The North-West Frontier in 1947

A piece from military historian Dr Hamid Hussain. It includes some details (including the role played by Governor George Cunningham, a Scotsman and an “old frontier hand”) about the mobilization of Pakhtun tribesmen to attack Kashmir in 1947, an invasion covered in greater detail in a recent detailed Brownpundits article about the Kashmir war. 

Following piece is outcome of several related questions about frontier policy at the time of independence in 1947, order of battle, question of British officers staying in Pakistan etc.  It was linked with Kashmir incursion; a fact not noticed by most historians.



Frontier in 1947

Hamid Hussain

Sir George Cunningham, Governor of the NWFP

In August 1947, British departed from India after partitioning the country into two independent states.  Two pillars of stability; Indian Civil Service (ICS) and Indian army were divided between two countries.  Pakistan inherited the north-western frontier of India and its associated tribal question.

A tribal territory under British protection separated Indian administrative border from Afghanistan that in turn served as a buffer state between British India and Tsarist Russia; later Communist Soviet Union.  East India Company encountered these tribes after the demise of Sikh Durbar in 1849 when Punjab was annexed. In the next four decades, this relationship evolved over various stages.  By 1890s, Afghanistan’s borders were stabilized with demarcation of boundaries with Persia, Russia and British India.

There was a layered administrative structure of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).  Five settled districts (Hazara, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu & Dera Ismail Khan) were administered like rest of India under Indian penal code. In between settled districts and tribal territories were areas called Frontier Regions (FR) administered by deputy commissioner of the adjoining settled district.  In the early phase, deputy commissioners also dealt with the neighboring tribes.  Later, when tribal agencies were created Political Agents dealt with tribes under a separate code called Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).  In 1947, there were five tribal agencies; Khyber, Kurrram, Malakand, North and South Waziristan.  In general, scouts operated in tribal agencies, border military police (later Frontier Constabulary) in Frontier Regions and police in settled districts.  Troops of Indian army were deployed in various garrisons as a back-up for internal security duties and for external defense against possible Russian threat.

After Second World War, events moved at rapid pace and all three main players; Congress, Muslim League and British government were not prepared for these cataclysmic changes. By 1946, it was clear that British were finally leaving India and frontier question was seen in this context.

After Second World War, it was decided to gradually cut back regular troops on the frontier.  In 1944, a committee was formed under Lieutenant General Francis Tuker to recommend new frontier policy. This Frontier Committee recommended that regular troops should be withdrawn and Razmak, Wana and Khyber Pass garrisons should be replaced with scouts and khassadars (tribal levies).  Imperial giants of frontier Sir George Cunningham and Sir Olaf Caroe recommended implementation of committee’s recommendations.  Withdrawal of troops was to be complemented with a massive economic and infrastructure investment in tribal areas.  Economic development project was placed under Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Mallam and his assistant was Fraser Noble of Provincial Development Department. Mallam produced an ambitious 27 crore Rupees investment plan for the frontier that included investment in schools, clinics, agricultural and animal husbandry projects.

In 1944, Khojak Brigade on Baluchistan frontier was disbanded.  In March 1945 Tal Brigade was disbanded and some of its units were assigned to Kohat Brigade.  In April 1946, Indian army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck presided a high-level conference at Peshawar.  It was attended by Governor NWFP, Agent to the Governor General Baluchistan, British counsel at Kabul and senior military and civil officers.  A unanimous decision was reached to replace regular troops in tribal areas with scouts and khassadars.  It was to be gradual withdrawal in five phases and to be completed in two years.  It was with this background that Pishin Scouts were raised and decision was made to raise Central Waziristan Scouts and retrain Malakand battalion.  Khyber Rifles was re-raised on 26 April 1946.  The nucleus was from war time raised Afridi battalion.  Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Sharif Khan ‘Sharifo’ (5/10 Baluch Regiment) was appointed commandant of Khyber Rifles.  Khassadars were to be trained and disciplined to make it a reliable partner of scouts.  To achieve this objective, in 1946, a new position called district officer in charge of khassadars was created.  In 1946, in North Waziristan about two thousand khassadars were put under the command of Frank Leeson.

On 23 July 1947, GOC of Northern Command Lieutenant General Frank Messervy issued orders for reconstitution of his command.  According to this plan, fourteen battalions deployed on frontier defense were reduced.  Four battalions of Zhob brigade were withdrawn and levies took their place.  Three battalions from Tal were removed and replaced by frontier scouts and khassadars.  Gardai brigade (four battalions) was to be withdrawn in two phases; 15 August and 01 October 1947.  One battalion stationed at Malakand was removed.  Wana and Kohat brigades were reduced by one battalion each.  The decision of gradual withdrawal of regular troops from frontier was made by British high command long before partition of India and process had already started at the time of independence.

Indian army was divided between two countries and regiments were in the process of reorganization.  Muslim elements heading to Pakistan and non-Muslims heading to India.  In August 1947, the order of battle of regular troops on the frontier was following;

Peshawar Area:

  • Nowshehra Brigade
  • Peshawar Brigade
  • Kohat Brigade

Waziristan Area Command:  It was commanded by Major General Roger Eustace Le Fleming (2/4th Bombay Grenadiers).  It’s headquarter was at Dera Ismail Khan. One battery of 21st Mountain Regiment was attached to each brigade along with support engineers and signal staff.

  • Wana Brigade

Commander: Brigadier Booth

Brigade Major: Major Mahmud Jan

This brigade had only one cavalry regiment; Guides Cavalry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Lockhart who handed over command to Lt. Colonel N.A.K. ‘Windy’ Raza (ex. 3rd Cavalry) in November 1947.

  • Bannu Brigade

Commander: Brigadier Mian ‘Gunga’ Hayauddin (4/12 Frontier Force Regiment)

Brigade Major: Major Muhammad Hayat

  • 1/8 Punjab Regiment at Mir Ali.  This battalion had come from Bannu in February 1947 to relieve 14/9 Jat Regiment.  It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel L. J. E. Kweley who handed over to Lieutenant Colonel M.G.D. Kallue in September 1947.
  • 4/15 Punjab Regiment at Bannu was commanded by three British officers in 1947-48 period: Lieutenant Colonels; T. J. Hutchinson, J. W. Brown & H. D. Harrison. The first Pakistani commanding officer was Lieutenant Colonel Sher Muhammad.  Battalion moved to Peshawar in January 1948.
  • 2/12 Frontier Force Regiment at Bannu commanded by Lieutenant Colonel I.R. Greenwood who handed over command to Muhammad Saeed in September 1947. In the summer of 1948, battalion participated in Kashmir operations and returned to Abbottabad after ceasefire in December 1948.
  • One Squadron 6th Lancers at Bannu.  Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel I. H. K. Chauvel who handed over command to Hissam Effendi in February 1948.
  • One Squadron 19th Lancers at Mir Ali. Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel G. E. M. Meadows (May 1947 – December 1947) and Lieutenant Colonel J. U. Wakefield (December 1947- July 1949).
  • Razmak Brigade

