The Indian Princes have no desire to raise any controversial issues inthe duration of the war and wish to concentrate all thought and energy on ensuring a speedy and decisive victory. Accordingly, as you are aware, it has been my policy as Chancellor to postpone all avoidable matters which have no direct bearing on war effort and which may be inconvenient to meet at this juncture. Nevertheless, certain recent happenings, arising out of the Cripps Mission, have caused, and are bound to accentuate, grave anxiety to the Princes and their loyal subjects, and have occasioned intense feeling of profound disappointment in the States. These developments, I must state in all frankness, have been a particular shock to the Indian Princes who feel special personal attachment to His Majesty the King Emperor, and have full faith in Britain's respect for Treaties and in the bonafides of His Majesty's Government and High Excellency the Crown Representative. I feel confident that it could not have been the intention of His Majesty's Government to create an impression which unfortunately has been created and is being exploited by those who are opposed to war effort and who wish to put a damper even on the unconditional and spontaneous war effort of the States. Accordingly, I deem it my duty to State briefly but in all frankness the more important of these points, so that you may submit them to His Excellency the Crown Representative with the request that he may urge upon His Majesty s Government the necessity of reassuring tile States, unequivocally and without delay, on these points and thereby dispel the misgivings which are apt to do great harm.
Let me also refer briefly to a few other factors which have contributed to the aforesaid anxiety of the Princes, I am citing them in the confident hope that the view point of the Princes will be kept in view if and when similar circumstances recur again;
IV. It is appreciated that in the interests of India and the Empire as a whole, a single Union would undoubtedly be the best solution of India's constitutional problem; at the same time, it may be that unforeseen circumstances may compel a large number of States or groups of States not to adhere to the new Union. Accordingly, the States Delegation asked Sir Stafford Cripps that in that contingency, the non-adhering States should be accorded the option of having a union of their own with full sovereign status in accordance with a suitable and agreed procedure devised for the purpose. It was pointed out that provision to that effect had been made for non-adhering Provinces. We were told that this eventuality had not been considered in connection with the Draft Declaration. This shows that apart (far ?) from receiving treatment better than the Provinces to which the States are entitled on constitutional and historic grounds, they were not being treated even on par with the Provinces in respect of future constitutional developments.
In conclusion I am to make it clear that His Excellency is strongly of opinion that so fully documented a communication, emanating from such a source and couched in terms of genuine apprehension clearly calls for a definite answer, the nature of which can only be determined by His Majesty's Government.
The Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes (the Jam Saheb of Nawanagar) is very shortly arriving in this country and will almost certainly ventilate this matter while he is here. It is very desirable to be in a position, whenever he refers to the matter (which he may take an early opportunity of doing), to say that the Crown Representative is already composing his reply on lines which can be indicated broadly to him as set out in this paper. Unless, therefore, any of my colleagues wish the matter to be discussed in Cabinet, I propose to dispatch the draft telegram to the Crown Representative not later than the 8th September.
2. The Chancellor, in his letter of the 1st June to the Viceroy's Political Adviser, complains:
3. In the view of the Viceroy and his advisers the Princes feel genuinely that their interests were insufficiently considered both in the Draft Declaration and in the discussions arising from it. The Viceroy accordingly suggests that a considered reply, "the nature of which can only be determined by His Majesty's Government," should be sent. I have accordingly agreed with the Viceroy on the following line of reply:
(In actual fact) the Viceroy hopes-- and proposes thank we suggest privately to the Princes that - the idea of age separate States Union might be used by them merely as a bargaining counter to secure better terms for accession to an Indian Union, and not as a serious objective. This seems sound).
the continuance and intensification, so far as this can be done without alienating the more important Ruler's of our present policy of bringing the States into line with modern administrative standard).
The Indian States delegation unanimously adopted the following resolution in respect of the proposals of his Majesty Government.
That this chamber authorises its representatives to carry on the discussions and negotiations for constitutional advance of India with due regard to successful prosecution of war and interests of the States, and subject to the final confirmation by the Chamber and without prejudice the right of the individual States to be consulted in respect of any proposals affecting their treaty or other inherent rights.
The Indian States Delegation unanimously adopted the following resolution in respect of the proposals of His Majesty's Government which you discussed with them:
"The attitude of the Indian States in general on the mission of the Lord Privy Seal is summed up in the resolution on the subject which was adopted unanimously at the recent Session of the Chamber of Princes. The Indian States will be glad as always, in their contribution, in every reasonable manner compatible with the sovereignty and integrity of the States towards the framing of a new Constitution for India.
The States should be assured, however, that in the event of a number of States not finding it feasible to adhere, the non-adhering States or groups of States, so desiring would have the right to form a Union of their own with full sovereign status in accordance with a suitable and agreed procedure devised for the purpose."
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE
Citizenship: Its Basic Rights and Obligations,
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE RULER OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
27. The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir shall:
a. convene sessions of tile National Assembly twice a year; shall convene extraordinary sessions of the Assembly at his own wish or at the request of the speaker of the Assembly; and
b. dissolve the National Assembly and fix new elections;
c. conduct a referendum upon his own initiative or upon the demand of the majority of the legislators;
d. declare general or partial mobilization;
e. ratify international treaties after they have been approved by the National Assembly.
f. summon the leader of the largest single party in the National Assembly to form the Ministry.
THE ADVOCATE GENERAL AND STATE ADVOCATES
The Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir is appointed by the National Assembly for a period of five years. State Advocates in Districts and Tehsilare appointed by the Advocate-General of Jammu and Kashmir for a period of five ears.
48. The national languages of the State shall be Kashmiri, Dogri, Balti (Pall), Dardi, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu shall be the lingua franca of the State. The State shall foster and encourage the growth and development of these languages, especially those which are more backward, by every possible means, including the following:
1. The establishment of a State Languages Academy, where scholars and grammarians shall work to develop the languages?
a. by perfecting and providing scripts;
b. by enriching them through foreign translations;
c. by studying their history;
d. by producing dictionaries and texts books.
2. The founding of State scholarship for the study of these languages.
3. The fostering of local Press and publication in local languages.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
49. Amendments to this Constitution shall be effected only by a decision of the National Assembly when adopted by the majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes cast therein subject to the ratification of the Ruler.
NATIONAL ECONOMIC PLAN
50. The economic life of the State shall be determined and directed by the National Economic Plan for the purpose of increasing public wealth, of ensuring a steady rise in the material and cultural level of working men and women, and consolidating the defence capacity of the State.
As I said at the moment I reached Jammu, it is not the policy of the Muslim League to interfere with the internal administration of this State or the grave and serious issues that face the Maharaja and his Government, as between him and his people, but we are certainly very deeply concerned with the welfare of the Mussalmans in the State, and I must say that even a casual visitor cannot but be shocked to see the condition of the people in this State, even in matters of their elementary needs and necessities. Sir B.N. Rao has just taken charge as the Prime Minister of the State, and now the people are looking up to him and expecting that he will take effective measures for their betterment.
