is the text of the speech delivered by late Sh. S.N. Fotedar on the floor of
the Parliament on 17 September, 1953, while participating in the debate on
Foreign Affairs, with particular reference to Kashmir.
Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact I had no idea to participate in the debate on the
foreign policy of India. But the time I came, I found my learned friend, Maulana
Masoodi, saying certain things on Kashmir. I feel that a stage has come, when it
is no use beating about the bush, and keeping things up your sleeves, when the
fate of great empires and countries is involved on the issue of Kashmir.
With all the reverence that I have for my friend, Maulana Sahib, against whom I
stand up today not in a spirit of animosity but only with the idea of clearing
certain points which he has put in a manner, which is bound to create a certain
amount of confusion and suspicion.
the activities of certain organisations here in India and in the Jammu Province
did influence the opinion of the people in Kashmir, but to place outright the
responsibility of a certain idea which may have been sedulously gaining ground
in the mind of Sheikh Sahib himself, since a long time on them, is not correct.
So far as
the question of independence is concerned, I think it is not quite a fresh idea
or a recent development in Sheikh Sahib so far as I know. I belong to Kashmir
and Kashmir, I always feel and I do feel even today, is an integral part of
India. As such, I can speak things in an authoritative manner when compared to
many other friends here, who do not belong to Kashmir.
back as 1948, Sheikh Sahib did raise a slogan of independence. It was not in the
year 1953, it was in the year 1948 that he took into confidence certain foreign
press correspondents and told them that independence was the only solution for
Kashmir. At that time, Sardar Patel was living and Sheikh Abdullah was summoned
over here. Then, my friends may be remembering, he said that he was thinking
aloud. This was the time when Mr Loy Henderson was in Kashmir
along with his wife. In the year 1952 when the Ranbirsinghpura speech was made
by Sheikh Sahib, there was no Jan Sangh, at that time there were no activities
by the Praja Praishad, much less of the Jan Sangh against Kashmir government.
Yet there was that much-maligned statement made at a public meeting which was
covered by the Press Trust of India and subsequently by other papers and about
which even the idol of the people, the great leader of the country, Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru, had to speak in a public meeting that he was not feeling
happy. Then also the working of Sheikh Abdullah’s mind regarding the future
political status of Kashmir was quite visible and could not escape detection.
I do not
belong to the Working Committee of the National Conference, but I do know things
and learn things from the members of the Working Committee. On that authority,
as also on what I have learnt directly from Sheikh Sahib on the eve of my
departure from Kashmir to attend the present session of the Parliament, I lay
this before the House for information and guidance. I had a long talk with him
about Kashmir for about two and a half hours and finally he told me that there
was no solution for the Kashmir question, except independence, that those parts
of Jammu which are inhabited mostly by Hindus, and Ladakh, should go to India
and the parts held by Pakistan at the present moment should remain with
Pakistan, the rest to be converted, after the wreckage of the state into an
independent territory, to be recognised both by India and Pakistan. Not only
that, he said that since both these countries were getting a slice, both should
subsidise what remained of the State--the independent Kashmir valley--so that we
could develop Kashmir from within.
this was the talk I had with him. I don’t suppose I have much time at my
disposal to describe enti-narrative here, although it is very much necessary.
The idea of independence was gaining ground in the mind of Sheikh Abdullah since
a long long time. And here my friend, Maulana Sahib--with all deference to
him--said that it was the Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Praja Parishad
which influenced the decision of Sheikh Sahib. I do not absolve them of their
share of responsibility, but all the same, I feel, and I say it with a sense of
responsibility, that such events alone did not constitute any basic reason in
Sheikh Sahib’s mind to drift into the channel of independence.
the Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Praja Parishad do not form India and
Sheikh Abdullah had no reason to mount the stage and condemn the whole of the
Indian nation and the Indian
Republic, to speak things against the whole of India and to compare Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru with Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. (Cries of ‘shame’, ‘shame’
from all benches).
in the Working Committee and the workers meeting that there was no difference
between Pandit Nehru and Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. This was an unkindest cut and
the height of ingratitude. That was the state of affairs in the workers’
meeting, where I heard him speaking things against India and the people, and
also the workers being roused against India.