Commander: Brigadier Steed

Brigade Major: Major Tor Gul

  • 3/14 Punjab Regiment at Razmak. In 1947-48, battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. G. Davis (1946-47) followed by Lieutenant Colonel Patrice Merson (1948) who then handed over command to first native commandant Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Nawaz. In January 1948, battalion moved to Sialkot.
  • 4/16 Punjab Regiment at Razmak commanded by Lieutenant Colonel M. K. McLeod who handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Nausherwan in September 1947.  Battalion moved to Abbottabad in January 1948.
  • 5/12 Frontier Force Regiment (Guides Infantry) at Razmak commanded by Lieutenant Colonel McMunn (August 1947 – May 1948). In January 1948, battalion moved to Bannu.
  • 2/10 Baluch Regiment at Razmak commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Featherstone (August 1947 – July 1948) who handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Aurangzeb in 1948.  On 12 December 1947, battalion moved to Mir Ali and on 24 December left for Karachi.
  • Gardai Brigade

Commander: Brigadier Muhammad Ayub Khan

Brigade Major: Major Mir Afzal

  • 4/8 Punjab Regiment at Damdil.  Battalion had arrived from Fort Sandeman in July 1947.  It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel W. Gracey who handed over to Sawal Khan in October 1947.  In January 1948, it moved to Lahore.
  • 1/14 Punjab Regiment at Damdil commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Jan (August 1947 – November 1947) who handed over to Abdul Jabbar. In December 1947, battalion moved to Lahore.
  • 2/16 Punjab Regiment at Damdil commanded by Lieutenant Colonel N. J. Jones who handed over command to Lt. Colonel H. U. Qureshi in January 1948 when battalion moved to Karachi.
  • 1/13 Frontier Force Rifles at Gardai commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Brieshwar Nath (March 1947 – November 1947) who handed over command to Bashir Ahmad.  Battalion moved first to Bannu and in January 1948 moved to Kohat.

In 1947, about half of 5000 British officers decided to stay and serve with Indian and Pakistani armies on secondment.  Those with long service opted for retirement while others asked for transfer to British army. Several factors including a recent World War with industrial scale carnage, desire of emergency commissioned officers to go back to their civilian jobs, shock of fratricidal communal civil war between Hindus and Muslims meant that not many British officers were willing to continue soldiering.  Immediately after independence in October 1947, India and Pakistan got involved in armed conflict over the disputed territory of Kashmir. This resulted in speedy exit of remaining British officers. Within few months of independence, majority of British officers had left the combat units.  However, many senior British officers remained at important positions especially technical, staff and instructional appointments.  In early 1948, the list includes C-in-C General Douglas Gracey, Chief of Staff (COS) Lieutenant General Ross McCay, Deputy COS Major General W. Cawthorne, Chief of General Staff (CGS) Major General R. A. Hutton, most senior officers of engineer, signals and ordnance branches, commandant of Staff College (Brigadier I.C.A. Lauder) and commandant of military academy (Brigadier F. H. B. Ingall).

On the frontier, officers of Indian Political Service (IPS) and scouts were responsible for maintaining peace.  In 1946, interim government under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was very critical of frontier officers that severely affected the morale of IPS.  Deputy Commissioner of Mardan Gerald Curtis confronted Nehru and later resigned.  When Mountbatten asked NWFP Governor Sir Olaf Caroe to leave on the advice of Nehru, British officers lost all confidence.  Many officers called it a day and handed the reins to Pakistani officers.  However, in 1947, still several British army and political officers were performing duties on the frontier.  Evelyn Cobb was Political Agent (PA) of Malakand Agency and he raised Pakistani flag on August 14, 1947.  Lieutenant Colonel Vernon Cox was resident of Waziristan, Captain Robin Hodson was PA of North Waziristan and P. T. Duncan was PA South Waziristan.  Several officers were ably administering frontier settled districts including Arthur Dredge at Bannu, Andre Wooler at Kohat and St. John Major at Hazara.

Colonel Dennis Ambrose (1/6 Rajputana Rifles) served for over two decades with scouts and was Inspecting Officer Frontier Corps (IOFC) from 1945-48. In 1948, Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC) was Brigadier D. H. J. Williams (6/13 FFRifles) and his deputy was Colonel W. H. Fitzmaurice (6/13 FFRifles).  Richard Corfield (17/13 Frontier Force Rifles) stayed with scouts serving with Tochi Scouts from 1945 to 1949 and then with South Waziristan Scouts 1949-50. In 1947-48, four British officers commanded South Waziristan Scouts (SWS); Lieutenant Colonels; D. R. Venning (5th Gurkha Rifles), A.C. S. Moore (Guides Infantry), K. M. Chambers (3/8 Punjab Regiment) and D. K. Old-Rini.  In 1950, Lt. Colonel J. Harvey Kelly (4/10 Baluch Regiment) briefly commanded SWS.  P. C. Garrett (2/12 Frontier Force Regiment) served with Zhob Militia from 1947-50.

Major William Brown (10/12 Frontier Force Regiment) was commandant of Gilgit Scouts in 1947-48 and responsible for annexation of Gilgit with Pakistan. His second-in-command during this time was Captain A. S. Matthieson (Seaford Highlanders). Matthieson had earlier served as khassadar officer in North Waziristan (1946-47).  On 12 January 1948, Major Brown handed command of Gilgit Scouts to Major Aslam Khan while Captain Muhammad Khan became second in command.

Withdrawal of regular troops from tribal areas was envisioned under British high command after Second World War.  Even if India was still under British rule, it was most likely that by the fall of 1948, all regular troops would have been withdrawn.  Partition of India and division of armed forces in early 1947 speeded up this decision.  In October 1947, Pakistani C-in-C General Frank Messervy in a meeting with country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah where Cunningham was also present warned that Pakistan army was in a bad shape and suggested that regular troops should be withdrawn from Waziristan within three months. All three present at the meeting agreed and Pakistan government made the final decision in October 1947.  On 06 November, Resident of Waziristan announced this decision to tribal jirga. The troops withdrawal code named Operation Curzon was completed by December 1947.

Army withdrawal from tribal areas was done under the watchful eyes and close cooperation of scouts and khassadars.  Razmak Brigade consisting of all Muslim and Pakistani soldiers withdrew under the protection of Tochi Scouts commanded by W. Sandison (5/8 Punjab Regiment) and khassadars commanded by David Treffry.  After withdrawal, Razmak, Wana and Gardai brigades were disbanded in December 1947. The tragic last act of the colonial enterprise when the curtain fell was assassination of last British officer on the frontier; Political Agent of North Waziristan Patrick Duncan on 31 May 1948.

The key factor which most historians have ignored is link between frontier question and incursion of tribesmen in Kashmir in 1947.  By early September 1947, almost every tribe on the frontier was asking British governor Sir George Cunningham to let them go to kill Sikhs.  With some satisfaction, Cunningham wrote that ‘I would only have to hold up my little finger to get a lashkar of 40’000 or 50’000’.  In fact, later Cunningham was instrumental in convincing Jinnah to support tribesmen.  On October 29, Cunningham met Jinnah and advised him to increase tribal incursion supporting them with supplies and exert more control.  On the same day, a meeting attended by Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan agreed to support tribesmen establishing a seven-member committee based at Abbottabad. However, Cunningham had his misgivings and was not sure how this will end.  He wrote that ‘the harm has been done, and we have to make the best of the situation’.