As regards the Mussalmans, as I said, we are vitally concerned with their welfare, but I regret that although Sheikh Abdullah and his party and the Muslim Conference discussed matters with me in Delhi and in Lahore before my arrival here and were good enough to accord me a great reception, and were anxious that I should hear both sides and bring about a settlement, when I, after careful consideration, suggested that the Mussalmans should organize themselves under one flag and on one platform, not only my advice was not acceptable to Sheikh Abdullah but, as is his habit, which has become a second nature with him, he indulged in all sorts of language of a most offensive and vituperative character in attacking me. My advice to the Mussalmans is that the differences can only be resolved by argument, discussion, exchange of views, and reason and not by goondaism and one thing that I must draw the attention of Kashmir Government about is that goondaism must be put down at any cost, and there should be constitutional liberty of speech and freedom of thought, which is the elementary right of every citizen under any civilized form of Government.
As some misapprehensions have arisen in regard to certain resolutions of the All-India Congress Committee and of the Working Committee passed in 1942 relating to the future Constitution of India, the Working Committee restates the position as follows:
In accordance with the August 1942 resolution of the All India National Congress Committee it will be for a democratically elected Constituent Assembly to prepare a Constitution for the Government of India, acceptable to all sections of the people. This Constitution, according to the Congress view, should be a federal one, with the residuary powers vesting in the units. The fundamental rights as laid down by the Karachi Congress and subsequently added to, must form an integral part of this Constitution. Further, as declared by the All-India Congress Committee at its meeting held in Allahabad in May 1942, the Congress cannot agree to any proposal to disintegrate India by giving liberty to any component State or territorial Unit to secede from the Indian Union or Federation. The Congress, as the Working Committee declared in April 1942, has been wedded to Indian freedom and unity and any break in that unity, especially in the modern world when people's minds inevitably think in terms of ever larger federations, should be injurious to all concerned and exceedingly painful to contemplate. Nevertheless, the Committee also declared, it can not think in terms of compelling the people in any territorial unit to remain in an Indian Union against their declared and established will. While recognizing this principle, every effort should be made to create conditions which would help the different Units in developing a common and co-operative national life. The acceptance of the principle inevitably involves that no changes should be made which result in fresh problems being created and compulsion being exercised on other substantial groups within that area. Each territorial Unit should have the fullest possible autonomy within the Union, consistently with a strong national state.
The working Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference have taken into consideration the speech made by the Viceroy of India in the Princes' Chamber on the17th January, 1946 along with the declaration made by the Chancellor of the Chamber on behalf of the Princes regarding: constitutional advancement in the States. After fully examining the salient points in both the speeches, the Working Committee have come to the following conclusions:
1. That the advice tendered by the Crown Representative to the Princes regarding the steps to be taken in making tl1e administration of these States progressive did not amount to anything progressive. In fact it lost all its significance when he (Viceroy), made such progress conditional on the maintenance of the treaties and the consent of the Princes. These treaties and engagements which are outdated, reactionary and questionable have always stood and will always stand in the way of the States People's progress and to think that the Rulers will give. up their privileged positions that they enjoy under them at their sweet will is nothing but wishful thinking. The National Conference has at several occasions made it clear that these treaties have been made in times and under circumstances, which do not obtain now and have been framed without seeking the consent of the States people. Under such circumstances no treaties or engagements which act as a dividing wall between their progress and that of their brethren in British India, can be binding on the people.
"As President, All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference representing all communities and classes of people in-habiting Jammu and Kashmir State I welcome your visit to our state and hope that it will usher in new era of freedom both political and economic for four million state people. As Mission is at moment reviewing relationship of Princes with the Paramount Power with reference to treaty rights we wish to submit that for us in Kashmir re-examination of this relationship is vital matter because hundred years ago in 1846 land and people of Kashmir were sold away to servitude of Dogra House by British for seventy-five lacs of Sikh rupees equivalent to fifty lakhs British Indian rupees. Then Governor of Kashmir resisted transfer, but was finally reduced to subjection with aid of British. Thus sale deed of 1846 misnamed treaty of Amritsar sealed fate of Kashmir masses. We declare to world that this sale deed confers no privileges equivalent to those claimed by states governed by treaty rights. As such case of Kashmir stands on unique footing and people of Kashmir press on Mission their unchallengeable claims to freedom on withdrawal of British power from India. We wish to declare that no sale deed however sacrosanct can condemn more than four million men and women to servitude of an autocrat when will to live under this rule is no longer there. People of Kashmir are determined to mould their own destiny and we appeal to Mission to recognise justice and strength of our cause.''
"With a view to giving further effect to my policy of associating my subjects with the administration of the State, I have after careful consideration decided to call upon the Praja Sabha to nominate panel of six (three to be Muslims) of its members, three from Jammu (including the Frontier Districts). Out of the panel so nominated I shall appoint two (one of whom will be a Muslim) as my Ministers. These Ministers shall hold charge of portfolios to be determined by me and will hold office during my pleasure."
My dear Prime Minister,
Ever since assumption of office, I have been facing certain tremendous difficulties, in the discharge of my duties which from time to time I have brought to your notice and also to the notice of your predecessor, both in writing and verbally. These difficulties are to my mind in their nature serious enough to call for immediate solution, not only with a view to afford opportunities of efficient working but also to achieve the object underlying His Highness' October Proclamation of 1944, in pursuance of which the two popular Ministers were appointed. But as ill-luck would have it, they have not only been not removed so far but in most cases no serious attempt has to my knowledge, been made uptill now towards their solution. The result is obvious.
Under these circumstances I feel constrained once more to re-state them here and strongly request the immediate solution and removal of these difficulties:
1. You remember that just before the commencement of the Srinagar session of the Praja Sabha, I, in the course of a discussion pointed out to you that according to the decision of your Hon'ble predecessor in Office, the elected Ministers had freedom of speech on the floor of the House, which they could exercise even if they disagreed with the 'official' view of the Government on any issue. (This position is in strict accordance with the provisions of the present constitution). But your reply was that elected Ministers should not only speak but also vote in support of the official view and that they could not even remain neutral in case of difference of opinion. I urged that this was not only the repudiation of the previous arrangement but was also repugnant to the express provisions of the constitution, as amended by His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur after the appointment of Popular Ministers. According to this amendment the two Ministers are to retain their status as members of the Praja Sabha which they occupied before appointment as Minister. Needless to say that the status of these two Ministers before such appointment was that of elected members who had complete right of vote and freedom of speech on the floor of House. Obviously therefore, any restriction of that right is repugnant of the constitution.
You, however, did not seem agreeable to modify your view And nor was I inclined to accept your. The actual position, however, during the last Session in the Assembly did not result in any serious difference of opinion on any important issue before the legislature, but the position is liquid and demands immediate final settlement. I maintain that the amended constitution gives effect to the spirit and policy underlying no departure there from can be made.
I would further add that any attempt to restrict the right of vote end speech of the two elected Ministers is bound to lead to non-confidence in them by their electorate, and is further fraught with the possibilities of coming into conflict with the declared policy of associating the subjects of His Highness with the administration of the State.
2. Soon after my assumption of office anomalous position with respect to P.W.M. came to light. Whereas every other Minister of the Government has a Secretariat of his oven over which he exercises complete administrative control, such is not the case with the P.W.M. He has no Secretariat attached to him or responsible to him. At present he works through the Home, Revenue and Development Secretariats, none of which is affiliated to him. He hoped that after his appointment by His Highness the consequential changes would be effected by the Government but as things turned out no action was taken. After a thorough discussion with your Hon'ble predecessor-in-office, who realised the difficulties and recognised the need of a separate secretariat in the case of P.W.M., the latter sent in a memorandum on 28.12.1944. Prompted by the desire, which he was confident, that his other Hon'ble colleagues shared with him, of making the experiment so graciously introduced by our benign Ruler of associating his subjects with the governance of the State successful, the P.W.M requested that any possible difficulties in the direction should be forthwith removed. But unfortunately the proposal made no headway until Sir B.N. the former Prime Minister, relinquished office.
