Getting through SD Shangloo's 'A history of intrigues' [GK: 26.05.15], I was intrigued to note his observation. It reads, ''Nehru has to be appreciated in gaining the confidence of Sheikh Abdullah when he planted a Trojan Horse in Prem Nath Bazaz in 1932 and Ram Chand Kak in 1947" In the column, it is related that the former, Prem Nath Bazaz, was a Nehru plant to break Muslim unity and latter, RC Kak, to gain time through Standstill Agreement. Were the twosome–Prem Nath Bazaz and Ram Chand Kak, Nehru plants? Is such a conclusion based on historical facts or inference? Historical inference has to be based on inter-related evidence, given that drawing an inference could be the right of a columnist, historian or a political analyst.
Is there documented evidence of either Prem Nath Bazaz or RC Kak being a Nehru emissary to Sheikh Abdullah? The emissary role on historical documentation was filled by Dwarka Nath Kachroo in and around 1946/47. Nehru and Abdullah initially met at Shahdra railway station in Lahore around 1936. 1932 link supposed to be the handiwork of Bazaz is not documented.
The initial arrangement for a meet was reportedly the handiwork of Mia'n Iftikhar-ud-Din—Lahore socialite, a political activist, and a close associate of Nehrus'. It was love at first sight, as the short railway station meet ended with Abdullah accompanying Nehru to NWFP. Khan Abdul Ghafar hosted the twosomes.
Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan, known as 'Frontier Gandhi', tuning to Nehruvian secularism might have influenced Abdullah's faith in secularism. On secular trail, Nehru and Bazaz did influence Sheikh Abdulla's decision to adopt the secular course. Whether it was in their individual capacity or in unison is irrelevant. On a similar pattern, whether it was Mia'n Iftikhar-ud-Din or anyone else who provided the link is irrelevant. We may stay glued to the effect, which is relevant, rather than to an intrigue or a set of intrigues. Muslim Conference was re-christened as National Conference. It did not have the desired effect of non-Muslims joining NC.
Bazaz soon moved away from Abdullah, Kashmiri Pandits did not find NC a worthwhile proposition, Dogras—the ruling class were hardly interested. Abdullah soon realized it, secularism did not translate into leaving the religious stage. Hazaratbal offered a highly valued alternative to Jamia Masjid. It was in Jamia Masjid where Abdullah was introduced to masses.
Estrangement with Mirwaiz Yusuf shah led to parting of ways. Abdullah's secularism with heavy religious overtones might not have been palatable for Nehru, nevertheless he digested it. The die was cast.
Nehru's hatred for RC Kak was as deep, as the desire to keep Abdullah in loop. Page after page in documentation of events in 1946-47 support the view. It has to be understood that RC Kak was hardly a democratically elected Prime Minister to frame policy on his own. It is no rocket science to know that Kak was carrying Hari Singh's diktat. And standstill agreement was the device Hari Singh used to keep the dominions of 1947 partition—India and Pakistan at bay. He was bargaining for a deal.
Hari Singh wanted to retain Raj, in spite of heavy odds. He did not favour a deal with rushing Nehru. Sardar Patel a cooler customer was his favoured link. Kak had channels open to Pakistan leadership. It needs to be stressed; he wouldn't afford it behind Hari Singh's back.
On historical evidence, it is evident that Nehru wanted Abdullah to partner Hari Singh, instead of Kak. No equation in Kashmir appealed to him without Abdullah being a part of it. Abdullah was not Patel's favourite. However, he went along with Nehru's wish to accommodate Abdullah.
Apart from other documented evidences, Khidmat editorials of the period reveal that 'Quit Kashmir' held to be a slogan for Maharaja to pack and leave was in fact meant to seek a constitutional arrangement. Daily 'Khidmat' was the media face of NC.
The constitutional arrangement sought, the argument in various editorials relates, was on the lines of what 'Quit India' meant to seek, an administration within the prevailing power dispensing. What did 'Quit India' set to seek is a different proposition, it did however result in talks with British Cabinet Mission and Nehru led interim government.
1947 chain of events suggest a similar trail, as Abdullah took over as administrator, and in March 1948 as Prime Minister. However it followed RC Kak's ouster on August 11th 1947, coincidentally following Mahatma Gandhi's August visit to Kashmir. Janak Singh's appointment as interim PM had Khidmat note in an editorial that people greeted the appointment with slogans of Thakur Janak Singh zindabad and Baghi Abdullah ki Jai [hail rebel Abdullah]. Kak in Khidmat editorials is painted as a functionary who sabotaged the constitutional arrangement NC meant to seek, though with a slogan of 'Quit Kashmir'.
1947 editorials of Khidmat are full of anti-Bazaz and anti-Kak tirade. Both are held as villains. Bazaz's media mouthpiece 'Hamdard' as it emerges in 'Khidmat' editorials severely censored Abdullah's politics. That however did not result in Kak-Bazaz bonhomie though coincidence of interests might be inferred. Secular Bazaz had warmed to Islamist Mirwaiz. Kashmir has witnessed foes turning to be friends, and friends' foes, the trail continues.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]