Tribesmen on their way to Kashmir

Tribal lashkar had entered Kashmir valley by the third week of October 1947.  This means that they must have left their homes at least one to two weeks before in early October. Thousands of able bodied armed tribesmen were already out of their lair heading to greener pastures in Kashmir.  The religious factor was at play but main incentive for the tribesmen was the lure of loot.  I have not been able to find any documentary evidence of what was promised to the tribesmen but from some later oral traditions, it has emerged that they were told that they would keep captured arms and ammunition as well as any loot. On their way to Kashmir, tribesmen lived off the land in Pakistani territory.  Even in cities like Abbottabad, they would walk into any shop and take what they liked. In Kashmir, they usually refused food offered by local Muslims for the fear of poisoning and usually grabbed sheep or goats and slaughtered and cooked for their consumption. In Kashmir, they looted from Muslim and non-Muslim alike.  They returned with captured arms, ammunition, gold etc. and brought even some captured Kashmiri women. However, it was only a handful of women that ended up in tribal areas.  Majority of women were abducted by fighters from Pakistani controlled Kashmir, Hazara and Punjab.

The role of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah is interesting.  He had single mindedly fought for a separate homeland for Muslims and for seven years was fighting on different fronts.  Now suffering from advanced tuberculosis of lungs, his frail body was not able to support his agile mind to tackle the crisis in Kashmir.  Local leadership in Punjab and NWFP was fumbling through Kashmir problem.  In September 1947, Jinnah told The New York Times that ‘he was doing his utmost to hold back Moslem tribesmen, who were demanding a holy war against Hindus and Sikhs.  He admitted that he was not sure he could restrain them overlong’. Defence Secretary Iskandar Mirza told Cunningham that when the subject of tribal incursion was broached, Jinnah told him ‘do not tell me.  I want to keep my conscience clear’.

When Maharajah of Kashmir signed accession agreement with India and Indian troops were flown to Srinagar, on the night of October 27-28, Jinnah ordered Lieutenant General Douglas Gracey who was officiating C-in-C to send troops into Kashmir. Gracey told Jinnah that this order would result in implementation of ‘Stand Down’ order for British officers serving with Pakistan army.  Gracey also telephoned Supreme Commander Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck at Delhi.  On the morning of October 28, Auckinleck flew to Lahore, met Jinnah and convinced him to withdraw his order.  Jinnah obliged but was very angry.  On the advice of Auckinleck, Jinnah also agreed to meet Mountbatten, Nehru and Maharaja of Kashmir for a roundtable discussion.  On the same day, Mountbatten persuaded Indian Defence Committee to accept Jinnah’s invitation. In the afternoon, during meeting of Indian cabinet, all opposed the idea and in the end only Mountbatten went to Lahore to meet Jinnah.  On November 01, Jinnah met Mountbatten to discuss Kashmir situation.  Jinnah suggested that both sides should withdraw.  When Mountbatten asked him how the tribesmen can be called off.  Jinnah confidently replied that ‘all he had to do was to give them an order to come out and to warn them that if they did not comply, he would send large forces along their lines of communications’.  This may be an argument by a smart barrister but not in line with ground realities.

Internal tribal dynamics and local political maneuvering determined who went to Kashmir.  NWFP Chief Minister Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan and Muslim League supporter Pir of Manki Sharif lobbied Pushtuns of settled as well as tribal areas for Kashmir.  Majority were Pushtuns from Mardan and Swat and Pushtu and Hindko speaking Hazarawals as well as Mahsud, Afridi, Mohmand and Bajawar tribesmen.  Recently ousted Congress Ministry of NWFP and followers of Abdul Ghaffar Khan stayed away.  Wazir representation was very small as Faqir of Ipi in Waziristan had prohibited his followers to join Kashmir adventure.  A rival Pir of Wana and some others who competed with Faqir of Ipi for local influence sent a small group of Wazirs.  Faqir of Ipi who had been a thorn in British side was not willing to accept the rule of Anglicized Indians even if fellow Muslims.

Later, everyone blamed tribesmen for all failures in Kashmir. Two veteran pro-Pakistan Kashmiri leaders of Pakistani controlled Kashmir who fought in 1947-48 struggle later saw induction of tribesmen as damaging to Kashmiri cause.  Referring to tribesmen Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan stated that ‘the movement suffered a great set back because they were uncontrollable’.  He added that ‘they did lot of damage’ and ‘the looting created a very bad impression’ as they looted Muslim and non-Muslims alike.  Referring to Pakistan, he said, ‘they made an absolute blunder allowing a thing like this’.  Sardar Ibrahim Khan while appreciating fighting qualities of tribesmen was of the view that ‘we made a terrific mistake’ referring to no command and control of tribesmen.  Another pro-Pakistani Kashmiri Muhammad Yusuf Saraf; a resident of Baramula and later Chief Justice of Pakistani administered Kashmir also echoed same sentiments stating that ‘there was generally no distinction between Hindus and Muslims in so far as loot and arson was concerned.  The local cinema hall was converted into a sort of a restricted brothel’.

Tribal factor needs to be seen in the general context.  Tribesmen angered by latest news of atrocities against Muslims during partition carnage now wanted to embark on a religious obligation.  In fulfilling this duty, they also looked for a chance of loot and plunder with clear conscience.  They were small bands led by their own clan leaders and all depended on how good or bad were these leaders.  There was no central command and no arrangement for supplies.  Except for rebellion of locals in Poonch, local population of Kashmir was too frightened or passive for an armed rebellion.  Tribesmen played a major part in wresting the territory that is now Pakistan controlled Kashmir.  Years later, tribesmen would pester political agents for favors pointing to the fact that they had gone to Kashmir to pull Pakistani chestnuts from the fire.

If tribesmen had not been directed to Kashmir in October 1947, it is very likely that some of them would have forayed into Muslim majority settled districts of Pakistan near their border. This conclusion is based on the simple fact that general break down of law and order or signs of weakness by government is an opportunity by highlanders to deprive inhabitants of the plains of their wealth.  Some incidents when it became clear that British were leaving point to this fact.  In April 1947, Bhittanis; generally, a weak tribe and some Mahsuds looted the border town of Tank.  They not only looted the town but burned property and cut off its water supply.  A robust seven platoon scout detachment under a British officer secured the town. Another detachment under Major James Majury (5/13 Punjab Regiment) was sent for patrol and they found that three Mahsud lashkars were on their way to take their share in the loot.  A stern warning by Majury telling them that area was well defended resulted in melting away of the Mahsuds.  When Wazirs heard about free for all affair in Tank, hundreds of Wazirs with ladders and ropes and string of camels headed towards Bannu.  Tochi Scouts intercepted them arresting many and dispersing them.

