Proposal.In the year 1947, after three-hundred years in India, British rule ceased and the continent was partitioned into two independent nation states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. A line drawn across a nation, cutting a home into half; it’s burning outcome, Kashmir. That historic year of Indian independence and the subdivision of a nation- which was once a sovereign part of the British rule, meant that states had to decide their fate by choosing either of the two, formed nations.
The geographical condition of Kashmir; its religious, societal and political fabric, meant that the state’s identity would inevitably become an important nationalist issue for Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris alike, such as myself. Hence, the Kashmir conflict remains an undoubted struggle for both land and also a charge for the rights of the Kashmiri people to determine their future. Till date, no stable consensus has been reached between India and Pakistan, or the inhabitants of Kashmir, on the future of the state; solely an unstated status quo, which is primarily based on political and religious manipulation. Additionally, there is still no clear ‘collective’ will amongst the heterogeneous inhabitants of the entire state of Kashmir; Yet, for many years, the lives of the inhabitants, such as my very own family, have been caught in the crossfire of objectives, intentions and motivations. “Every revolt seeks a justification in history, which is re-examined endlessly and rewritten to fit revolutionaries’ needs.” 1 -Reflected in the Kashmir conflict and therefore becoming an essential issue and question of historiography; Through my research and observation, an analysis of the writings of many influential historians that belong to the two major schools of historical writing, on Kashmir viz. Pro-Indian and Pro-Pakistani, highlight a key question in historiography- “why have approaches to the construction of history changed over time.
” The nationalities and backgrounds of historians have also proved to be of great importance and worthy of skepticism when analysing respective works. The period in which accounts were written or researched was also influential- historians writing during the epitome of civil unrest in Kashmir tended to use religion and British ‘blame’ as an explanation for the horrific reality, whereas more recently, historians have enveloped a consideration for nationalistic, political and religious motivations. This becomes incredibly vital in understanding and identifying bias, motivation or intended audiences considered by the historian, essential to understand when analysing historians and historical perspectives on the causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947.History on Kashmir has has not been written as a recollection to serve the mere purpose of future preservation, rather- it was backed by socio-political motives of morality – identifying the good and bad and judging the right and wrong. This is parallel with the approach of ancient historians such as Publius Cornelius Tacitus and is still evident in modern historical writings of historians such as Prem Nath Bazaz, one of the chief political figures and a pioneer writer of a ‘persuasive’ kind of history. The writings of Bazaz, an educated Hindu from the Kashmir valley, are accepted as useful primary sources, as he himself witnessed and experienced the historical incidents which led to the conflict.
Despite this, two of his major works ‘Azad Kashmir’ (1951) and ‘Struggle for Freedom in Kashmir’ (1954) posit, potentially irrational and highly subjective arguments 2 which have still managed to have had a great impact on Kashmiri historiography due to the rich and emotive style and ‘conversational’ form of writing. Hence, laying a foundation of an anti-Indian and pro-Pakistani school of history. A foreshadowment of conflict in Kashmir have arguably been noted even in the pre- independence rule of 1946 yet, there appears to be a variation in the opinions of historians about its causal factors. Almost all the schools have paralleled the unjust and inhumane treatment of the Muslim community that was reduced to serfdom by the oppressive Maharaja 3 and his Hindu allies. This has led certain historians (holding pro-Muslim and pro-British views) to declare that Kashmir’s situation is an internal fight for:”liberation of the forever suppressed Muslim Kashmiri locals against the autocratic king and enslaving Hindu domination in the state.” 4 Pro-Indian views, on the other hand, suggest that ‘the consolidation of the Dogra 5 rule had aligned with the struggle that was for freedom and independence, against the British.’ While a work by historian Mohan Lal Koul 7 states that the Dogra (Hindu) rule was ‘the initiation of the sufferings awaited for the Muslims after the atrocities of Muslim rulers on the Kashmiri pandits’ 8 A misalignment with the written records of Maharaja can be seen as a direct reason to question historiographical perspective.
