by T. N. Chaturvedi
(Former Home Secretary
and Comptroller & Auditor General, Government of India)Kashmir
has been celebrated in legend, mythology, history and poetry for ages.
The very word Kashmir, till not long ago would evoke the mental image of
a land of peace, beauty, harmony and learning. This is what makes its trials
and travails today much more agonising. There is a plethora of books by
travellers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists and other experts
belonging to various disciplines on different aspects of the life of the
Since the aggression
of Pakistan in 1947 after the merger of Kashmir with India, this part of
our country has been in the eye of storm. A large number of scholars have
explored the genesis and character of what has been often called the Pakistan
problem. But there is no problem, no dispute, except the changing contours
of the policies of Pakistan. The situation has got muddied because of the
continuing brazen Pakistani propaganda.
One is not
unaware as to how sometimes the views of the many so-called scholars of
international relations have undergone transformation assuming hostile
complexion to the Indian standpoint, due to Pakistani maneuverings. It
becomes necessary that from time to time the various facets of the Kashmir
situation should be analysed afresh and facts brought out to enable the
world opinion to comprehend and appreciate the Indian side of the case.
It is useful even for our country- men so that they do not get beguiled
either by the subtlety of Pakistani propaganda or the mealy-mouthed johrases
of many dogooders, foreign or of indigenous variety, masquerading under
the banner of human rights, peace and goodwill among neighbours, etc. It
is, therefore, imperative that the coming generations in India remain are
familiar with the tortuous and tragic tale of Kashmir, particularly the
sad happenings of the last decade.
In the recent
past, the former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir published his valuable
study on the cobwebs of Pakistani effrontery, the political chicanery of
the powers that he in Kashmir and the ostrich- like attitude of the Indian
Government from the very beginning till today. General Nanda's book, with
his intimate knowledge of Kashmir situation is another notable contribution
among a few others.
book by Prof. Mohan Lal Kaul, an academician hailing from Kashmir, belongs
to the same genre. It has the intensive feel and poignancy of personal
pull and academic objectivity. The learned author has tried to unravel
the mystique of Kashmir, its past and its present, as the title of the
In the first
eight chapters, Shri Kaul analyses the origin and ethos of the Kashmiri
Hindus and thereafter, briefly but vividly, outlines the main features
and principal landmarks in its history till the end of Dogra rule, which
provide the necessary perspective for what is happening at present. He
touches upon the political, economic, literary, cultural and religious
developments of this period.
chapters clinically dissect the tangled post-1947 developments in their
totality, which provide the meat of the book. The policies and programmes
of the different Chief Ministers, beginning with Sheikh Abdullah and ending
with Farooq, have been examined with facts and figures many myths have
dealing with the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and its nature and the plight
of minorities make a dismal reading and bring out sharply the blissful
ignorance, follies and brazen inadequacies of the Government of India.
has been the instrument for fostering separatism and providing legitimacy
to rampant corruption leading to insurgency and the exile of over three
takh Hindu Pandits from their hearths and homes, making them refugees in
their own homeland. The kid glove policy of dealing with antinational insurgents,
all along assisted by Pakistan by providing money and arms and now with
foreign mercenaries, has only helped to complicate the situation on the
ground. The role of the ISI and the support of The O.I.C. stand exposed.
It is a pity that the basic issue of the maintenance of national sovereignty and morale as well as sacrifices of our security and military forces is
attempted to be diluted by some intellectuals in the name of human rights,
plebiscite, self-determination and such emotive phrases generating miasma
of misperception, misinformation and disinformation about political realities.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, through his utterances both in the Parliament
and outside, had warned the countrymen of the looming dangers. Even his
ultimate sacrifice, four decades ago, in Sheikh Abdullah's jail did not
move the purblind Government. It is a matter of satisfaction that the Indian
Parliament. through a unanimous resolution transcending all political differences.
has asserted its rightful claim to the territory in Jammu & Kashmir,
illegally occupied by Pakistan. The people have spoken and it is for the
Government to chalk out its future policy and strategy.
Shri Kaul deserves
all commendation for writing the book which helps to illumine many dark
corners. One may not necessarily agree with the entirety of his diagnosis.
observations or even conclusions. As a small example, I do not think Shri
B. K. Nehru, as Governor. was pro- Sheikh. I know personally that as Governor
he made even Sheikh Abdullah realise and recognise the claims of protocol.
The delicacy of functioning with rectitude and propriety, while trying
to balance and reconcile the conflicting requirements has to be kept in
view. But the overall analysis of the learned author stimulates thinking.
It is a scholarly
and documented work without being ponderous. It is authentic in its composition
and unsparing in its presentation of even unpalatable facts. In any case,
an honest book dealing with Kashmir is bound to be controversial. But that
speaks of its relevance and worthwhileness. Shri Kaul has indeed succeeded
in unveiling the past and unravelling the present of Kashmir for any discerning
reader and in giving a glimpse of the unfolding tragedy in the future,
unless the nation takes lessons from the past and acts in the present.
T. N. Chaturvedi
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha