The legacy of Kashmir Accord

We can draw lessons from yesterday and hope for a better tomorrow



Accords are the outcome of successful negotiations on disputes between nations, groups or individuals. The basis of such accords is the negotiated settlement of the dispute between the two parties.
Kashmir dispute between India, Pakistan and the principles the people of J&K has taken different contours at different times. In 1947 United Nations decided to solve the problem through an impartial plebiscite giving people of the state a fair chance to decide if they would like to join India or Pakistan. Sixty years of painful history has shown that was not to happen. Wars were fought, agreements were drafted and the latest armed rebellion too keeps the pot boiling. There have been honest attempts too but there have been somersaults as well. Besides that there are accusations and counter accusations of deceit and treachery. Under such circumstances it becomes difficult to prove as to who was honest and who played the flip flop as every party is offering its own explanation.
Having a cursory view on the events that followed 9th; August 1953 the genesis of Kashmir accord can be understood a bit better. Bakshi Sahib sponsored by Delhi tried to close Kashmir issue through events like Jeshni Kashmir with the result   UN resolutions on Kashmir started accumulating dust with Sheikh and Beg languishing in jails. Having said that with the passage of time the special status of Kashmir started getting diluted to the extent that the nomenclatures of Prime Minster and Sadri Riyast were put at par with other states of India as Chief Minster and Governor resulting into a confusion in the theory of ‘accession of a unique nature’ that was the basis of relationship between J&K and India. The events that followed resulted in replacement of National conference by Indian National Congress and imposition of certain central laws on way to a total amalgamation of the state with the union of India.
Nature has its own way of solving the problems or framing the history. While India was busy in its craftsmanship of distorting the facts, Sheikh and Beg survived the twenty two years of to and fro jail yatras. In its euphoria New-Delhi engaged Sheikh and Beg in Kashmir conspiracy case committing the greatest blunder of its turbulent relations with Kashmir that gave a platform to Mirza Afzal Beg to highlight Kashmir case while staying in Jammu jail at Canal road. With the result Mr. Pathak the government prosecutor and some right thinking people advised the government of India against continuation of the Kashmir conspiracy case and suggested for a dialogue with the ‘Plebiscite Front’. While all this was going on at state level Bangladesh came into existence resulting in to ‘Shimla Accord’ for the return of ninety thousand Pakistani army personal that had surrendered in East Pakistan. The political situation thus arising in the subcontinent demanded the unconditional withdrawal of Kashmir conspiracy case. Sheikh and Beg were given a rousing reception in Jammu against the expectations of New Delhi. So the seeds for negotiations had to be sown—apparently with the consent of both the factions and the principals to the tragedy of 1953 upheaval that were in power in the state. Sheikh Sahib was returned to power once again through a unique agreement called as ‘Kashmir Accord’ with Congress legislative assembly headed by Sheikh Sahib as Chief Minster. Nature has its own ways of addressing the problems. Indra Gandhi and her party lost power in Delhi so an irritated mind of a defeated soldier she advised her party men in the state to withdraw its support resulting in the fall of the first coalition government in Kashmir followed by the only fair elections in the state that returned National Conference to power in 1974 with an overwhelming majority.
Some say the legacy of ‘Kashmir accord’ was the rebirth of National Conference as the regional organization and in the process the continuation of its successive governments in the state till date!
At times history needs to be revisited and refreshed.  During electioneering of 1974 Sheikh Sahib was not well, hence Mirza Afzal Beg had to navigate the boat against Congress and Janta party of India giving National Conference fifty six out of seventy five members in the J&K state assembly thereby  returning a healthy  Sheikh Sahib once again back to power! Some say this is another legacy of the ‘Kashmir Accord’ and the visionary leadership of the signatory to the Accord.
Conspiracies are a part and parcel of politics. It does not spare the families and the siblings. So with Sheikh Sahib’s dwindling health kitchen conspiracies were a part of the game. The discussions for a successor were going on. Hence people considering G.M. Shah on the basis of his seniority in the family the rightful successor to the throne thought of Mirza Afzal Beg as the stumbling stone in the game. Thus Mr.Beg was the procedural victim or a collateral damage of a race for power within the ruling family in power. The later events that followed when Shah Sahib dislodged Farooq Abdullah government give credibility to the said doctrine. The history demands to mention that Dr. Farooq Abdullah tried his best to stop the exit of Beg Sahib but his adversaries were quick to create a fear psychosis in the mind of the Chief Minster with the result Mirza Afzal Beg the deputy Chief Minster was asked to resign on his return from an official trip to Delhi bringing an end to a historical association of two political stalwarts of freedom struggle in Kashmir. Mr. Beg’s exit also seems to have had blessings of that element in the corridors of power in Delhi who did not want a serious follow up of the Kashmir accord. It also includes the beneficiaries that have raised the controversy of sagacity of Kashmir accord recently.   

(The columnist is the author of the book, ‘Kashmir in search of peace’ besides being a witness to the post-1953 upheavals of tragic political history of Jammu and Kashmir)    

Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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