Some notes on the accession of Junagadh vs. Kashmir

Whenever there is a debate on Kashmir, there is often a parallel drawn, particularly in Pakistan, between the accession of Junagadh to India, and the accession of Kashmir (also to India).

The narrative in Pakistan typically goes –

In the case of Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim state acceded to India, as its Maharaja was Hindu. While in Junagadh, India insisted on a plebiscite and eventual accession to India though its Muslim ruler had acceded to Pakistan. 

While this criticism may seem superficially sound, it is very specious and misleading as it ignores how different the case of Junagadh was from that of Kashmir. It is worthwhile to reflect on the circumstances surrounding the accession of the two states.

A few things –

1. Junagadh was not contiguous at all with Pakistan. In contrast J&K in its entirety was contiguous with India.  The Nawab’s accession to Pakistan was in violation of the contiguity principle. Here’s a map locating Junagadh in Southern Gujarat.

On the other hand, all of Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety was and is contiguous to the rest of India. So the “contiguity principle” was very much adhered to in the Maharaja’s accession to India


Image Source : wiki

2. Junagadh, with its population of 700K, was ~85% Hindu. The Nawab’s decision to accede to Pakistan was clearly in violation of the wishes of his subjects. In the plebiscite that succeeded the Nawab’s Pakistan accession, well over 95% of the voters chose to accede to India

In contrast, J&K was about 75% Muslim. Also unlike in Junagadh, where Hindus dominated the whole state, in J&K, the Muslim predominance was mainly in the Kashmir valley, while the Hindus were numerous in Jammu and Buddhists in Ladakh.

3. Junagadh’s Hindu population revolted strongly and vocally against the Muslim Nawab’s decision to accede to India. Close to 100K Hindus fled the state in the fall of 1947 as per VP Menon, leading to a near collapse of Kathiawar economy.

The plebiscite in Feb 1948 was prompted by this revolt against the Nawab’s decision. Which ofcourse settled the matter in favor of India. In contrast, in J&K, there was no major clamor among the Muslim population in favor of Pakistan. The major Muslim political body National Conference supported the Maharaja’s decision to accede to India notwithstanding its differences with the Hindu princely ruler. So it was a situation fundamentally different from that of Junagadh.

4. The Nawab of Junagadh unilaterally and hastily decided to join Pakistan, under the influence of his Dewan – Shahnawaz Bhutto (father of Pak PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) without even the common decency of letting the Indian govt know of the decision through proper channels.

In fact, Sardar Patel and VP Menon learnt about the decision through the media in late Aug 1947, and later got it confirmed by the Nawab. The Nawab had gone back on the word of his earlier Dewan Abdul Kadir, who had assured Gujarati press as late as April 1947, that the state won’t join Pakistan.

In sharp contrast to the indecent haste and reneging of promise by the Nawab, the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, was deeply conscious of the fact that 70% of his subjects were Muslim. He did not accede to India in a hurry.

The accession happened only as late as 26 October 1947, following the invasion of Kashmir by “irregulars” and tribal militias sent from Pakistan. So Hari Singh’s sensitivity and judiciousness was tested to the limits and his hand was forced by Pakistan’s aggression.

5.  Next, let’s examine the attitude of India and Pakistan in either case – radically different approaches.

In Junagadh, Muslim league politicians tried to “force” the hand of the Nawab through Shahnawaz, though the Nawab ruled over a Hindu province with no borders with mainland Pakistan.

While in the case of Kashmir, Sardar Patel and VP Menon assured Hari Singh throughout 1947 that they would be okay if he chose to accede to Pakistan. So the Indian attitude was a cool-headed dispassionate one that acknowledged whatever decision Hari Singh would take.

Pakistan in contrast tried to force the issue militarily in Kashmir, not just using its Army and its “irregular” agents, but by cutting off supplies and transport to Jammu from Pakistan, in an attempt to intimidate the Maharaja into acceding to Pakistan.

So these are five major ways in which the case of Junagadh differed from that of Kashmir. Clearly there is no parallel.

There is no ideological contradiction in the way India handled both cases. The Indian reaction was pragmatic and philosophically consistent.

