., the propaganda which is the base of ‘Hate other’ ideology, and communal violence.  The burning alive of Pastors, rape of nuns, burning of Churches, violence against Muslims and Christians has been stalking the country. At the level of Governance, in the political arena the Parrikar parivar agenda is to oppose affirmative action for religious minorities or even to the socially disadvantaged people.

Indian Constitution and norms of United Nations do recognize and value the diversity of culture of people. The sectarian political tendencies all over, Parrikar included, begin with labeling them in their own hegemonic version of culture and politics and then go on to impose the same on ‘others’. The cleverness and shrewd maneuvers don’t end here. Simultaneously they can go on with anti minority propaganda and their marginalization in the social-economic terrain.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Kashmir: Let the People Decide

Jawaharlal Nehru

The house will remember that a few days ago I made a fairly lengthy statement in this House about the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir State. I do not propose to weary the House by a repetition of what I said then. But at this stage, I should like to emphasize certain aspects of this problem.

For the last five years nearly, the Kashmir problem has been one of the heaviest burdens that the Government has had to carry. It has been a heavy burden because it was a complicated affair and one in which our saying 'aye' or 'nay' was not quite enough. Other factors were involved. There are many things in this world which we would like to change but we cannot shape the world to our will. We live, as the House well knows, on the eve of what appears to be a tragedy in the world and we try-when I say 'we' I do not mean we in this House but people all over the world-to avert the tragedy and somehow to assure peace for this world. But nobody can control events completely. Of course, one tries to mould them to certain extent, tries to affect them in some way; but what the ultimate resultant of the various forces and passions and prejudices at work is likely to be, no man knows. The misfortune of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and our misfortune have become a part-perhaps a small part but, nevertheless, a part-of the larger picture of the world. And therefore the difficulties in our way have increased greatly. It is an international problem and would have been an international problem anyhow if it concerned any other nation besides India-and it does. Its international character was further emphasized because a large number of other countries took an interest in the problem and gave advice.

Well, we have tried to fashion our actions in regard to this problem according to what we considered to be our obligations and responsibilities. What were those obligations and responsibilities? The first was to protect and safeguard the territory of India from every invasion. That is the primary responsibility of the State. Secondly, it was our duty to honour the pledge we gave to the people of Jammu and Kashmir State. And that pledge was a two-fold pledge. We were obliged to protect them from invasion and rape and loot and arson and everything that accompanied that invasion. That was the first part of the pledge. The second part of the pledge was given by us unilaterally and was to the effect that it would be for the people to decide finally what their future was to be. The third was to honour the assurances we gave to the United Nations and the fourth was to work for a peaceful settlement. That was not a pledge we had given to anybody but one that was implied in the policy we had tried to pursue right from the beginning. It is in the nature of things that we should pursue a policy of peace, since we are wedded to the ideals of peace. Apart from that, it was neces­sary that we should do so because the world in which we live appears to be on the edge of a precipice and one has to be very careful in taking any step which might, perhaps, cause the world to tumble over that precipice.

So, these were the four major considerations that we had to keep in view and sometimes it was difficult to balance them. Sometimes they seemed to lead in different directions. I t would have been an easy matter if all these factors had led us to the same conclusion. But since they pulled in different directions, our obligations and responsibilities lead us to think not only of one line of action but of several. Then, difficulties arose. Well, we have faced these difficulties and we have sometimes had a hard time deciding what we should do and what we should not do. I should like the House, therefore, to think in terms of balancing these very important assurances, pledges and the other factors in the situation.

In the course of these years, I have repeatedly placed the situation before this House and it is with the concurrence and support of this House that we have continued to pursue the policy that we have pursued. I t has been my belief that, in this matter more than in others, the great majority of the people of this country have approved of our policy. We have had evidence of this approval from time to time in this House and in the House that preceded it. We have received advice from innumerable people, friends and critics in this country and we have always welcomed that advice, even though some of it did not appear to be feasible or right. We have also received advice from innumerable people outside this country. We welcome their advice, too, when it is friendly' advice. vVe do not welcome it when it comes from unfriendly minds or is accompanied by threats or any hint of threats.

