THE

FIRST

FIELD

MARSHAL

MANEKSHAW

MEMORIAL

LECTURE

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw is our national icon whom we failed to give an appropriate farewell when he passed away recently. I am glad that the Conclave of Defence Services Veterans have started Field Marshal Manekshaw Memorial lecture series. I feel greatly honoured to be invited to deliver the first lecture. I was privileged to serve under the Field Marshal in various capacities for several decades. I recall that in September 1946 when the Interim Government had come to power in Delhi and India’s Independence was fast approaching, three Indian officers were posted in three different sections of the Military Operations Directorate of the then General Headquarters (India), which later became our Army Headquarters. Till then this Directorate was manned exclusively by British officers and British clerks. These three Indians were Lt Col Manekshaw, Major Yahya Khan and myself in the rank of Captain. Later I served under him as instructor first at Mhow and then at Wellington, when he was the Commandant of these training institutions. Thereafter I served as a Brigade Commander when he was the Army Commander and as a Deputy PSO when he was the Army Chief. The war clouds had gathered in 1971 and I was due to command a Division. He held me back as Deputy PSO on his staff. I told him that the G-1 was going to war with the G-2 and the G-3 should not be left out of battle. He turned down my request saying that he needed me more on his staff. I last met him in 2007 when he was terminally ill on life support system in Wellington Military Hospital. A little earlier at the intervention of the then President, he had received over one crore as arrears of pay of a Field Marshal for the past 35 years. At last the bureaucracy had relented and given him his due which had been denied to him. We had taken up the case in 1972 when he was promoted Field Marshal. I congratulated him for this. He smiled and told me,”A Babu came from Delhi to give me the cheque which I have sent to my bank, but I am not sure if the cheque will be honoured.” I have been asked to talk about Jammu and Kashmir which is today, the most burning topic affecting our national security. After Independence, Sam, as Manekshaw was affectionately called, became a Brigadier and took over as Director Military Operations. I was posted as GSO-2 (Operations) in a newly raised skeleton Command Headquarters, which later became Western Command. When I was leaving the Directorate, Sam told me that I had been dealing with internal security for a year and now I was going to a Command Headquarters which was being raised primarily for internal security in Delhi and Punjab. The Headquarters would be in a railway train operating between Delhi and Lahore. Mountbatten had made the Viceroy’s special corridor train available for this purpose. Little could Sam or I foresee that in a few weeks our Command under the leadership of Lt Gen Sir Dudley Russell, will be fighting a war in Kashmir. For the first few weeks I was the only Indian officer in the Headquarters, the others being all British. The British Government directed that no British officer then serving with the Indian or the Pakistan Army will be allowed to go to Kashmir. That placed a heavy responsibility on me as I was the only officer from the controlling Headquarters who could visit Kashmir for the first few weeks. Our Headquarters got Indianised by January 1948 when Lt Gen (later Field Marshal) succeeded Lt Gen Sir Dudley Russell. In October 1947 , Russell had asked me to act as his eyes and years in Kashmir, functioning like Montgomery’s Liaison Officers at El Alamein and after in the Desert during the Second World War. Russell had been a Divisional Commander at El Akamein. I was also given the task of organizing the airlift of some 800 Dakota sorties in civilian aircraft from Safdarjang airport to Srinagar in 15 days. In all this I was closely interacting with Sam, who was the DMO at Army Headquarters. After the first Indo.Pak War in Kashmir, the United Nations held a cease fire conference at Karachi. The Indian delegation was led by General Shrinagesh with the Defence Secretary, Kashmir Affairs Secretary, Maj Gen Thimayya and Brigadier Manekshaw as members. I was the Secretary of the delegation. Given our long common