References for the thread :

  1. TCA Raghavan, The People Next Door: The Curious History of India’s Relations with Pakistan
  2.  On Kashmir Demographic history –

Post-script : 

In the first draft of this piece, it was mentioned that Hindus were predominant in Jammu in 1947. I have corrected this to “Hindus were numerous in Jammu”, though maybe not in a majority. The census numbers of 1941 are unreliable on account of WW2, and also the Jammu specific numbers may have been impacted in the course of 1947 on account of both the riots against Muslims in Oct 1947 and against Hindus / Sikhs in Mirpur / Rajouri the following month.

Also the % share of Muslims in the state of J&K has been edited from ~70% to ~75%, as the latter number is a fairer estimate based on 1931 census, while the former number stems from the 1961 census

66 thoughts on “Some notes on the accession of Junagadh vs. Kashmir”

  1. “Junagadh was not contiguous at all with Pakistan”

    False. It was contiguous via the ocean, like Bangladesh, only much closer.

    “J&K was only 70% Muslim (as opposed to 85% Hindu in Junagadh) in 1947”

    False, the 1941 Census reports that Muslims were over 77% of the population

    “Muslim predominance was mainly in the Kashmir valley, while the Hindus were numerically dominant in Jammu and Buddhists in Ladakh”

    False, per the 1941 Census Muslims were 61.4% of the population in the Jammu Division, 93.5% of the Kashmir Division, and 86.7% of the Frontier Division. Its true that at the Tehsil level there were clusters of Hindu/Buddhist majority areas, but that’s not very relevant since India was not (and never has) claimed sovereignty of the region based on this, as that would imply Pakistan has sovereignty over the (much larger) Muslim majority regions.

    “In J&K, there was no major clamor among the Muslim population in favor of Pakistan.”

    False, the Muslims of Jammu and the Frontier Divisions staged mass protests in favor of Pakistan, and once these were violently repressed by the Dogra troops, these protests morphed into outright revolt, followed by the ejection of most of the Hindu garrisons from these areas. To borrow a phrase, the only region that did not see mass agitation in favor of Pakistan was the Kashmir Valley (though they were still firmly against India).

    “Kashmir only acceded to India following the invasion by “irregulars” and tribal militias sent from Pakistan”

    The “irregulars” only invaded Kashmir in response to the Hindu Dogras enacting a policy of outright genocide against the Muslims of lower Jammu. Between 100,000-250,000 Muslims were killed outright, with survivors pouring across the border to Pakistan. To this day a region that was previously 30-40% Muslim is only around 5% now. Nothing like this happened in Junagadh.

    1. Lots of false and selective claims in this comment.

      The 1941 census was a badly botched up effort thanks to the Second World war and is notoriously unreliable.

      J&K state was indeed 68% Muslim in 1961.

      Here’s a fine paper on Kashmir demography for you to refer to

      But if you insist, I can change the Muslim % in J&K in 1947 from 70% to 75%. Doesn’t change anything in my argument.

      With respect to the violence in lower Jammu – You forget to mention the violence against Hindus / Sikhs in Mirpur, Rajouri, which also had a telling demographic impact on those districts.

    2. It was contiguous via the ocean

      Back at it, are ya?

      By this logic Pakistan is contiguous to Arabia too. Perhaps you guys should lay claim to the Hejaz, now that the Saudis have palled up with Israel.

      Also, it seems now India is contiguous with the United States just like Mexico is, no?

  2. >The 1941 census was a badly botched up effort thanks to the Second World war and is notoriously unreliable.

    The partition of Bengal and Punjab was literally based on the Census of 1941, and this formula was accepted by all sides, no matter how botched up you claim it was 7 decades after it.

    I wanted to reply to your points but INDTHINGS had summarized all the points succinctly

    The case of J&K and Junagarh is exact a mirror image. Pakistan unfortunately did not pursue the case of Junagarh because it was clearly Hindu Majority, however India claimed J&K because it did not exclude itself from laying claim Muslim Majority lands on the basis of it being a secular republic, basically using secularism to cover the land grab.

    We are not going to agree on Kashmir, if we haven’t done so already in 7 decades. All arguments have been done to death, its just a colossal waste to replicate all those arguments again.