We took this matter to the United Nations four years and eight months ago, in the belief that thereby we were serving the cause of peace and in the hope that we would settle the question of Kashmir by means of an agreement. We have not settled it yet, in spite of the labours of the United Nations and its various organs. I would like to repeat what I said on the last occasion in this House when I paid a tribute to Dr Frank Graham, who has shown enormous patience and enormous perseverance in his pursuit of a peaceful settlement. So far as we are concerned, we shall help him to the end, even though people may get tired of our pursuing the same path. Peace is always an ideal worth pursuing, however tired we may get in the process. Many of our colleagues and friends in the country have perhaps got weary of this process and I can very well understand their weariness; but their weariness can hardly compare with the weariness of those who are in charge of the Kashmir affair. Day after day, week after week, month after month, we have had to carry this heavy burden. However weary we may have become, we dare not act in a hurry, we dare not act in anger, we dare not allow ourselves to be led by passion. The consequences of acting in passion are always bad for an individual; but they are infinitely worse for a nation. Therefore, we have restrained ourselves. We have restrained ourselves even when loud cries of war and loud threats have reached us from across the border. We restrained ourselves and I am glad to say that, generally speaking, our people and the press in this country also restrained them­selves. I have great sympathy and understanding for those who sometimes felt that we should do something more active and throw off restraint; but I was sure then and I am sure now that it would have been utterly wrong to do so. I am not referring to any minor step here and there but rather to the major trend of the policy that we pursued. We must keep these four major obligations in our minds as we have done in the past, even though we have put the matter before the United Nations. Some friends have advised us to withdraw it from the United Nations. I am not quite sure if they have studied this subject or considered how it is possible to with­draw this or any such matter from the United Nations, unless, of course, we withdraw ourselves from the United Nations. The United Nations concerned itself with this matter at our instance. And, in any case, if we had not brought the matter to the United Nations, others might have done so. If we say, 'we withdraw from the United Nations,' we shall only be showing impatience and temper without achieving the results that some people hope we will. Therefore, the question of withdrawal from the United Nations does not arise, unless, of course, this House wishes that the Government of India and the Union of India itself should withdraw from the United Nations. In the latter case, the House must be prepared to face all the consequences of such an action. I presume that the House does not wish this, just as I do not wish it.

I have ventured, in all humility, sometimes to criticize those developments at the United Nations which seemed to me to be out of keeping with its Charter and its past record and professions. Nevertheless, I have believed and I do believe that the United Nations, in spite of its many faults, in spite of its having deviated from its aims somewhat, is, nevertheless, a basic and fundamental thing in the structure of the world today. Not to have it or to do away with it would be a tragedy for the world. Therefore, I do not wish this country of ours to do anything which 'weakens the gradual development of some kind of a world structure. It may be that the real world structure will not come in our lifetime but unless that world structure comes, there is no hope for this world, because the only alternative is world conflict on a prodigious and tremendous scale. Therefore, it would be wrong for us to do anything that weakens the beginnings of a world structure, even though we may disagree with this particular organization and even though we may sometimes criticize it, as we have done. It is mainly for these reasons that I fail to understand this cry about our withdrawing the Kashmir dispute from the United Nations. It is not like withdrawing a case from one law court and taking it to another. The United Nations is not to be considered merely a forum dealing with the Kashmir question. The question is before the nations of the world, whether they are united or not and whether they are a forum or not. It is an international matter and a matter which is in the minds of millions of men. How can you withdraw it from the minds of millions of men? Surely not by a legal withdrawal. The question does not arise. We have to face the world; we have to face our people; we have to face facts and we have to solve problems.