association with Kashmir, it is only appropriate that the first Field Marshal Manekshaw Memorial Lecture should be about National Security: The J&K Perspective. Kashmir has been a major lingering problem for our national security for the past over sixty years. We have fought four wars with Pakistan over Kashmir and emerged winners in each one of them. The violence of the ongoing proxy war has been very substantially contained. When I took over as Governor of the State in 2003, the average rate of daily killing due to terrorist violence was 10. By2008 this came down to a little over one a day. However, in terms of propaganda and media war, we have been at the losing end. This has been largely due to the appeasement policy of our vote bank politicians towards communal and anti-national elements. The origin and genesis of the Kashmir problem lies in the Partition of the Sub-Continent on the basis of religion. Pakistan’s stand has been that Kashmir being a Muslim majority State should have been part of that country which had been created as a homeland for Muslims on the Sub-Continent. India which has more Muslims than the total population of Pakistan has been opposed to the concept of religion being the basis for nationhood. No doubt in 1947, the partition of what was then British India, the eleven provinces directly ruled by the British, was carried out on the basis of religion. This did not apply to the 562 States ruled by the Princes. Their rulers had entered into treaty with the British Sovereign and accepted the latter’s paramouncy. Jinnah wanted that on the withdrawal of the British power from the Sub-Continent and the lapse of paramouncy, the rulers should be allowed to decide the future of their kimgdoms. His hidden agenda was that Hyderabad which was the richest and largest State in India, of the size of France, and which had a Muslim ruler with over 90% Hindus subjects, should opt for Pakistan. He even tried to get the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer to accede to Pakistan, promising them the world. As for Kashmir, which had 70% Muslim population with a Hindu ruler, he was confident that both geography and demography were favourable for Pakistan and the State would fall like a ripe plum in his lap. In the event, he got neither Hyderabad nor Kashmir. It suited the British to go along with Jinnah’s thinking in this matter. The Independence Act passed by the British Parliament had a specific provision for the Ruling Princes along these lines. Thus, when the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, legally the State of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India. The ratification of this accession by Sheikh Abdulla, the most popular leader of Kashmir with the largest popular base, provided all the moral justification for accession. India’s legal claim to Kashmir was recognized by the UN when its resolution accepted by Pakistan, required that all Pakistan forces should withdraw from Kashmir while Indian forces were to remain till the holding of plebiscite. This was further confirmed by the UN when the 200 square mile Tilel Valley which had been No Man’s land, was made inclusive to India during the delineation of the Cease Fire Line. For the fear of losing if the plebiscite was held while Sheikh Abdulla was in power, Pakistan failed to honour her commitment of withdrawing her forces. Yet Pakistan and the separatists in Kashmir launched full steam propaganda that plebiscite could not be held because of India’s intransigence. Moreover, the memory of Pakistan Forces pillage, plunder and rapine of Baramulla was fresh in the minds of the people and this would have adversely affected Pakistan’s prospects in a plebiscite held at that time Incidentally, if Pakistan had not been in too much of a hurry and had invaded Kashmir ten days later, she would have secured Kashmir without any difficulty. With the approach of winter, the fair weather airfield at Srinagar would have become unusable and the 9,000 feet high Banihal Pass blocked with snow. There was no tunnel at Banihal in those days. The Indian Army would not have been able to intervene in Kashmir till six months in the next summer. As for the 1965 War, Pakistan’s offensive failed as admitted by General Mohammad Moosa, the then Pakistan Army Chief in his book, My Version,

because of lack of support from the people of Kashmir. After the 1971 War, Pakistan realized that she could not wrest Pakistan through conventional military means. General Zia-ul Haq, the Mulla in Khaki, with plenty of petro dollars and US bounty for Jehad against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan, formulated a plan callrd Operation Topaz. This has been a low intensity conflict with a vicious mix of insurgency, terrorism and proxy war. His strategy of thousand cuts was aimed at bleeding India to death in Kashmir. As a result we have had to tackle militancy in Kashmir since 1989. I have recounted the past to enable the Kashmir problem to be viewed in its correct perspective. I had a long background of service in Kashmir for many years at different levels during my army career, when I took over as Governor of the State in June 2003. I found that we had done little long term planning for resolving the Kashmir issue. We dealt with the problem from day to day with knee jerk reaction to situations as they arose. A few weeks earlier, Vajpayee in a dramatic move had held out a hand of friendship to Pakistan which ushered the commencement of the peace process. By the end of the year, a cease fire was agreed upon on the LOC which has been holding for five years with a few recent exceptions. The normal three point strategy of unified command, economic development and psychological initiatives was being pursued. Besides organising free health camps, renovating school buildings, providing sports grounds, constructing roads and so on, as part of psychological initiatives, I tried to work on measures to bring about a mind change among the people. My efforts in this regard had yielded good results in Assam when I was Governor there for six years before taking up my assignment in Jammu and Kashmir. Hitherto the thinking in Delhi had been Valley centric with not much concern for Jammu and Ladakh. I felt that the three demographic groups had to be addressed differently. Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists who constituted 35% of the State population felt neglected. I made special efforts to look after the sentiment of the Dogras who form the bulk of the population in this group. Zorawar Singh is their icon and I did my best to honour his memory. Large equestarian statue of Zorawar Singh was put up at Jammu and Reasi. A Zorawar Singh air-conditioned Auditorium with a seating capacity for 2000 was put up in Jammu University akong with a few seminar rooms and art galleries. portraying the culture of the three regions of the State. It is perhaps the finest University auditoriums in the country. As Chairman of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, I concentrated on religious tourism and providing improved infrastructure. The annual pilgrimage to the shrine picked up during my tenure from about 50 lakhs to nearly 80 lakhs. This was a great boon to the economy of Jammu region. We put up a Mata Vaishno Devi University with an outlay of 200 crores without any assistance whatsoever from the Government. The University was inaugurated in 2004 by the then President Dr Abdul Kalam . In May 2008 we held its first Convocation addressed by the Prime Minister. Two batches passing out from the University, of mostly Jammu students, got hundred per cent placement in the corporate sector. We also worked o a state of the art cancer hospital of 250 beds for 100 crores, without any assistance from the Government. The completion of this project has got a little delayed due to recent disturbances’ All this was much hailed by the Dogras. They made me the Chief Patron for life of the Dogra Sabha and instituted a new award called Dogra Ratan for me. As for Gujars and Bakherwals, I got the Army to install 1000 micro-hydel projects based on water mills , producing 5 kilowatt of electricity, Villagers who had never seen an electric bulb now had 30 light points in their village. By day, power was used for grinding corn and operating loom. On completion of this scheme, I visited the last project completed in a mountain village near Uri. I travelled 20 kilometers by road from the helipad to the project site. All villages en route had the Indian national flag fluttering and the villagers had lined up the route with paper national flags. I also had special arrangements for education of the children of these nomadic tribes. Army put up over 50 Goodwill schools besides two Army Public Schools. Hostels for Gujar children were put up by the Army and the civil