    1. The points pertaining to 1941 census that he raised have been addressed by me in the post-script

      The key arguments remain –

      a. Muslim predominance in J&K was less uniform than that of Hindus in Junagadh

      b. There was a v real revolt by the Hindus in Junagadh agaisnt the Nawab’s decision. Unlike in Kashmir valley, where the Muslim resistance to Indian accession was hardly of the same magnitude.

      c. The accession of J&K to India followed an invasion of the state by Pak-sponsored militants. As opposed to Junagadh, where the accession happened months earlier, and was completely unprovoked by any aggression from India

    2. If anything Jammu Kashmir should be given to Rajput community ( Hindu Rajput from Duggar area) as they were ruling that region just before 1947. They decided to join India, so it should by default with India.

  3. There were roughly 150,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Bhimber, Poonch, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad i.e. the areas of J&K that were subsequently occupied by Pakistan in 1947. They were either slaughtered or fled to India. Many women were kidnapped and raped, particularly by the frontier (NWFP) tribesman sponsored by Pakistan to invade J&K.

    Bhimber in particular had a substantial population of Hindus, including several Mahajans. One such Bhimber Mahajan is a friend of mine- his community was extremely affluent and lost everything. Several people his grandparents knew were killed and some of their womenfolk were abducted. All of these people settled in either Jammu city or Delhi.

    What happened in Jammu was mutual genocide just like Punjab- the genocide was just much more thorough on the Pakistani side. There are zero Hindus and Sikhs left on the Pakistani side of the Jammu border. In the Jammu districts of India, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are still thriving. One of the Jammu Muslims, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was a distinguished parliamentarian, central minister and Chief Minister of J&K state. Another one, Zakir Hussain, is a tabla maestro and he and his father Allah Rakha are amongst the most distinguished luminaries of Indian classical music. Remind me of a Hindu or Sikh in Pakistan occupied J&K who attained a similar stature?

    In the Pakistani narrative, the Hindus and Sikhs who fell on their side of the Line of Control in Jammu are conveniently forgotten. Some weird sort of selective amnesia. What happened in West Punjab and Jammu in 1947/8 was an all round tragedy and it is unfortunate when facts are used to selectively push forward a narrative.

  4. The 1941 census is in J&K was no better or worse than it was in other States of India. The arguments adduced in the article are not sound.
    Nor is the refutation by Indthings. Contiguous territory is contiguous by land not sea. By Indthing’s logic India is contiguous with Arabia.
    The case of J&K is indeed different from that of Junagadh, but not for the reasons mentioned by the author of the article.
    Hari Singh was no Indian nationalist as Hindutva types try to portray him nowadays. He wanted an independent kingdom for himself. He only acceded when forced to by the invasion. He would have kept on prevaricating if the tribals had not entered his kingdom. All those avid Hindutva supporters of the BJP in Jammu were once as avid in support of their Maharaja’s independence or his autonomy as long as there was Hindu rule. It was at first, the prospect, and later the fact of rule by Muslim majority in J&K that made them such great supporters of removing Article 370.
    Hari Singh acceded only a bare minimum of subjects to India. For the rest he continued to remain autonomous and expected to do so within India. It is a singularly peculiar response of the Hindutva mindset that Hari Singh is currently lauded by his Hindutva supporters in Jammu and Delhi despite wanting independence or autonomy, but Kashmir’s Muslims similarly minded are demonized. Hari Singh in fact wrote to Patel suggesting that he withdraw his accession to India because it failed to clear his territory of the invaders.
    Be that as it may, if J&K had been a province of British India it would have partitioned, like Punjab or Bengal. India would have obtained districts of Jammu, Kathua and bits of Reasi/Udhampur district south and east of the Chenab, the rest would have gone to Pakistan. As a Princely State its option was in the Maharaja’s hands.
    This is the important part. Nehru and Congress wanted the decision in cases like J&K and Junagadh to be decided by a referendum. Jinnah and the Muslim League insisted that only the Ruler could decide which country he could join. The Independence Act put the decision in the hands of the Ruler and Jinnah rigidly supported the right of Hari Singh to decide the country to which he would accede, or even become independent.
    Note the hypocrisy. Jinnah encouraged Travancore to become independent, as he did Hyderabad. He wanted Rampur to accede to Pakistan and gave Jodhpur a blank cheque to name his terms for acceding to Pakistan. Neither the two-nation theory mattered as far as Jodhpur was concerned or the fact that Hyderabad and Travancore were Hindu majority and should have been logically part of India, being contiguous with Indian territory. Jinnah had no use for the principle on which Pakistan was demanded, especially when he accepted the accession of Junagadh. And he refused to take Kashmir in exchange for stopping his interference in Hyderabad. He wanted both.
    So, Pakistan has neither a legal case for J&K; because its founders insisted that the Maharaja alone would decide, which he did in favour of India, nor a moral case- because it paid no heed to the principle of the TNT when it came to Jodhpur and Junagadh.
    India had dealt badly with the people of Kashmir, but what it does not lack is the legal right to J&K. Pakistan has neither a moral nor a legal claim.