Pakistan was faced with enormous challenges with no infrastructure of new government, flood of refugees, precarious law and order and serious economic concerns.  There was neither time not will to review frontier policy therefore Pakistan continued to administer tribal areas as under British rule.  Jinnah brought back veteran British political officer Sir George Cunningham from retirement as governor of NWFP.  Sir Ambrose Dundas was appointed Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan and later he succeeded Cunningham as NWFP governor. IPS was absorbed into Ministry of States and Frontier Affairs.  Only a handful of Indians were serving with IPS therefore officers of Provincial Civil Service (PCS) serving in subordinate positions were promoted and posted to tribal agencies.

Jinnah’s address to tribal jirga at Government House in Peshawar on 17 April 1948 gives hints of the complexity he was facing.  Tribesmen were concerned about two issues; to maintain their independence and continuation of allowances as under British rule. They were essentially asking for continuation of status quo and Jinnah obliged.  On the issue of freedom, he said, ‘Pakistan has no desire to unduly interfere with your internal freedom’.  This was exactly what Frontier Crimes Regulation was about where tribal customs were codified.  Jinnah first criticized allowances stating that ‘you are dependent on annual doles’ and ‘at the end of the year you were no better off than beggars asking for allowances, if possible a little more’.  After criticizing it, he said that as you wish to continue these allowances and khassadaris therefore ‘neither my government nor I have any desire to modify existing system’ but added the caveat of ‘so long as you remain loyal and faithful to Pakistan’.  Some restrictions on tribesmen were abolished and gradually tribal society was integrated with the country.



  1. Charles Chenevix Trench.  The Frontier Scouts (New Delhi: Rupa & Company: 2002 Indian Edition of original 1985 publication)
  2. Daniel Marston.  The Indian Army and the End of the Raj (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  3. Andrew Whitehead.  A Mission to Kashmir (New Delhi: Penguin Global), 2008 Indian Edition
  4. Pradeep P Barua.  Gentlemen of the Raj : The Indian Army Officer Corps 1917-1949 (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2008)
  5. William A. Brown. Gilgit Rebellion – The major who mutinied over the partition of India (South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword), 2014
  6. Major General Shahid Hamid.  Disastrous Twilight (London: Leo Cooper, 1986)
  7. Major General Shaukat Raza.  The Pakistan Army 1947-1949 (Lahore: Wajidalis, 1989)
  8. Brandon D. Marsh. Ramparts of Empire: India’s North-West Frontier and British Imperialism 19919-1947.  PhD Thesis. The University of Texas at Austin, May 2009.
  9. Major General ® Akbar Khan.  Raiders in Kashmir (Lahore: Jang Publishers, 1992)
  10. Hamid Hussain.  Waziristan – The Past.  Defence Journal, November 2004.
  11. John Connell.  Auckinleck: A Biography of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auckinleck (London: Cassell, 1959)
  12. Norval Mitchell.  The Quiet People of India (Weardale: The Memoir Club, 2006).
  13. Head Quarters Northern Command Order.  Reconstitution of the Indian Army – Reliefs, dated 23 July 1947.  Copy of this order was provided to author courtesy of Major General Syed Ali Hamid from his father Major General Shahid Hamid’s personal papers.

Hamid Hussain

February 25, 2018.

 Defence Journal, March 2018

Published by

Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

49 thoughts on “The North-West Frontier in 1947”

  1. “Tribesmen angered by latest news of atrocities against Muslims during partition carnage now wanted to embark on a religious obligation. In fulfilling this duty, they also looked for a chance of loot and plunder with clear conscience.”

    I think this is a fundamental difference between religions that are community centric and those that are individual centric.

    Conscience in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism is built around an abstract principle of dharma. Key characters in the Mahabharata and Ramayana (Gandhari and Vibhishana) show their ethical commitment by elevating dharma over family/ethnic ties. Hindu worship happens with one devotee’s darshan at a time, and most temples and pandals are built with this idea in mind.

    I seriously doubt any teaching in any Indic religion will allow one to have a clear conscience after participating in a carnage.

    Religions that identify clear categories of believers and unbelievers seem to have more trouble with this point. The crusades are another example.

    1. “I seriously doubt any teaching in any Indic religion will allow one to have a clear conscience after participating in a carnage.”

      I’m genuinely asking (not trying to be belligerent): Can’t Krishna’s speech to Arjuna in “The Mahabharata” be used to argue for war? This is at the point when Arjuna doesn’t want to kill his cousins and Krishna reminds him of his duty as a warrior.

      Going back to the case at hand, just as Pashtun tribesmen were angered by atrocities against Muslims, Sikhs were angered by atrocities against them. Trains arrived in Lahore with no one living on board. That was the doing of angry Sikhs. Do you not consider Sikhism an “Indic” religion?

      Trying to prove the superiority of one religion over another doesn’t seem like an intellectually rewarding task to be honest.

        1. Vikram is a believer in soft Hindutva and not too fond of Islam (to say the least). Still trying to say that “Indics” don’t commit carnage was a particularly low point.

      1. We should avoid stifling this discussion with outrage. I wont comment on Sikhism because I am not familiar with it at a deep level.

        My point is that Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism do not reward plunder under any circumstances, and do not emphasize the religion as a community. This does not imply that adherents of these religions do not commit plunder. But it means that no theological justification can be provided for such acts in their framework.

        From this article, which is written by a Muslim, about other Muslims, the lines I quoted make it clear that a non-trivial number of Muslims believe that plunder can be theologically justified if among other things, they believe that fellow Muslims have been oppressed. And the Crusades show that this is not only exclusive to Islam.

        You earlier repeatedly insisted that caste is specific to Hinduism, despite me providing several references disputing this. But I did not call you names or get outraged. Please respect my right to free speech. If I am wrong in my analysis, argue otherwise and I would be willing to reconsider.

        1. You have a right to free speech. I also can exercise my right of free speech to say that it is clear based on your entire commenting history that you have never been a fan of Islam or Muslims in general. It’s totally OK. India is filled with people like you–engineers with little or no social science training who have views on the right-wing side of the spectrum. (Pakistan is full of these people too, except our right-wing engineers are soft Islamists). Given that you hate and The Wire with a passion, it is clear that you are not left-wing on the Indian political spectrum.

          If you find the term “soft Hindutva” offensive, I’ll withdraw it. But in general, if you don’t want people to think you are a bigot, avoid expressing bigoted views in a public forum.

          It’s not just me. Zach was shocked by what you wrote as well. Your defense of it is quite weak. Partition was a time when all communities engaged in carnage–Sikh, Muslim and Hindu. It was not Muslims who were killing everyone on trains going to the new Muslim country.

          The circumstances under which Jihad can be called and who has the right to call it is an entire topic in itself. Since I am not an Islamic scholar, I’m not going to get into that topic here.

          1. Kabir, before the Arabs of present day Saudi became Muslims, they were systematically persecuted by the Persian (Sassanian) and Byzantine empires. You can read about the atrocities and cruel games these empires used to play with the Lakhmids and Ghassanids who lived in this area.