administration. One of my last public engagements towards the end of my tenure was inaugurating a modern hostel for Gujar boys hostel at Reasi. The senior and much respected Gujarleader Mian Bashir was awarded the coveted Padma Bhushan. All this endeared me to the Gujars who began to look upon me as a father figure. I also made extensive efforts to bring about a mind change among Kashmiri Muslims who constitute 45% of the population of the State. Contrary to their past heritage, religious fundamentalism had seeped among them to a very large extent, This has beenthe main cause for militancy in Kashmir. Separatists are almost entirely from this community. I remember that in October 1947 when the Indian Army had gone to rescue the people of Kashmir from a brutal invasion launched by Pakistan, and Srinagar was under great threat from Pakistani raiders who had pillaged and plundered Baramulla. I was sent to Srinagar city to assess the situation and the need for employing the army to maintain order in the city. That was at a time when the whole subcontinent was reeling under unprecedented communal violence. Millions perished and millions were uprooted during the Partition holocaust. The Maharaja and senior officers had fled to Jammu. I was most pleasantly surprised to find that there was no communal violence nor communal tension in the city. The people were raising the slogan of “Hamlewar. Khabardar. Hum Kashmiri Hindu Muslim Sikh Tayar.” No wonder an anguished Mahatma wrote that he saw a ray of hope only in Kashmir. That was the Kashmiriyat in action that I had seen in those critical days. One of my opening remarks on taking over as Governor of the State was that while I agreed with Jahangir’s description of Kahmir as Paradise on Earth for its scenic beauty, iwhat was more important to me was that Kashmiriyat was the message of Paradise. I took various measures to promote Kashmiriyat because I felt that this would be a potent weapon for fighting religious fundamentalism which lay at the root of militancy in the State. This was not to the liking of the fundamentalists. They said that they did not have to learn Kashmiriyat from a non-Kashmiri. They also tried to ridicule my concept of Kashmiriyat. Undeterred I continued with my efforts and I got identified as an ardent advocate of Kashmiriyat. As Chairman of Amarnath Shrine Board, I used to inaugurate the Yatra by offering prayers at the Holy Cave and the same day fly to Charar-e-Sharif to place a chadar at the grave of Sheikh Noorudin, the patron Saint of Kashmir, greatly revered by Hindus, as Nund Rushi. I also started a three days Sufi music festival to mark the inauguration of Amarnath Yatra. In 2004 for the first time we had Pakistani musicians performing at this festival in Kashmir. This became an annual feature during my tenure as Governor. For the sixth Amarnath Yatra that I inaugurated on June 18 this year, we had Sufi musicians from Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan, besides our own top musicians. I also got the Army to help in renovating Ziarts, when requested to do so by the local people and the local cleric. In 2007 I inaugurated a Ziarat at Badhgam, which had been renovated at much cost on my directions on the request of its imam. A largely attended public meeting was held when the local people expressed their gratitude to the Army and thanked me for what I had got done. The fundamentalists were upset at the growing popularity of the Army among the people on this account. They issued a fatwa against the Army saying that non-Muslims should not have anything todo with Muslim shrines. We said that the Army had no religion. It had people from all religions including Islam serving in it. The money used for renovation was not that of any religious community, but that of Government of India. If Haj subsidy was acceptable, how can there be any objection to the Army renovating Ziarts. However, we did not want to get involved in a religious controversyand stopped doing any work at Ziarats. On 2 October 2007, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad organized an essay competition for school children on Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy. The fundamentalists called for a boycott of this competition, but ignoring their call,50,000 students participated. They issued a fatwa against the Chief Minister. All this only showed the mindset of the fundamentalists. I established a Centre for Kashmir Studies in Kashmir University for research and study of Kashmiri philosophy, history, literature, art and so on. We held a highly