After assumption of office by you the matter was brought "to your notice in verbal discussion and ultimately a written request was made under my No. 2151p/45 dated 21st Augusta 1945 in which the original proposal for creating a small Secretariat was repeated. Inspite of repeated requests, made verbally to you, no tangible result has followed. On 13th December, 1945, during a personal discussion on the issue you expressed your readiness to make a sort of adjustment by bifurcating the Home Secretariat in two branches-each under H.H.M & P.W.M. But even this halfway measure, though falling for short of my original request, has not fructified.
I pointed out to you the present anomalies of the Secretariats who have to deal either exclusively or mainly with the work under the Public Works portfolio, have absolutely nothing to do so far as administrative control is concerned with the P.W.M. So much so that questions of their leave, promotion, record of their service book and confidential rolls are the exclusive concern of other Ministers with whom they may have to do nothing whatsoever. Such is the present. position which to my mind is both anomalous and unsatisfactory.
I need hardly add that experience has convinced me that nothing short of my original proposal can remove the present tremendous difficulties as well as do away with the discriminatory position between the P.W.M. and his other Hon'ble colleagues. The delay to take decision during the last 13 months has done considerable damage and is sure to do more.
3. You know the fate of Municipal Bill that I proposed in March 1945. K.B. Mirza Jafar Ali Khan, the then officiating Prime Minister, did not take it up as he thought that it involved an important issue. I expressed my disagreement with him, but was assured that the matter would be further considered and definite conclusions arrived at shortly. I waited from some time but when I saw that the case did not make any headway I pressed it again. The result was that in spite of the urgency expressed by me, the question was referred to the Adhoc Committee consisting of H.H.M., H.D.M and P.W.M.
Meanwhile feeling that there was too much centralization in the present Act and the Minister-in-Charge who is supposed to be responsible for the municipal administration is practically without powers. I suggested certain delegation under the Act to the Minister vice my memorandum for submission to Council No. 859-M/45 dated 09.9.1945. These powers are now vested in the Government, though to my mind they are of too petty importance. It will be well worthwhile to mention some of them here:
S. 13. Acceptance of resignation by a member of a Committee
S. 14. Notification of election and appointment of members
S. 29. Directions to a Committee to make bye laws
S. 31. Sanctioning of delegation of powers to Municipal Servant
S. 38 (2). Power to hear appeal from a member held responsible for loss or waste of money
S. 40 (1) (d) Power to sanction an expenditure to be an appropriate charge on the recommendation of the Committee
S. 63 (b) Power to hear appeals against notices of demand
S. 66. Power to hear appeal against levy of tax
S. 69. Power to prescribe conditions for regulating offensive trades
S. 91. Power to prohibit use of a place for an offensive trade
S. 155. Power to require a Committee to make bye laws for regulating articles of food drink
S. 174. Power to hear appeals against the orders of a Committee or its officers
Mere perusal of these matters which have now to go to Council for sanction should convince any body that such a centralization is bound seriously to hamper progress and efficiency of work. The Minister is not even competent to accept a resignation, or notify an election or an appointment of a member. He cannot direct the Municipality to make certain bye-laws respect to general sanitation etc. He is powerless even in matters of hearing appeals against petty questions disposed of by Committee. It may incidentally be mentioned that functions like these are discharged in British India by officers of lower status than a Minister. Here they are centralised in the Government though they generally pertain day to day administration of the Committees.
As some of these powers were in actual practice exercised by my Predecessor-in-office I also asked for validation of that practice.
This proposal also has met the same fate. Not that decision has been taken but it was not even put before Council. I was recently extremely surprised to find that nearly 161 cases of varying importance were taken up and mostly disposed of by Council, but this proposal though considered by the Minister-in-Charge as very urgent did not find place in that agenda. On October 13, 1945-vide my D.O No. 859-18/45 of 13.10.1945. I drew your attention to my previous proposal on the point again and requested for immediate action. But even this did not produce any result. It is now nearly 4 months that the matter has been hanging fire, meanwhile the work is practically held up.
4. I also referred to other matters during my discussions with you as well as your predecessor. These are of tremendous public importance for which I have always felt that the elected Ministers should be consulted. Take for example the questions relating to law and order. Practically the whole of Kashmir is ruled by ordinance: at present Rule 50 of the Jammu and Kashmir. Defence Rules is in force banning all public processions and meetings. This is so even in my own constituency which I am legally and constitutionally bound to represent in all matters. Never before or after the promulgation of Defence Rule in question has the matter been discussed with the representative in Council. Nor even a courtesy reference was made to me whose whole constituency is under an ordinance at present. This is a serious position, which, as public representative whose status as such has been maintained in the constitution referred to above, by the August Ruler-l have to take notice of. You can well imagine the lot of an elected member whose constituency in matters of civic rights is dealt with like this and who has no voice in these matters. The public at large consider him in their ignorance of the actual working, a party to such decisions.
Whereas he himself is kept in complete ignorance from start to finish. The public representative in these cases comes to know of what has happened through press only. This position is extremely difficult and embarrassing. If it is intended that the elected Ministers should continue to represent the people, it exposes them to the unmerited public criticism on Government measures with which they themselves may disagree.
Same is the position about the distribution of controlled commodities which has assumed enormous importance during recent years From time to time I have addressed various Communication and made a number of references to this during discussions, but generally speaking without result.
On the whole the matters referred to above are of tremendous importance and I feel convinced in my mind that if immediate decisions on the lines indicated are not taken, the real value of having elected Ministers will be considerably reduced If it would not totally disappear. That would be against the Intentions and policy of our beloved Ruler, which every one of us must guard against. And most unfortunately-~t is painful to reiterate- this position has been allowed to persist for more than a year and the sooner, therefore, it is rectified the better.
Sd/- M.A. Beg
Rai Bahadur Pt. Ramchandra Kak,
Letter No. 16-CC/46 D.O. Dated 12.2.46.
My dear Mr. Beg,
I write to acknowledge receipt of your demi-official letter No. 11-P/46, dated 15th January 1946. The various matters you have raised are dealt with in the following paragraphs which, I might mention, embody the views I have expressed to you from time to time in regard to these matters.