            Mohammed provided a message to the Arabs that allowed them to supersede their oppressors, not just militarily but in a spiritual sense as well. Islam was a revolution for them, which allowed them to stand up despite being on the fringes of civilization.

            The message of Jesus, of loving and forgiving your enemies is just as remarkable. It is no wonder that his life continues to inspire people everywhere. George R.R. Martin chose a biblical name (Jon) for only one character in the Game of Thrones, and the parallels between Jon Snow and Jesus are obvious.

            However, the record of these faiths with respect to those who do not follow these religions is appalling. This is perhaps rooted in the fact that both faced intense opposition from the status quo when they originated. Instead of addressing this, you keep calling me a bigot etc.

            I repeat again that I did not call you a bigot or ‘get shocked’ when you summarily appended caste to Hinduism.

            But data is data. The Jews in Europe, non-Muslims in the Islamic world. The contrast with the Indic faiths is clear and obvious. Muslims and Christians still live, grow, sing, worship, evolve in India.

          2. Kabir, I think Vikram is a friend to muslims and has said nothing anti muslim.

            What Sufis, Shia and other minority/liberal muslims privately say about Islam and conservative muslims is extremely harsh. My ears hurt when I hear it and sometimes I want to run away when hearing it.

            Nonmuslims shouldn’t be attacked as Islamaphobes when over a third of muslims privately hold far harsher views of the Hadiths, Sira and conservative muslims.

            The only way to ameliorate the strong feelings moderate muslims have toward conservative muslims is through giving all muslims freedom of art, poetry, speech, thought, intuition and feeling.

          3. Vikram,

            Saying that caste is mainly a feature of Hinduism (which South Asian Muslims have taken from you) rather than a feature of Islam is not the same as saying that Muslims commit carnage while “Indics” don’t. Muslims did not come up with the Laws of Manu. That’s on you guys dude.

            If you express anti-Islamic views, you are going to get called on it.

            “Muslims are still thriving in India”–not for long if Hindutva has its way. But perhaps Modi and co don’t follow true “Indic” Hinduism. Give lectures to the RSS first about the true meaning of Hinduism before talking about Islam–something which you clearly have no idea about. Reading a few articles is no substitute for a rigorous social science training, which you missed out on in your engineering education.

  2. “Can’t Krishna’s speech to Arjuna in “The Mahabharata” be used to argue for war? This is at the point when Arjuna doesn’t want to kill his cousins and Krishna reminds him of his duty as a warrior.”

    I did not claim that Hinduism is pacifist. But the conscience keeping is different. Remember that here Krishna is coaxing Arjuna to fight against his own pitamah (grand father), teachers and brothers. The idea is that ethnic or familial ties should not cloud his commitment to fight against injustice. Even if the people dearest to him are willing or compelled to fight on behalf of the unjust.

    An ethical framework like this is what gave Gandhi the conviction to stand against his Hindu co-religionists, to the point of death, to ensure that non-Muslims are treated equally in modern India.

    Since both you and Zachary are Bollywood fans, you must be familiar with the theme of a mother or brother killing their son or brother, to protect the law.

    1. “Can’t Krishna’s speech to Arjuna in “The Mahabharata” be used to argue for war?

      I agree with Vikram.
      Also the Mahabharata is very explicit in letting the reader know that nothing much good came out of internecine warfare among the Kurus. The Kauravas all die. The progeny of the Pandavas die as well, except for Parikshit who is revived by Krishna.

      It all ends in a great tragedy. The Kurus are desperately weakened and soon won’t have the predominant political eminence they have gained in North India until then. A few centuries after the Mahabharata war, during the time of Buddha, the Kurus are just a small republican kingdom ‘janapada’ around Delhi.

      Nobody reading the Bhagwat Gita or the Mahabharata would ever gather anything like the xenophobic sentiments of the Old Testament for example.

      1. I think it is unfair to accuse Vikram of not being fond of muslims. Isn’t it better to encourage free speech and thought? Isn’t it better to use each comment as a teaching moment to share the teachings of muslim scripture and great muslim masters and theologians?

        Janmejaya is right. The Bhava or feeling of the Mahabharata is vairagya or detachment. After listening to the mahabharata, listeners feel disgust with the material universe and seek spirituality alone.

        Imagine millions of soldiers from Kerela, Iran, Uzbekistan Afghanistan, Tibet, Burma, Assam, and from far far way islands and lands (many of the armies traveled for months on ships to arrive) all coming. All died. No one returned home. That is why it is called the great Bharat [Maha-Bharat]. Kurukshetra is where Bharat was shattered. Although it would briefly be united again by Chandra Gupta Maurya. In 1658 there was a brief hope that Dara Shikoh and Jahanara Begum might recreate it . . . but that died. Bharat was not to be reunited again until the British Indian Raj . . . which I think was a very good thing.

        Kabir, I consider the Sikhs to be part of the Sanathana Dharma family. Is is completely reasonable to ask Hindus to answer for the actions of Sikhs. I have learned immensely from the teachings of the 10 Sikh Gurus. Many, maybe even most, of their followers and devotees were Hindus. Until very recently Hindu Punjabi families would “give” one of their sons to the Sikhs. Many Hindus see Sikhs as the “protectors” of the Hindus. I for one am proud and grateful that the brave Sikh lions protect the world from the dark forces, including Islamists. Because this is true, Hindus are also accountable for the actions of Sikhs.

        I am deeply saddened that the trains arrived in Lahore without passengers.

        1. Anan,

          I keep Vikram’s entire commenting history on this blog in mind before I pass judgment. Clearly he is not a fan of Islam.

          Angry Sikhs slaughtered men women and children leaving for the new Muslim country. Just as angry Muslims (the subject of this article) committed atrocities when they heard that their fellow Muslims in Kashmir were being persecuted. Partition was a time when many people of all communities committed atrocities. To use this to say that there is something wrong with monotheistic faiths while “Indic” faiths are so wonderful is deeply misguided.

          1. Zachary Latif, I have many Kashmiri Pandit Kashmiri Shaivism community friends. I would like to ask them about the genocide of Jammu Muslims done by Dogra Hindus. Can you please tell me more about it?

  3. I also find the following lines very illuminating in the document above:

    “He added that ‘they did lot of damage’ and ‘the looting created a very bad impression’ as they looted Muslim and non-Muslims alike. ”
    “there was generally no distinction between Hindus and Muslims in so far as loot and arson was concerned.”

    Brings to my mind the statement made by Ambedkar on Islam.

    “Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs”

    1. Yes, Islam does make a distinction between the Muslim ummah and non-believers.

      No, Islam is not incompatible with loyalty to the country of which one is a citizen. Otherwise, millions of Indian Muslims would not be loyal citizens of India. As long as the state doesn’t interfere in their religious obligations (which secular states don’t), why would Muslims have any issue with their country of citizenship?

      1. Janmajeya is not saying he agrees with Ambedkar, only quoting Ambedkar. I don’t think Janmajeya agrees with Ambedkar.

        Within Sunni doctrine (that many Salafis accept), a muslim should follow the lands of the country he or she is in. A muslim should not create conflict or encourage civil conflict and violence. Only Allah can declare that the Caliphate is come again, not humans.

