You are on page 1of 1


territory of the new country. Since the sole usable road from the Indian plains
to Jammu and Kashmir traversed Gurdaspur, India would then have been left
without a usable route to the state. As such, Jinnah and his advisors believed,
the Maharaja would have no option other than to accede to Pakistan. To their
dismay, however, the Radcliffe Award of August 8, 1947, which drew the
borders of India and Pakistan, handed over the district of Gurdaspur to India.
Although the route through Gurdaspur to Jammu, and on across the Pir Panjal
mountains to Srinagar, was only usable in the dry summer months and for a
part of the winter, India now had a frontier with Jammu and Kashmir, and
a road that could with a little effort be turned into an all-weather logistical
Several Pakistani commentators, in both scholarly and polemical accounts,
have characterized the decision to give Gurdaspur to India as perfidious: the
consequence, variously, of the close relationship of the British Viceroy, Lord
Louis Mountbatten, with Nehru; an alleged affair between Edwina Mountbatten,
the Viceroy s wife, and India s first Prime Minister and the Viceroy s visceral
dislike of Jinnah. Recent scholarly investigation of the issue by the historian
Shereen Ilahi has undermined this long-standing consensus. Ilahi has noted that
the basic unit used to divide Punjab was the tehsil, or sub-district, rather tha
the district itself. The Radcliffe Award gave three of Gurdaspur s four tehsils to
India, two of them Muslim-majority, for a variety of reasons to do with security
concerns in Punjab. However, Ilahi has pointed out, even if the two Muslimmajori
tehsils had gone to Pakistan, the fact that the tehsil of Pathankot was
Hindu-majority would have left India with control of the land route to Jammu and
Kashmir. As such, the frequently reiterated charge that the award of Gurdaspur
to India was part of a conspiracy to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir became
part of that country has no real foundation in fact. There is no evidence , Ilahi
concluded, to imply that anyone gerrymandered the boundary because of its
implications for the princely state .11
To Pakistan s fledgling strategic establishment, however, the Radcliffe Award
posed a threat not only to the safety and wishes of our brethren in Kashmir ,
but also to our own safety and welfare .12 In Major-General Khan s view
Kashmir s accession to Pakistan was not simply a matter of desirability but of
absolute necessity for our separate existence. 13 He wrote:
One glance at the map was enough to show that Pakistan s military
security would be seriously jeopardized if Indian troops came to be
stationed along Pakistan s western border. Once India got the chance,
she could establish such stations anywhere within a few miles of the
180 miles long vital road and rail route between Lahore and Pindi. In
the event of war, these stations would be a dangerous threat to our
most important civil and military lines of communication.    From an
economic point of view the position was equally perilous. Our agricultural
economy was dependent particularly upon the rivers coming out