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|February 13, 2002||
Danger in Kashmir
With India and Pakistan having become nuclear powers after their historic tests in mid-1998, it has become fashionable for the USA, and therefore the Western world, to talk of the Jammu & Kashmir imbroglio as being the globe's "nuclear flashpoint" -- to be avoided at all costs. As a matter of fact, the alarm of a total war on the issue would seem to have been sounded 36 years ago in a book of which large extracts are now posted on the Web at http://www.parep.org.sg/dangerinkashmir/Dangerinkasmir.htm
Now, one had seen a reference or two to that book Danger in Kashmir by Josef Korbel in Justice A S Anand's scholarly treatise on the Jammu & Kashmir State Constitution. But the Internet site cites the cover-page blurb about "the value of this book" and then dubs it in a headline as the 'US Administration's Recommended Reading On Kashmir'. One therefore simply had to go through it, especially because the first paragraph under that headline goes as follows:
"At a White House briefing on 4 July, 1999, after three-hour meetings between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Bill Clinton, a senior Administration Official was asked about the US position on Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. The reply was "we are very aware of the history of Kashmir. In fact, if any of you wish to, you can go back to Secretary Albright's father's book 'Danger In Kashmir' that he wrote after being on the first UN commission [on Kashmir]."
Now now. The American president and his officials engaged in serious three-hour meetings on the nation's sacrosanct Fourth of July? It lit a red light all right, but made one continue reading.
Next there is Korbel's conclusion based on "certain factors [that] stand out in the history of the conflict as immutable guidelines". Second among the factors listed is the assertion attributed to him that "the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be considered as valid by canons of international law".
The red light was so blazing now that it made one jump to the end of the page. It said, "Copies of 'Danger In Kashmir' by Josef Korbel available from the Pakistan High Commission, 1 Scotts Road... Singapore."
The game was up. Pakistan had once again used propaganda to convey its views to the huge Internet world.
The fact that the book publisher's name -- Princeton University Press, Princeton -- and the date of its publication -- (revised) edition, 1966 -- were ignored were more indicators that Pakistan was not bothered about the niceties of such a matter, but about the juicy meat in the book, not hesitating to spice it up on its own. Nevertheless, it all compelled one to read on.
And the discovery made was that none of the 64 pages of extracts from that book on the Internet site made that above point about J&K's accession to India being invalid by canons of international law. Was it then just a liberal dose of Paki sauce and spice? Read on.
On page 66 of his book on the Constitution of J&K published by Universal Law Publishing Co Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, in 1998, our ex-chief justice, Dr Anand, states that the public statement of the British government did not sustain Korbel's contention that "...the basic pattern for accession by the Princely States was being decided exclusively on a communal basis" (page 71, Danger In Kashmir, 1954 edition).
To prove his point, Dr Anand cited the statement of June 3, 1947, of His Majesty's government on the grant of independence. It stipulated that the Muslim-majority areas in provinces comprising British India should constitute the Dominion of Pakistan and the Hindu-majority area the Dominion of India. The statement made it clear that, on withdrawal of paramountcy, the communal basis of the division of India would not affect the princely states at all.
Actual events had also proved Korbel wrong. Despite having a predominant Hindu population as his subjects, Junagadh State's nawab acceded to Pakistan, though a unique people's agitation later forced the nawab and Pakistan to rescind that decision in writing. Hyderabad State, with over 85 per cent Hindu population, chose to be independent, even a member of the British Commonwealth (!), because its Muslim ruler, the nizam, was a vainglorious person. (His two ordinances banning the export of metals from Hyderabad to the rest of India and declaring the Indian currency as not being legal tender in his state ultimately cooked his goose and he came to the Indian fold like a lamb in 1948.)
The Hindu maharaja of predominantly Muslim-populated Jammu & Kashmir State also had visions of being an independent entity until the invasion of thousands of marauding tribals from the Pakistan side compelled him to make up his mind and accede to India.
Korbel's contention about the accession of princely states on an "exclusively communal basis" was thus not based on homework.
Korbel also goofed up in respect of several other parts of his book as excerpted on the Internet document. For instance:
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