1. Right to Vote in the Assembly. If a Minister has the right to express and urge his point of view in the Council but if the decision of the majority goes against him it naturally follows that he will accept and endorse the policy of the Government of which he is a member. The amendment to situation the Constitution Act quoted by you was made, as you knot, with the sole object of meeting the situation arising out of the ruling given by the President, Praja Sabha, to the effect that by virtue of your and Wazir Gangaram's appointment as Ministers the elected seats in the Assembly held by you had become vacated. The amendment preserved your status as non official members of the Praja Sabha, but has no relation whatever to the question of Ministers voting in the Sabha Sir B.N. Rau's opinion was that you and Wazir Gangaram should be debarred from voting, but that opinion had no sanction behind it, and hi practice would involve serious difficulties. I am authorised to inform you that there was no question at any time of the Ministers appointed by His Highness from amongst the members of the Praja Sabha being given the option to vote in the Praja Sabha independently of the decision of the Government and no such meaning can be read either into His Highness's Message to the Praja Sabha dated 2nd October, 1944, or into the amendment to Constitution Act referred to by you
2. With regard to the question of Secretariat as you are aware, for the last several years, the Secretariats have been of a composite character and each Minister has to deal with several Secretaries and Secretariats. So long as the, number of Ministers coincided with that of Secretaries, though an anomalous one, could continue without much difficulty, but with the increase in the number of Ministers its inherent defects became immediately noticeable. When you mentioned the matter to me, I explained how undesirable it would be to create and retrench Secretariats as circumstances necessitated increase or decrease in the number of Ministers, I added that in British Indian Provinces and in certain Indian States, Secretariats remained constant while the number of the Ministers, varied as circumstances demanded. When the Secretariats were reorganised in 1939 and the posts of Secretaries were made tenure appointments, the allocation of departments among the Secretariats no longer continued to be identical with the portfolios the Ministers who controlled them. In the circumstances the logical course would have been to combine the Secretariats for purposes of administration though they might continue to function under the Ministers in respect of the performance of their appointed duties. I however offered, as a purely temporary measure, to place under you the Public Works Secretariat with either the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary. You preferred the Secretary for all purposes in the same manner as other Secretariats where under other Ministers. You accepted the suggestion but pressed that the establishment in other Secretariats dealing with the departments under you should also be transferred to this Secretariat. This however, would have meant going back to the system which had been discarded in 1939 after detailed consideration, and it was therefore, impracticable when the order was drafted, to implement the suggestion made by me. The Chief Secretary Informed me that he understood that the arrangement would not be acceptable to you. The only solution, therefore, was the logical one, namely that of placing all Secretariats for purposes of administration under one authority. A proposal divas accordingly submitted to Council and received the support of the other Ministers. Orders have since been passed and your position is exactly that of your colleagues with reference to the Secretariat. Moreover you have a Personal Assistant which the other three Ministers have not.
3. Delegation of powers under the Municipal Act. The reason why this case has not been put up to the Council is that the Law Department has not accepted your view that powers can be delegated to you as proposed, under the existing provisions of the Act. I have, however, asked the Chief Secretary to submit the case to Council where your proposal and the objection of the Law Department can be discussed. In any case it appears to me, there should be no difficulty in Disposing of these cases in accordance with the existing provisions of the Municipal Act even if it is assumed, as you assume, that your predecessor exercised powers which he was not Entitled to exercise under the law. It is conceivable that these Provisions lay down a procedure entailing unnecessary work
On the Council but that cannot be a sufficient reason for holding up disposal. As a matter of fact, when in Srinagar, you spoke to me on this subject you remarked that you would be compelled to send the cases to Council, I replied that it was open to you to do so. As there is an Ad Hoc Committee considering further amendments to the Municipal Act, may I suggest that this Committee might consider any amendments. in regard to the sections referred to in your letter, should the Council find on consideration, that the Law Department's. Objection to your proposal is insuperable.
4. Enforcement of Rule 50 in certain parts of the State Magistrates and Police Officers powers which are vested in them by statute, rule or orders of Government. The purpose for which they are armed with these powers is that they should be able to discharge their primary responsibility, viz. ensuring the maintenance of law and order and preventing breaches of peace, without being obliged in each case and on each occasion to ask for instructions. In this behalf there is no difference in law and practice as between this state and anywhere else. So far as the question of securing information with regard to happenings in the State is concerned, you get information like other Ministers, since like them you are supplied with police diaries every day. In addition, whenever you have sought for information or explanation from me, I have readily furnished it to you to the best of my knowledge. It is not possible to lay down that the Magistrates and the Police must refrain from taking action in the discharge of their responsibility without previous approval of higher authorities. In fact, though, Law and Order is within my individual sphere of responsibility, even I often receive information only after action has been taken by the Magistrates and the police.
So far as the enforcement of emergency laws is concerned' discretion to enforce them rests with the District Magistrates. It is only when they find that the ordinary processes of law are inadequate to deal with the actual outbreak of disorder in a particular place, that they have recourse to emergency measures. This applies to your Constituency as to other places, and this State is not unique in the application of such measures in given circumstances. Even where such laws are in force meetings can be held and have been held in some you yourself have participated and processions taken out with the permission, of the competent Magistrate, who when considering request for such permission has to satisfy himself that there will be no breach of the peace if the permission asked for is granted.
5. Distribution of controlled commodities....You have made passing reference to the question of the distribution of controlled commodities. There have been and I dare say may still be shortcomings in distribution but things have improved considerably in recent months. Any suggestions received from any quarter regarding improvement of control arrangements have been practicable. Any suggestion you might make which is generally acceptable and will work in practice will have my full support.
6. You have referred to his Highness massage to the Praja Sabha dated 2nd October, 1944. It must be the endeavour of all of us to ensure that the intention underlying the message should attain fulfillment. To achieve this object we have all to work together and it is hardly necessary form. to add that the measure of our success will be in proportion to the spirit of goodwill and accommodation we bring to the common task.
Sd /- R. C. Kak
The Hon'ble Mirza M.A.Beg,
Public Works Minister,
My dear Kak Sahib,
I write to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your D.O. letter No. 16-CC/46 dated 12th February, 1946.
I find some new points have been raised in the D.O. and therefore it is necessary once again to clarify the position in the hope that it would be fully appreciated.
1. To begin with, I draw your attention to the matter touched in the last paragraph of your letter under reply, wherein His Highness' message of the Praja Sabha dated 2nd October 1944 has been referred to. I have throughout made it clear that the view I take is strictly in accordance His Highness' Proclamation and in pressing various matters from time to time I hate been prompted only by the desire to make the present experiment a complete success. I need hardly say that in actual practice also, I have done my utmost in that direction.
The intention underlying the Proclamation is the effective association of His Highness subjects in the Government of the State. The direction of the Proclamation that official block in the Assembly was not to participate in the proceedings relating to selection of members to the panel, clearly indicated that officials should not influence the decision of the Assembly. This ensured that the representatives of the people - according to the Assembly - should largely determine the appointment of Ministers. Thus to the advice of Ministers so selected considerable weight attaches in matters of public importance and to my mind this cannot be lost sight of in the disposal of questions pertaining to the administration. An earnest attempt to accommodate their view point should be forth coming and it cannot be brushed aside totally simply because majority take a different view on any issue before the Councils The position taken that "if the decision of the majority in the Council goes against the member, he has to accept and endorse the policy of Government", 1 am afraid, does not strictly stand.
In the appointment of Ministers of Council, as at present. constituted, His Highness has adopted two different and distinct methods. Where in the case of popular Ministers they are elected in the prescribed manner and are eligible for re-appointment only if they remain members of the Praja Sabha, such is not the case with other Ministers. That it is His Highness' Command. While implementing it, earnest effort should be made by us all to avoid possibilities which will land the elected Ministers in embarrassments and positions of non-confidence by public. Whoever is appointed as a popular Minister under the present system must according to the spirit of the Proclamation retain public confidence which can be only retained if the popular view point as expressed by such Ministers is given due weight to. On the contrary, if the decisions of the Council are to be taken by actual voting, the Popular Ministers surely will find themselves in minority in the Council, even if they always vote together. In such a contingency these Ministers have to bear the brunt of public criticism, which the other Ministers can offered to ignore. Should such an issue be an important one, may I ask how these Ministers can continue to enjoy public confidence, especially when you expect them not to express even their individual opinion by means of vote on the floor of the Praja Sabha. There have been occasions on which I differed from the view taken by my other colleagues in Council and if I am not even allowed by the Government to vote in favour of that view I feel that it is not only suppression of opinion but will also lead to consequences directly in conflict with the spirit of the Royal Proclamation.
