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01/03/2002

Kashmir: How It Came To Be

Going back to the fall of ''99, I have written a few pieces on India
and Pakistan in this space, but never really addressed the
formation of Kashmir, the disputed territory that is once again in
the news in a big way. [On the other hand, my "Week in
Review" columns have been loaded with discussions on this
topic.]

First off, back in 1876 Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born. Jinnah
would go on to become a British-trained lawyer who joined the
Indian National Congress in 1906, the same year that the Muslim
League was founded to protect the rights of Muslims in British
India.

Later, a poet by the name of Muhammed Iqbal (don''t worry, I
will never quiz you on this) was the first to write of a Muslim
entity called ''Pakistan'' - the name of which was made of various
initials for the Punjab, the Northwest frontier region, Kashmir
and Bengal. Over the next ten years Pakistan would become the
watchword for millions of Muslims on the subcontinent, with
Jinnah as their leader.

Following World War II, Jinnah called for a Muslim state, to be
established in the predominantly Muslim areas described by
Iqbal. But this was opposed by the Hindu-dominated Congress
Party, which in its negotiations for independence from Britain,
sought to maintain a united India.

Ironically, it was Jinnah who supported a united India going back
to 1916, so at first his calls for a separate nation were viewed as
merely a tactical maneuver to gain him more clout in the
Congress. Historian Antony (sic) Copley writes of Jinnah''s
mission and the Muslim League''s territorial goal that "In the end,
the rhetoric got out of hand and (Jinnah) had created a
Frankenstein''s monster, a surge of support for Pakistan from
below." [This is another reason why history can often be so
instructive. Everyone''s fear in the current crisis is that the
"rhetoric can get out of hand."]

By the summer of 1946, with independence one year away, the
Muslim League authorized civil disobedience. Well, one thing
led to another and 4,000 died in Hindu versus Muslim clashes
over the course of just four days.

Then in August 1947, British India was partitioned into India and
the Muslim state of Pakistan. This resulted in both mass
migration and communal violence which claimed a staggering
500,000 lives. The great historian Arnold Toynbee wrote of this
period:

"The attempt to sort out geographically intermingled
communities into territorially separate national states led to the
drawing of frontiers that were execrable (detestable) from the
administrative and economic points of view. Even at this price
huge minorities were left on the wrong sides of the dividing
lines. There was a panic flight of millions of refugees who
abandoned their homes and property, were harried by embittered
adversaries in the course of a terrible trek, and arrived destitute
in unfamiliar country in which they had to start their lives
afresh."

Of course one of the events that precipitated the disaster that
resulted from independence was the situation over the provinces
of Jammu and Kashmir (the region in northern India and
northeast Pakistan). Back in 1947, the geographically trapped
region was controlled by a Hindu maharaja who ruled over 4
million inhabitants, 75% of whom were Muslim. The only
reason the maharaja was in power, and not a Muslim, was
because his family had been placed on the throne one century
earlier through British connections.

Right after independence was granted, however, Muslim
tribesmen (many from outside the borders - similar to Saudis
fighting for the Taliban) attacked the maharaja''s forces and he, in
turn, asked to join India as a matter of life and death. India sent
in troops and on October 26, 1947, ten weeks after formal
partition, India had established its presence in Kashmir.

One week later, on November 2, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first
prime minister of independent India, addressed his people in a
radio broadcast, declaring that he was prepared to have a
referendum in Kashmir under U.N. auspices, but that meanwhile
"we have given our word to the people of Kashmir to protect
them against the invader, and we will keep our pledge." Fighting
continued and it wasn''t until January 1949 that the U.N.
brokered a cease-fire which left India with two-thirds of the
territory. And, over 50 years later India has never held the
plebiscite for fear that the Muslim majority would vote to join
Pakistan, as well as encourage other separatist movements within
the country.

As today''s crisis drags on (and we should all be praying that the
forces on both sides stand down quickly), it is also important to
note that China borders parts of Kashmir. During the Cold War,
India paired off with the Soviet Union, while Pakistan was
chummy with China. Pakistan also was a pro-Western state by
the mid-50s.

