I seriously don’t get this attitude. What is the reason for this visceral hatred for Maharaja Hari Singh and unconditional love for Sheik Abdullah? Who is Sheik Abdullah? He is no more than a just another who ruled the roads. He neither had presence in Prajamandal nor has he got an official role in negotiations. He was just thrust forward by the vested interests. But, there are some same points, though. And what is this talk about don’t retaliate if you are a Hindu or a Sikh? Not one harsh word against the Muslims – he is pained and saddened by the conduct of the Muslims but he is angry at the Maharaja. The speech, given on 25 Dec 1947 at
You all know something of what is happening in Kashmir. But I want to draw your attention to a proposal about Kashmir. It is being said and also reported in the newspapers that we should invite someone to arbitrate between the Indian Union and Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. How can this be? How long can this kind of thing go on? Instead of resulting in a settlement of the dispute, this will merely introduce into it a third party. Can we not settle the issue between ourselves? There is a large preponderance of Muslims in Kashmir. Maybe they are more than 95% . Jammu does not have very many Muslims. I do not know what is the percentage of Muslims in the population but Jammu and Kashmir is one State. It cannot be partitioned. If we start the process of partitioning, where is it going to end? It is enough and more than enough that India has been partitioned into two. If we partition Kashmir,
why not other States?
What is the nature of the dispute in Kashmir? It is said that the raiders are outsiders. They are aggressors and plunderers. But as time passes it looks as if it was not so. I get some Urdu newspapers. I can read Urdu a little myself and others also read them out to me. Today some bits from the Zamindar were read out to me. I know the editor of the Zamindar. He has an unbridled tongue. He has issued an open invitation to all Muslims to muster for an assault on Kashmir. He has heaped abuse on the Dogras and the Sikhs. He calls the raid in Kashmir a jihad. But there is always restraint about a jihad. There is nothing of the kind here. Do they want that Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims should perpetually remain divided? What is our duty if Muslims Start cutting up the Hindus and Sikhs? As I have been telling you every day Hindus and Sikhs must not retaliate.
The simple fact is that Pakistan has invaded Kashmir. Units of the Indian army have gone to Kashmir but not to invade Kashmir. They have been sent on the express invitation of the Maharaja and Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah is the real Maharaja of Kashmir. Muslims in their thousands are devoted to him. He is called the Lion of Kashmir.
One should always admit one’s mistakes. The Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu or those who had gone there from outside killed Muslims there. The Maharaja of Kashmir is responsible for the happenings in his State. It was not Sheikh Abdullah who was
behind these murders. He in fact went to Jammu and tried to reason with the Hindus and Sikhs. He tried to save the lives of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. The Maharaja of Kashmir is a Dogra Rajput. Abuses have been heaped on him. If he has been at fault he can be removed. One can understand that. But what have the Muslims of Kashmir done? Why is jihad being carried on against them?
I want to say to the Government of Pakistan in all humility that if their claim to being the greatest Islamic power in the world is true, they should make sure that every Hindu and every Sikh in Pakistan is justly treated. They should be protected. But Pakistan presents a different picture. I shall advise Pakistan and India to sit together and decide the matter. If the two are interested in the settlement of the dispute, where is the need for an arbitrator? The Maharaja can step aside and let India and
Pakistan deliberate over the matter. Sheikh Abdullah will of course be there. If they want an arbitrator they can appoint one from among themselves, but it should certainly not be a third power. They may, if they so desire, persuade the Maharaja to step down. After all he is a human being. A large number of Muslims have been killed there and Muslim women have been dishonoured. I met the Maharaja and his Prime Minister. And I told him what I had to say. The Maharaja should clearly say that he is no longer the Ruler, it is the Muslims of Kashmir who are the real rulers and they may do what they like. After the Maharaja and his Prime Minister withdraw themselves only Sheikh Abdullah remains. He can form an interim government and restore law and order. The armies can be withdrawn. If the two countries arrive at a settlement on these lines it will be good for both. It is not that India had invaded a Muslim State or had gone there to help the Maharaja. Our Government is for the people and it is in the interest of the people that we enter into negotiations with the Princes. The Congress Government can take no other course.
I saw a couplet in an Urdu magazine today. It hurt me. I do not remember the words but the substance is this: “Today Somnath is on the tongue of everyone. If the temple is renovated it will have to be avenged. A new Ghaznavi must come from Ghazni to avenge what happened in Junagadh.” It is painful to think that such a thing can issue from the pen of a Muslim. I have said that I must do or die; which means that I shall either bring about Hindu-Muslim amity or lay down my life. This sort of thing cannot affect my resolve. I cannot return evil for evil. I can only return good for evil. I tell you all this so that you may not be taken in by such things. You must not remember the wrong that Ghaznavi did. Muslims should realize and admit the wrongs perpetrated under the Islamic rule. The Hindu and Sikh rulers of Kashmir and Patiala, etc., should also admit the excesses committed in their States. There is nothing to be ashamed of in confessing one’s sins, it only lightens one’s guilt. If Muslims
in the Indian Union teach their children that a Ghaznavi must come to avenge them and destroy the Hindus, who is going to tolerate this? If this mischievous couplet had not been published in an important magazine I would not even have mentioned it.
Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol 090