Whereas I concede that it should be an earnest effort at unanimous decision-and I have always acted in that spirit-yet a contingency may arise where on an issue of very grave public importance a Popular Minister may honestly differ. That Government should expect him in such a contingency to vote with it would. I am afraid, be too much.
2. In my note dated 30th January 1945 which I recorded on the case relating the amendments of constitution, I made my view quite clear. I then said:
"It is however, hoped that the Popular Ministers will be able to influence the policy of administration in accordance with the views of people for otherwise these Ministers would lose their popular confidence and support-may be, sometimes not by reason of any action on their part but as a result of the measure taken by the Government. Again such loss of popular confidence is apt to bear an adverse effect on the ability of the Ministers to render their best service. In that case not much would be gained by selecting Ministers from the Legislature. Such a state of affairs, I very much fear, will not be in accordance with spirit of the proclamation."
"The Constitution Act was subsequently amended and though it referred to the retention of status of the elected Ministers in the Praja Sabha, it also amended the provisions of Section 28 of the Constitution Act. Obviously, therefore, the amendment was not aimed at only preserving our 'status as non-official members of the Praja Sabha"...
Even in relation to the preservation of such "status" the question arises as to what that status is. To my mind the status of an elected member of legislature is, in actual practice determined by his ability to represent his constituents and hence by his freedom to voice their feelings (and according to you also the amended Constitution Act retains our representative character). Otherwise if he is retained as elected member of Praja Sabha for keeping the elected seats occupied and compelling him to vote and speak for the Government view point, I am afraid such a position does serious damage to that status. Such a position not only raises the question of coming in to conflict with the Proclamation, as I have said before, but also a more embarrassing question of the general constitutional right recognized by our Constitution Act of 1996.
You have referred to Sir B. N.'s opinion according to which the two elected Ministers were 'debarred from voting, But according to what you propose this 'disqualification' is intended to be removed only to compel us to vote in support of the official view of the Government, even though we may disagree with it and might have expressed our disagreement even in the Council too.
In the concluding sentence of the first paragraph of your letter you say there was no question of the Ministers appointed from amongst the members of the Praja Sabha being given the option to vote independently of the decision of the government. According to the implication of the words underlined the elected Ministers can be given an option of vote by the Government. As convention can, therefore, be set up by the Government itself for such option in matters where agreement in Council cannot be reached.
You have not in your letter under reply referred to our freedom of speech on the floor of the House, which in my previous letter, I said was preserved.
3. It is true that on 21st January, 1945 the Council have taken their decision of combining the various Secretariats into one under the administrative control of the Chief Secretariat, which is attached to the portfolio of Hon'ble Prime Minister. In my discussion with you on 13th December 1945 to which I referred in the second pare of my previous D.O. it was agreed, though as a temporary measure, to bifurcate the Home Secretariat, as indicated in your D.O. under reply. After this the Chief Secretary once made a passing mention that you were examining the question of the Secretariats. I said that the temporary arrangements agreed upon with you shall have to be made by an executive order or otherwise, exactly as the other Secretariats are put under Ministers and that in this
At least there should be no difference. In my D.O. of 15th January, 1946, I therefore referred to this temporary arrangement again, though I pressed that for the final settlement of the matter, a separate Secretariat was necessary.
The question of transferring the establishment in other Secretariats dealing with departments under me was raised when Hon'ble Home Minister said that he was exercising and should continue to exercise administrative control over similar establishment under him in other Secretariats. I therefore suggested that in the event of bifurcation of the Home Secretariat, as contemplated by you, the position of Public Works Minister should be put on similar footing.
The anomalies that I pointed out about the Secretariat working under the previous system continue even now. For purposes of appointments, transfers, leave etc., they will be under the Chief Secretary whereas in respect of performance of duties they will be working under various Ministers.
You have referred to the personal Assistant under me.
May I point out that whereas all Ministers except me have Parliamentary Under Secretaries, I preferred to have a Personal Assistant.
4. So far as the question of delegation of powers under the Municipal Act is concerned you have referred to an objection that Law Department has 'now' taken. I am really surprised to hear this though I feel that I should have been told so earlier especially since 1 had addressed a Do). after submission of the memorandum. requesting that the matter should be expeditiously dealt with.
I am surprised at the Department's objection because before submitting the memorandum No.859-M 45 dated 22nd September 1945, I had obtained the Law Department's opinion on the point at issue and enclosed a draft notification drawn up by the Law Secretary and Advocate General to the Government, proposing delegation of powers under Section 30-A. The Law Secretary asked if there was any objection to the delegation of powers. It is rather strange that after giving his definite opinion that delegation could be made under Municipal Act to the Minister in charge, he should now opine that such delegation is not correct. In this connection copy of his draft notification enclosed with my original memorandum may kindly be perused. The same question was also once before referred to him on 15th July, 1944. The Legal Remembrance and Advocate General then said, "There is no objection to the delegation being made under Section 30-A of the Municipal Act of 1998". A draft notification was then also vetted and drafted by Law Department and is on the file. It passes my comprehension how today a different view is expressed by the very same officer on the same question. May I tell you that is one of the instances how the method of dealing with my cases, leads to great embarrassment
I would incidentally like to mention that under Section 417 of Criminal Procedure Code the Government is empowered to direct presentation of appeals against acquittal orders by a Criminal Court. Some section authorises the Government to delegate these powers to any officer. Accordingly power to direct to prefer an appeal against acquittal has been delegated under notification No. 5-P184 to the Law Minister. There is absolutely no comparison between the powers delegated under this notification to the Law Minister and those which 1 had requested to be delegated to the Minister-in-Charge Municipalities. In the former case the Law Minister is competent to direct preferment of appeal which may lead to hanging a person, whereas in the latter the Minister-in-Charge, assuming his request for delegation is granted, will only be exercising powers of direction for preparation of bye-laws with regard to sanitation or petty increment and promotion questions etc.
Again powers vested in the Government under Land Revenue Act have been delegated to the Hon'ble Revenue Minister. I am, therefore, really surprised to understand why a different outlook should be brought to bear upon the disposal of the question when in identical circumstances, the delegation is asked for by me as Minister-in-Charge Municipalities.
You have referred to my talk that I had with you on this question in Srinagar. I did say that I shall be 'compelled' to send up the cases to the Council in case the delegation was not granted. May I remind you that this was in reference to your suggestion that the question of hearing municipal appeals may be delegated to a Court which involve amendment of the Act and hence reference to Legislature. Though that would be a unique procedure, as I pointed out then, I did say that I would be compelled to send these cases to Council-I would surely have done that, if either the Law Department had disagreed with me or the Council recorded their decision that delegation cannot be granted. In that case I would really be "compelled" to do it. Unfortunately neither my memorandum was put up to the Council nor my D.O. letter requesting for immediate action in the matter was replied to.