Then from 1959-62, there were a number of incidents along the
India / China border in Kashmir, culminating in a major
offensive launched by China in October of ''62. India was right
to fear a full-scale invasion and Nehru, who had prided himself
on India''s ''non-aligned'' status (which was really a crock),
secretly wrote JFK begging him for military support, which both
the U.S. and USSR supplied. China then quickly pulled back to
the 1959 border, having proved its point. Don''t mess with
China. India was totally humiliated, and the 1962 conflict led to
its making a much stronger commitment for defense.

Meanwhile, India was continuing to have its battles in Kashmir
with Pakistan. In the summer of 1965, there was another
incident which may or may not offer a lesson concerning the
current situation.

On August 5, 1,000 Pakistani troops crossed into Indian-
controlled Kashmir. Then India sent troops into Pakistani-
controlled territory. Then Pakistan attacked with tanks, and India
responded with its own tanks. Indian aircraft then bombed
Pakistan''s airfields and Pakistani ships shelled Indian shore
bases. Finally, on September 22 a cease-fire was worked out, but
not before 3,000 Indian soldiers and 2,000 Pakistanis were killed.

Since ''65 there have been countless other clashes, including a
large-scale battle in the summer of ''99, launched by then
Pakistani General Musharraf. You can also understand why
from a strictly historical standpoint, Pakistan is so vehement
about bringing Muslim-dominated Kashmir into its fold, while
India not only doesn''t want to take a step back and give into
Pakistan, but it also doesn''t wish to see China closer to key
Indian cities such as New Delhi. And with all 3 players in the
region having nukes, well, it gets a bit dicey.

I''ll have more on this topic as conditions warrant, primarily in
"Week in Review."

Sources:

"One World Divisible," David Reynolds
"The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century," Michael Howard and
Wm. Roger Louis.
"A History of the Twentieth Century," Martin Gilbert
"Twentieth Century," J.M. Roberts
"A Study of History," Arnold Toynbee

Brian Trumbore


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01/03/2002

Kashmir: How It Came To Be

Going back to the fall of ''99, I have written a few pieces on India
and Pakistan in this space, but never really addressed the
formation of Kashmir, the disputed territory that is once again in
the news in a big way. [On the other hand, my "Week in
Review" columns have been loaded with discussions on this
topic.]

First off, back in 1876 Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born. Jinnah
would go on to become a British-trained lawyer who joined the
Indian National Congress in 1906, the same year that the Muslim
League was founded to protect the rights of Muslims in British
India.

Later, a poet by the name of Muhammed Iqbal (don''t worry, I
will never quiz you on this) was the first to write of a Muslim
entity called ''Pakistan'' - the name of which was made of various
initials for the Punjab, the Northwest frontier region, Kashmir
and Bengal. Over the next ten years Pakistan would become the
watchword for millions of Muslims on the subcontinent, with
Jinnah as their leader.

Following World War II, Jinnah called for a Muslim state, to be
established in the predominantly Muslim areas described by
Iqbal. But this was opposed by the Hindu-dominated Congress
Party, which in its negotiations for independence from Britain,
sought to maintain a united India.

Ironically, it was Jinnah who supported a united India going back
to 1916, so at first his calls for a separate nation were viewed as
merely a tactical maneuver to gain him more clout in the
Congress. Historian Antony (sic) Copley writes of Jinnah''s
mission and the Muslim League''s territorial goal that "In the end,
the rhetoric got out of hand and (Jinnah) had created a
Frankenstein''s monster, a surge of support for Pakistan from
below." [This is another reason why history can often be so
instructive. Everyone''s fear in the current crisis is that the
"rhetoric can get out of hand."]

By the summer of 1946, with independence one year away, the
Muslim League authorized civil disobedience. Well, one thing
led to another and 4,000 died in Hindu versus Muslim clashes
over the course of just four days.