successful international seminar on Kashmiriyat in which scholars from Pakistan and CentralAsian Republics participated. We decided to expand the field of activity of this Centre in co-operation with the South Asia Foundation put up under the patronage of UNESCO. The Centre was now registered as an autonomous body in the University and designated as Institute of Kashmir Studies. The President of India inaugurated this Institute before a very large gathering on 25 May this year. Messages of goodwill were read from various dignitaries including Secretary General UNESCO. High powered delegations from all the eight South Asian countries attended this inauguration. Sri Lanka was represented by Chandrika Kumartunga Bandarnaike, Afghanistan by a senior Minister Dr. Ghaaznafar as Karzai dropped out at the last minute. Pakistan was represented by Begum Hashmi, the daughter of the legendary Urdu poet Faiz Mohammed Faiz. She is a leading figure in Pakistan civil society and politics. Similarly there were delegates from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives. Never before had such a mega international event been held in Srinagar. The separatists and the Valley Press were critical of this function. The following day we had the world famous Janoon Sufi Pop music band perform in Srinagar. The United Jihad Council had asked Pakistan Government not to send this band to Kashmir, but their request had been ignored. The terrorists held out death threats and we arranged special security.. The fundamentalists called for a boycott of the band function. Yet some ten thousand people assembled near Dal Lake and were enthralled by the music. The leader of the band from Pakistan in his opening remark stated that he had come to Srinagar to launch a musical Jihad for peace. The leading English Daily of Pakistan, Dawn, in its editorial on 28 May under the heading “Breaking Barriers” wrote that music knew no boundaries. The Kashmiri people expressed their anger against religious militants and their violence. Of course the Valley Press criticized the band function and our national media ignored it. However, the separatists and fundamentalists were too rattled and this time instead of issuing Fatwa chose an innocuous issue to arouse communal passions. The last week of May 2008, with my five year tenure as Governor finishing on 4 June,was the high water mark of my efforts to promote Kashmiriyat. Ironically it was also the start of a communal movement to hijack my efforts to promote moderate and liberal outlook as against fanatic and intolerant outlook which has been the rootcauseof militancy in Kashmir. The fundamentalists and the separatists got together to communalize the atmosphere in the Valley. They chose the Government order regarding diversion of the hundred acre plot of land at Baltal to the Amarnath Shrine Board for doing so. The Shrine Board had asked for this land for putting up temporary prefabricated accommodation for Amarnath pilgrims in 2005. It took the government three years to take a decision on this request. The two ministers who processed this case and recommended it to the Cabinet were from PDP. They were present at the Cabinet meeting when a unanimous decision was taken on this issue. Yet when they found communal passions getting aroused on the land issue, they jumped on to the bandwagon of the agitation. A canard was spread that the Shrine Board was going to settle Hindus on this land and build Hindu townships in the Valley with a view to changing its demography, like Israel had done in Palestine. The clarifications and contradictions issued by the Shrine Board were blacked out or distorted by the Valley press. The national media initially ignored the agitation that was building up. It’s a pity that no political party took a stand against this agitation and explained how the people were being mislead. The land was to be diverted to the Board solely for construction of prefabricated accommodation for the pilgrims and no other purpose. The ownership rights over the land remained with the State Government. Baltal remains covered with snow for seven to eight months in the year . when it is unapproachable and uninhabitable. How could anyone in his senses accept that a Hindu township could be developed in this plot of land. Further, the State Government would never allow this to happen when they had denied citizenship rights to 30,000 Hindu and Sikh refuges that came