After carefully reading paragraph No. 3 of your letter I feel it is indicated that these cases should be sent to Council for disposal. I am, therefore, issuing orders to the Secretary accordingly.
The Ad hoc Committee referred to in paragraph 3 of your letter has since sent up its report. I would like to point out that under previous Council decision that Committee could examine only the clauses of the Bill referred to it and the question of examining the delegation would be outside its purview, unless it is intended that the Committee should launch upon that investigation now.
5. So far as promulgation of Defence Rules in concerned from purely technical point of view the position explained by you in paragraph four of your D. O. may be correct and it may really be difficult in cases of grave emergency for competent Magistrates to seek instructions before the event. But the position has also to be viewed from other technical stand point. Failure of ordinary processes of law and recourse to rule by ordinances is always an abnormal position and the more recourse is had to the application of ordinances, the greater and heavier is the responsibility of those charged with the duty of maintenance of law and order. In such circumstances, therefore no, Government can excuse itself by merely saying that grave apprehension of breach of peace necessitated recourse to Ordinance without minutely going into the merits of every case, after promulgation.
Promulgation of Rule 50 in vast areas and for number of months at a stretch and sometimes for indefinite periods is an extraordinarily grave position. But I doubt very much if in any case any enquiry has ever been held whether recourse to Ordinance was justified both in its extension of time and space. This attitude, to my knowledge, continued in the face of unanimous protests both from press and public organizations and no attempt was made to look into the question. I am afraid though law and order, as you say, is your individual responsibility, the Government as a whole has to face this position. Though Popular Ministers were always available for consultation their views were not obtained even after the promulgation of ordinances. People in distant villages who under the abnormal conditions created by war were facing acute hardships could not express themselves in public meetings as the same were banned.
Though in places near the District Magistrates headquarters permission to hold meetings could be easily requested for but this was well-nigh impossible in the case of far off places which had to suffer, even though in those areas no apprehension of breach of peace actually existed.
Issues arising out of such situation often form subject of serious protests in the Praja Sabha where you expect me to vote with you, it was, therefore, all the more important the, if due to emergency previous consultation was impossible careful examination of the whole situation by Council or at least with the Popular Ministers after the promulgation of Ordinances should have been held in each case. This would have not only helped us in satisfying ourselves that the real emergency existed and the powers were used to the minimum extent necessary, but the embarrassing position that we have certainly to face on the floor of the House would also have been totally avoided. Such an examination was also necessary in every case, because failure of ordinary processes of law to meet a given situation is always an abnormal position, about the merits of which the Government must satisfy itself completely. On the contrary, matters have been allowed to drift to the extent that I was once completely surprised that even the District Magistrate of Kashmir did not know whether restrictions under Rule 50 applied in a particular locality. I am referring to the case of Bijbehara which presumably I mentioned to you last year. I dare say we cannot congratulate ourselves on such a state of affairs. It is true that it means more embarrassment for an elected Minister who has to be more responsive to the public opinion, but for the Government as a whole also such a position should be unwelcome as it brings it into disrepute, which is avoidable.
May I here make mention of the recent sad happenings in Jammu. Even here the Government will be well advised to hold a sifting enquiry into the whole position with a view to find out why those charged with the duty of maintaining law and order first failed by ordinary means and when extraordinary means were had recourse to, if no abuses were committed.
6. So far as distribution of controlled commodities is concerned I am fully conscious of the hard time that we have had to pass through on account of war and I have left no stone unturned in bringing home to the minds of people as far as I could, the necessity of their cooperation in this respect. But nevertheless the fact remains that I addressed in this behalf a number of communication from time to time but even I often failed to evoke a sympathetic response in this behalf.
I have only to reiterate that the new reform introduced by His Highness and his Proclamation of 1944 necessitate a reorientation of out-look to be brought to bear upon the administration of the State.
I would request for IN immediate reply so that in the light thereof I may be able to see how far I can render my services towards the implementation of the spirit of the Proclamation as explained above.
Sd-(M A Beg.)
Pt. Rai Bahadur Ram Chandra Kak,
Prime Minister, JAMMU.
My dear Mr. Beg,
I write to acknowledge receipt of your demi-official letter No. 30-P/46 dated the 23rd February 1946, and to say that I have carefully perused it. I find that in substance it is practically a reiteration of what you had stated in your previous letter to which I have already sent a reply. I shall, therefore, deal with it as briefly as possible,
1. With regard to the question of voting and this applies also to speaking- it is not possible to allow an individual member of the Government to act in a manner which is at variance with the policy of the Government. No Government can satisfactorily be carried en this basis. The position that may arise in case such freedom of action is recognised has only to be stated to demonstrate how untenable it is. For example, if your suggestion were accepted, five members of the Government would on occasion be divided into three units each pulling in a different direction. This you will surely agree would be a ludicruous and anomalous position which would be fatal to the success of the experiment initiated by His Highness. Every Minister can of course (as both you and Wazir Gangaram have done repeatedly) advocate and influence policies within the Council.
So far as the interpretation of His Highness's Message is concerned, I report, what I stated previously, that I am authorised to inform you that it was not the intention of the Message (and ipso facto of the consequential amendment to the Constitution Act) that Ministers appointed in pursuance thereto should have the choice of independent voting and speaking.
2. As regards the Secretariat no further remarks are necessary as the matter was fully considered in the Council in your presence and action taken in accordance with their decision which was confirmed by His Highness. Your position is exactly that of other Ministers in relation to the Secretariat.
Incidentally I may mention that the parallel you have drawn between your Personal Assistant and the Parliamentary Under Secretaries does not hold good as-the latter function only during the Session of the Praja Sabha and in regard only to matters pertaining to the Praja Sabha, whereas your Personal Assistant is a whole time officer who is always at your disposal. In any case, should you desire it, I am prepared to place my Parliamentary Under Secretary at your disposal for the work which Parliamentary Under Secretaries usually perform.
3. With regard to the delegation of powers under the Municipal Act, it is correct that the Law Department gave an opinion which they modified later. The Law Secretary tells me that modification was due to further consideration on a reference from the then Chief Secretary. In any case l have already told you that the matter will be put up to the Council for decision.
4. As regards the application of Rule 50 and other Emergency Powers, you have agreed that what said in regard to tile exercise of these powers by the Magistracy and the Police is "technically" correct. But you suggest that subsequent investigation should be made to ascertain whether the exercise of such powers was necessary in the circumstances. Naturally where it is felt that Emergency Popovers have been wrongly applied by the Magistrates, Government will take such action as circumstances may warrant, but it is obvious that any interference by the Government with the discretion of the Magistrates in the discharge of their duties in regard to the maintenance of law and order will entail grave consequences, as I have already pointed out to you, and must therefore be avoided as far as possible.
5. As regards distribution of controlled commodities, this matter is fraught with difficulties which are not peculiar to this State. I repeat that any suggestion placed before me, which will meet with general acceptance and work in practice, will have my support.
6. I trust that I have made the whole position clear to you. I should like to add that you were selected in consideration of support which members of the Sabha, majority of them 'widely differing from the policies favoured by your group, gave you. It was and is His Highness' hope and aim-and this was generally recognised by the members of Sabha and by Else large number of members outside your group who supported you that the Ministers selected from amongst the members of the Praja-Sabha act in the common interest of all; and by influencing the decision of the Government on the one hand and by explaining to the people the aims and objects of the policies of the Government the difficulties confronting it on the other, promote an "entente cordiale" which would benefit the State as whole, I sincerely trust that this hope will be fulfilled.