. Pro-Indian views of Indian commissionaires, prime minister Nehru and British writers like Campbell- Johnson advocate a positive image of the Maharaja not only to flatter him and convince him to accede with India but also to justify ‘Indian peace loving intentions’ and hence get the masses to support favourable outcomes for India. 1 Jha – Kashmir, 1947 Delhi, Oxford University Press. (1996) pg.1 CONTEXT2 He denies the Pakistan’s ‘two nation theory’ and claims that ‘religion cannot segregate people’ but then maintains that the majority of Kashmir’s Muslim population automatically justifies its accession to Pakistan.
3 Indian word for King (great king). Hari Singh, the great grandson of Gulab Singh was the head of the state at that time. The British gifted Gulab Singh the entire northern frontier comprising the pre-independent state of Kashmir, stretching further north towards Afghanistan and Russia and down to Punjab and Sindh regions.4 Lamb – Kashmir- A Disputed Legacy.(1968) pg. 35 and also noticed by Campbell-Johnson– Mission with Mountbatten (1951) pg.
2145 The Maharaja (king) of Kashmir was from the Dogra dynasty that had its roots in north-western (Punjab) areas of the subcontinent.7 Mohan Lal Koul is a victim of the unjust treatment and sufferings inflicted by the Muslim community since the 13th century on fellow Hindus residing in Kashmir. He discusses the issue under the influence of strong emotional frustration and anger in his book Kashmir: the wail of a valley (Chpt. 23)8 Pandits- the top level of Hindu social hierarchy or the caste system.In summary, I aim to further research the causes of the conflict through examining both, written historical accounts as well as investigating attainable primary sources (such as diary entries) from my extended family- some, who have spent their childhoods in the magnificent valleys and others, who wish to return at the close of their adult lives.
I hope to gain a better understanding of the reasons behind the varied historical perspectives offered in the works I will examine and thus far, have discovered interesting attributes of the conflict I was previously unaware of, including impact and effect of Kashmir on the Cold war. Below listed, are questions I hope to answer, amid my research; as well as appropriate questions to navigate the historiography of the Kashmir conflict and its causes. International PoliticsKashmir was to some extent used by World Powers after world war two as a proxy conflict This was due to its strategic importanceJohn Lewis Gaddis about Kashmir’s location: ‘A neglected dimension of cold war history’ The Kashmir Conflict: From Empire to the Cold War, 1945-66Jammu and Kashmir: The Cold War and the West Domestic politics PrideGained independence from Britain in 1800’s The new Hindu ruler brought in Hindus, buddhists, Sikhs to the majority Muslim valley Remained independent for about 2 months in 1947 during partition This was a time of great angst between the new nations, thus control over Kashmir became a point of pride ‘India-Pakistan relations with special reference to Kashmir’ (Gupta)Strategic importance to both nations They were at war ‘Jammu and Kashmir War, 1947-1948: Political and Military Perspective’ (Kuldip Singh Bajwa)Religion Inherent tension Partition significantly worsened already bad religious tension between Muslims and Hindus When Kashmir was declared to be Hindu (‘There is no place for Muslims in Kashmir State and they should all clear out’ Unnamed Official)’Revisiting India’s Partition’ (Amritjit Singh)Complex link between social stratification and religion in KashmirAt some points all but the Brahmans were Islam ‘Kashmir and its people’ (M.
K. Kaw)’A New Kashmir’ (Imraan Mir)Focus Question.Discuss the differing historical perspectives regarding the causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947, specifically:§ International political interest§ Domestic political interest§ Religious tensionEnquiry Questions. § How does the context of historians relate to the differing historical perspectives, regarding the causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947?§ How has the methodology of the historian influenced their perspective on causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947 ?§ How has the purpose of the historian influenced their interpretations of the causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947?§ What are the conflicts between the radical, liberal and conservative perspectives on causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947? § How have ‘Western’ dominant world events influenced the causes of territorial conflict in Kashmir since 1947 ?By: Rudi Ahi | History Extension | Teacher: Mrs.