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The more I read about the circumstances leading to the death in detention of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in Sheikh Abdullah's sub-jail in Srinagar in the early hours of June 23,1953, the more I am convinced that itwas a planned liquidation of the greatest Opposition leader of free India who had emerged as the only real challenge to Nehru's leadership after Sardar Patel. My conviction is no doubt tinged by deep and abiding anguish because of my personal involvement in the episode because I travelled in his reserved (third class) compartment for nearly an hour between Yamuna Nagar (Jagadhri) and Ambala on May 8, 1953, during his tumultuous last journey from Delhi to Pathankot (May 8-11) when he was given rousing receptions at every station, besides at night halts at some places. For, I had been elected President of the local unit of the Jana Sangh for 195253 (because of my association with the RSS since 1942) and as Dr. Mookerjee remarked while speaking details of our unit in the train: "You are perhaps the youngest President of any Jana Sangh unit in India." A huge figure, he sat upright on the middle berth with back against the compartment wall, while his two associates, Vaid Guru Dutt (who was wearing goggles) and Shri Tek Chand (a dedicated worker from Dehra Dun) occupied two side berths. They were sent to keep him company in detention. Myself and the:Secretary of our unit, Dr. A.N. Yerman, occupied the berth adjacent to his for that one hour run to the next halt at Ambala. Thus 45 years have passed since Dr. Mookerjee's death but the tragedy still haunts me. As Sarojini Naidu's brother and Mookerjee's colleague in Lok Sabha, poet Harindranath Chattopadhyaya said in a poetic tribute to the departed leader, "A colossal sun of intellect has set!" Earlier I had heard his two public speeches at the first annual conference of the Punjab Jana Sangh towards the end of 1952. The first was at a congregation of local college students and teachers. It was a pure cultural and intellectual feast made in his typical deep sonorous style. With instant reach to the head and the heart, he depicted his visit to some South-East Asian countries as President of Mahabodhi Society of India. It was an illuminating account describing the deep-seated cultural influence of India which our successive Nehruvian Governments have failed to tap because of the exclusive obsession with the Islamic
West Asia. Even eminent people came to touch his feet, he said, in deep veneration as cultural ambassador from what they still regard as their holy land. The second speech was in response to that ofPanditPrem N ath Dogra, the most respected leader of Jammu and the President of Jammu Praja Parishad, who in a moving speech depicted Sheikh Abdullah's secessionist manoeuvres and vindictive atrocities on the Hindus, as he had particular animus towards Dogras of Jammu. However, he had full backing of Nehru who refused to grant Mookerjee his last one request for a meeting with him to-settle the differences amicably. Even exchange of six letters with Nehru failed to move him. He seemed to soften atone statge but then abruptly changed his mind, because of Sheikh's signal. Nehru was convinced about Abdullah's treachery by this time but was still unyielding. Ironically; later the same Sheikh accused Nehru of callous neglect of Mookerjee when he was in jail. The Sheikh claimed in his autobiography (Aatish-e-Chinar translated by Khushwant Singh) that he wanted enquiry into his death but the Centre did not care. (P, 118). Avoidable Tragedy So great was the Sheikh's hold on Nehru that he turned down even Dr. Radhakrishnan's advice to meet Mookerjee before he left for Jammu. Thus a 'peresonal tragedy' could not be averted, as Dr. Radhakrishnan said (Vide, Radhakrishnan, A Biography by Dr. S. Gopal). Nehru's refrain in Parliament was that nothing could be done to redress the situation because of the UN involvement which incidentally he himselfhad invited. Another pet Nehruvian argument was that he knew more about Kashmir than anybody else. To which Mookerjee retorted, "Then what is the use of this Parliament if you alone are to decide everything." Incidentall y, it was because of this Kashmiri fixation, that Nehru kept Kashmir out of Sardar Patel's jurisdiction for carrying on his own disastrous experiments with it. Anyway, it was at the Jalandhar session of Jana Sangh that Dr. Mookerjee announced full support to the Praja Parishad which launched an agitation for full integration of J&K with India. At least 3000 were arrested or detained and 39 died in police firing during this agitation in six months. Simultaneously the Jana Sangh launched an agitation in Delhi and Punjab in support of the PP demands. It was as a logical climax to these agitations that Mookerjee decided to visit Jammu to study the situation for himself and in the process violated the .permit system to enter the State, as he was refused entry. It was thus that he embarked on his four day trainjoumey to Pathankot and crossed into J&K as a prisoner, remained in Abdullah's jail for 40 days in most uncomfortable environment, in total disregard of his health conditions, and was handed back as a dead body in circumstances shrouded in dark mystery. It was no doubt the climatic consequence of Nehru-Abdullah conspiracy of deliberate manoeuvres to cause maximum damage to Mookerjee's health and then to make it look a natural death.
Before depicting the actual course of 40 days events culminating in his premature death, the following extracts from some relevant books would serve as a useful backgrounder. First, excerpts from the Intelligence Bureau chief, B.N. Mullik's My Years With Nehru (Allied Publishers) written at the behest of the then Home Minister, Y.B. Chavan, in late sixties.
Mullik was deputed in early 1953 by Nehru to talk to the PrajaParishad leaders and the Sheikh to soften both the parties in their respective stands. He met many people including underground PP leaders who "had real causes of grievance against the State Government and who were extremely suspicious of Sheikh Abdullah ..." They agreed to reduce the intensity of the agitation, but there was "little response" from the Sheikh, about whose attitude and Nehru's reaction to it Mullik says as follows:
"I was surprised to find him (Sheikh Abdullah) a completely changed man. from the time I had first met him in September, 1949. He received me coldly and then gave me a long lecture. He made violent accusations against the Dogras of Jammu in general and the ex -ruler and the Pra j a Parish ad inparticular. (Maharaja Hari Singh had abdicated in favour of his son, Yuvra j Karan Singh, in 1949 and leftthe State for good to live in Bombay at Abdullah's insistence). He spoke contemptuously of the RSS and Jan Sangh of India ... I could not persuade him to desist from indulging in his theme of the hatred of the Dogras and giving expression to his great contempt for them. He himselfwould have probably liked the entire Dogra community to migrate to India and make over their lands to persons ()/ his choice. I was disappointed, because whereas I had succeeded in one part of my mission, I had completely failed in the other ... On my return to Delhi I reported in detail to the Prime Minister what had happened in Jammu and my failure to bring about any change in Sheikh's attitude ... I also told him the measures which had been initiated by me on the Gurdaspur-Jammu border to seal all the entry routes into Jammu from India. The Prime Minister appreciated the steps that had been taken to stop this infiltration and said that the Sheikh had made it an issuethat J ana Sanghisfrom India were going into Jammu and inciting the people ... He was, however, distressed that the Sheikh still continued his hostility to the Hindus of Jammu and gave vent to these feelings publicly. The Prime Minister commented that all this was due to the Sheikh's communal background and though politically he had tried to tum a new leaf. his heart had never been able to get over his earlier predilections." (Pp. 32-34) Next, excerpts from the thenSadr-e-Riyasat. Dr. Karan Singh's Heir ApparentAn Autobiography (Oxford University Press; Paperback), on the "widespread agitation" started by Praja Parishad on November 14, 1952, and its aftermath: '' ...It reflected the widespread agitation launched by the Praja Parishad on 14 November against Sheikh Abdullah. Their slogan of complete integration of the
State with India was expressed in the rallying cry 'Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan, Ek flag and one president). This agitation gathered momentum over the next few months, as it effectively capitalized upon the sense of outrage felt by the Dogras not only at having lost their predominant position in the State but also in having at one stroke been placed at the mercy of their arch enemy, Sheikh Abdullah. The Sheikh, for his part, not only made no effort to modify the feelings of the Jammu people but continued with his hostile and aggressive attitude. An example was the question of _theflag to be flown on the Jammu Secretariat. The old State flag having been hauled down. I had suggested to the Government that, along with the new flag, the national flag should also be hoisted. This was sharply turned down by the Sheikh. and so I, in turn, declined the suggestion that I should personally hoist the new flag,"
Pradhan' (One constitutionone
Karan Singh's Warning "After getting down in Jammu I began assessing the situation, and soon realized that the Praja Parishad agitation had spread deep and wide throughout the Jammu region. Even though I knew Jawaharlal' s aversion to the Parishad, I felt it my duty to inform him about the true state of affairs. I prepared a detailed note which analysed the whole position and made certain concrete recommendations for political and economic measures that would help to meet the genuine aspirations of the people of Jammu and Ladakh. As I put it, 'Stripped of all its non-essentials, the situation is that whereas Jammu and Ladakh strongly desire complete integration with India, Sheikh Sahib and his colleagues are extremely insistent upon the "limited" nature of the Accession and are not prepared to agree to complete integration. ' "I urged that the Government of India must .intervenue so that the State Government reacts to the Jammu agitation not only with police repression but with concrete political, economic and administrative measures. Jawaharlal did write to Sheikh Abdullah in the same month, who replied with a long letter justifying the stand of his Government, and rejecting the whole Jammu problem as the work of communal organizations and a 'violent reaction on the part of Jammu landlords and other upper classes". "...The situation in Jammu is serious enough to deserve our fullest consideration and such positive action as may be necessary. At the same time, one has to view these matters, as all other important matters, coaly and dispassionately." "Meanwhile the Jammu agitation showed no signs of abating and. in fact, was taken up by like-minded parties in Delhi, specially the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, headed by Dt. Shayama Prasad Mukerjee, and N.C. Chatterjee, who decided to launch a Satyagraha on an-all-India basis. I continued to urge that there should be a dialogue between the State Government and the agitation leaders, but Sheikh Abdullah would have none of it and Jawaharlal was also averse to such talks. As he
short of treason to the country and the people should realize it. the Sheikh's attitude steadily became more and more intransigent. he would very much like see the question finalized before he left. as. While the decision regarding abolishing the monarchy had been rapidly implemented because it suited the Sheikh. "Although Sheikh Abdullah attempted to dismiss the whole matter as the plot of 'reactionary elements' . at the hostile manner in which his old protege and friend Sheikh Abdullah was acting. He admitted that he had no answer when asked in Parliament or outside as to why the Delhi Agreement had not beenimplemented. When I asked him what reply he had received he turned to me and said in an incredulous and hurt tone. It had been clear to me from the start that he was less than sincere in his professions. He was particularly hurt. "Apart from the Jammu agitation. He said that he had written a long letter to the Sheikh pointing out that the matter had been greatly delayed and that. but he had not quite made up his mind how to deal with the problem. and the Government of India seemed in the beginning to support that view.' He added that the Sheikh was thoroughly confused and was evidently avoiding meeting him. even though 1knew that he was anergic to the Jana Sangh and Praja Parishad leaders. why the delay in implementing the rest of the agreement? "I had two long meetings with Nehru on April 21 and May 23. to. I continued to dwell on this theme in my letters to Jawaharlal. "It was clear that he was deeply disturbed. he had begun dragging his feet as far as the other items were concerned.' My suggestion to Sheikh Abdullah that my formal address to the Legislative Assembly on March 25 could be used as a good opportunity to strike a conciliatory note was rejected by him. was being lost. and agreed with me when I remarked that unlimited power seemed to have brought out the Sheikh's worst fascist and totalitarian tendencies. where he reacted violently against the Jammu agitation. which alone could ensure the stability and welfare of the State. He made a speech at Ranbirsinghpura. "Indeed. I was deeply disturbed because I realized that the final chance of building a new Dogra-Kashmiri rapport. and that he was simply manoeuvring himself into a position of strength in relation to the Central Government. 1953): 'In my view what these people have done is little. even bewildered. went on to accuse India of being communal 112 .he was going abroad in a few weeks.wrote in one of his letters to me (22 March. and expressed his deep anguish at the way the situation in the State was developing. 'I received no reply at all. there was the broader question of implementing the 'Delhi Agreement' on the constitutional relationship between the State and the Centre that had been earlier worked out after prolonged negotiations between Sheikh Abdullah's team and representatives of the Government of India. Had he been sincere. At the second meeting he opened up for the first time. a border town near Jammu.