My dear Prime Minister,
Kindly refer our correspondence ending with your D.O. No. 25-CC/D.O. dated 14th March, 1946.
After having carefully considered the position, I feel there is no alternative left to me except that of tendering resignation from the office of the Ministership which I hereby submit.
I would therefore request that I may be relieved immediately.
Sd/- (M.A. Beg)
Pt. Rai Bahadur Ram Chandra Kak,
Prime Minister, Jammu.
Letter No. nil Dated: 17th March, 1946
My dear Mr. Beg,
March 17, 1946
1. Will you please refer to your letter of date, just received (7.45 P.M.) intimating your desire to resign your office as a Minister in His Highness Govt.
2. I am submitting the letter to His Highness tomorrow morning end will communicate to you his commands as soon as they are received.
Mirza M.A. Beg,
Public Works Minister,
18th March, 1946
Letter No. nil dated 18th March, 1946
My dear Prime Minister,
Kindly refer to your demi-official letter dated 17th March 1946.
As constitutional difficulties are bound to arise any time during the Assembly session, I shall feel grateful if I am relieved of the office of Ministership immediately.
Sd/- (M.A. Beg)
Pt. Rai Bahadur Ram Chandra Kak,
Prime Minister, Jammu
19th March, 1946
My dear Mr. Beg.
Will you please refer to your letter dated 18th March 1946 and to the conversation you had with me on the subject when you expressed your inability to wait the receipt of His Highness commands on your letter of resignation and asked to be relieved at once. In these circumstances I am requesting Mr. Mekhri to relieve you.
Sd /- (R.C. Kak)
Mirza Mohd Afzal Beg,
Public Works Minister,
The proclamation of October, 1944 by which His Highness had indicated his willingness to associate non-official members of the legislature with the task of administration through the parties in the legislature sending their nominees into the Cabinet, two in number, was naturally welcomed by the National Conference. Even though the transference of responsibility was partial it at least was an opportunity for us to come forward and assist in steering the boat of the State at a time, when the lives of our people were storm-tossed through the distressing problems of hunger, poverty and slavery.
For the last eighteen months we gave a trial with patient persistence and have looked upon the functioning of the experiments from all angles, till we are finally force to the conclusion that no good can come out of sharing responsibility in the cabinet in which the irresponsible elements dominate decisions and policy. The popular Ministers Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg, had to face unfair administrative, non co-operative indifference of the old type Cabinet members, and found himself fettered by intolerable bureaucratic red-tapist restrictions even in the functioning of their own departments. Besides all this, a debate one constitutional issue which had remained a moot point between him and the Prime Minister crystallised the situation. Hence our considered decision that he should resign.
To start with, every unfair attitude was shown in the allocation of portfolios. The nominee of the National Conference was given the Departments of P.W.D. and Municipalities leaving out control on the panchayats. He was given charge of Stationery and Printing and charge of the State property in British India. The allocation of these portfolios to the nominee of the people's biggest representative organization seems to be a huge joke. Successive Prime Ministers admitted the unreasonableness of such an allocation and had promised to reshuffle But nothing happened. Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg's exclusion from the administering of vital departments directly baking him with the people was not a mere accident, but now I could say with emphasis, was part of a deliberate line of action which unfolded itself as time went on. Could it ever be imagined that a Minister could function efficiently and effectively without any Secretariat at his disposal directly responsible to him ? This is exactly What happened. Further the civic life of the measures of far reaching importance to people in the form of the Municipal Act were proposed by our Minister. These were intended to democratise the Municipal machine. These measures have remained in cold storage.
In administering law and order, restrictive ordinances hitting the basic civil liberties of the people had been promulgated without Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg knowing anything about them. The measures were adopted in the constituency which the Minister himself was representing and he himself knew nothing about it. Therefore, under these circumstances, it was ridiculous to expect the Popular Minister to side with the Cabinet of ministers in the legislature on all points surrendering his right to disagree and indicate his differences on the floor of the House or even to remain neutral. This would eve meant in effect a betrayal of the people's interest and of the policies of the party whose nominee he was. Constitutionally speaking, by an amendment to the Constitution Act, the popular minister had retained their status as elected members of the Assembly and their responsibility to the electorate could' not be ignored. During the time of Sir B.N. Rau, the late Prime Minister, a somewhat workable formula had been discussed by which a dissenting minister could speak on the floor of the House expressing his view-point, and then stay neutral In voting. The new Prime Minister, Rai Bahadur Pandit, R.C. Kak repudiated the Rau formula and thus precipitated the constitutional deadlock.
It is a contradiction in terms to keep Ministers responsible to the electorate and to compel them to support every measure of an irresponsible government.
It augres ill for the future that we are entering the tumultuous times that lie ahead with a discredited constitutional experiment at our back. In the name of the National Conference I appeal to the Maharaja Bahadur to end this farce of diarchy and grant truly Responsible Government to the people of Kashmir. To the members of the British Cabinet Mission I would say: "Judge the constructive strength of our people s urge to freedom by the patient and persistent uphill struggle of our movement, including our attempt to give a fair trial to the constitutional experiment to our fellow patriots In British India. I would say, with your freedom is linked our destiny and our freedom is the ultimate guarantee of the stability of independent India."
Recently the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Working Committee reviewed the farcical character of the diarchic experiment and decided to withdraw Its representative from the Council of Ministers. Accordingly, Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg resigned from the Ministership, and returned to the opposition benches.
The Prime Minister, backed by his clique of irresponsible bureaucrats, resorted to the base tactics of attempting to bribe and disrupt the ranks of the National Conference itself. In so doing they had resorted to Machiavellian ways, and Mian Ahmad Yar, the Leader of the whose appointment had taken place by direct command of the Maharaja, an
Assembly Party has fallen prey to them. His representative capacity just does not exist. Thus the Maharaja has not on y put an axe on the elective system of appointing popular ministers, on the lines of his diarchic experiment, but has become a party to the conspiracy against the popular movement in the Kashmir
Such an attack on the rights of the people, and the unity of their representative organization, has come at a time when the minds of the people of Kashmir are already exploring the new perspective opened up by the attempts at constitution making of the Cabinet Mission. The question of the treaty rights of the Princes has become a moot point between the peoples of the State, the Princely Order, and the Paramount Power. For us in Kashmir, the re-examination of this relationship is a vital matter, because a hundred years ago, in 1846 the land and people of Kashmir were sold away to the servitude of the Dogra House by the British for 75 lacs of rupees. The then Governor of Kashmir resisted the transfer but was finally reduced to subjection with the aid of British. Thus the sale deed of 1846, misnamed the Treaty of Amritsar, had sealed the fate of the masses of Kashmir.
For the last fifteen years since the inception of our freedom Movement in 1931, we have attempted to give a fair trial to all reforms believing that readjustment of human relationships will take place with the extension of the democratic framework to all fields of our national life. Thus we believed that we could come in line with the rest of the world in the era of the Atlantic Charter and tl1e revision of basic relationships with the dawn of the independence of nations
But once again the last act of His Highness has exposed the continuance of tile "feudal master governing the serfs" mentality. This state of affairs cannot be allowed to last The resurgent spirit of the people challenges it in the name of human dignity.