        Ambedkar’s quote is only accurate regarding Islamists; and is inaccurate regarding non Islamist muslims.

        There are about 400 million Islamists and about 1.2 billion non Islamist muslims.

        1. Ambedkar’s quote implies that Muslims cannot be loyal to the country they live in. It is as such quite bigoted.

          This is exactly the Hindutva view of Muslims. That because their holy land is in Arabia, they are not good Indians. Hindus have their holy land in India and therefore they are good Indians. This view is deeply problematic for reasons which I don’t have to go into–whether it is expressed by the RSS or by Dr. Ambedkar (who I generally think was an awesome person).

          1. Yes, Muslims are loyal to the “ummah” (however one defines it) in that Muslims everywhere care about what are seen as pan-Muslim issues such as Palestine. But being loyal to the ummah doesn’t mean that you can’t be loyal to the country you live in. Many Muslims live in the US and they are fine upstanding US citizens or permanent residents. We have already discussed the case of Muslims in India–the vast majority of whom cause the Indian government no problems. It is my contention that India wouldn’t be India without the Muslims– Hazrat Nizamuddin, Amir Khusrao, Akbar, even the Khans of Bollywood.

            I agree with you that it shouldn’t be a Hinduism vs. Islam death match. It’s quite amazing how religious bias creeps into almost every discussion, no matter what the actual topic is.

  4. Thanks Zach for sharing info on the massacre of Muslims in Jammu – I for one wasn’t aware of that.

    It does seem that Muslims made up for it and more in Rajouri and Mirpur.

    Where Pakistanis / Muslims did worse than Hindus is in their *army* participating in the massacre of Hindus (as per the Wiki link that Zach shared):

    “Many Hindus and Sikhs, on and after 25 November 1947 gathered in Mirpur for shelter and protection were killed by the Pakistani troops and tribesmen. Mass rape and abduction of women was also reported. Estimates measure the death count as over 20,000.[3][4][5] “A ‘greatly shocked’ Sardar Ibrahim painfully confirmed that Hindus were ‘disposed of’ in Mirpur in November 1947, although he does not mention any figures.”[3][f][g]”

    1. The reason Jammu is “Hindu-majority” is because of deliberate ethnic cleansing/ genocide. It should be Muslim majority like the Valley & even Ladakh (when u add back Baltistan).

      I had never heard of the “Mirpur massacre” and it’s first reference is in 2013. The only source is Wikipedia and auto-biographical memoirs.

      Neither the Pakistan or Indian armies would have resorted to extermination in Partition elsewhere in the Punjab or Bengal, there was no other precedent for that. This seems a very convenient way to “blame Pakistan”.

      There is a substantive difference however to the Jammu Genocide as Dogra troops were not the Indian army. Please make some more informed opinions next time.

      1. Zach, I realize you are making a broader point about ethnic cleansing that Im not addressing at the moment, but wanted to make a small point about the legitimacy of Dogra rule. In a few instances it has been remarked upon that the Maharaja, being a Dogra, wasn’t authentically Kashmiri, and did not represent the people. I don’t know enough about that dynasty to have a strong opinion on what quality he possessed as a king. My understanding is that Dogras are a type of Rajput clan that are largely concentrated in Jammu and the surrounding regions. For them to have projected their power into the kashmir valley, and considerably further up north into Gilgit ect. is not exactly foreign adventurism. It was in the nature of the political order that militarised clans and their retainers made plays for territorial control. This was the case everywhere in the subcontinent. Maratha clans controlled principalities far beyond their ethnic homeland e.g. gwalior, thanjavur, Telugu Nayaks in the deepest Tamil Nadu. Afghan/Rohilla Nawabs from UP to Karnataka. Dogras if anything have origins quite proximal to the kashmir valley. If the maharaja of J&K were an ethnic kashmiri from the valley how would that have been more representative of a subject from ladakh or gilgit? People discuss the instrument of accession, was it executed fairly? does it matter if India abrogates its promise to a state that it made before it was even a republic?. All these are fertile ground for debate, but to question the legitimacy of Hari Singh on narrow ethnic grounds would call into question just about every princely state in India at the time. I’m a fan of monarchy myself, to the extent that it wouldn’t be hard to convince me that many of these princes were more legitimate than the leaders of the independence movement, nehru and jinnah et al.

        1. Kashmir was sold by the British to Hari Singh’s ancestors in return for their loyalty in the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Dogras are not Kashmiris. If you talk to people in the Valley of Kashmir, they will tell you that Kashmiris are only those who live in the Valley and speak Kashmiri. These people would not even consider the residents of Azad Jammu and Kashmir–their fellow Muslims– as Kashmiri. Mirpur and Muzaffarabad were historically part of Jammu province and the people there speak Pahari not Kashmiri.

          Added to his being a Dogra, Hari Singh was Hindu. Thus, he was not representative of a people, whose majority was by far Muslim. Mridu Rai has a whole book called “Hindu Ruler, Muslim Subjects” which discusses this in great depth. The only reason why he got to decide the fate of Kashmir was because he happened to be the ruler (which again was because his family had been given Kashmir by the Brits). If Kashmir had been ruled by a person of the same religion as the majority, it would have been Pakistan today no questions asked.

          1. The problem seems to be that the kashmir valley was a part of the larger princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. Had J & K been a directly ruled province of British India it would have almost certainly been partitioned to allow for overwhelmingly muslim districts in the valley to be part of Pakistan. But it wasn’t directly administered, and despite that it seems that there was truly a chance of it being an independent nation. You may have a better understanding of the events leading up to 1947, but it isn’t completely clear from my reading that either the muslim conference or national conference favoured anything other than independence. Between trying to oust Hari singh and achieve independence, they ended up achieving neither.
            The broader context about dogra legitimacy was that Kashmir independence is a historical movement that can stand on its own merits without the need of bolstering it with contentiousness around authentic representation in the colonial period and prior legacies. One could say that the struggle endeavoured by kashmiri separatists, in phases from the 1930’s to present has been the natural process of a national consciousness forming and the gradual “earning” of the right to sovereignty. Its always the outcome of struggle and fierce negotiation. If the promise of plebiscite was revoked in 1953, it was because there was de facto no consensus that the people of J & K truly had a right to self determination, despite the high-minded diplomatic rhetoric around it. If we were to assess the situation now, the answer might be different. The global perception of popular sovereignty and the universality of it is different than it was 70 years ago.

          2. Yes, the Valley was part of a larger princely state. But even this larger princely state was overwhelmingly Muslim. According to the 1941 census, the Muslim population was 77% percent and the Hindu population was 20%. If the princely state had been directly ruled, the entire thing would have gone to Pakistan.