Some friends seem to imagine the easiest way to solve the question is to have an exhibition of armed might. They say, 'Let us march our armies.' That can never be a solution in this case or in any other case. The more I live and the more I grow in experience, the more convinced I become of the futility and the wickedness of war as a means of solving a problem. I consider it my misfortune that we even have to spend money on armaments and that we have to keep an army, a navy and an air force. In the world as it is consti­tuted today, one is compelled to take those precautions. Any person in a position of responsibility must take these precautions and if we take them, we have to take them adequately and effectively. Accordingly, we must keep a fine army, a fine navy and a fine air force. That is so. But to think in terms of throwing our brave men into warfare is not something I indulge in, unless circumstances force my hands as they forced my hands on a late evening in October 1947. It was only after the most painful thought and consultation that I decided upon our course of action. If I may say so in all humility and without sacrilege, I did so after consulting the Father of the Nation.
People say, 'A part of the territory of India has been invaded. It is held by the enemy. What are we doing to defend that territory of India? We have failed in our defence.' Such statements would be perfectly justified; such criticism of the Government would be legitimate to some extent. It was and is our duty to push out the enemy from every invaded part of the territory of India. That is where the conflict between obligations and responsibilities really begins.

As the House knows, we decided right at the beginning that we were agreeable to a plebiscite in which all the people of Jammu and Kashmir State would take part. It was a curious thing that in spite of having so decided, this war should have continued. The war continued for fourteen months or so-from the end of October 1947 to the end of 1948. It was for us to decide at the end of 1948 or the beginning of 1949, whether we should carry this war ·on to the bitter end and thereby recover the lost territory or whether we should call a halt to active military operations and try some other and more peaceful method. We decided and, conditioned as we were, I submit we decided rightly to put an end to active military operations and try other methods. These other methods have not brought a solution in their train thus far. And yet, I think it would be right to say that the mere fact that an extraordinarily explosive situation, such as the one that has existed in the State of Jammu and Kashmir for the last few years, has been controlled is itself no small achievement. We see in other parts of the world how other countries have got more and more entangled in all kinds of morasses and how the path of war becomes more and more difficult. We had the courage and, I say in all humility, the wisdom to pull ourselves out of continuing an unending war before it was too late, so that we might think more calmly, more patiently, more wisely. Whether it has yielded any result yet or not, the fact remains that we have not been having a war for the last three and a half years or so. This is not a bad result, although it may not be a satisfactory solution.

Later, we declared that any further aggression or attack - ­I say 'any further' because there had been aggression and aggression was continuing-or military operations in regard to Kashmir would mean an all-out war not only in Kashmir but elsewhere, too. That decision was not lightly taken but after serious thought and careful consultation. 'We said it knowing full well the consequences of what we said. We had weighed the consequences and yet had come to that conclusion. It was no threat but the statement of what was, to our minds, an absolute fact. There could be no further attack on Kashmir without this matter becoming a major war so far as India was concerned. Having made that perfectly clear, I think we succeeded in preventing many an attack that might have taken place in the hope that the aggressors would get away with it.

Two or three basic things follow from this. One is that, in so far as the United Nations is concerned, we shall continue unless this House decides to the contrary, to deal with it in the manner in which we have done in the past. We have tried our utmost to achieve a peaceful settlement without giving in on any vital point or trying to evade any of our responsibilities or obligations. We have resolved not to dishonour the pledges we have given to the people of Kashmir or to the people of India and, therefore, we shall pursue our policy accordingly.

The House is aware that we accepted certain resolutions of the United Nations and of the UN Commission that came here. We accepted them, not because we liked everything about them but because in our earnest desire for a peaceful settlement, we were willing to go to great lengths. Neverthe­less, we made it perfectly clear that we would not by-pass the pledges we had given or the responsibilities we had undertaken. At a much later stage, another resolution was passed by the Security Council which tried to impose an arbitration on us. We rejected that resolution or that part of it which was objectionable to us. It was one thing for us to agree to a certain proposal after having weighed all the consequences but we could not possibly give up our responsibilities, pledges and assurances; we could not put the matter in the hands of somebody else, whoever he might be. We could never do that because we had our own duties and obligations to consider. How could we hang the faith of the four million people of Jammu and Kashmir State on the decision of an arbitrator? Great political questions-and this was a great political question-are not handed over in this way to arbitrators from foreign countries. That is why we had to reject this particular resolution of the United Nations. We stand by that rejection and are not going to agree to anything which prevents us from honouring the pledges or the assurances we have given.

