How Britain Kept Kashmir out of India
The Role of the Mountbattens, Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah and Britain’s Other Men and Women
It would be interesting to see how today’s Kashmiri insurgent leaders, including Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ahmed Geelani and Yasin Malik of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (Yasin Malik), would react when they are told that they are following in the footsteps of many other bastard children of the British Empire.
Long before the British Raj partitioned India and carved out Pakistan from the body of the subcontinent, Colonial Britain used Kashmiri leaders such as Sheikh Abdullah and a national leader of Kashmiri-origin, namely Jawaharlal Nehru, to create conflicts and fail to resolve them to keep the “Kashmir issue” alive.
The objective was to eventually make Kashmir an independent nation, blocking India’s entire western frontier from the Karakoram to the Arabian Sea and serving as a South and Central Asian cockpit for imperial intrigue/reach/control.
Britain tried to achieve this objective as long the iron was hot and it still had its Empire, but did not succeed. London has continued the attempt, however, by proxy through Pakistan, with the Pakistan-created and Saudi-financed Wahhabi terrorists and the present generation of Kashmiri insurgent leaders that include Geelani and Malik. The current effort will not succeed either, whether Geelani and Malik agree or not; but the devastation and destruction wrought on behalf of old colonial Britain has brought untold misery not just to the minority Hindu Kashmiris, but also to the majority Muslim Kashmiris.
It is important to understand how Britain used persuasion and seduction in the pre-partition days to lay the foundation of this destruction.
Using the Qadianis: Friends of Britain and Israel
But that process had begun much earlier. In the early 1930s, the British Raj had a multi-prong policy to create problems within Kashmir, which was then under the rule of a weak Hindu feudal, Hari Singh. One such agent of chaos was the Qadiani (also known as Ahmadiyyas) guru, Mirza Mahmud. The ‘Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam’ was established in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Qadiani (1835-1908) in a small Punjabi village in India. Mirza Ghulam Qadiani’s family was in the service of the British colonial powers and, to his dying day, Mirza Ghulam openly declared his allegiance to the British Raj. In fact, the culmination of his service to the foreign power was his declaration that resistance to oppressors (jihad) – as ordained in the Holy Quran by God – had become un-Islamic! Mirza Ghulam was also a proponent of the formation of Israel. Kashmir was a major center of this British intelligence-created sect, which acted as an extended arm of British intelligence within Kashmir, and reportedly there were 85 Qadiani centers within undivided Kashmir.
In 1931, the All-India Kashmir Committee (AIKC) was set up with Muhammad Iqbal as one of its leaders. The stated objective of the AIKC was waging a legal war for the restoration of the rights of the Muslims and ameliorating their condition. However, the real objective of the AIKC, under control of the British intelligence-supported Qadianis, was to get rid of Dogra rule.
In 1931, the Qadiani Khalifa Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had a meeting with the Political Secretary of the Government of India in charge of the States and later called on the Viceroy, Freeman Freeman-Thomas (known as Lord Willingdon), on Aug.1, where he stressed the desirability of British interference in the internal affairs of Kashmir. When the Viceroy demanded time for taking suitable action, Iqbal proposed that a three-man mission including Mirza Mahmud Ahmad be sent to London to explain the problem to the British public and Parliament. The Qadiani Khalifa knew the Maharaja would not agree to the proposal, so he was on the look-out for an opportunity to persuade the Raj Viceroy to take State matters into his own hands. As anticipated, the Maharaja rejected the delegation proposal. Mirza Mahmud claims that the Viceroy came to realize that the British Government had to interfere sooner or later in Kashmir affairs.
Meanwhile, helped by the Raj, the AIKC arranged for publication of their version of news on Kashmir in the British press. Certain sections of the British press supported the demands of Kashmiri Muslims that included the introduction of reforms. The matter was raised several times in the British Parliament, with the result that British public opinion turned against the Maharaja. For his part, Hari Singh had delivered a pro-Congress speech at the 1930 Round Table Conference at London, enraging his imperial masters.
Sheikh Abdullah: Spy-e-Kashmir
Sheikh Abdullah came from a very poor background but was a good student. He was recruited by British intelligence from Aligarh Muslim University to work for them in Kashmir. His handler was Sir B.J. Glancy, then Political Secretary to the then Government of India and head of the British Intelligence Service, known at the time as the Political Service. Letters exchanged between Glancy and Abdullah sometime in 1935 are in print, published by Narendra Sehgal. One letter from Glancy indicates that Abdullah had proposed a political movement in Jammu and Kashmir that was aimed at the preservation of the British Raj. He had already done some work in that connection and a plan had been prepared, which had been slightly altered later, and Abdullah had received his instructions.
Sehgal points out that according to one Dr. Gourinath Rastogi, the Sheikh had a great desire to become the Sultan of Kashmir. For this he could do anything. In the early 1940s he engineered violent revolts in Kashmir under the instructions of the British Raj, forcing Maharaja Hari Singh to set up the Glancy Commission to reform the administration. Under the pretext of administrative reforms, Glancy forced Hari Singh to give Gilgit to Britain on lease for 60 years, thus attaining a major objective. On one hand, Gilgit came under British rule; on the other, Glancy succeeded in establishing Sheikh Abdullah as a political figure in Kashmir. Prior to this, although a Muslim-majority area, Sheikh Abdullah had no foothold in Gilgit.
Now, Sheikh Abdullah’s work with the British is interesting. In 1933 – that is, two years before he started working for Glancy – he married Akbar Jehan, the daughter of Michael Harry Nedou, the eldest son of the European proprietor of a chain of hotels in India including Nedous Hotel in Srinagar, and his Kashmiri wife Mirjan. Author Tariq Ali claims that Akbar Jehan was previously married, in 1928, to an Arab, Karam Shah, who disappeared after the Calcutta newspaper Liberty reported that he was actually T.E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia), a British intelligence officer. According to Ali, Akbar Jehan was divorced by her first husband in 1929.