I returned to Yamuna Nagar.m. "Soon thereafter came the shocking news of the death of Dr. strict ban on meetings and rounding up of Jana Sangh activists was being done at the behest of Sheikh Abdullah who kept complaining to Nehru about the connivance of Punjab Government under Chief Minister Bhim Sen Sachar with the movement. M. where the train reached at around 2 p. The Secretary of the unit.C. incharge of the movement in Ambala division at that time. Mookerjee. One of the most conspicuous organisers of the meeting was Shri A. Mookerjee addressed a huge gathering there in the overflowing Arya Smaj hall in the hot May afternoon within an hour after his val. I was reminded of these personal memories by a recent meeting wi th one of the chief organisers of the movement.B. as President of the local unit 1 accompanied Dr. The circumstances in which he died in the custody of the State Government were a cause of grave resentment and suspicion. I was not informed of his illness or his removal to hospital. specially the people of Bengal. 149-156) As already stated. Dr. he shifted to Delhi and started practising in Labour law. Sachar complied with Nehru's instructions'.A.. Jammu was furious because Dr. While his son is looking after 113 . Shri Raghbir Saran Advocate showed the latest issue of Illustrated Weekly ofIndia. Yerman was also with me. with khadi dress and white cap. Mookerjee had been martyred while fighting for the Praja Parishad cause. Sometime after Dr. Mookerjee' s death. whom I had been seeing since my student days in Lahore. There was such a huge crod at Ambala station to receive him that it was difficult for him to get down. The whole ofIndia was shocked at this event.and virtually threatening that the Accession of the State could not be taken for granted." (pp. LL. carrying the cover story: "After Nehru Who? Mookerjee or IP. A. Dr. and there was open talk that his death had not been from natural causes. ?" alongwith photographs of both the leaders. Even before he could get down. The daily was then published from Ambala before moving to Chandigarh a decade later. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in his reserved compartmentfornearly one hour's 11mbetween the industrial town of Yamuna Nagar and Ambala cantonment. He was the Zonal Secretary of Jana Sangh. the President of Ambala City Jana Sangh. Shri Prem Nath Joshi. and only learnt of his death from unofficial sources several hours after his body had been flown out of Srinagar. the News Editor of Thr Tribune. Meeting at Ambala Despite the ban order on public meetings. His printing press was sealed and he suffered much like man y others for the cause. : am In fact. Shri Bali was a staunch Congress activist. Bali. who held Dr. Mookerjee in the highest regard. After attending the Ambala meeting of Dr. He worked underground to avoid arrest. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in detention.N.
Earlier. particularly Pakistani agents. It is my wish to see Sheikh Abdullah also. Dr. Stating the purpose of his visit. My object in going there is to study the situation myself and explore the possibilities of creating conditions leading to peaceful settlement. He had a lot to hide in his communal fiefdom. who had launched a powerful agitation for complete integration and full protection under the Indian Constitution. two of Dr. They had applied for permits butthe Defence Ministry refused. Deshpande. While entraining for Amritsar after addressing aPress conference he was told by the Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur that the Punjab Government had decided to prevent him from reaching Pathankot. actually the reason was different.V. 1953. both MPs. As a Member of Parliament I have a right to go to every place within India to study the situation there. and met Abdullah. Though it was given out that Dr. Before departure from Delhi on May 8. according to a Press report later denied by Nehru. Chowk Gurudwara Road. Trivedi and G. Mookerjee's colleagues. he was allowed to go into the State according to a set conspiracy: which started unfolding at Jalandhar. But he got no reply. he wrote to the Defence Minister asking what was the legal position about the permit system. had tried to go to J&K in mid-April.the practice now. "Permit system is meant to prevent foreigners. New Delhi-5).. I se~ no reason why he should refuse. he is bringing out a series of booklets on Hindutva. too. Mookerjee's compartment. He was arrested under Public Safety Act of J&K. Fascist repression His was a peaceful mission to find solution to the twin problems of full integration of the State with the rest of the country and ending atrocities on the people of Jammu. However. enigmatic silence. He had visited J&K a year earlier. Barrister U. "I am expecting instructions from my Government as to where you should be put under arrest. In fact. That is why I did not apply for a permit . Mookerjee sent a telegram to Abdullah from Ambala as follows: "I am proceeding to Jammu. When they proceeded without permit. from entering Kashmir and obtaining military secrets and not to prevent respectable citizens from moving in the country. now when Dr. he also said. 114 ." In a Press statement there. Evidently there was a deliberate. Karol Bagh.. "The DC had posted himself in Dr. I will like to see you if possible.M. they were arrested at Jalandhar under Preventive Detention Act. Mookerjee was arrested for crossing over J &K border by violating the permit system. he had taken the trouble of calling on me to present the latest publication Sarva Dhanna Sambhava-A SheerHypocrisy (Rashtriya Hindu Manch." Tumultuous receptions . The purpose clearly was to create an excuse. Mookerjee proceeded to enter J&K without permit. who was too scared this time because of popular upsurge in Jammu region against his Fascist repression. Bhagwan Das Building.
Mookerjee's death on June 23 reached him. Balraj Madhok. However. However. But he was told ab=tt the ban only after he crossed into the State. come what may. Prof. "Though no limit has been put on the number of companions you can take with you. Nehru was to leave on a month's holiday abroad to London among other places to attend the Queen's coronation and the Common wealth conference. People lined both sides of the main bazar as his jeep passed through the town. "The D. the same D. However. The jeep stopped and a police officer handed over to him an order of the Chief Secretary of the State dated May 10. Madhok was the moving spirit behind the founding ofPraja Parish ad in 1948 and one of the closest associates of Dr. Karan Singh says. The fact was thatthe Nehru Government was scared of his popularity and wanted a respite by pushing him into the captivity of the Sheikh who was no less scared and behaved like a medieval Islamic despot. entry into the State would put him beyond the protection of the Supreme Court ofIndia as the very permit system could be challenged. From Amritsar to Pathankot there were literally thousands waiting for him at every station." The information intrigued Dr. Nehru was in Cairo on way back to India when the news of Dr.Meanwhile. for he considered the whole movement "treacherous" as Dr." (Details based on The Portrait ofa Martyr. there were more tumultuous welcomes on the way. a high level decision had been taken to put him in the hands of Abdullah who could deal with him as he liked. as Dr. of Gurdaspur and other officers saw him off and wished him an enjoyable journey. he never showed any concern for him. it was given out that he had defied a ban on his entry into the State. Many friends and colleagues in Parliament. Abdullah has stated in his autobiography that Nehru (alongwith Home Minister Katju) had visited Srinagar in last week of May when Dr. on May 11. of Gurdaspur. by Prof. Mookerjee in those fateful days. He wondered why the GOI had changed the plan. soon after arrival at Pathankot on May 11. who had preceded him. Mookerjee. Beside. had tried to dissuade him from his ill-fated mission. Dr. informed him that he had been instructed by his Government to allow him and his companions to proceed without permit. He halted for the night there. Sarsanghchalak Guruji too was reported to have sent a similar message.C. he aded. banning his entry into the State. For. 1953. Sucheta Kripalani. Obviously.C. At Amritsar a crowd of twenty thousand admirers received him at the railway station. In fact. I will advise to take only a few. The party reached Madhopurcheckposton theRavi bridgeat4 p. Mookerjee was in detention but he never cared to meet him.m. But as soon as his jeep reached the centre of the bridge. including Smt.) 115 . Mookerjee proceeded towards J&K border on May 11 afternoon after a royal send off at Pathankot. But he saw no danger in a free country. To come back to the course of events. he found the road blocked by a posse of Kashmir police. Karan Singh says in his book cited earlier. He wanted all quiet in his absence. he had to keep his word with the people of Jammu.
But the officer-in-charge said it would be done at Batot where they reached at a 2 a. As already stated. For. eight miles from Srinagar near Nishat Bagh. he was given another order arresting him under the Public Safety Act of J&K. But it was a God-forsaken place." was his last message to his countrymen. a good hundred yards away. Mookerjee said he intended to proceed to Jammu. Thus began the liquidation consipracy by causing him maximum physical discomfort.m." When Dr. All three were put under arrest. "I have entered the J&K State." the officer replied. There were no readily available medical facilities. they were taken to a small cottage. . The bracing climate was no use to him. Dr. From there again. The rest were asked to return. Mookerjee told his returning companions that he sensed a conspiracy between the State and the Central Governments. cut off from the world. He got down from his jeep along with two other colleagues. What is it now?" "I am Superintendent of Police Kathua. the detenus were rushed to Udhampur reaching there at 10 p. no telephone. Sleeping for a few hours. Mookerjee read the order and said: "I have been permitted by the Government of India to proceed. No regard was paid to the fact that he suffered from high blood pressure and a heart ailment. Doctors could come only when requisitioned.m. Dr. they were again hastily moved towards Srinagar jail where they reached at 3 p. Telephone facility was available in a canal department office. it was a post-haste journey on a hilly terrain. abandoned cottage with a small garden that he spent the remaining 40 days of his life from May 12 to June 22 when he was removed to Government Nursing Home in Srinagar in serious condition. Sheikh Abdullah has cited the Centre's "nod" for taking him to the unsuitable rarefied climate of high altitude in Srinagar rather than keeping him in the suitable climate of Jammu region. He could have been kept him in Udhampur or Kud. 116 . the rarefied high altitude atmosphere was harmful for his physical condition of high blood pressure. though as a prisoner.Dr. "I have been instructed to hand over this order to you.hours hourney. The Sheikh Government was now free to do what it liked to finish the arch enemy of the Nehru-Abdullah axis. Maximum physical discomfort was caused to the illustrious prisoner after that. It was in this desolate. Mookerjee was rushed past Jammu in a closed jeep while thousands kept waiting for his arrival for hours till night.m. which was converted into a sub-jail. where Sheikh Abdullah was transferred at his own request after his dismissal and arrest on August 9. 1953. He brought this fact to the notice of the State authorities but to no purpose. After an hour's stay at Lakhanpur. The trap door was thus shut. It was given out to the world outside that this cottage was a beautiful spot overlooking sylvan scenery. Anyway. He could not have adequate walks even though there was no security risk in that solitary place. Vaidya Guru Dutt and Shri Tek Chand. He wanted to take rest there as he was dead tired after nearly six.
as a habeas corpus petition was to be field in the J&K High Court at Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan's suggestion. On June 19. the Superintendent said. Dr. It takes two or three minutes to cover the distance. I take a walk in the narrow path inside the garden.M. " The conspiracy further unfolded when the Inspector General of Prisons. It was not received till June 20 when the prisoner was physically unfit to move even. 1953. when Dr. Roy. The garden is not large.C.•after four hours. Syama Prasad Mookerjee." Again. He used to write his diary regularly but it disappeared after his tragic death. Roy. Dr. "Permission is limited only to a walk along the garden path. Chopra. But Dr. Police guard will accompany you. during his detention in a God-forsaken place. Perhaps he was afraid of Nehru's temper and kept quiet. the then Chief Minister of West Bengal. eight-miles from Srinagar. He started having high temperature. Trivedi. Two MPs. Mookerjee's death didn't seem to bother much at the time or proved ineffective. visited this "sub-jail" a few days after Dr. he had not received any order.N. "Permission could not be had for a stroll outside the garden in the morning and in the afternoon. It was learnt that Sheikh Abdullah had put his foot down. He could not even talk to Pt.30 a. Pandit Prem Nath Dogra was taken to Srinagar to be lodged with him for consultations to withdraw the movement at Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad's initiative who was then masterminding a coup against Sheikh Abdullah. Some of the letters written by him never reached his family. Dr. Doctors Ali Muhammad and Raina arrived only at 11. However. Dr. He was asked whether he could take a stroll outside. Acute pain started in his right leg which went on intermittently. He was getting weak everyday. Mookerjee' s arrival. Mookerjee's appetite started weakening soon after detention. His son was refused permit in Delhi to visit Srinagar. B." said Colonel Chopra and instructed the Supreintendent of the sub-jail and the Police Inspector on duty accordingly. You can take a stroll on the canal bank. He wrote about it to his family who asked the family physician. Dr. Mookerjee's condition became serious on 20th morning. Dogra. Sardar Hukam Singh and Shri U. Colonel R. Mookerjee objected saying that his family physician had told him it did 117 . Even some relations already in Srinagar were not allowed to meet him. who sent an angry telegram to Abdullah at Dr. Mookerjee got ready next morning. were allowed to see him. "This is a small matter. No near relation or friend was allowed to interview the Sheikh's illustrious captive.m. Dr. Ali Muhammad prescribed streptomycin injection after diagnosing dry pleurisy. It is there only and in the open space that lies ahead of it that I take the stroll. to contact Kashmir. This house is very small.As he wrote to his family on May 25. He wanted no more facility to be given to his illustrious captive. There are ten or twelve policemen who keep the guard lest there be loss of prestige.