Then in August 1947, British India was partitioned into India and
the Muslim state of Pakistan. This resulted in both mass
migration and communal violence which claimed a staggering
500,000 lives. The great historian Arnold Toynbee wrote of this
period:

"The attempt to sort out geographically intermingled
communities into territorially separate national states led to the
drawing of frontiers that were execrable (detestable) from the
administrative and economic points of view. Even at this price
huge minorities were left on the wrong sides of the dividing
lines. There was a panic flight of millions of refugees who
abandoned their homes and property, were harried by embittered
adversaries in the course of a terrible trek, and arrived destitute
in unfamiliar country in which they had to start their lives
afresh."

Of course one of the events that precipitated the disaster that
resulted from independence was the situation over the provinces
of Jammu and Kashmir (the region in northern India and
northeast Pakistan). Back in 1947, the geographically trapped
region was controlled by a Hindu maharaja who ruled over 4
million inhabitants, 75% of whom were Muslim. The only
reason the maharaja was in power, and not a Muslim, was
because his family had been placed on the throne one century
earlier through British connections.

Right after independence was granted, however, Muslim
tribesmen (many from outside the borders - similar to Saudis
fighting for the Taliban) attacked the maharaja''s forces and he, in
turn, asked to join India as a matter of life and death. India sent
in troops and on October 26, 1947, ten weeks after formal
partition, India had established its presence in Kashmir.

One week later, on November 2, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first
prime minister of independent India, addressed his people in a
radio broadcast, declaring that he was prepared to have a
referendum in Kashmir under U.N. auspices, but that meanwhile
"we have given our word to the people of Kashmir to protect
them against the invader, and we will keep our pledge." Fighting
continued and it wasn''t until January 1949 that the U.N.
brokered a cease-fire which left India with two-thirds of the
territory. And, over 50 years later India has never held the
plebiscite for fear that the Muslim majority would vote to join
Pakistan, as well as encourage other separatist movements within
the country.

As today''s crisis drags on (and we should all be praying that the
forces on both sides stand down quickly), it is also important to
note that China borders parts of Kashmir. During the Cold War,
India paired off with the Soviet Union, while Pakistan was
chummy with China. Pakistan also was a pro-Western state by
the mid-50s.

Then from 1959-62, there were a number of incidents along the
India / China border in Kashmir, culminating in a major
offensive launched by China in October of ''62. India was right
to fear a full-scale invasion and Nehru, who had prided himself
on India''s ''non-aligned'' status (which was really a crock),
secretly wrote JFK begging him for military support, which both
the U.S. and USSR supplied. China then quickly pulled back to
the 1959 border, having proved its point. Don''t mess with
China. India was totally humiliated, and the 1962 conflict led to
its making a much stronger commitment for defense.

Meanwhile, India was continuing to have its battles in Kashmir
with Pakistan. In the summer of 1965, there was another
incident which may or may not offer a lesson concerning the
current situation.

On August 5, 1,000 Pakistani troops crossed into Indian-
controlled Kashmir. Then India sent troops into Pakistani-
controlled territory. Then Pakistan attacked with tanks, and India
responded with its own tanks. Indian aircraft then bombed
Pakistan''s airfields and Pakistani ships shelled Indian shore
bases. Finally, on September 22 a cease-fire was worked out, but
not before 3,000 Indian soldiers and 2,000 Pakistanis were killed.

Since ''65 there have been countless other clashes, including a
large-scale battle in the summer of ''99, launched by then
Pakistani General Musharraf. You can also understand why
from a strictly historical standpoint, Pakistan is so vehement
about bringing Muslim-dominated Kashmir into its fold, while
India not only doesn''t want to take a step back and give into
Pakistan, but it also doesn''t wish to see China closer to key
Indian cities such as New Delhi. And with all 3 players in the
region having nukes, well, it gets a bit dicey.

I''ll have more on this topic as conditions warrant, primarily in
"Week in Review."

Sources:

"One World Divisible," David Reynolds
"The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century," Michael Howard and
Wm. Roger Louis.
"A History of the Twentieth Century," Martin Gilbert
"Twentieth Century," J.M. Roberts
"A Study of History," Arnold Toynbee

Brian Trumbore