During the 1940s, the Sheikh, the communists and the British Government together launched the ‘Quit Kashmir Movement’ at a time when the people of the whole of India were busy in the freedom struggle and had raised the slogan demanding the British “quit India.” Maharaja Hari Singh, too, had supported that slogan and as a result the British, using Sheikh Abdullah, demanded the Dogra Maharajah quit Kashmir.
With full religious zeal, the National Conference launched its Quit Kashmir movement on May 10, 1946. The entire Muslim society in Kashmir was made to follow the path of rebellion. This movement was directed against the Hindu Maharaja and the Dogras of Jammu. The Sheikh and his colleagues were arrested on May 20, 1946. But he had his patron saint in Jawaharlal Nehru, whom he first came to know in 1937. In 1946, after the Sheikh was arrested, Nehru wrote a letter to the Maharaja demanding his immediate release. Rejecting objections from some Congress party leaders, Nehru even decided to go to Kashmir to plead the Sheikh’s case. Maharaja Hari Singh did not like this development and urged Nehru not to support Sheikh Abdullah.
St. John Philby
Here is an interesting twist of history. The British spy St. John Philby – father of the British spy who defected to the Soviet Union in the 1960s, Kim Philby – was a classmate of Jawaharlal Nehru in Cambridge and had visited Nehru in New Delhi. St. John Philby was sent secretly by the British Crown in 1917 to prop up Ibn Saud as the King of the Arabs. St. John disguised himself as an Arab, and his Arab name was Sheikh Abdullah!
Enter Edwina, the Witch, to Seduce Nehru
Mountbatten, a virtual degenerate who was all shine and no substance, had two things going for him. He was close to Winston Churchill (the less said about him, the better) and the Prince of Wales (whose pro-Hitler sentiments were an embarrassment to many in Britain); and he was in the line of succession to the British throne. In addition, he had a wife, Edwina, who, besides being a bed-hopping seducer, came from a very wealthy Jewish family. She was already worth about 2 million pounds at the time she married Louis Mountbatten, who had at the time a 700 pound a month job. It was a marriage of convenience, since Edwina was having a string of men on the side and Louis Mountbatten was bisexual. According to reports, during the1960s the daughter of a BBC producer regularly watched Mountbatten entering a male brothel through a rear entrance in Grosvenor Mews, Belgravia.
But the British had what was needed to get the “lonely heart” Nehru. They had their “honey trap” in Edwina, and that worked smoothly to allow Mountbatten to achieve both of the objectives for which the British monarchy sent him to India. After the British-organized invasion of Kashmir by Pakistani soldiers dressed in tribal garb occurred, Kashmir’s Maharaja Hari Singh sent the letter of accession to Mountbatten. Mountbatten wanted Kashmir to join Pakistan, using the pretext that 85 percent of the then-undivided Kashmiris were Muslims. But he had to defer to the wishes of Hari Singh. Allegedly, Mountbatten had labeled the Maharaja “a fool” in private, ostensibly for putting a monkey-wrench in the monarchy’s plans.
Subsequently, as constitutional head of state, Mountbatten sent a letter to Hari Singh on Oct. 27 in which he raised the question of ascertaining the wishes of the people of the state about accession to India after the Pakistani invaders were thrown out. This letter was followed by a statement by Nehru to the same effect. At best, this move by Nehru could be described as a “grave blunder.” Less generous observers might dub this as pure “treachery,” committed to please both of the Mountbattens.
Later, during his Nov. 1, 1947, meeting with Mountbatten, Jinnah, who had owned up to the invasion in so many words, rejected the legality of the Kashmir accession. What did India’s Governor-General do? Mountbatten formally made the offer of a plebiscite to Jinnah at this meeting. Jinnah objected that with Indian troops in their midst and with Sheikh Abdullah in power, the people of Kashmir would be far too frightened to vote for Pakistan. Subsequently, Mountbatten suggested a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. This was to gum up the works just the way Britain wanted it. On the face of it, however, it was a victory for Jinnah; but then, both Jinnah and the Kashmir conflict were British creations.
Nehru – under the control of the Mountbattens and deeply committed to the colonialists’ “fair-play tradition” he so admired in the public school he had attended – did what Britain wanted him to do. He ratified the offer verbally made by Mountbatten in his broadcast speech of Nov. 2, 1947, in which he declared his readiness, after peace and rule of law had been established, to have a referendum held under some international auspices such as that of the United Nations.
Footnote: Know Your Enemy
On Jan. 28, 1948, in New York, Abdullah met the United States representative to the United Nations, Warren Austin. “His whole attitude and approach being obviously to seek US support for Indian viewpoint,” Austin reported, adding: “It is possible that principal purpose of Abdullah’s visit was to make clear to US that there is a third alternative, namely, independence. He seemed overly anxious to get this point across, and made quite a long and impassioned statement on the subject. He said in effect that whether Kashmir went to Pakistan or India the other Dominion would always be against solution. Kashmir would thus be a bone of contention. It is a rich country. He did not want his people torn by dissension between Pakistan and India. It would be much better if Kashmir were independent and could seek American and British aid for development of the country. I, of course, gave Abdullah no encouragement on this line and I am confident when he left he understood very well where we stand on this whole matter.”
However, the leader of the so-called “Azad Kashmir” government, Sardar Ibrahim, “emphatically said Kashmir could not remain independent” (Foreign Relations of the United States: South Asia, 1948, Volume 5; pages 292-293).
The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc.
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