On getting information.45 a. However. according to the then IB chief. Mookerjee had been liquidated because the J&K High Court was going to release him the next day.40 a. he had to agree to his dismissal. There was a widespread feeling in Hindu circles in Srinagar that he had been murdered. Precious time was lost at every stage. The lO-mile journey to hospital itself was extremely exerting. Like Krishna Menon's dismissal in the wake of the Chinese attack. Mookerjee had already." (Vide Balraj Madhok. But that too was much against his wishes. though within seven weeks. Mullik (My Years With Nehru). Vaidya Guru Dutt and Shri Tek Chand were brought at4.30 a. Next day a junior surgeon came to attend to him. he passed away at 2. Nehru was always afraid of doing anything that affected Sheikh's or his own image.30 a. this too was to save his own skin.30 p. Dr. However.m. But the whole thing was kept secret till his death. Arguments had been concluded by earlier evening. as a "precautionary measure". He had a severe heart attack at 4 a. on August 9. Pt.1953. The medical bulletin said he had developed pain in the heart area at 1 p. The doctors said the worst had passed.m. they said.m. Dr.30 a.N. earlier cited).m. Oxygen was not given to him at all. Mookerjee's condition deteriorated. But the protest was brushed aside. Shri Trivedi went away but was picked up from his hotel to go to hospital at 3.not suit his system. according to a hospital source.m. The tragedy remains shrouded in mystery because Nehru had refused to hold an enquiry. But Dr. with Maulana Azad's consent. There was a general belief that Dr. Pt. Ali Muhammad reached at 7 . He seemed to feel better when Barrister Trivedi met him at 7.m. Prem Nath Dogra. It was Kidwai who masterminded the ultimate fall. He advised shifting him to the State Nursing Home immediately. "They have killed him. and his pulse stopped at 3. B. Vaidya Guru Dutt wanted his relatives to be informed. Butthere was no help. as claimed.m. Mookerjee' s condition had worsened. passed away. They wanted to oust him before he could do "any more damage to the interests of the Muslims of India". A taxi car arrived only four hours later. Vaidya Guru Dutt and Tek Chand were refused . calling for investigation which was doggedly refused. His condition suddenly deteriorated after a particular doctor gave him an injection at 1 a. Mookerjee was expected to corne out victorious 118 . But the same doctor refused to come when the nurses frantically phoned him that Dr.m. More damaging facts came to light. He would be X-rayed next morning. He was cheerful throughout the week. and would be allright in a day or two.permission to accompany him.m. A Superintendent of Police openly shouted. Dogra. Dr. Some had pleaded that he should not be left alone in the Nursing Home. Nehru was not reconciled to Sheikh's detention.
when the local RSS Pracharak (Raviji) came cycling after me when he saw me travelling in a rickshaw. Our investigation received a severe jolt when on January 8. That was the end of my brief political career. However. union politics. Mookerjee's towering intellect had been the chief attraction. he used to press the Kashmir Government every six months or even oftener either to place the Sheikh on trial or to release him. I still remember what a shock it was when we received the news in my town. We held a condolence meeting the same evening.N. I was running a private coaching college at that time after doing my B. from the East Punjab University (Evening) College in Delhi. he was alleged to have gone there to meet some Pakistani agents including an intelligence officer. Even otherwise it did not suit my nature. that he never thought anybody could dare topple him. But Bakshi proved cleverer and turned the tables on him. Everything around seemed to wear a pall of gloom. A political sea-change was in the offing under the surface. Now I paid wholehearted attention to studies. firstly due to partition and then for lack of means. brought me to Delhi. as a revolt was brewing in his Cabinet against him for his anti-India fulminations and dictatorial ways. The democrat that he was. Fifteen years later. The Sheikh was already desperate. On a stormy evening. in search of a change. I was preparing for M. due. To again quote B. It is interesting to note. the Sheikh was so cock sure of his popularity. it would be difficult to proceed against other 119 .A. In fact. He wanted to throw out Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad and two others (Sham Lal Saraf and Girdhari Lal Dogra). Sheikh Abdullah was released.. he could not tolerate detention without trial even of his confirmed enemies. (English) examination privately under refugee regulations and was side by side doing teaching work. 1958. It was a sheer fluke that Istood first in the University and at once got a lecturer's job in a college in Ambala. over-involvement in another kind of politics.in another day. He asked me to come down and then broke the news. how even after Sheikh Abdullah's detention in August 1953. Nehru kept pressing for his release. which I could not avail. Mu1lik: "The Prime Minister had neverreconciled himself to Sheikh Abdullah' s arrest and detention for a prolonged period without trial. around 2 p. It was burning hot. Nobody had any spirit left to say much. So. But Bakshi would never agree. Dr. as chairman of Haryana Lecturers' Union.m. We were too dumb-founded to say anything to each other just then. My studies had been interrupted twice. In between came an offer of Principals hip. At that time we had pieced together a great deal of evidence against him and it was apparent that he was the main conspirator and that if he was let out. he had snuffed out a great life before being sacked.to an accident that kept me bed-ridden for four months. Only Mirza Afzal Beg was on his side. The Sheikh did not have the least inkling when the Sadr-e-Riyasat. the 22-year-old Karan Singh's order for his dismissal and arrest was served to him at Gulmarg Rest House.A.
Syama Prasad Mookerjee's death on June 23. and this is what happened. This only means one thing-that for Nehru Dr. But Dr. this lofty principle did not apply to the greatest Opposition leader ofIndia and former Cabinet colleague. He had in fact the reputation of being huge eater. apart from Nehru's patr~nage." (My Years With Nehru. Anyone challenging the Nehru dynasty's divine right to rule has been treated as a traitor by the monopolistic Nehrus. there was criticism all over India about the way this respected leader 120 . P. As Dr. P . 77) In fact. he describes his son Farooq. It was like a Barat Ghar. Anyone could come and meet him there. His outfit was all along receiving arms and money from Pakistan. However.130). Obviously. The Sheikh too had the same inimical view of Dr. For example. the sprawling Kud "jail" was as good as an open house. it is interesting to read Pandit Nehru' s faith in democratic liberty and opposition to "detention without trial" of even enemies. the Sheikh had to be arrested again three months later on April 28. our only hope was that intoxicated with his newly found liberty which he must have ascribed to his strength in the Kashmir Valley and which ultimately the government could not ignore. in detention reached us in London. Pandit Nehru was seriously concerned about the possible repercussions in India and the consequent further hardening of the Sheikh's attitude. only Dr. He was sending coded messages across the border and to Paki High Commission even when he was in jail. Bakshi outsmarted him in the battle of processions and the Sheikh lost face when he failed to appear ata congregation at Hazrat Bal for fear of firing. The Sheikh was allowed to rear poultry and sheep as he himself says in Aatish-i-Chinar (Abridged and translated by Khushwant Singh. Nehru saw him as the biggest threat to his autocratic rule.1958. then a student in Medical College. Karan Singh says. 373).accused persons because they could always disown the Sheikh .. the Sheikh might stick out his head too much and in that process expose himself further. Interestingly. as the one who was bent on smashing his image and smashing the Congress also thereby as Durga Das says in From Curton to Nehru (P. Mookerjee had the calibre to take him head on in Parliament. as he went about inciting Islamic feelings and preaching mob violence to bring down the State Government. He calls it "experimenting". as coming to see him In "tattered clothes" although the family was getting huge sums from Pakistan. read the following passage from Mullik's book: "The news of Dr. Nehru considered all those involved in the Praja Parishad movement as traitors. Jaipur. with insatiable appetite for meat. Mookerjee was worse than an enemy. So he allowed the sadistic Sheikh to do what he liked wi th him. as the Emergency episode proved to the hilt later.and bring to light more incriminating evidence against himself. who had fought tooth and nail against Preventive Detention Bill in Parliament. For. For. Indeed. Mookerjee was more than a traitor to him. In a nutshell. Anyway. 1953.. Mookerjee.
The Sheikh did not have the courtesy to send a reply or even express regret. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in prison when he was just 52. the Praja Parishad. Mullik confirms in his book My Years WithNehru-told him that he had every sympathy with the Jana Sangh and thePraja Parishad's demand for a complete merger of Kashmir with India but was worried that 121 .38-39 Italics added) Mullik says above that the Sheikh had not the courtesy to send a reply to Dr. During Pandit Nehru's absence. the Kashmir Government had not thrown him into jail but kept him under house arrest and had arranged for proper medical attendance.N.C. Roy could on no account be withheld. here is Sheikh Abdullah's version ofthe detention and death of Dr. Praja Parishad started a movement which was financed by Maharaja Hari Singh and his coterie. B~C. he did not deserve any special consideration and had to meet the consequences ofhis action. Roy's telegram or to express regret. India had acceded to Kashmir. which was helping his mortal enemy. Mookerjee. In any case. Maulana Azad was consulted about delivering the telegram to the Sheikh as it was apprehended that the latter's reaction would be violent. This was apart from his total stonewalling of a judicial or any sort of enquiry into the circumstances leading to the revered leader's death. i. B. Mookerjee's illness when he had been the latter's family physician for years and how the Kashmir Government had allowed this to happen. but the Maulana Sahib opined that a communication from Dr.e. Jogmaya Devi. both were birds of the same feather. as published in his autobiography Aatish-e-Chinar (Flames of Chinar): "Communal elements did not like the Delhi Agreement. In Jammu. To give the devil his due. Criticism of the Kashmir Government's action in detaining Dr. Smt. Jawaharlal.had been treated in Kashmir and the weakness which the Government of India had shown in the matter. Mookerjee was the founder leader of the Jana Sangh. His attitude was that as Dr. continued allover Indian and was particularly vehement in West Bengal for quire some time and Sheikh Abdullah found in this ample support for his allegation that India was secular in name but was basically communal and sci Kashmir could have no honourable place in that country. Both had skeletons in their cupboards. Mookerjee's revered old mother. and as Dr. But how courteous Nehru himself was. the Chief Minister of West Bengal. which the two megalomaniacs refused to prove otherwise. They wanted a complete merger of the State in the Indian Union. the then head of the Intelligence Department-B. It was a murder most foul. A very strongly worded telegram came from Dr. Some newspapers went to the extent of writing that instead of Kashmir acceding to India.C. highlighted by his atrocious silence to anguished letters of Dr. Roy. Obviously. The Indian media was also critical. demanding to know from the Sheikh why he had not been informed about Dr. . leading to his death." (P. Mookerjee had broken the law ·in furtherance of agitation for the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India to which the Sheikh was opposed. B. late Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee's widow. in fact. So. the telegram was delivered..
"The Jana Sangh andPrajaParishad were demanding my arrest as the price for changing their hostile attitude towards Jawaharlal. Ajit Prasad Jain and (Gen. agreed that I be made the scapegoat.. Mullik who wanted a strong police officer to deal with the imminent situation .M. Mookerjee.) B. Minister for Jails. therefore. . Mookerjee as the compelling reason.. His supporters tried to defuse the tension. Mookerjee had suffered a massive heart attack.and Acharya Kripalani also supported the Praja Parishad. Mookerjee as interim all-India President) who insisted that! be removed from office. Pressure mounted for an enquiry into the circumstances leading to Dr. The conspirators surpassed the expectations of their masters in cruelty. I could not do much." (p. he was arrested. His dead body was flown to Delhi. Mookerjee announced his intention to defy the government order and enter Kashmir without apermit. Those who believe that the episode had not received the blessings of Jawaharlal Nehru should be referred to the statement of B. demanded the repeal of the permit system. but no one paid attention. Syama Prasad Mookerjee. "The Central Department of Defence had introduced a permit system for entry into and exit from certain specified areas in Kashmir. "While Dr. The Praja Parishad insisted on my removal. Jawaharlal had to ask them to wind down their support and not allow the situation to get further complicated . When the Defence Department refused. As soon ashe crossed' the bridge at Madhopur on the Jammu border on May 8. One morning I was informed by Pandit Shyam Lal.. who was arrested in Jammu in connection with the agitation of the Praja Parishad. 118-119) 122 . Dr. He died during the night of June 23.1953. I found the-situation untenable .. Dr. I was shocked. From the start I was not infavour of detaining him in Srinagar. had his own reasons. plus the nod from Delhi. Rafi Ahmed Kidwai contacted Pandit Mauli Chandra Sharma (wrongly mentioned as Pt. I asked the Centre to appoint a committee. This system adversely affected tourism which was the largest natural industry of Kashmir. When I learnt that he was sick of his solitary confinement I ordered that Pandit Prem Nath Dogra. But the Home Minister. Other leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan . "PanditNebru became the target of communal anger and was threatened with physical harm.N... President of the Punjab Jana Sangh (he in fact succeeded Dr. Mookerjee's death. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. News of the death spread like wildfire. He was brought to Srinagar and lodged near Nishat Bagh. Mookerjee was in prison.it would create a furore in the Security Council. should be brought to Srinagar and lodged with Dr. 1953. Mooki Chand Sharma in the book). It was. thatOr. (It was May 11. and not May 8). Pandit Nehru and Maulana Azad visited Kashmir but neither of them bothered to meet him. the founder of the Jana Sangh. using the death of Dr. Kaul were given the responsibility to prepare the ground for 'Operation August'.
Mullik in this context: "The leading accused .N. Says the then IB chief. Mookerjee was arrested for violating the permit system of the Union Defence Ministry. Katju and not Maulana Azad who came later in July) came to stay in Srinagar (May 16 to 21) but did not bother to meet Dr. Mookerjee on technical grounds with the help of Government officials. The problem was not "solitary confinement" but lack of proper facilities in keeping with his health and need for timely medical aid in that wilderness where he was lodged. He feigns. The Sheikh further says Prem Nath Dogra was sent to give him company in detention. 94) The Sheikh is of course right in pointing out that "Pt Nehru and Maulana Azad'' (it was Home Minister K. Two persons Vaidya Guru Dutt and Shri Tek Chand were already there. it was always easy to put 123 . which means a clear collaboration. Interestingly. Contrast with this the royaltreatmentmetedouttotheanti-lndiamafiaofSheikh-Beg&CoinKudjail after their dismissal and arrest for anti-India conspiracy. Dogra was brought four days before Dr. says Dr. Dogra with Dr.Some loopholes and confessions in the above statement from the Sheikh's 961-page Urdu autobiography (published in 1986 four years after his death) compressed by Khushwant Singh into 176 pages may be noted. Which means it was known that he was not keeping good health and that it was feared the SC would release him again. Their families were paid handsome allowances. ignorance of what was happening otherwise. the Sheikh takes credit for Iodgingf't. The special consideration they got from the Government gave them an exaggerated notion of their importance. their rooms were fully furnished with aircoolers in summer. Mookerjee. all the educational expenses of their sons in colleges were met (by the Government) and they lived like Nawab' s sons. 451) that earlier the Supreme Court had astonishingly. He says that Dr. For. Moreover. he should have been arrested before entering J&K or handed back to the Union Government after arrest in J&K. released Dr. Mookerjee's death for consultation regarding the withdrawal of the movement as some compromise was being worked out. prisoners got special dietinjail. and a habeas corpus petition had been filed in J&K High Court.N. In fact. B. Then why did he arrest him under Public Safety Act of J&K and kept in Srinagar? The clue is found in the hint that there was a "nod from the Centre". Mookerjee was "an ill man" (Nehru-The Making of India). It was in fact this deliberately callous attitude of Pt. if violation of permit system was his offence." (My Years With Nehru. MJ. The same Akbar alleges (p. Akbar. The Sheikh says that Dr. Mookerjee but passes on the blame for keeping him there to Bakshi GhulamMuhammad and the Centre. there was no restriction on interviews with relatives and friends. Pt. Nehru which emboldened the Sheikh to treat his illustrious prisoner as he liked.like Sheikh Abdullah andAfzal Beg were enjoying all the facilities in the special jail. Mookerjee was "sick of his solitary confinement" whereas his admirer. P.