    1. The 1941 census was not brought up by me.

      Indthings was quibbling about a couple of numbers. I have clarified in the postscript

      At no point do I deny J&K was muslim majority (regardless of whatever census you choose)

      My argument is around the approach of both sides.

      1. Pakistan gladly accepted the accession of the Junagadh Nawab, thus losing their moral right to question the accession of J&K maharaja to India a few months later

      2. India never forced Hari Singh’s hands until the invasion by the militiamen happened in Oct 1947. Had Hari Singh acceded to Pakistan back in Aug 1947, I doubt if there would’ve been much resistance from India

    2. Hmm, It is those who hate princely states got issue with Raja Hari Singh. I would say Nehru was not interested in getting JK into India, the Raja was more than happy to join India. Why Nehru was appeasing Sheikh Abdullah ? Both being Kashmir Pandits ( Abdullah’s family was Kashmiri Pandit converted to Muslim.

  5. As S Qureishi says, this argument has been beaten to death and neither Indians nor Pakistanis are going to budge from their priors.

    The truth of the matter, if we Indians can admit it, is that there IS a double standard when it comes to our takeover of Kashmir vs our (rightly held) opposition to the Pakistani attempts to annex not just Junagadh but also Hyderabad (which Shrikanth doesn’t talk about here and our Pakistani commenters also conveniently forget about.) Of course, this double standard elides all of the political and military shenanigans going on at the time and simply focuses on demographics.

    The truth of the matter also, if Pakistanis can admit it, is that we both played a similar game, but that Pakistanis started it because Jinnah didn’t like the idea of a “moth-eaten” Pakistan and wanted to grab as much territory as he could. India only responded in kind after severe provocation (as Shrikanth says, throughout ’47, Patel was totally cool with Kashmir joining Pakistan if it wanted to.) The difference lies in the fact that Indians won at their attempt and Pakistan lost. That’s it!

    1. More with the Pak commentators on it. I don’t even think Pakistan ‘started’ it. Cool that they tried to grab Kashmir militarily. Not that different from Operation Polo or Goa. They just failed to win effectively. Which India did. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Everything after that is just semantics to justify one’s stand.

      Pretty sure with the anti-India mood prevailing in the west, had Pakistan won 65 and grabbed Kashmir there would have been much hue and cry on demographics, genocide, human rights and all that.

  6. There is another confusion in Pakistan’s stand from those days persisting now. Pakistan says J&K should have acceeded to Pakistan wholly as the majority were Muslim. In that case, why did it accept the Accession of Junagadh; by doing so it has given up any moral claim to Kashmir on the basis of population and undermined such a stance. In Junagadh’s case pakistan’s justification was Decision of the Prince- In J&K case also same principle applies. Decision of Prince

  7. One more thing Pakistani or Pro-Pakistani writers conveniely forget
    Pakistan gave away portions of J&K to China; when something under dispute according to your norms, you can’t unilaterally give away portions of the territory to a third party, without any Referendum or understanding with the other disputant i.e. India . This invalidates any further talk of pakistan on Kashmir.
    All it comes down to is military might to grab it by force of arms – there pakistan partly succeeded in 1948 and hopeless hopes for the rest. Now that the bad faith of pakistan in dealings with India is wel known , no Indian govt is going to listen to Pakistan

    Kashmir is a convenient bogey by the Pakistani army to control the civil society in Pakistan and justify it’s supremacy over the other Pakistani institutions and there it stands. Kashmir “issue” is a bogus issue which is part of Pakistan’s internal politics (or lack of it) . Very much like Isreal has been used by Arab dictators for 60 years for intenal control

    1. Pakistan did not give away any portion of J&K to China. Actually China ceded territory to Pakistan. I thought this was common knowledge but I see that it’s not. Here is a link that explains it:

      Unfortunately if Indian leadership had been that savvy, they would have also resolved their border disputes with China amicably and India would not have found itself in a pickle with China that it does currently.