            The Muslim Conference favored accession to Pakistan. According to Wiki:
            “In the run up to 1947 there were two major parties in the princely state: the National Conference and the Muslim Conference. The National Conference was led by the charismatic Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah who tilted towards favouring the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India whilst the Muslim Conference tilted towards favouring the accession of the princely state to Pakistan.[59] The National Conference enjoyed popular support in the Kashmir Valley whilst the Muslim Conference was more popular in the Jammu region.[60] The Hindus and Sikhs of the state were firmly in favour of joining India, as were the Buddhists.[61] However, the sentiments of the state’s Muslim population were divided. Scholar Christopher Snedden states that the Muslims of Western Jammu, and also the Muslims of the Frontier Districts Province, strongly wanted Jammu and Kashmir to join Pakistan.[62] The ethnic Kashmiri Muslims of the Kashmir Valley, on the other hand, were ambivalent about Pakistan[63] (possibly due to their secular nature)[64] although Snedden claims that the best-informed English language newspaper on the state’s affairs, the CMG, reported on 21 October 1947 that there had been a massive upsurge in favour of Pakistan in the southern section of the Kashmir Valley-which was the stronghold of the socialist Kisan Mazdoor Conference party led by Kashmiri Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz.[65] Many supporters of National Conference and Sheikh Abdullah also did support Jinnah and the Muslim League.[66] Conversely, The Times reported that Sheikh Abdullah’s influence in Srinagar was ‘paramount’.[67] The fact that Kashmiris were not particularly enamoured with the idea of Pakistan reflected the failure of the idea of Pan-Islamic identity in satisfying the political urges of Kashmiris.[68] At the same time there was also a lack of interest in merging with Indian nationalism.[69]”

        2. I’m a fan of monarchy; the Raj should have stayed on.

          British India (& the Raj) should have lingered on soon enough we would have stocked Parliament and taken over the Empire. Diana would have been an Indian..

          1. I had this idea for a long time that if only British did not follow racial apartheid policy in India with separate railway coaches, waiting rooms etc., nobody would have asked them to leave. Personally, it is ok with me.

          2. the racial humiliation was too great to bear. the anglo-saxons have a special genius but cultural understanding wasn’t one of them. sadly, we never got each other. two remarkably different civilisations, thats why something always rings false about a highly anglicised desi.

          3. girmit, it almost did work out between Bharatiyas and the English. Sadguru has said that if not for WWII, the British Raj would still be in India.

            Many Anglo Indians deeply understood Bharatiyas and became honorary de facto deshis themselves. Including John Woodroffe:
            His book “The Serpent Power” had an enormous influence on me in my childhood.

            This is why I wish the Anglo Indians had stayed on in India after independence.

            Zachary, it would have been best if the English left very gradually over generations, transferring authority based on growing Indian capacity. India would have in this alternate history become a Dominion of the English Raj alongside Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

            My ideal would have been a united Dominion of India under the English Raj that ruled Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikhim, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives (don’t mind if the English administered Maldives separately), Burma, Malaysia and Singapore.

            The main business centers would have been Karachi, Bombay and Singapore. Wow! Malaysia in India . . . Yay. Now that would be close to recreating historic Bharat, historic India.

            I totally agree that had that had this happened, the British Royal Family would have had to marry many Indians. Which would over time make most of the British Royal family Anglo Indian. The English sovereign would have been an Anglo Indian. Many members of the English Royal Family would have become Sanathana Dharmis and muslims (most likely Sufis). Some of the palaces of the English Royal Family would have been in India and many members of the Royal Family would live in India. And this would have been for the best. Indians love Royals, Kings, Queens, princesses, princes.

            Anglo Indian use to mean mixed children + any Englishmen who lived many years in India.

            My main problem with with the English is their colonialism of the mind with post modernism, lack of self confidence, inferiority complex, divide and conquer pitting everyone against everyone else. Demeaning, deconstructing, de-legitimizing eastern philosophy.

          4. hoipolloi, nobody really asked them to leave till the 1920s.

            For the Indian elites, especially the ‘martial’, trading and professional groups, British rule was mostly beneficial. The British Empire’s bureaucracy was enormous, its army extremely large and its captive market the largest in the world. Elite Indians benefited from all of these.

            But once the Indian peasantry, which was basically subsidizing the Empire (at least in India, and especially outside the NW areas) was politicized there was no turning back. Self rule was inevitable, and given the distances and the demographics, there is no way this could have worked out for the British.

            It is no surprise that the vast majority of independent India’s Chief Ministers have come from the former peasant castes, and even less of a surprise that the governance by the British is more preferable to the upper caste, English speaking urbanites than governance by the peasant and lower caste parties/leaders.

  5. Zachary, I am not sure what you mean. Could you write a separate detailed article articulating some of the causes of the 1947 abominable partition riots and perhaps a sequencing of them in terms of time, and perhaps ordinally ranking them in importance? Of course your article would be a very partial incomplete description at best and subject to change as new information becomes available and your views evolve.

    I think a lot of the blame for the riots should go to the house of Saud, Wahhabis, Salafis (not the quietist ones) and the sectarian Islamism they infected into a few Deobandi streams (which represented a small percentage of all Deobandi in 1947.) But by no means all the blame. There were “MANY” other factors.

    I blame the partition itself, which was a betrayal of frontier Gandhi and the Pashtun people:
    Partition was also a betrayal of the Sikhs, Ahmedis, twelvers, sixers, Sufis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis, Kashmiris, and Gandhi. Personally I would have preferred a united India led by PM Jinnah. I blame Nehru for not letting Jinnah be the first PM of a united India.

    Kashmir was a Mughal protectorate, Afghan protectorate and Sikh protectorate. The English sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh after the 1845 First Anglo Sikh war:
    Gulab Singh appears to have been far more popular, respected and legitimate among the Kashmiri people than the Mughals, Afghans and Sikhs before him. The Kashmiri people appear to have benefited from competent Dogra governance.

    Why do some regard the Dogras as illegitimate? Are the Kashmiri-Tibet wars (that I find fascinating) part of the issue?

  6. To compare the massacres perpetrated by lumpen Hindu and Muslim mobs in the aftermath of partition to the rationale mentioned by Hamid Hussain here makes little sense. It is well established (see Ishtiaq Ahmed and Yasmin Khan’s work) that the ethnic cleansing in Punjab was dominated by criminal elements and vested interests with eyes on the property of the departing party, and in some cases were senseless acts of rage.

    The tribals mentioned here are neither lumpen elements, nor mobs. They are a cohesive group bound by ethnic ties and religion. Their actions are clearly calculated, and well thought out. What is important here is that the tribal leaders, who worked in coordination like an army, are fully aware that the specific Hindus whom they will kill, rape or loot have absolutely nothing to do with the violence against Muslims.

    It is clear that religion is being used to justify violence, especially against persons not belonging to the same religion. To this day, rhetoric of this nature is used to incite young Pakistani Muslims by the Pakistani army and its terrorist offshoots. Mumbai is thousands of kilometres away from the Kashmir valley, but was attacked repeatedly.

    1. Mumbai being thousands of kilometers away from the Valley is neither here nor there. It was chosen because it is India’s financial capital. Terrorists aim for maximum impact.

      New York City and Washington were even further from Afghanistan than Mumbai is from Kashmir. They were chosen because they are the financial capital and the political capital of the only superpower.