: Oxford University Press) by Radhakrishnan's erudite son. Karan Singh's observations from his autobiography The Heir Apparent (Oxford) quoted in this article earlier. Gopal. Dr. the J&K High Court was slated to release Dr. It was nothing short of a basically Fascist make-up of Nehru himself who was democrat only as long as there was no challenge to his authority. while appeasing Abdullah's ego all the time. while the Praja Parishad leader. The seditious Sheikh was apatriot in Nehru's eyes while the pro-India patriots ofPP were "traitors". Mookerjee was willing. He would have pushed out Dogras from the State if he had not been dismissed. So events moved on to personal tragedy. Nehru himself was greatly embarrassed and was frantically writing to the Sheikh not to embarrass him. Mookerjee' s plea for one last meeting and deliberately pushed him into Sheikh Abdullah's Islamic ghetto though he himself was seriously worried at that time about the Sheikh's relentless push for independence: "Radhakrishnan was also of service to the Prime Minister in internal politics. He also tried to get the Prime Minister and Dr. that fate overtook Kashmiri Pandits due to the thorns sown by Nehru himself and nurtured by Indira and Rajiv after him. Radhakrishnait--A Biography (Pub. (Ironically. as B. Nehru was already disenchanted with the Sheikh who. but Radhakrishnan was able to get at least one step taken to defuse the 124 . who trusted him as secular-minded. S. to talk about their differences. Actually. especially in Bengal. Mookerjee to Nehru after the latter's three week jaunt (June 5-27) abroad. Anyway. as an afterthought.Nehru on the defensive with the charge of collaborating with the "communalists" and making him more ruthless as the Sheikh was doing at that time. Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Mookerjee and Praja Parishad. Prem Nath Dogra's persistent efforts to seek interview with the States or the Central leaders were rudely rebuffed. that he was planning to hand back Dr. would make it clear how Nehru refused to accede to Dr. the following extract from D». He did hand over Dr. Mookerjee in a day or two when he suddenly died. But he refused to take the Opposition leader Dr.) But despite Sheikh's brazen defiance. . In July and August. Mookerjee but as a dead man. he visited Kashmir twice to talk to Sheikh Abdullah. withwhom Radhakrishnan had greater influence than anyone else. but Nehru declined for he hadbeen led to believe that this would smack of appeasement. Mookerjee's arrest and sudden death in Srinagar at a time when both Nehru and Radhakrishnan were out ofIndia. Dr.N. as is evident from Dr. The release was also expected due to the agreement being worked out belatedly as the result of the revolt brewing in the Sheikh's Cabinet against him.with Dr. 1952. Mullik reported to him. was taking to Fascist ways. But. The Sheikh says that "communal elements" did not like the Delhi Agreement. Mookerjee into confidence. and conveyed to the Prime Minister Abdullah's fears and hopes. Feelings rose high. Nehru was maintaining a studiedly hard posture towards Dr. the Sheikh was refusing to implement some of vital pro-India clauses of the agreement. In fact. The Sheikh says elsewhere.
Radhakrishnan was appreciative of Mookerjee's nationalist stand in the crucial "Quit India" days. he found himself more in sympathy (barring Gandhi) with Syama Prasad Mookerjee even though the latter had joined the Hindu Mahasabha." (f. than with Rajagopalachari. "Radhakrishnan advised him (Nehru). Indians are not civilized. out of prison. Elevation to Calcutta University paved way for Radhakrishnan's quick rise. Akbar. which later won him a place in the Nehru Cabinet. Says S. The same Lajpat Rai however. Mookerjee's family. caught between the outraged emotion of a section of opinion among the Hindus and the drift towards secession of Abdullah and his supporters. as the Cabinet and the Congress Parliamentary party favoured. Mookerjee rather than leave any such action. Says S. 262-63) "Indians are not civilized. and fame abroad. Hearing of Radhakrishnan's flair for philosophy while passing through South India. as a conciliatory gesture.V. Syama Prasad Mookerjee whom Radhakrishnan had known in Calcutta as the son of Sir Ashutosh. and Nehru complied. Interestingly Jawaharlal described even Lajpat Raias "a very badly educated man". to the decision of the presiding officer.. Radhakrishnan's personal friendship with Mookerjee was deepened when the philosopher was invited to Oxford for Upton Lectures. whatever you may say. 79) . only the product of Moti Lal's Mughal court was "civilized". (MJ. became "the tallest of us all' during the Simon Commission days. they met frequently. Gopal. was in London reading for the Bar. (p. the firm-minded Sir Ashutosh manoeuvred his appointment to the prestigious George V Chair of Philosophy in Calcutta. remarked with some bitterness to Radhakrishnan. Sir Ashutosh was in fact much criticised in Bengal for pooling the best non-Bengali talent also in the University. That marked Radhakrishnan's long association with the Dr. (Italics added). "Of'personal friends there were few at this time in Britain. Mookerjee' s father Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee who as Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University was instrumental in gi ving Radhakrishnan the much-needed break by pulling him out of Mysore University where he was stagnating." says Nehru above. it may be pointed out. From this time grew a friendship which deepened with years.situation. Raman and Orientalist Bhandarkar. and though Syama Prasad was much younger in years. Of course. was beholden to Dr. Scientist C. P. Radhakrishnan. This plus his role in "partitioning" Pakistan by relentless campaign to divide Punjab and Bengal. Gopal in this context. himself to move the adjournment of the house and pay a tribute to Dr.188) because he and Malaviya had routed Moti Lal's Swaraj Party in 1926 elections in UP and Punjab. who 125 . were his other discoveries whom he patronised. Nehru. who he thought would bring honour to Bengal. "Of the politicians.
151. (though he figured at the Cripps Mission parleys) convened by Lord Wavell to consult Indian leaders for setting up an Interim Government at the Centre. he himself went about converting Kashmir into a communal State. the Sheikh started gunning for the Centre.Ch ina r written after his second coming in 1975. But soon he started attacking even Nehru's secular bonafides. The "Temporary and Provisional" Article 370 was turned on its head into Provisional Accession. He was broken man because of Sheikh's defiant ways ever since 1949." (p. he virtually dubs the Kashmiri Pandits as a permanent fifth column in Kashmir. Firstly. by which he meant the Brahmin Prime Ministers like Nehru and Indira Gandhi and their Kashmiri coterie. siding always with the 126 . he said he was surrounded by communal men. Abdullah insisted that "there was no middle line between full integration and full autonomy-e-and of course Kashmir had to get the latter. 183) Radhakrishnan regretted the omission of Syama Prasad to the Shimla Conference of 1945. and let loose a wave of repression to squeeze out Hindus from Jammu. Plebiscite became his trump card. In his book. Which means the best are sidelined. Though sparing Nehru. Akbar makes two significant points about the Sheikh's push for full autonomy. MJ. secondly. He behaved as ifhe had "conquered" Jammu. He did not spare even the Kashmiri Pandits. After getting Maharaja Han Singh removed. In his book Kashmir-Behind the Vail (Viking). He created all round uncertainty and was finally himself a frustrated man. peddling a neutral line between India and Pakistan. (Later. (p. However.was willing to sacrifice national interests to reach a compromise with Jinnah. 1951. it was said there was no accession at all. making the State's accession dependence on the whims of just one manSheikh Abdullah. internationalising it by taking itto the UNO under Mountbatten' s advice and.a letter to Nehru. Politics is one-long second best. Autonomy had become a code wordfor independence". said Radhakrishnan in. He started gunning for the Dogras. He refused to ratify accession with India in the first meeting of the State's Constituent Assembly in October. He even conspired with the Americans. This was because Nehru had made everything dependent on his personal friendship till Abdullah himself gave him a shocking lesson in diplomacy by writing to him that personal friendship did not count in such matters. when he gave interviews t~ foreign papers.) It was then used to secure-maximum autonomy within the State. and that there was no hope for him after Nehru. he has railed against not only Kashmiri Pandits but the Brahmins of North India. In his autobiography Aaatish-e. calling itconservati ve and communal. And finally. Italics added) Nehru had in fact made the Kashnir problem intractable by two fatal steps.
16) Sardar was very sad at Nehru's disastrous experiments in secularism and internationalism. P. Patel had even said. The State ofJ ammu and Kashmir is a part of the Indian 127 . he tried every persuasive method to bring round Pt. SHills or the Dogras.N. Given hereunder is a gist of Mookerjee-Nehru and Mookerjee-Abdullah correspondence. When Nehru refused to budge. (Khushwant Singh's translation. He did not agree with Mullik' s report of "All is well with Abdullah". Dr. 170-172) However. Praja Parishad' s movement had to be launched in the wake of Sheikh's persistent attacks on the Jammu people. But still he was maintaining a brave face in public." Again to Nehru: ''I would earnestly urge upon you to consider the effect of the movement on the rest ofIndia. that the country is being brought to the brink of disaster.1950. It was just to appease the Sheikh. Nehru to see reality. He entered into a protracted correspondence with him. Mookerjee's suggestion for a personal meeting before leaving for J&K. 1953. as pointed out by Dr. he point-back told him. Thousands were detained and at least three dozen killed in firings. Interestingly. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. For. on May 10. tailored to Nehru's whims. Mookerjee launched a Satyagraha in Delhi and decided to visit Jammu himself. Viking. Mookerjee into what turned out to be an enemy territory. However.rulers. writing to him six letters and two to Abdullah between January 9 and February 23 in 1953. Nehru was inwardly broken by that time and entreating Sheikh in abjectly worded letters not to embarrass afriend who had trusted him sq completely. before leaving for I&Kborder in second week of May. Sardar Patel had told B. Nehru wrote to his sister. Mookerjee urged Nehru: "I am writing to you in the hope that you will keep an open mind and try to appreciate the point of view of those who may differ from you on this matter. But he had already suffered a heart attack by then and Nehru was too headstrong. "It is through your mistaken policy and your failure to understand the viewpoint of those who differ from you. His patient back was broken only after Dr. (My Years with Nehru. It was to defend them that Dr. Mullik even in 1949 that the Sheikh would soon come out in his "real colours". In his first letter. referred to above. that "the most difficult thing in life is what to do with one's friends". Thus the Nehru-Sheikh collaboration pushed Dr. It is vitally important that the circumstances that have led to the present movement should be impartially reviewed and effort should be made to arrive at a speedy and peaceful settlement which will be fair andjust to all concerned. be they Mughals or Pathans. "We have lost Kashmir". Nehru did not bother about his communal repression on the people of Jammu." Earlier. P. Radhakrishnan. that was how the Sheikh ruled over I&K under Nehru's patronage.
The people of India are not prepared to sever their connection with Kashmir under any circumstances. You have ascribed to us all sorts of motives and have even dubbed us betrayers of the country's interests. Again he wrote to Nehru: "One common feature of your speeches has been an abundance of abuses and vituperation which you have poured forth on those who differ with you. It is absurd to dub them as friends of Pakistan..unconsciously you have been recently indulging in such attacks only to hide the'.. Nehru again dubbed the peaceful movement facing the Sheikh's 128 . However. This is their natural wish and they are guided by patriotic and national motives .. plebiscite or no plebiscite. I have no desire to emulate you in this respect.. I would beg of you to think in your cool moments how in your life's history your failure to stand against Muslim communalism in India has resulted in disastrous consequences . Referring to Nehru's oft-repeated charge of communalism." However.. weakness of your case. Pt.. Mookerjee only wished to know how PanditNehru wanted to reassure the people of Jammu and India about tackling Sheikh Abdullah's belligerence." Dr. he wrote: "This is most unfair charge and . Our approach to the problem is actuated by highest national and patriotic considerations. they do not say anything that is arbitrary or extraordinary. The solution that we are asking for is far from communal. Your letter and you speeches give no satisfactory answer to these basic points raised by the Praja Parishad.Union and as such it is perfectly open to the people of the rest of India to interest themselves in the affairs of the State .. This was a blatant bid to condone Abdullah's brutal antiDogra repression through British-style repression. "People who are facing sacrifices and suffering cheerfully. "If the people of Jammu demand that the accession should be on the same lines as in this case of other States.." However. are not enemies of India or of Jammu and Kashmir. Mookerjee had a very tactful way of hitting back which infuriated Nehru no end. convert J&K State into an independent Islamic State and treat Jammu as a conquered territory." Again. Dr. you may let me know and I shall gladly abide by your wish. Nehru replied that Praja Parishad was trying to tackle a basic constitutional issue through "methods of war". It is amazing how the move of separatism by Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues is being applauded by you as national and patriotic and the genuine desire on the part of Praja Parishad to secure the fundamental unity and integrity of India and to be governed as common Indian citizens is being dubbed as a treacherous conduct. nor does it seek to disunite or disintegrate India. "If you want me to discuss the matter personally with you and Sheikh Abdullah.