No sale deed, however sacrosanct can condemn more than four million men and women to the servitude of an autocrat when the will to live under this rule is no longer there. The people of the Kashmir are determined to mould their own destiny, and we appeal to the members of the Cabinet Mission to recognise the Justice and strength of our cause.
The Working Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has taken into consideration the speech made by the Viceroy of India in the princes Chamber on the 17th January, 1946 along with the declaration made by the Chancellor of the Chamber on behalf of the Princes regarding constitutional advancement in the States. After fully examining the salient points in both the speeches, the working committee has come to the following conclusion:
1. That the advice tendered by the Crown Representative to the Princes regarding the steps to be taken in making the administration of these States progressive did not amount to anything progressive. In fact it lost all the significance when he (Viceroy) made such progress conditional on the maintenance of the treaties and the consent of the Princes. These treaties and engagements which are outdated, reactionary and questionable have always stood and will always stand in the way of the States People's progress and to think that the Rulers will give up their privileged positions that they enjoy under them at their sweet will is nothing but wishful thinking. The National Conference has at several occasions made It clear that these treaties have been made in times and under circumstances which do not obtain now and been framed without seeking the consent of the States People. Under such circumstances no treaties or engagements which act as a dividing wall between their progress and that their brethren In British India, can be binding on the people.
The Indian States problems are closely linked up with those of British India. They are common both to British India and Indian States.
The British are well aware of the position, indicated the two lines of defence on which British Imperialism could relay. The first line of defence lies in the question of the Congress League understanding, with the implication of Hindu-Muslim unity. The second line of defence rests on the position of the Princes who, in the eye of British Imperialism, should be safeguarded.
With such a prospect before the people of India, it is necessary both for the people of British India and those of the Indian States to coordinate and merge the movements into a single channel. In order to do this, the people's organizations in the States should be strengthened.
The problem of the people in the States is primarily one of removing autocracy and establishing full responsible government. That object cannot be achieved unless a united front is offered by the people.
After the State's people's Conference at Udaipur I feel that the people in the States are now awakened more than ever before. There is now a more widespread political consciousness among them. It is true that sentiments have lately played a great part in the poetics of the Country, particularly in British India. Take the instance of the cry of Pakistan. It was born of distress. Now it is stripped of all reasons. The question before the Muslims will be whether the realization of Pakistan is a blessing to them. I personally think that Pakistan will not help the Muslim masses but hinder them in their struggle for political and economic emancipation. In our State this question however, does not arise, because an overwhelming majority of the people are Muslims and there is no need to fear Hindu domination.
The movement of the toiling masses in the world has awakened us also. We have begun to look at the freedom struggle of our country front a different angle. Now political freedom alone is not our cherished goal. We demand and crave for social, economic and spiritual emancipation as well. The toiling masses of the subcontinent of India not only want to throw away the yoke of foreign imperialism but are also keen to free themselves from the bondage of indigenous feudalism and capitalism. The day of deliverance from alien rule is not far off. Events bear testimony to the fact that the British cannot stay long in India. There is awakening in-the country and the British cannot hold it in subjugation. But let me pose a question. Who will replace the British authority in India? Will there be a government of the upper classes or one representing the toiling messages? This is the main and the biggest problem facing the country at present.
The upper class Hindus, having thrown into background the question relating to the future Government of India, are engaged in the dispute over Akhand Hindustan with a view -to preserve their vested interests. Their counterpart among Muslims demand the establishment of Pakistan for identical reasons. But we stand neither for the one nor for the other. We believe that so long as it is not decided who the future rulers are to be we can neither support Akhand Hindustan nor side with the demand for Pakistan. Our first task is to do away with the prevailing social and economic inequality and injustice and lay the foundations of a new and just order of society. It is only when this objective is achieved that the people of India can themselves decide whether they want to preserve the unity of the country or device it. At the present moment the basic problem referred to above aces not receive necessary attention. The supporters of Akhand Hindustan and Pakistan want to preserve the present social order which is dominated by capitalists and feudalist. That being so the toiling masses can have least interest in this scramble for power.
Following in the footprints of the workers of Europe we have to put an end to the capitalistic and feudalistic social -order so that a new society based on social justice and equality is brought into being. We want an end of all kind of exploitation so that the peasants are not tyrannized and the mill-owners pet no opportunity to rob the workers of the fruits of their labour. All laws aimed at sucking the blood of the toiling masses need to be repealed and abolished. We want establishment of a society which will guarantee to the workers fullest opportunity for progress.
The freedom movement in our State is now fifteen years old. The toiling masses have nourished it by undergoing supreme financial and physical sacrifices but without any good to them. Only the upper classes have benefited by it. They have not only been able to preserve their vested interests but have also added to these. The reason is that both the toiling masses and the upper classes took part in this struggle and whereas the former fought for freedom, the latter used it to their advantage. Why it happened so is not difficult to understand. We had been entertaining hazy and vague notions about our goal so far. But now the Freedom Movement has reached a new stage. The toiling masses and the upper classes have fallen out. We want to revolutionize the present unjust society so that the toiling masses get their political and economic rights. This we call real freedom.
Till now the upper classes exploited us because we were not clear about our goal but they find that such exploitation is not possible in future. Freedom for us means establishment of a new social order in our country which knows no exploitation and guarantees equal social, economic and political status for all. Our moment aims at affording all the opportunities and facilities to the toiling masses here in our country which a man in this world is entitled to. The upper classes have raised communal slogans so that the masses are misled in the name of religion. Also with a view to preserve their vested interests the upper classes have founded parties in the name of the nation and the country. The toiling masses have nothing to do either with the communal organizations or the so-called nationalist parties. Our struggle knows no communal barriers or nationalist prejudice. We are hostile to all distinctions based on colour, creed or race. We believe in a society which is free from the evils of landlordism, capitalism and feudalism and which is opposed to exploitation of man by man.
The tyranny of the Dogras has lacerated our souls. The Kashmiris are the most handsome people, yet the most wretched looking. It is time for action. To end your poverty, you must fight slavery and enter the field of Jehad as soldiers. The fight slogan of our struggle is not only for our State but for the whole of India. India is fighting against Imperialism. The slogan was given on the banks of River Ravi ... Then came the slogan of 'Quit India.' The British gained hold of India by the force of arms and by treachery.
The rulers of the Indian States who possess one-fourth of India, have always played traitors to the cause of Indian freedom. The demand that the Princely Order should quit is a logical extension of the policy of 'Quit India.' When the Indian freedom movement demands the complete withdrawal of British power, logically enough the stooges of British Imperialism also should go and restore sovereignty to its real owners - the people. When we raise the slogan of 'Quit Kashmir,' we naturally visualise that the Princes and Swabs should quit all the States. I am sure this demand applies similarly to a State like Hyderabad where the people will, I am sure, raise their voice, 'Quit Hyderabad.'
Those Hindus who think along with Mr. R.C. Kak that the Dogra rule should remain, should never forget that we are treated in Kashmir as a bought-up race without distinction of religion.
Handcuffs jingle. They do not make us afraid. God will dive us faith in victory. The voice of truth will prevail. Prophets have spoken for the truth, which has always triumphed finally.
Sovereignty is not the birthright of a ruler. Every man, woman and child will shout 'Quit Kashmir'. The Kashmiri nation has expressed its will. I ask for a plebiscite on this question.
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