Subject to that, we shall go all out to seek a peaceful settlement. Among the assurances and pledges that we have given is the pledge which was implied in our policy, namely, that the people of Jammu and Kashmir State would decide their future. Let me be quite clear about this. There still seems to be a good deal of misunderstanding about Kashmir's accession to India. The other day, I said in this House that this accession was complete in law and in fact. Some people and some newspapers, mostly newspapers abroad, seem to think that it is only something that has happened in the last week or fortnight or three weeks that has made this accession complete. According to my views, this accession was complete in law and in fact in October 1947. It is patent and no argument is required, because every accession of every State in India was complete on these very terms by September in that' year or a little later. All the States acceded in three basic subjects, namely, foreign affairs, communications and defence. Can anybody say that the accession of any State in India was incomplete simply because they acceded in only those three subjects? Of course not. It was a complete accession in law and in fact. So was the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir State, in law and in fact, by the end of October. It is not open to doubt or challenge. I am surprised that anybody here or elsewhere in the world should challenge it. I was telling the House that when the first United Nations Commission, accompanied by their legal advisers and others came here, it was open to them to challenge it. But they did not, because it was quite clear to them and to their legal advisers that there could be no question about the legal validity of the accession. So, while the accession was complete in law and in fact, the other fact which has nothing to do with law also remains, namely, Our pledge to the people of Kashmir - if you like, to the people of the world - that this matter can be affirmed again or cancelled by the people of Kashmir according to their wishes. We do not want to win people against their will and with the help of armed force; and, if the people of Jammu and Kashmir State wish to part company with us, they can go their way and we shall go ours. We want no forced marriages, no forced unions. I hope this great Republic of India is a free, voluntary, friendly and affectionate union of the States of India. The people of Jammu and Kashmir State not only agreed to come to us as they did but it was at their request that we took them into our large family of States. I do believe that they have the same friendly feelings towards us as the other States have. I believe that on repeated occasions they have given evidence of this fact. Even in the election of this Constituent Assembly that took place nearly a year ago, they exhibited that feeling of friendship and union with India. I am personally convinced that if at any time some other method of ascertaining their feelings is decided upon, they will decide in the same way. But that is my personal opinion; it may not be your opinion or the House's opinion. The fact, however, remains that we have said to them and to the world that we will give them a chance to decide. We propose to stand by their ultimate decision in this matter. Within the limits of these assurances and pledges, we shall continue to pursue the policy that we have decided upon.

A short while ago, we met the representatives of the Government of Kashmir and they were not merely the representatives of the Government but, undoubtedly, the popular leaders of the people of Kashmir. We met .them, we talked to them and we discussed many matters with them. We did not go to them in a bargaining spirit or in a spirit of opposition. We discussed matter with them, with a view to solving our intricate problems, With a view to unraveling the knots and with a view to finding some way which would fit in with the various assurances that we had exchanged and with the policies they stood for and we stood for. Many of these policies 'were, of course, common to both. I placed the agreements we arrived at before this House on the last occasion. It is obvious that these agreements are not a final solution. Much has still to be done; much has to be thought out. But two or three facts remain. One is that, in the nature of things at the present moment, it is necessary to consider the case of Jammu and Kashmir State on a somewhat different footing from the other States in India. This is inevitable because Kashmir has become an international issue in the last few years. A different footing does not mean any special right or privilege except in the sense that it may mean a greater measure of internal autonomy. It is a developing, dynamic situation. One may gradually change it more and more but it is not right for us under the existing circumstances to try to do something by mental coercion or by pressure of some other kind. That would defeat our object and that would, indeed, be playing into the hands of those who criticize us.

Speech in the Loka Sabha, August 7, 1952

Courtesy: Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches 1949-1953 (Page: 100-109)
(First Published: January 1954, Fourth Impression: June 1967)
Publications Division
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Government  of India


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