Mookerjee wrote: "You will forgi ve me ifI fail to appreciate your repeated reference to possible international complications as a result of Jammu movement. firmly create conditions for national solidarity based on a fair adjustment of different viewpoints and interests." "Even at this late hour. it will give you greater strength and prestige even in international dealings. He asked Dr. "I have no doubt that you wish"wen to India but the fact remains that our conceptions of what is well for India differ. Nehru's pet excuse of international complications. "a peaceful settlement is possible and it is you who can take the initiative. Statesmanship requires that you should examine the whole matter dispassionately and instead of being haunted by false internationalism. Some other Central leaders were in favour of it. we are children of the same Mother." However. On the other hand your policy in this behalf has added to complications both at home and abroad. Mookerjee concluded this letter with another fervent appeal to Nehru to rise above partisan spirit: I only wish to close this correspondence with my deep regret that "though we are children of the same Mother." Pt." Dr. he went on to dub the agitation as communal and inherently subversive. preferably in Delhi. Dr. No one today will claim that your handling of the Kashmir problem has enhanced our international prestige or has won for us wide international support or sympathy. But Sheikh Abdullah seemed to stonewall the proposal. The only difference is that while we disagree on some vital matters. and with a little goodwill and tolerance on both sides we should have been able to avoid a serious cleavage. The movement may be suspended if such an offer is communicated to PP leaders". he said.vindictive ire and State repression as "violent and subversive". Mookerjee and Nehru) have moved largely in different spheres. Mookerjee suggested a concrete procedure for settling the issue and urged that the Sheikh and Nehru meet Praja Parishad leaders. Pandit Nehru took shelter under the plea of autonomy of the J&K State Government which alone. He referred to the past and said their lives (ofDr." he said. Nehru wanted the agitation to be withdrawn first. Mookerjee to exercise his influence on Praja Parishad to end the agitation in Jammu. He threatened to use "other and further steps" to crush the movement. However. followed by "an attempt on all sides to bring about normality and goodwill". 129 . with an "open mind to arrive at decisions that would meet their legitimate demands. your replies have a painful resemblance with similar communications which Heads of British Government in India. Nehru's reply to this letter (lOth February) was deceptively mellow. Dr. So in a non-committal reply. carried away by sense of power and prestige. Referring to Pt. If you succeed in this. could settle the problem. In reply. used to address while refusing to take note of the manifestations of the will of the people. as he said.
And yet." Dr.N." Which means Pandit Nehru was himself complicating the issue by confusing it. The process of bringing about normality and goodwill. it would be highly improper to judge your present aims by making elaborate researches into your past history starting from Aligarh. But then he also toldPanditNehru. Dr. Mookerjee told him India had unfortunately been torn into two by the twonation theory. while discussion with the State Government could go on for the rest. These are dangerous symptoms and are not good for your State. followed by immediate suspension of the movement. Ten years after the Sheikh's dismissal. will then automatically follow. Dr. an eminent researcher. has provided documentary evidence of how the Sheikh was in league with the British and the Ahmediya leaders of Punjab to create communal disturbances in Kashmir for putting the Maharaja on the defensive and replace him as an independent ruler. "1 do not know intimately about your past. (p. there is no reason why they should not reciprocate. He wanted the treason trial against the Sheikh to be expedited. You yourself started as a leader of a communal party. Mookerjee wrote to Nehru again. Dr. As later events showed. Nehru was convinced about the Sheikh's divisive and despotic approach. Regarding applicability of the Indian Constitution to J&K. imploring him that he and Abdullah should agree to meet the PP leaders. He was privately writing to him not to let him down in the eyes of the people of India. the then Director ofIntelligence Bureau records in his book My Years with Nehru. Nehru had burst out at a sub-committee meeting of the Cabinet confessing that the Sheikh had been communal all along. Mookerjee said in reply he would ask PP leaders not to press for a declaration now. Mullick. Mookerjee wrote to Sheikh Abdullah on 13thFebruary. as B. all the time Pt. 103) Moreover." Pandit Nehru had said that no public declaration could be made about the finality of accession of J&K because of the talks then going on in Geneva. "You are now developing a three-nation theory. Hori Lal Saxena in his book The Tragedy of Kashmir published in 1974." A prophetic warning indeed.Obviously realising that Sheikh Abdullah was exercising his veto from behind the scenes. If their viewpoints are met in a fair and just manner. On 12th February. the third being the Kashmiri nation. Dr. Mookerjee said some subjects could be applied immediately. "Both of you should agree to meet some selected representatives of Praja Parishad and this should be followed by an immediate suspension of the movement. 1trust. but I have seen some papers and documents. "Really speaking accession was not the issue on which we went to the UNO. 130 . appealing to him not to drag in the so-called "communal" action of Praja Parishad in the past because "it would not be safe to base one's present attitude towards grave political problems solely on past relationship with one's opponents" and added.
Even in Kashmir the High Court was likely to release him as the dominant National Conference faction under Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was preparing to overthrow the Sheikh who was crossing all limits of megalomania and anti-India phobia. before going to Calcutta next morning or after coming back in a couple of days. Mookerjee again wrote to Nehru on 17th February that the latter should get out of the mental approach of hurling abstract and imaginary charges unrelated to specific matters against Praja Parishad movement and that an approach should be made to PP leaders then injail. Dr. he says. Mookerjee' s return from Calcutta. Dr. Thus the Sheikh effectively torpedoed any meeting. Dr.30 p. He did not suggest even a meeting after Dr. That was to put him beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. and hence denied "any meeting ground".m. both betrayed a Fascist-mentality. It was the handiwork of two inflated egos. Nehru was obviously ill-informed about the mass-base of the movement. But the Sheikh-Nehru axis succeeded in snuffing out his life by sheer callousness and indifference to his health conditions. Mookerjee decided to proceed to Kashmir himself to study the situation even by violating the pemiit system. Both had vested interest in the premature death of Mookerjee. So Nehru conspired with Abdullah to arrest him on the State's territory. he said he could not succeed in it. But still Nehru took shelter 131 . Mookerjee realised that his sweet reasonableness was falling on a closed mind and stony heart. In refusing to talk even. though the implementation could be delayed. But not to be deterred. Nehru insisted on withdrawal of the agitation as a first step. he again wrote to Abdullah on 23rd February. even though there was some common ground. Mookerjeewanted this to be done after an agreement on basics in a meeting of the two sides. He was unnerved when Dr. Mookerjee had already been arrested in support of the movement in Delhi but released unexpectedly by the Supreme Court. detailing the constitutional position of the State vis-a-vis India. Mullik described Abdullah as following a Fascist course in a report to Nehru and Nehru agreed. as also of Sheikh Abdullah visa-vis the Maharaja as it had developed since the State's accession and warned him of the dangers inherent in the path he was following. Now Dr.At the end. There was no reply to it from Nehru while Abdullah dubbed PP leadership as "avowedly disruptive and communal in its aim and purpose". Abdullah had thus taken effective charge ofN ehru as well. Even the m chief B.N. Pt. Charging the Sheikh with following a Fascist course towards Praja Parishad. He again framed a ten-point approach to various J&K problem for a way out. Such a personal meeting was denied as Nehru replied that he had not seen the letter till late at night. he said he could personally come and meet Nehru that evening between 6 and 7.
Sucheta Kriplani were exerting pressureon him to talk to Dr. He stuck to his guns even when influential political circles in New Delhi. 132 . So Dr. as the only means of making the democratic government to do anything in the matter. "attempted to extend thejurisdiction of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to Kashmir". He had resigned from Nehru's Cabinet in April 1950 on this issue. The arrest of a number of our workers in the Punjab yesterday under the Preventive Detention Act is an 'indication of the things that are to come. All had fully integrated into the Union ofIndia under it. none was allowed to have a separate Constitution except J&K. And it was under this new Constitution that Article 370 was granted to J&K. P. Mookerjee wrote to him." (Balraj Madhok in Portrait of A Martyr. Dr. the Minister of Kashmir Affairs. He rejected full application of the original accession document signed by the Maharaja. far less talk to them. "Apparently.P. His failure to persuade the Prime Minister to meet the PP leadres convinced him that Nehru was too arrogant and puffed up to accept the proferred hand of reconciliation. Jaico. Mookerjee wrote: "Let me assure you we are ready to face the consequences of your wrath and fury. J." Referring to Pandit Nehru's warning about his Government taking "other and further steps which apparently meant further repression.under the pretext of the autonomy of J&K State to plead inability to redress the brazen wrongs. 1952. But Nehru failed to rise above his narrow communal prejudices. but had only cast motives and aspersions against those who differed from your official policy. He condemned India in general and Indian Press in particular for criticising his separatist line. including VicePresident. Mookerjee was in fact planning to take up the issue of killings of East Bengal Hindus in right earnest when the PP movement intervened. which the Sheikh made a pretext to extract semi-independent status. and some MPs like Smt. It reflects a strage functioning of democracy in our country where Preventive Detention has to be made use of for curbing legitimate political oppositonn. 206) It is pertinent to note that the Sheikh had made his infamous Ranbir Singh Pura speech on April 10. after the passage of the new Indian Constitution. The Sheikh described accession as of a restricted nature. But by then Sheikh's war on the Hindus of Jammu had crossed all limits. acceding to India only for three subjects. He forgot the sea-change in the status of all the Indian States on similar accession terms. Dr. Mookerjee or PrajaParishad leaders for a way to end the agitation. However. I am sure in you cooler moments you yourself will regret that you could not reply to arguments with arguments. when Gopalaswamy Aiyanger. Nehru's approach to the problem was no less Fascist. Radhakrishnan. you are not even in a mood to understand the views of those who differ from you. Dr." Dr. Mookerjee was thus driven by the circumstances much against his wish to the path of Satyagraha.
It made him the "Lion of Parliament" as the former President of India. Muslim immigrants started returning in droves to India to claim back their properties. 306-307). he drew specific attention to problem of East Bengal along with that of Kashmir. Mookerjee became the most important Opposition leader by forging a National Democratic Front of 32 Members. 1952. before he could do something further on East Bengal. But he was never oblivious of East Bengal Hindus' plight leading to huge exodus. He cornered Nehru for his appeasement ofPakistan at every step.V. he had caused Nehru no less irritation over the advocacy of East Bengal Hindus whom Nehru wanted to abandon to their fate. Mookerjee's memorable speech in Lok Sabha on the issue which stunned the House. the Speaker G. the case ofEastBengal Hindus' plight was defeated by default. Meanwhile. At the conclusion of Dr. However. Nehru's faith in the Nehru-Liaquat Pact proved totally misplaced. he had to throw himself completely in the Kashmir movement. more and more Hindus were 133 . Nehru became all the more inimical to him as he wanted to wash his hands off the solemn pre-partition promises made by the Congress or his later statements in Parliament to look after their safety and security. Only three lana Sangh members had been elected to the first Lok Sabha. "The feelings of the House are with you but the vote are against you. as Durga Das points out in his book India: From CUTZon to Nehru (P. Mavalankar reportedly remarked. Mookerjee' s portrait in Central Hall ofParliament. Venkataraman pointed out a few years ago while unveiling Dr. Only he had the itellectual calibre and guts to challenge Nehru frontally. Meanwhile. Pandit Nehru's international heart was too full with the miseries of the people of Tunisia. In his presidential address to the first annual session of the Jana Sangh at Kanpur in December. While the flood of repressed Hindus' influx from East Pakistan started again after a temporary lull of a few months. Jana Sangh was becoming a mass organisation byleaps and bounds. over which he had forged a powerful Opposition front. under the mistaken notion that it was Pakistan's concern. His unmatched debating skill rattled Treasury benches. infiltrators too came in aplanned way subsequently because of an extra-soft attitude to Muslims anywhere.Thus. leading to huge exodus. Worse still. As he was martyred in Kashmir. Thus the problem of resettlement of Hindu refugees in West Bengal has remained unresolved till today. R. thanks to Nehru's use of the Kashmir and Abdullah card as proven success of his secular policy as well as reckless manipulation of official machinery to magnify his image. Morocco and Korea to care for East Bengal Hindus. Both had their genesis in the same Fascist communal mentality. As later events showed. But still Dr. Though Pakistan continued to be as insincere as ever." He had told Nehru that he could pursue his appeasement of Pakistan at personal cost but not at thecost of the nation. He had been doing everything possible to focus on EastBengal as soon as his hands were free from Kashmir.