      “It is clear that religion is being used to justify violence”. Wow, what a great insight! Where have you been for the last 70 years? The whole entire point of Partition was that Hindus and Muslims could not live together and needed separate countries. You are just waking up to the religious angle now?

      As long as India commits atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims, there will be people in Pakistan ready to fight to liberate their Muslim brothers and sisters. There is a consensus in Pakistan that Kashmiri Muslims must be freed from Indian rule. The only debate is whether military/non-state means are acceptable or whether our support should be restricted to diplomatic and moral support. Personally, I’m on the diplomatic/moral support side, but then I don’t make policy for Pakistan.

      1. Kabir, Pakistan has legally enforced 2nd class status for Hindus. There are Hindu refugees who stream into India every day. Tales of abductions are told every day. These are testimonies of those who have suffered.

        There are no reports of Indian Hindus going on a killing spree in Pakistan.

        There are no reports of Pakistani Hindus forming terror groups and putting bombs in public places.

        1. “These are testimonies of those who have suffered”.

          Kashmiri Muslim women have been raped by the Indian Army. Kashmiri Muslim boys and men have been killed and/or disappeared. Children have been blinded with pellet guns. This has been happening since the 1990s.

          Nice try deflecting what is happening in India-held Kashmir by saying “oh but Pakistan is worse”. You’re not very good at social science, Vikram. This type of deflection is bad argument 101. A freshman seminar in rhetoric would have taught you not to do that.

          “There are no reports of Indian Hindus going on killing sprees in Pakistan”. Oh, Ok so RAW doesn’t send agents with passports that have Muslim names to plan terrorist acts in Balochistan? Why the hell was Mr. Yadav roaming around the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with a passport which said his name was Hussain Patel? Perhaps he thought Balochistan was a good spot for a vacation?

          1. Comparing spy networks with state sponsored, religiously fanned terrorism is absurd.

          2. RAW isn’t state sponsored? If ISI is involved in so-called “non-state” actions in Indian-held Kashmir (which I concede they are), RAW is equally involved in fomenting unrest in Pakistani Balochistan.

            You are like those people from the Hindu American Foundation who used to go to every event in DC where a Pakistani was speaking and no matter what the ostensible topic of the talk say something like “What about Hindus in Pakistan?”. They were at least getting paid for that. Asking that question was by definition part of the staff member’s JD. What’s your excuse?

            Note that I’m not going to defend the treatment of Pakistani Hindus. It’s horrible I agree. It’s just that it has absolutely nothing to do with what India does to Kashmiri Muslims. Pakistan is a country for Muslims. It has never claimed to be a secular state. India does claim to be one.

            If my students argued the way you do, they would fail. You need to go back to school and take some remedial classes in logic and philosophy. Otherwise stick to engineering, where you are presumably more competent (one hopes so).

          3. Kabir, to my knowledge every Indian government has strongly resisted demands from RAW and other parts of the Indian establishment to help the Balochis. Sufficient to say that this is a universal criticism that former heads of RAW have for the governments they serve.

            There are several people lobbying Modi to persuade Modi to help Balochistan. So far the lobbyists seem pretty upset and frustrated. Read between the lines.

            Kabir, you have to carefully think what you want; and what you would like to influence . . . in what way. If you don’t want India to help Balochistan then make a case for why India’s national interests are not best served by helping Balochistan. Then carefully consider all the decision influencers in the ecosystem. . . their provincial prisms of understanding; and the thoughts each of them find resonance with.

            I don’t know what Mr. Yadav was doing in Balochistan. But note that there is a big difference between data gathering or keeping the lines of communication open; and aiding the Balochi rebels.

            On Kashmir there are many retired Indian military officers who served in Kashmir and oppose India’s Kashmir policy. Some of them are in high places. Maybe talk to them and find out more details.

            With respect to rapes, how many rapes a year do you think the Indian army commits in Kashmir?

            Many Kashmiri muslim boys and men are killed by Jihadis. Jihadis regularly target and kill any Kashmiri who favors an independent Kashmir. Who in the Indian security establishment do you think are strategically killing Kashmiri males? Raw? Indian Army? Kashmiri police?

            Kabir, I don’t have answers. Just sharing ways you might organize and test your thoughts. A great experiment is assume you were talking to an Indian Army Brigadier General and giving him advise or asking him for feedback. How would you formulate your communication?

          4. Anan,

            1) Baloch NOT Balochis

            2) I don’t care whether India’s “national interest” is served by “helping” Balochistan. I’m not an Indian. But if India tries to mess with any part of Pakistan’s territorial integrity, it’s not going to have a nice time. Kashmir is a Disputed Territory. Balochistan is unequivocally part of Pakistan. Iran has a Balochistan-Sistan Province as well, which it is also not going to let go of. Generally, trying to break your neighboring countries is not a good thing. Do the Baloch have problems with Islamabad? Yes, but those are not India’s problems.

            3) There are cases on record of the Indian Army raping a Kashmiri bride on the way to her wedding. Basharat Peer, A Kashmiri Muslim, has written a memoir called “Curfewed Night” about growing up in Kashmir during the 1990s. It’s a harrowing read. I’m just going to refer you to it.

            I would never talk to someone in the Indian Army about Kashmir. The Indian Army is oppressing Kashmiri Muslims. That is clear to all concerned. I don’t need to hear the Occupier justify their beliefs. We get enough of that on Indian “news” shows. General Bakshi is a prime example.

  7. Regarding Hari Singh, I think he is irrelevant. The preeminent leader of Kashmir at the time was Sheikh Abdullah and he decided to go with India. The debate ends there.

    What is more interesting is the reasons Abdullah choose to go with India, despite being aware of the valley’s demographics.

    Will write something about this soon.

  8. Sheikh Abdullah wanted to join India but on terms very different from what Kashmir’s “Chief Ministers” have to deal with today. Sheikh Abdullah was the Prime Minister of Kashmir. He had more authority than a regular Indian Chief Minister. He was also put in jail fairly quickly by Pandit Nehru. Later on, even he argued for the plebiscite. Not the best example to make your case, sorry.

    The Sheikh’s descendants want the Kashmir issue resolved. True, National Conference is a “mainstream” party and as such is committed to working under the Constitution of India. Yet, Omar Abdullah has himself noted many many times that elections under India’s rule are no substitute for a resolution of the political issue, which entails dialogue with Pakistan as well as dialogue between Pakistani Kashmir and Indian-held Kashmir.

      1. Yes, he made a deal to get out of jail. I don’t really know where you’re going with this.

        There is a huge issue of Kashmiris wanting out from what they see as Hindu rule. This issue doesn’t go away no matter what the Sheikh felt.

        It has been pointed out to you multiple times that even the Sheikh’s son and grandson believe the issue must be resolved. They choose to work under a “mainstream” party while Hurriyat believes India and its institutions are illegitimate. All Kashmiri Muslims want a resolution of the issue. Even PDP, currently in a tie-up with the Hindu Nationalists (huge betrayal of Kashmiri Muslims right there), has a “self-rule” plan. Sorry, you can’t make this issue disappear.

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