from West Pakistan to Jammu in 1947. Their number has now swollen to over one lakh. They are denied voting rights, employment in State Government, ownership of immovable property and their children arenot allowed admission to technical institutions of learning. Nevertheless, the agitation against diversion of land to the Shrine Board continued unabated gaining momentum everyday. On 24 June the agitators had become violent and the police had to open fire, killing one of them.. The following morning I was departing from Kashmir having relinquished my appointment. At my farewell at Srinagar Airport, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad assured me that he would be holding a Press conference to clarify matters and he was confident that the agitation would die down. He held his Press conference that day, after I had left Srinagar, but it had no impact. Conditions in the Valley continued to worsen and a week later under a new Governor, the Government order regarding the land at Baltal was revoked . Another week later the Azad Government fell because its coalition partner, the PDP, lead by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had withdrawn support. Our national media displayed ignorance of facts and our secular brigade among them was only too willing to be misledand mislead the people. They started chanting that I was communal and I was responsible for the crisis. They even started saying that I had ordered the transfer of the land at Baltal to the Shrine Board. The State Government had been allotting thousands of acres of land to various agencies for different purposes, to PWD for constructing roads, to Reliance for constructing communication towers, to electricity departments for transmission lines, to power corporations for hydel projects, to education department for university campuses and so on. Even on the day the Cabinet approved of diversion of land in Baltal to the Shrine Board, five other transfers of land to different agencies had been approved. Despite this the communal and antinational elements, like the PDP, picked on diversion ofd land to the Shrine Board for launching a widespread communal agitation. The Congresswith a new Governor; went on an overdrive with its appeasement policy by not only revoking the land diversion order, but virtually dismantling the Amarnath Shrine Board, taking away its functions and trying to hand it over to the Tourist Department. All the members of the board were asked to resign and the Chief Executive Officer of the Board removed. Perhaps in their thinking the Board in making a request for the land in 2005, had committed a crime. The excellent work done by the Board in the management of the Yatra and promoting facilities for pilgrims had resulted in the number of pilgrims going to the Cave by over five times. It reached an all-time high of nearly six lakhs this year. Such ill-advised appeasement, ignoring High Court judgments and legal provisions caused great consternation amongst the people of Jammu. The jubilant separatists and fundamentalists in the Valley also started calling for the reorganization of the Shri Mata Vashino Devi Shrine Board. This resulted in a spontaneous outburst of pent up feelings of the people of Jammu against the discrimination they had been suffering for years. The ongoing agitation in Jammu for the past forty days is a record. There had been much violence and a large number of deaths in the wake of a totally unnecessary agitation started by communalists in Kashmir Valley. It is pertinent that whereas the agitation in Kashmir has been communal, the movement in Jammu has been noncommunal with many Muslims like All Jammu Muslim Conference and several Gujars supporting it. 150 Muslims after offering prayers at Jumma Masjid at Delhi were flagged off under the leadership of Tanveer Ahmed, former President of the Haj Committee to go to Kashmir and demand return of the Baltal land to the Shrine Board. They were prevented at Pathankot from entering Jammu and Kashmir. There has been no economic blockade of Kashmir as such, but movement of vehicles from Pathankot to Kashmir had got disrupted due to the disturbances in Jammu. By 4 August the Army had ensured that hundreds of vehicles carrying supplies were moving into and out of the Valley. Yet anti-national and communal forces launched a march to Muzaffrabad across the LOC on 7 August resulting in security forces

preventing them from doing this. The latter had to open fire against violent mobs resulting in several deaths. The situation has been on the boil in Jammu and Kashmir for over a month now with the Army forced to take action against violent agitating mobs in both regions. In Jammu the agitators have been carrying the National Flag and shouting slogans in support of the army. Whereas, in Srinagar, they have been carrying Pakistani flags and have been denouncing the Army. Even in this daunting and difficult tsituation, the Army has kept its cool and has been carrying out its duties in an impartial manner, both in Jammu region and in the Valley.. The present conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is not between Hindus and Muslims as such, but between nationalists and separatist forces. Our national interests demand that the situation should be brought under control and the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will greatly damage our national Interests and will be a grave threat to our National Security. The policy of appeasement must be eschewed at all costs. The national media must present facts correctly and not attempt to be over-zealous in displaying its secular credentials. Justice must not only be done to all, but must also be seen to be done.