About influx from EastBengal.Azad axis. Patel had said in a speech at J aipur that Pakistan will have to surrender a substantial part of its territory. But he wassilenced by Gandhi and later even sent to Calcutta by Nehru to mollify the enraged feelings in West Bengal over the Nehru-LiaquatPact. Still he asserted himself now and then and the Sheikh had a healthy fear of him. However. Nehru was in the dark about it. again in an interview in The Statesman of April 14. he wrote to the Sheikh not to air his views in the Press. he was too trustful of the Sheikh despite glaring signals. "Why do you not take over the problem and finish it like Hyderabad?" Sardar's laconic reply was: "You go to your friend (pandit Nehru) and tell him to keep his hands off Kashmir problem for two months and I will undertake to solve it. As the frequency of Sheikh Abdullah's statements and interviews to foreign Press increased and Sardar Patel drew Nehru's attention to it in October. Meanwhile. 1948. and pocketed. Even Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad was perturbed as complaints reached Sardar PateL He met Patel and asked him. Nehru tried to defend him by saying that the Sheikh was confused and was a frank and blunt man who blurted out whatever came to his mind. Huge sums from the Centre were being squandered. and clandestine meetings with the US ambassador Loy Henderson in Delhi in the spring of 1949 gave him a firm impression that the West was ready to back the idea of on independent Kashmir and hinted at even American and British aid for development. if Hindus continued to come.being killed and squeezed out. But Nehru was nervous and asked Patel "to forgive and forget". thanks to the Nehru. The so-called Peace Brigade of State' srnilitia was dreaded more than even the tribal raiders. Nehru was too afraid to face the Bengali wrath himself. Nehru's handling of Kashmir situation had created uncertainty in all spheres. published much later in 1978. While 134 . Sardar Patel called him to his residence the same evening and asked him to explain. 1948. This was revealed in The Papers of Adlai Stevenson." Patel was generally reluctant to interfere in Pandit Nehru's charge. His reluctance to pull up Sheikh Abdullah had affected even the internal economic situation. but not many pro-Paki Muslims were sent out from here. 1949 the Sheikh hinted at independent Kashmir. "What will you do if another fifty or sixty lakhs are pushed out?" he asked Nehru. It was clear that the Sheikh had definitely shifted his stand after his visit to USA for UN meeting in January. Sardar's death made Abdullah more headstrong and Nehru went on shielding him as he did not want to admit the collapse of his secular policy. There was corruption all round and repression no less in the valley in a Fascist bid to suppress all dissent and dissatisfaction. This actually happened. Scheduled Castes were being converted en masse to Islam. Abdullah regretted his behaviour. Earlier. Pt. His failing health too made him rather passive in the matter. However. Sardar Patel had said Muslims cannot remain here (in Delhi and UP) if Pakistan pushes out all the Hindus and Sikhs from-West Pakistan. Moreover.
But in their replies to Dr. N. Ek Pradhan" was raised. He wrote several letters to Abdullah on 1st. .. that anti-communalism did not necessarily mean acceptance of Nehru's. 5th and 30th January. "As the alarming situation continued in Kashmir. Khare had described in the 10k Sabha as Constitutional abortion of the Indian government. Ek Vidhan." . in reality he was a broken man. He wrote a couple of letters to Sheikh Abdullah also. in his first of the series Unhappy Valley: The Hidden Story (Reliance Publishing House. author of two comprehensive books on J&K. writing bold letters and making brave statements. Dr. Dr. This was a reference to Nehru's broadcast from All-India Radio on October 28. Raina. 1953. 135 . There was tremendous anger in the country on what Dr. He appealed to Abdullah to combine a fair attitude so· far as law and order was concerned with a friendly approach to a large mass of the people of Jammu. Thus the two megalomaniacs merrily took the State to disaster.method of handling of this problem.. Delhi-HOOOS) in the following words: "As Sheikh Abdullah did not implement those clauses of the Delhi Agreement which could be called pro-India. on February 9. Mookerjee' s martyrdom has been summed up by Shri D. and two Presidents. The episode of Dr. There was fresh agitation in the Jammu region against this new dispensation under which in a sovereign country there had come into existence two Constitutions. Nehru drawing his attention to the serious situation developing in Kashmir and threatening the whole country and suggested remedial measures. 1953. 1953. Kidwai wrote to him that he (Nehru) himself had surrounded himself with "all sorts of men whom others have rejected". Mookerj ee' s letters both Nehru and Abdullah stuck to their known positions.Nehru trotted out the excuse that there was no one to guide the Sheikh. He also wrote to Bakshi Gulam Mohammad. Nehru tried to get support of the prominent publicmen.B. He appealed to Acharya Kripalani and Jaya Prakash Narain vide his letter to them on November 19. SyamaPrasad Mookerjee wrote several letters toPt. Pt.N. Jaya Prakash Narain replied to him on January 11. there was great resentment in the country over the emergence of a country within the country. the slogan "Ek Nishaan. seeking support for his policy on Kashmir in the interests of secularism. Syama Prasad Mookerjee who dared to expose this huge secular fraud on the Indian people was made to pay with his life. Acharya Kripalani did not give him a formal reply but referred to the matter at a public meeting and said in his usual characteristic way that Nehru had not waited even for the sun to rise when he rushed to the UN Security Council for solving the problem of his "angrez" friend-> Mountbatten. two National flags. 1952. 1947 that plebiscite would be held under UN auspices. "While Nehru was outwardly keeping his face. Deputy Prime Minister of the State.
Jaya Prakash Narain. he crossed the State border at Madhopur without a permit as required then."Nehru was pained at the total apathy of Sheikh Abdullah to this important aspectofIndian situation. His position was pitiable inasmuch as he was hiding from Parliament and people. The arrest of Dr. Roy. was surely cracking and falling and that his close personal friend had consistently refused to come to Delhi even for a talk with him. Mookerjee's death.P. Mookerjee at Lakhanpur Check Post and assured him that he. Dr. who was leader of the National Democratic Party in Parliament. Syama Prasad Mookerjee. B. Protest demonstrations were held throughout the country. Kashmir card was the only weapon with Nehru and Azad.a small sketchy news appeared in the newspapers emanating from a news agency in Srinagar that Dr. Mookerjee was an eminent nationalist leader. was equally concerned about the situation and was making efforts for removing the deadlock. Dr. He felt as if being stabbed in the back. Mookerjee's death." However inreply to Dr. and for which he had even ignored national interests. came as a great shock to the country.. Mookerjee decided to catch the bull by the horns. His body was flown from Srinagar to Calcutta where he was cremated with millions of mourners around. while in detention in Srinagar. Dr. "Dr. Nehru left for London to attend the Coronation of the Queen of Britain. Dr. too. Hartal was observed in Delhi and other places.C. Nehru passed the buck to Abdullah and his administration. B. Mookerjee and his detention created great annoyance and unrest in the country. Chief Minister of West Bengal. who was also Member of Parliament. Nehru was not sure of himself on this issue. Roy." . General Secretary of the National Conference. Guru Dutt of Delhi. 1953. who had opted out of party politics and had joined the Bhoodan movement of Acharya Vinoba Bhave supported this demand. S. Mookerjee was arrested and taken to Srinagar where he was detained. in mysterious circumstances. He declared that as a citizen ofIndia and a Member of Parliament he had a right to go to any part ofIndia. On June 23. who was also a senior member of Congress Working Committee. Dr. spoke on the Kashmir issue with finn conviction. His closet colleague. Maulana Azad was ineffectiye. Mookerjee had been taken ill. Calcutta High Court. There was gloom in West Bengal and violence erupted in Calcutta and other places.. There was a countrywide demand for a high-level inquiry into Dr. With this card shaking they were feeling shaky. he faced arguments with loss of temper. For the edifice. On many occasions. Mookerjee had already passed away. Accompanied by noted author. Judge. met Dr. Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee and younger brother of Rama Prasad Mookerjee. Maulana Mohammad Sayeed Musoodi. Nehru defended Abdullah and tried to cover 136 . for building of which he himself was solely responsible."The intensity of criticism of Nehru's Kashmir policy was increasing. Son of the noted educationist. He had resigned from the Nehru Cabinet as a mark of protest against killing of Hindus in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).C. Parliament of India was actively seized of the issue. While the people were reading the news of illness. Dr.
1953. There is only one way of safeguarding the future wen-being of the people of Kashmir and that is the way which we laid down in 1949 and which you had then accepted.up his own collaborative role in handing over Dr. He further said that justice had not been done by India to the Muslim majority in Kashmir and he himself was not trusted. who was now second only to Nehru in the Cabinet and also in the Congress organisation. ' "At this juncture. "The authorities in Kashmir do not seem to have realised that Dr. "Nehru was now convinced that some sort of action was required but he did not know how to go about it. and the end carne suddenly. He stopped writing to him. even when he fell ill the doctors did not realise how sick he was. Mookerjee's death. Hold stead-fastlyto this way and be assured that you will never have to regret it: "Abdullah remained unmoved. It is for me almost a personal tragedy. If I feed strongly on the subject you will understand me. Addressing a public meeting in Srinagar on July 10. Nehru was pained and shocked at Abdullah's refusal to meet him for a personal discussion. " . Such was the incompetence oflocal administration that Sheikh Abdullah was not informed of Dr.For the first time public cries are raised in Kashmir that Indian Army should get out. come when I will bid them good-bye. beyond the purview of the Supreme Court.. Nehru became dumb and inactive about Kashmir in view of his complete rupture with Abdullah. He also took exception to the demand for an inquiry into Dr. Mookerjee was not a fit man and was uncomfortable in high altitudes. He particularly castigated Jaya Parakash Narain for having supported this demand. in which he blamed the Government ofIndia for failing to state clearly that the status of Kashmir would not be further altered. he openly proclaimed that Kashmir should become independent. Mookerjee's death until the next morning and Karan Singh who was the elected head of the State was told only after the body had been dispatched from Srinagar. 'A time will. Maulana wrote to Abdullah on July 9. 1953. He instead wrote a letter to him on July 4.1953: 'What I am telling you now is as a personal friend. to make another effort to persuade Abdullah to come to Delhi. Mookerjee to Abdullah's sweet will." 137 . He wrote to Girja Shanker Bajpai who had been his chief adviser on external affairs and was Governor of Bombay (as the composite State of Maharashtra and Gujarat was called then): "I really cannot explain Abdullah's new attitude except on the uncharitable assumption that he has lost grip of his mind.. He requested Maulana Azad. therefore. Nothing more harmful to our cause in the State could have been done even by our enemies. "Abdullah again refused to come to Delhi to meet Nehru.
Abdullah.M. Kaul had previously commanded the Jammu and Kashmir Militia and additionally Nehru trusted him as an able and reliable officer specially suitable for facing emergencies. i. He rang upRafi Ahmed Kidwai.1953. "When Nehru asked for Kidwai' s comments on Abdullah's letter. Kidwai who was an astute politician and an eminent administrator preferred neither to handle the matter through correspondence nor thought it wise to invite Abdullah to Delhi. Both these methods had been tried by Nehru himself but in vain. his reputation in the country might be sullied. Kidwai rang up Abdullah and told him not to worry about his reputation and that they should have a personal discussion to solve the issues in the interests of all concerned. Nehru became perturbed. who also showed him the latest letter he had received from Abdullah. Azad returned to Delhi firmly convinced that Abdullah was not amenable to any 10 gic and should be dismissed. Kidwai told him to act on what Abdullah himself had said in the letter. During our dialogue. The latter had raised the following points: "(a) The autonomous position of Kashmir was being eroded by India. Kidwai had a long meeting with Nehru. Thereupon."Nehru now requested Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to visit Srinagar to persuade Abdullah to adopt a more reasonable attitude. if latter required his advice. he voiced 138 . I paid a courtesy call on Sheikh soon after my arrival. Kaul of the Army Headquarters to proceed to Kashmir unofficially and be available to Kidwai. Abdullah spoke mainly in Kashmiri but for the benefit of Maulana Azad switched over to Urdu very often and delivered a most inflammatory and hostile speech throwing insulting epithets at Maulana Azad. On getting personal and first-hand report from a leader of Maulana Azad's stature.. when the interests of the country had to take precedence over personal relationship. "(c) Though he respected Nehru personally. he decided to visit Srinagar and meet Abdullah there. and apprised him of the situation. was adamant and did not agree that they should meet. He informed Abdullah accordingly. It was Eid day and Sheikh Abdullah addressed a post-prayer congregation where Maulana Azad was also present. Nehru reluctantly and painfully entrusted Kidwai with the job of handling the pretty serious Kashmir problem. a senior Cabinet Minister. which had resulted in great dissatisfaction among the Kashmiris.e. General Kaul records: I had gone to Kashmir on ten days leave and without any official status. that national interest should be paramount in which individuals did not matter. On July 25. The latter promptly replied that not only no useful purpose would be served by Kidwai meeting him but that if he attempted to 'conciliate' in the matter. "(b) He was too busy to come to Delhi to discuss the question of Kashmir with Nehru. He also asked Brigadier B. however.Instead. there were occasions in human affairs.