I used to
put this question to myself after all what has India done to deserve this
denunciation? Did India
go as an aggressor to Kashmir? India came to Kashmir when Pakistan was the
aggressor. India on the invitation of the people came to defend the
independence, the life and property and chastity of womanhood in Kashmir
aggression. Did he (Sheikh Abdullah) not say, that there was no power on earth
which can separate Kashmir from India and that independence was impolitic and
inappreciable? Therefore, what has India done? India never interfered. The
greatest charge I can lay at the door of India today is that India never cared
to interfere with the internal Administration of Kashmir. (Cheers from
opposition benches). India
said that she had gone there at the invitation of the people and if the people
asked India to leave Kashmir, India would not take even a single minute to leave
second thing is this. Here my friend said that no decision was taken. But, is it
not a fact that after having found himself in a minority in the Working
Committee, in the administration and the Cabinet, as also in the Constituent
Assembly, Sheikh Abdullah rushed on to the stage? Was it not negation of
democracy, and political tyranny, to talk to the people that things cannot be
decided in closed room? He called the Working Committee a closed room; he called
his own cabinet a closed room; cabinet members are the chosen representatives of
the people. Cabinet members were selected from among the members of the
Constituent Assembly, which Sheikh Abdullah always termed as the sovereign
authority of the land. Was it a room? If that is a room, then I think our
Parliament is also a room. For everypurpose then we shall have to run to 36
crores of people. He said all these things, I think, to divert the attention of
the masses from acute economic distress and maladministration in the country.
sad and surprised to see that the great leader of the country for whom I have
great reverence, should have degenerated into communal channels and repudiated
the time-honoured stand of the National Conference of which he was the Head.
Perhaps the idea was to help and strengthen certain elements in Pakistan and in
foreign countries, while negotiations regarding the future of Kashmir were going
on. I am not concerned with all that at the present moment. My friend Maulana
Sahib said about himself that he was against Pakistan and the idea of
independence. I know it very well as he used to talk to me then, while he was
leading a sort of a movement against Sheikh Abdullah’s misconceived stand within
the ranks of the National Conference. He was a leader of a movement which was
bound to bring about the downfall and the collapse of Sheikh Abdullah’s
undemocratic and dictatorial edifice. When the edifice has fallen, he was
responsible for all this and now he should not have any reason to feel unhappy
over It, I donot want to take the time of the House. I want to say only this
thing, Sir, that it is really unhappy that such things should have happened in
But, I may say that the leadership which has come to power with Bakshi Ghulam
Mohammed at its head did not save only Kashmir from
disaster, it saved the whole of Pakistan and the whole of the republic of India
from a great disaster which would have overtaken them. (Cheers from all
benches). So, I feel that we should really be grateful to that leadership and
also Maulana Sahib for taking an authoritative stand against Sheikh Abdullah’s
stand--stand rejected by the National Conference times without number.
is said that we should understand something about the actual and basic position.
There cannot be one person in the world who can influence the decision of the
teeming millions. It is the age-long ideology of the people and an organisation
which counts. In the year 1947, it was not one person or a coterie of friends,
but, in fact, the entire mass of the Kashmiris who wanted to go to India and not
to Pakistan and who influenced by their time-honoured political professions and
faith fought Pakistan raiders. It is not correct to say that only one person or
a coterie of people can deliver the goods. That will be to reduce the people to
automatons, to make them something like machines in the present age of
democracy. Then the question of ascertaining the will of the people becomes a
sinning mockery. I say that in the year 1947, there was no doubt, that Sheikh
Sahib and his friends, the Maulana Sahib, Bakshi Sahib and others did a very
great thing in the history of Kashmir.
present moment, to say that because the Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha and the
Praja Parishad indulged in communal activities, therefore, such a thing
happened, is not correct. Are Jan Sangh and the Hindu Mahashaba the whole of
India? India consists of 36 crores of people. If Sheikh Abdullah was responsible
before 30 lakhs of people, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his government are
responsible before 36 crores of people. Did not this Government of India endorse
the activities of the Kashmir government unreservedly, when the movement was
going on in Jammu? Did not Panditji say that it was a most mischievous and
pernicious movement? Did he not say that if he would have been there as the Head
of Administration he would have taken sterner measures against this mischievous
and pernicious movement? Did not the Government of India and the Indian
Parliament and the whole Congress back Sheikh Abdullah for five years? Is it not
manufacturing an excuse now, for the realisation of some sinister objective, to
say that the Jan Sangh and Praja Parishad did certain things and all these
things happened, and therefore a volte-face.
Maulana Sahib said that a Commission of Enquiry should be appointed to enquire
into the recent happenings in Kashmir.
Maulana Sahib is the General Secretary of the National Conference. It is the
National Conference government that is functioning in Kashmir.
Why does he not ask his own government, his own party to do that? If at all
there is any truth in the stories of atrocities. I feel that besides what is
being said, many things must have happened because it was a tremendous
upheaval--all the same the astounding things said in the Pakistan press and in
the foreign press are only to cater to their own nefarious political ends. I
think these are all mendacious inventions which deserve not even the dignity of
a formal denial. The people of Kashmir
want good government which was denied to them all these six years. On matters
pertaining to the future political set-up of Kashmir,
they have energetically expressed themselves in 1947, against odds, danger to
life and religious appeal, while fighting Pakistan aggression.