Mullik recalls how when Sheikh Abdullah's interviews asserting independence of Kashmir appeared in two foreign papers in 1949. he had said.N. it became an albatross round India's neckand a thin end of the wedge to snap ties with India. He warned that ifIndia did not stop interfering with affairs in Kashmir." Nehru royega. Sardar Patel was made to sell the patently dishonest NehruLiaquat Pactto the country with his own personal assurances. But. He said this was not his business. It is thus that the Article was approved as a purely "transitional and temporary" measure. For. This was Nehru's usual tricky way of getting things done. Patel-A Biography.various complaints against India and said that the fate of Kashmir should be decided by its people who might like"to opt neither for India nor for Pakistan but be independent. although Abdullah wits put injail in August. That is also how Nehru had got the final draft of the Article 370 approved by the most stormy Congress Parliamentary Party which had shouted down Maulana Azad. Ironically. Patel felt honour bound not to let down his leader in his absence. However. But soon he started another round of appeasement torehabilitate him by setting up a pro-Abdullah propaganda brigade under Mridula Sarabhai right in Delhi. He urged Gopalaswamy Aiyanagar to request Patel to commend the article to the party in his absence. for precisely such a plea. ''However. Nehru was abroad at that time. special status "just short of independence" was advocated by even Prime Minister Narasimha Rao later. as Pakistan would at once step in to liquidate him. the final draft was much watered down and it did not satisfy Abdullah. with the argument that India is a great country and could always rectify the situation if things went wrong. 1953. B. in case Kashmir became independent. 1951. 517) Even Nehru said that the Article would erode with the passing of time. When I asked him whether he had considered what the fate of forty million Muslims in India would be. he knew what would be his fate. in conversation with members. Patel called him and asked whether he would like India to withdraw troops from Kashmir. the Sheikh went on circumventing it and using it to push forfull autonomy under its umbrella by other ways. he would have to resort to other methods. He refused to get first session of the accession endorsed by the State's Constituent Asssembly in October. Patel predicted trouble. not all Nehru's indirect ploys later could get it scrapped as he lacked Patel-like courage to take the bull by the horns. the Nehruvian tribe is now describing the separatist Article as the only constitutional bridge between India and J&K. though Nehru tried his best to do away with it. For. even against his conscience." That is how Abdullah came to be finally dismissed and arrested most reluctantly by Nehru. As stated earlier. However. So 139 . So he got the article approved. Abdullah was suitably chastened. P. (Vide Rajmohan Gandhi. if these were his views. No wonder.
" It is interesting to note. however. P. Zakir Husain. as a part of his anti-Centre propaganda to whip up separatist sentiment among the Kashmiris. When Mahatma Gandhi received the report of his speech. Jawaharlal was brought up in a family which recognised no communal barriers. Nehru) and tell him to keep his hands off the Kashmir problem for two months.he developed "a very wholesome respect and fear for him. thatin Sheikh Abndullah' s Islamic philosophy even Nehru was a "rivivalist" and a Machiavellian manipulator apart from being a Chanakya and a Hamlet who went about doing things in a roundabout way. he was a staunch reactionary. Says the Sheikh in his Urdu autobiography Aatish-e-Chinar in this context: "Sardar Patel was influenced by Hindu fundamentalism and wished to secure the interests of Hindu revivalists. however. The wily Sheikh started a tirade against Indian army. Dr. despite railing against Patel. 120) There is little doubt that Patel wanted to send as many Muslims to Pakistan as possible to create space for the exodus of almost total Hindu-Sikh population from Pakistan. he shunned progressive politics." (Flames of Chinar. But within three years we found ourselves fighting against Sheikh Abdullah. 16-17). who did quite some service to him at least in this one aspect of getting the unwilling Congress party to endorse the obnoxious Article 370. Khushwant Singh's translation. "One must concede the fact that Jawaharlal was a dreamer and an idealist whereas Sardar Patel was an adroit administrator and a realist. He also delivered ablatantly anti-Muslim speech atLucknow. But he wanted it in a peaceful way and tried his bestto stop violence. What is however more interesting. There was a vast difference between the ideologies of Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact.. Viking. quoted by Dina Nath Raina in Unhappy Kashmir. Husain Ahmed Madni. he was greatly perturbed. From the social and political standpoint. etc. Sheikh Abdullah's views about Sardar Patel's so-called anti-Muslim bias were the same as those of Maulana Azad. while talking to me he said that the one way to destroy Pakistan was to drive more and more Muslims there so that it may burst at the seams and be forced to come to terms with India. Bakshi said that Abdull ah was also of the same view at which Patel said.) We have already noted." Sardar Patel was no more on the scene by then." (Y. and 1 will undertake to solve it. who set about saving North Indian Muslims from the consequences of having created 140 . Abdullah has been impelled to acknowledge in the same breath. 7:1. P. Shankar in My Reminiscenes of Sardar Patel. as we shall see later in this article. as Mullik says (p. "You go to your friend (pt. Once. It would be interesting to recall Sheikh Abdullah's views about Sardar Patel. It was evident that politics ofSardar Patel was at work behind the communal disturbances in Delhi and itsadjoining territories. that even Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad once approached Patel to take the Kashmir affairs in his hands to end the uncertainty as he had done in case of Hyderabad. This is what has climaxed in the present terminal crisis. Duringthe communal clashes he encouraged the Hindu communalists to combat the Muslims.
and it is only a dream that the Hindus and the Muslims can 141 . 1948. They poisoned the ears of Pandit Nehru by reciting Sardar's uterances torn from their context. There are 41/2 crores of Muslims in India many of whom helped the creation of Pakistan. the Muslims were a religious minority in a secular State and as such were entitled to safeguards and concessions. between them. why should anybody doubt their bonafide? To them I would say: Why do you ask us? Search your own conscience. who never thought of himself except as an Indian. Addressing half a million people on the Calcutta Maidan on January 3. They carried their complaints to Gandhij i. The following extract from the book The Indomitable Sardar (Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan) by a former res member. Maulana Azad had even favoured reservation of seats for Muslims. In the Congress ranks it was rare to find Muslims like Rafi Ahmed Kidwai. As these leaders had the ears of Gandhi and Nehru. The bulk of the Congress Muslims still maintained their separate individuality. of the thinking of Maulana Azad. born of intense love of the country. he hit out at the Muslims who had taken active part in the League's campaign for the two-nation theory. To others. sets the record straight thus: "In spite of the differences in their outlook. Abdullah too joined in as he was very sore about the exodus of pro-Pakistani Muslims from Jammu and carried tales to Gandhiji who was easily misled by such rank communalists. "These protagonists ofIslam now raised the cry of 'Islam in danger' in a new garb by accusing Sardar of anti-Muslim bias. at Lucknow. but are in fact different and distinct social orders. their common objective. a small but ever-widening wedge. Kewal L. While the Constitution was being forged. they carried on a vicious propaganda against Patel. 'Sardar doubted the bona fides of the Muslims and was permitting the RSS to terrorise them. But one fact is indisputable.' "Three days later. there can be no serious talk of a Hindu State. who assured them that Sardar had no such feeling. he said: 'As regards the controversy of a secular versus Hindu State.' they said. therefore. Punjabi. for only thus could they get favoured terms as a minority needing the special protection and patronage which they had enjoyed in British days.Pakistan by mass violence under Muslim League's leadership. They had argued that 'Islam and Hinduism are not religions in the strict sense of the term. In his plain blunt manner he had fearlessly expressed the doubts in his mind. How can anyone believe that they have changed overnight? 'The Muslims say that they are loyal citizens and. Sardar had made his position very clear. To him the terms Hindu and Muslim carried no political distinction. But interested elements soon drove a wedge. keptPanditji and Sardar together. who frequently came into contact with Patel during his -service days.
but leadership was clearly in the hands of Sardar. Let us live here in peace and work for ourselves. the Working Committee and the AlCC. Gandhiji told 142 . Pandit Nehru had boundless confidence in Shaikh Abdulla but Sardar had his doubts. The Muslims are a nation according to any definition of a nation and they must have their homeland. Sardar. who could see no way out. He wanted to give full-eo-operation to Nehru. I do not know how to mince matters. Nehru's international status was a great asset to India. which was still in a transitional stage. who were still in the grip of Pakistan frenzy. had to fall in line.' "Nehru protested against such utterances to Gandhiji. So 1want to say a word to them as friend of Muslims. His ailing health would' not permit him to shoulder the burden.ever evolve a common nationality. You select one horse. and. therefore. and it is the duty of a good friend to speak frankly. Could India put her trust in these converts who had changed their convictions overnight? He said: 'I am a true friend of the Muslims although I have been described their greatest enemy. could not think of forming a government without Nehru. prevented him from spotting the lurking dangers in the situation due to the dubious position of many Muslims. I believe in plain speaking. 1wanted to tell them that mere declarations of loyalty to the Indian Union will not help them at this critical juncture. 'Those who want to go to Pakistan can go there and live in peace. for Sardar had the confidence of the majority in the Cabinet. Iwantto tell you very frankly that you cannot ride two horses. 'I ask them why they do not unequivocally denounce Pakistan for attacking Indian territory with the aid of Frontier tribesmen. Panditji. their territory and their State. out of joint with reality. "He had warned Nehru about the bona fides of Shaikh Abdulla. In the recent All-India Muslim Conference why did you not open your mouth on the Kashmir issue? 'These things create doubt in the minds of the people. Sardar was not willing to take over full responsibility. 'I want to ask the Indian Muslims only one question.. Sardar wondered why he ignored hard realities and failed to judge men by their deeds rather than by sweet words spoken to him. He was frequently led away by clever courtiers who had gained his ears. but sincerely wished that he would be more realistic in his attitude to the Muslim grievances. Nehru's idealism. as Sardar often said. They must give practical proof of their declarations. therefore.. Those who are still riding two horses will have to quit Hindustan. Is it not their duty to condemn all acts of aggression against India? . It is your duty to sail in the same boat and sink or swim together.' But to his surprise many of them had elected to remain behind and professed their loyalty to India. 'Those who are disloyal will have to go to Pakistan. whichever you like best.
No wonder. is undoubtedly on behalf of the Muslim minority in the Indian Union and." (p. In doing so. it is necess arily against the Hindus and Sikhs of the Union and the Muslims of Pakistan. MaulanaAzad had chosen deliberately to give it a colouring to suit his argument.. Nehru was India. They allegedthat they were being harassed and persecuted by militant sections of Hindus . the Kashmir case had been referred to the United Nations Organisation. Maulana Azad. poll campaign. My statement was meant deliberately to free a lifelong and faithful comrade from any unworthy reproach . and. Sardar's enemies lost no time in painting the fast as an anti-Sardar protest of Gandhiji: "Vallabhbhai entreated Gandhiji not to undertake the fast. With what result? In spite of Sardar' s advice. to be handled by Nehru personally and later by Gopalaswami Ayyangar.I71) Later.Sheikh Abdulla about Sardar's fear. In the March. anybody would dare call my present fast a condemnation of the policy ofthe Home Ministry . My fast. as I have stated in plain language. with the knowledge of' this background to my statement.. 1951. he made Jana Sangh the main target as 'harami bachcha (bastard child) of the RSS'. Some of the Congress Muslims complained to Nehru through Maulana Azad that Sardar wanted to drive out the poor Muslims from India.. he completely ignored Gandhiji's dear and precise answers to a newspaper reporter who wanted to know whether 'the fast is more intended to bring about a change of heartin Sardar Patel and thereby amounts to a condemnation of the Home Ministry. They also poured their grievances into the ears of Gandhiji. Morarji Desai. he could never judge his adversary properly. published after his death in the Calcutta weekly Sunday (April 23-29. as he was considered the inheritor of Patel' s legacy and its most forceful proponent in the postPatel scenario of Nehru's stream-roller politics. I know that the Sardar would never betray or degrade his trust. I wonder if.. led to Gandhiji's tragicfast in second week ofJanuary in spite of Sardar' s earnest entreaties not to do so. however. there was much more animus against Syama Prasad. vowing to crush it right since its inception in October.. 167-170) This. Page 34) 143 . in the larger interests of the country. buthe was confronted with an adamant resolution. therefore. 1995.. 1952." (p. However.' Gandhiji replied: 'I was able to assure the critics that they were wrong in isolating Sardarfrom Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and me. the fast was undertaken against the attitude of Sardar Patel and Patel knew that this was so'. who lost no opportunity of denigrating Sardar. "But Sadar's plain speaking at Lucknow brought matters to a head. And there was a stalemate. Nehru had the devotion of the masses.. as if he was suffering from some "bastard" complex. Sardar gave full support to the leader. in a rare interview to Dhiren Bhagat. Nehru lacked realism. has stated in his autobiography that 'in a sense.. Kashmir State had been taken away from the States Ministry. Nehru had launched an abusive campaign against J ana Sangh.
However. For. in dealing with Sheikh's secessionism and Bakshi's corruption. Unfortunately. he treated Dr. 1958. "I found a solution for Kashmir. there was no follow-up action. Kripalani and Lohia. We should have absorbed Kashmir for good and alI. They were S.P. he could not tolerate detention without trial even of his confirmed enemies. At that time we had pieced together a great deal of evidence against him and it was apparent that he was the main conspirator . the Sheikh had established contact across the border in Pakistan and was using his Begum. Nehru acted more like Hamlet than Machiavelli or Chanakya. but started pressuring the State Government to release him soon after. Neither would Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad have strayed from the strait and narrow path had Bhai (brother Nehru) retained firm control in his own hands.. Sheikh Abdullah would not have developed ideas of grandeur. had to say was: ''I do not know where we are going. The democrat that he was. P. there could be no other earthly reason for Nehru's abject appeasement of Sheikh Abdullah and surrender of India's vital interests at the Sheikh's feet. Sheikh was released.. however. 379) However. it appears. Mookerjee was considered an imminent political threat for exploiting the gaping loopholes in Nehru's seemingly invincible armour. Mookerjee." (My Years with Nehru. His sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit hit the nail on the head by her comment in this context ''If my brother had asserted himself. Dr. 1953. who was known as "Patel in Nehru's camp"." (Quoted by Durge Das. as a go-between with Pakistani agents in Kashmir and Pak embassy in Delhi and yet she had free access to him in jail. Says the IB chief Mullik in this context: "The Prime Minister had neverreconciled himself to Sheikh Abdullah's arrest and detention for a prolonged period without trial. he used to press the Kashmir Government every six months or even oftener either to place the Sheikh on trial or release him. Nehru provided the best of facilities to the Sheikh and his co-detenus like Mirza Afzal Beg in the special jail in Kud.described Sheikh Abdullah as the "bastard child of Motilal Nehru". No such concern was shown for him as he was handed over to an Islamic barbarian to treat him as he liked. far from absorbing J&K in India for good. In oratory and debating skill. The country needs a man like Patel. he excelled all others 144 . However. The first was areal leader because he spoke for the largest group which opposed Nehru's policies. Page 378) Even Rafi Ahmed Kidwai. Our investigations received a severe jolt when on January 8. I got him to agree to throw Abdullah out. To Morarji." (p." Most poignant of all that Kidwai. 77) In fact. Mookerjee as worse than the worst enemy. India: From Curzon to Nehru. Akbar Jehan. Durga Das sums up this challenge to Nehru in the following words: "There were only three effective spokesmen of the Opposition during the Nehru era. So. was frustrated and told Durga Das. who had been authorised by Nehru to conduct the operation for toppling Abdullah in August.
But a roaring voice. it was only Dr. Mookerjee was the only authentic voice of dissent. all lobbies and the cafetaria were emptied. He died in detention in Srinagar in 1953 and a promising political career was thus cut short. made him surrender to Mountbatten's dictates in the case of a promise to Pakistan to hold a plebiscite on Kashmir under UN auspices through a broadcast on AIR just two days after the accession deed was signed and 145 .. "Mookerjee used to tell me that the only way to create an alternative to the Congress was to demolish Nehru's image. This penchant for playboy of the western world role. Pandit Nehru on the other hand cared more for his own international image visa-vis Kashmir problem and mercilessly ignored national interests. By his towering personality too he overshadowed Pandit Nehru. Lohia believed that the Nehru family'S identification with the nation was not onlyundemocratic but harmful and that Nehru's acceptance of Anglo-Indian cultural values led to his opposing anything that would give the nation a sense ofIndianness. It echoed in the House and rattled the Treasury Benches. Mookerjee who went about building up an oppositon both inside and outside Parliament systematically with tireless zeal. His approach to most of the national problems was essentially that of Sardar Patel whom he paid glowing tribute as one who "was fearless. an extinct species now. 1952. deeply rooted in the soil of India. he was the only notbale Opposition leader to be elected to Lok Sabha. Every time he rose to speak. 1952. Both were practical men of affairs.colleagues and workers in the party." This was because of his conviction that Nehru was destroying democracy in the country with his personality cult and fraudulent secularism. 373) However.P. unscrupulous misuse of the officialmachinery particularly the AIR. Because of Nehru' s steam-roller tactics. as no one wanted to miss his invariably delectable performance." (From Curzon to Nehru. J. It was reminiscent of master orators of the past in Indian and British Parliament.who followed him. P. He in fact used to tell his. By the time the first session of the first elected Parliament of India came to a close in August. So Dr. had opted out of politics. Kripalani too believed the evils in the country emanated from the top and that Nehru was the pace-setter in abusing power and patronage. stalwarts like Kripalani and Lohia had been defeated. Kripalani was always the dissenter and a lone performer . "You build up the organisation in the country. In fact. Lohia was the debunker. apart from a populist halo of hero of the freedom struggle..and power. realistic and bold whenever a case demanded as to how he should act" in his speech on Kashmir on June 26. i vJIll tackle him (Nehru) in Parliament and demolish his h~lo. Syama Prasad Mookerjee's position had been firmly established as the unofficial Leader of the Opposition because of his memorable orations. Dr.
that Pakistan regulars were thrown into the battle. Nehru wrote to Patel. That will be a major gain and it may be followed by our advance to Kohala. It was presumed at that stage that Pakistan's regular forces would not intervene if the Indian army took position some distance away from the border. 1947. with 40. "The British Commander of Delhi and East Punjab Command. broke their nerve. This is a well established fact. I explained to Major General Kulwant Singh (in overall charge in Kashmir) that I had the enemy on the run and unless I kept up the pressure. Only the light infantry weapons could be brought in by air. and later tanks. advising ceasefire to bale out Pakistan. Gen. was equally unhappy with the decision. "Indian forces never advanced further. L. however. and sent a letter from there in August. when the forces had reached Uri. then on Russell's staff. though much later. was ordered to divert his column over the Haji Pir Pass. ceasefire too was accepted by Nehru under Mountbatten's advice who was exercisingbackdoor influence on him even when he had leftIndia in June. But now New Delhi took a decision with fateful consequences. 'The order took me completely by surprise. 1948. was lost. What is. It has been argued that apart from 146 . especially coupled with airstrikes against raiders by the IAF. On 9 November (1947) a devastated Baramula was liberated. 'I hope within a week we might capture Darnel and Muzaffarabad. The arrival of the armoured cars. he wrote that the decision was taken at the highest government level and told the writer later that it had corne from the Prime Minister. 1949. he would recover and come back. Sen writes. 1948. In his book. including armoured cars. on March 30. 1948.000 refugees. Even the British commander of East Punjab command wanted to push the raiders beyond J&K border. Sinha. not so well known is that the advance ofIndian forces right up to the border of Pakistan beyond Muzaffarabad was halted under mysterious circumstances even in November. The ceasefire line was drawn just beyond Uri and the opportunity to seal off the valley from incursions by Pakistan. Writes Ajit Bhattacharjea. which was under prolonged siege. recommanded an immediate advance to Muzaffarabad to demolish the two border bridges over the Kisenganga at Domel and Kohala and seal off the valley against further incursions from Pakistan. four days later Indian troops were in Uri and power was restored to Srinagar from Mahura. and instead of he attacking us we would be attacked: S.' It was then. He used Lady Mountbatten for the purpose.P. a former editor of the Hindustan Times in his book The Wounded Valley in this context: "The Gurdaspur link proved crucial. which could be patrolled by the Kashmir police. Sen who was commanding the Brigade.The January 1. which continued into future.. "But New Delhi decided otherwise. to the relief of Poonch.K. were rushed up by road.then seeking the UN aid for restraining Pakistan when India herself could sol ve the problem by military means . The Indian commanders on the scene were even keener. Heavier equipment. Lt. however. Sir Dudley Russell.
itself. such was the atmosphere. if the Indian forces had advanced to capture Muzaffarabad at that crucial time in November. railed against the Maharaj a and his Prime Minister Shri Mahajan in his prayer meeting for failing to protect the guilt-ridden jehadists. But in the process they threw all pragmatic considerations to the wind. This has been brought out by revealing glimpse of his mind by Y.. The Wounded Valley. Akar. forgotten by Nehru & Co. Shri Mahajan wrote a strong letter to Gandhiji protesting against the wild accustations. This is what actually happened to some extent in Jammu city and the surrounding areas which were the citadel of Muslim Conference and the Muslim League..He (Nehru) regarded the perennial threat of Hindu dominance as a major danger to the unity ofIndia.secularism. Mookerjee' s supreme martyrdom is the direct result of Nehru's anti-Hindu fixation.they saw a new lighthouse in Abdullah's. etc. (AjitBhattacharjee. another consideration in Nehru's mind could have been his reluctance to enter territory beyond the influence of National Conference and closer politically and culturally to Pakistan than theValley. as usualwithout verifying facts. (Mountbatten. from Mirpur to Bhimber by Pakistan's well known Fascist weapon of large scale-murders. 1947.secularism. Not all the efforts of Sheikh Abdullah to stop the exodus of these rabid pro-Pakistanis could persuade them to stay on. sums up the Nehru fixation in the following words: ". But this is contradicted by letterto Patel. pandered to every whim and fancy of Abdullah and set up a new Jinnah in the process. The Sheikh made a big issue of it when a couple of outgoing Muslim convoys were attacked by the infuriated Hindus and Sikhs driven out from Pakistan by most brutal means. loot and pillage. 147 ..) that the proPakistanis would have automaticallyrun away to Pakistan. the guilt-ridden pro-Pakistani elements could not or should not have stayed on if the Indian forces had advanced beyond Uri areas right up to Paki border. In fact.D. the whole Kashmirimbro glio boils down to Nehru's war on the Hindus. In any case. Gundevia. however. a starry-eyed historian of the Nehrus. if over a lakh of Hindus (including Sikhs) could be squeezed out from the territories in Jammu region all along the West Punjab border. Dr. a former Secretary General of the External Affairs Ministry. Pp 146-147) Clearly. It was.refugees in Poonch that diverted the initial drive on Muzaffarabad. He refused to condemn the Muslims to second-class-citizen status. MJ. In his book Nehru: The Making of India. But both Gandhi and Nehru were utterly sold out to Abdullah because after the collapse of their life time's work by the Partition on communal lines. a unity which could survive only through a commitment to. when they failed to avera we Hindus ofJ ammu after determined fight with their huge collected arsenals. they departed to Pakistan via Sialkot. He complained to Nehru and poisoned the ears of Gandhiji who. Viking=Rupa & co). For. there was pressure from Mountbatten and wirepuUing from London.
. but the Home Ministry seemed simply incapable of doing anything. In the 1960s he began to worry what might happen after his death. He could not drive this element out of the Congress. Communists. right-wing communalism. at the Centre. is not communism. even according to MJ. Mookerjee returned to the fray with emboldened vigour. 1964. Nehru had joined one of the Friday morning meetings at the Foreign Office where all the senior and junior bureaucrats gathered for a general free-for-all.What worried him even more than the official parties of Hindu revivalism-the Hindu Mahasabha or the Jana Sangh-was the possibility of Gandhi's Congress being usurped by such elements. But what happens to the services if the Communists are elected to power tomorrow. A little before the Bhubaneshwar Congress (in January. mark you. "Gundevia asked. The topic shifted to the professed neutrality of the Indian Civil Service. But he kept them under strong check. Says Akbar further in his other book on Kashmir in the context of Jammu agitation in 1953: ''Nehru ordered large-scale arrests oflana Sangh volunteers. As his own influence increased. Since the Prime Minister himself came that day. It is Hindu. No wonder. Mookerjee was deliberately handed over to Abdullah as the Supreme Court had earlier released him "astonishingly" by the aid of the Home Ministryofficials." (p. 580) So the inevitable triumph of "Hindu communalism" was Nehru's eternal fear and fixation. Akbar in his already quoted book on Nehru. even through most unethical means. remembers Gundevia. theirs declined and in the 1950s the communalists of the 1940s were slowly weeded orput into the limbo. like King Canute. 'Communists. they dispensed with the agenda and decided to ask questions. For. for that would then have driven them straight into the Jana Sangh. To provoke Nehru and Abdullah even further. and then the words came slowly and deliberately: 'The danger to India. the Communists come into power? We have had a Communist government in Kerala. and even suggested banning the party. here in Delhi? "Nehru pondered before answering. That was his message . this being the case what happens if tomorrow.. when he had a stroke from which he could never recover). Dr. Mookerjee was eventually arrested he won release from the Supreme Court on technical grounds. Dr.' Before the meeting closed he repeated those two sentences. completely ignoring Islamic Jehadist historyeven in post-partition India. When Dr. which was tardy mismanagement by Home and Law Ministries to say the least. This must have been the uppermost worry in his mind as he died five months after this pronouncement. he decided to cross into Jammu and Kashmir even though he did not have permission to do so. 'Well Sir. shall we say. 148 . Communists 1 Why are you all so obsessed with Communists and Communism? What is it that Communists can do and we cannot do and have not done for the country? Why do you imagine the Communists will ever be voted into power at the Centre?' A pause. he kept fighting theHindu tide. Dr.
He was promptly taken to Srinagar and placed under house arrest. Viking. a truly comprehensive book on Bengal politics. 591). and detained where it did not.Mookerjee was of course also seeking to drive home the point of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction: he was free where the Court's writ ran. Dr. Abdullah showed none of Nehru's hesitation. P. Gordon.P." (p. though thisdid not pleasetheoutgoing Viceroy (Lord Mountbatten) or the incoming Prime Minister of India (pt.Mookerjee." (Kashmir-Behind the Veil. 150) It is interesting to note in this context what Leonard A. Syama Prasad Mookerjee tried to cross the Madhopur bridge on the Jammu border. Nehru). On May 8. 1953. "SyamaPrasadMookerjee joined Nehru's Cabinet at the Centre though he was not a Congressman. an American biographer of Netaji Subhas Bose and his elder brother Sarat Bose tells us about Dr. the choice fell onS. Mookerjee's induction into the first Union Cabinet of free India under Nehru in his Brothers Against the Raj (Viking). Says Gordon who had interview Lord Mountbatten in 1975: . Extract from "Organiser" 149 . With Sarat Bose out of the Congress and in Opposition(he had started campaigning for independent United Bengal alongwith Suhrawardy) . Nehru and Patel wanted someone from Bengal in their Government.