      1. Do people in Pakistan not know any history? Or by making character insinuations about Nehru and Maharaja, do they think that magically Kashmir land was not ceded to China? Here is some background for you: The India China dispute is all about which line is acceptable. China likes Johnson line while India MacDonald Line.

        Poor old Pakistan has been taken for a ride: China, which argues for Johnson line with India, negotiated and got from Pakistan land far in excess of its diplomatic position on Indo-China boundary dispute. And this is what China does; it nibbles off more and more territory until there is nothing left, or you fight. Well we all know one thing: cowards don’t fight.

        For all I care, continue on reading rubbish articles as proof. We also have CPEC, a new version of China territory gobbling project going on broadly on time for China and Pakistan. Myth making on steroids coming up.

        1. India is claiming territory not even the British controlled. Pakistan simply gave up those stupid claims in return for **Chinese controlled territory**

          I don’t see any problem on the borders of China & Pakistan, the issue seems to be solely with India which is claiming territory from both countries it has no control over.

          Good luck being involved in an violent border dispute with the upcoming superpower, on top of being embroiled with Pakistan. We haven’t had a problem with China since 1963 and the relationship is better than ever.

          1. I am not sure India could have solved the border dispute with China though. Perhaps a status quo arrangement could have achieved in the 50s and 60s, but the line has shifted far too much from 47 , for India and China to meaningfully solve it. Apart from the initial status quo i mean. With Pakistan it was a smaller territory in dispute , its similar to how India-Bangladesh recently swapped some territory. With Bangladesh getting some extra territory or something.

            Also i am not sure how India can be singled out for ‘claiming territory from both countries it has no control over.’. I mean both China and Pakistan claim territory in India which they don’t have control over.

          2. Well technically Pakistan doesn’t claim J&K but claims its right to a plebiscite to decide it’s fate. Although I concede that the real choice people of J&K have is between India or Pakistan, not independence, and Pakistan is just pushing the plebiscite argument because it knows it has a better chance of winning.

            However coming onto the border disputes: all border disputes can be resolved if the parties involved are flexible and willing to make concessions. Pakistan and China made concessions to each other (Pakistan gave up the claim it inherited from the British while China ceded some territories it agreed were culturally and geographically closer to Pakistan)

            India on each occasion came across as the party not willing to negotiate on it’s borders. It still claims entirety of the J&K, including GB, whose people actually rose up in rebellion and won their independence militarily (unlike the Kashmiris).

            Perhaps that was a hangover from partition where half the country split apart and India’s leadership is vary of ceding more of the country’s margins? Who knows.

            Countries stall negotiations if they expect their bargaining power would change in the future, however given current trajectory, China’s bargaining power is only going to increase vis-a-vis India and this does not bode will for them to have two active fronts in their border disputes, both of which pose a grave threat in the future.

          3. “Perhaps that was a hangover from partition where half the country split apart and India’s leadership is vary of ceding more of the country’s margins?”

            On the contrary, India has no desire for Pak Kashmir. India can hardly handle the Muslims it currently has, y would it desire additional Muslims? Plus this territories Pakistan holds are of no cultural or religious significance for Indians. This is like the whole Akhand Bharat meme, which would adversely impact Hindu right own politics. If today the LOC is turned into a border, Indians would have no issues with. The whole claim business is just reciprocation of Pakistan claim of Indian Kashmir. Just bargaining chip.

            On China, i agree that Indian missed a trick in the 50s and 60s , but i doubt that it would impact us that adversely. For all practical purpose China’s main focus is still its Eastern front where most of its population lives, rather than the Western one. Just like Pakistan can fight India to a standstill because of terrain constraints, same issue plague the Chinese on their western front.

            On 2 front war, i doubt that it would ever be a possibility. Pakistan still need western powers to hedge against Chinese , and Chinese still need a modicum of Indian support internationally to really collude.

          4. >On the contrary, India has no desire for Pak Kashmir. India can hardly handle the Muslims it currently has, y would it desire additional Muslims?

            If tomorrow Pakistan offered remaining Kashmir to India on a platter, India would take it with both hands. This has little to do with handling Muslims.. Indians think they can deploy the same tactics they have been in IOK in rest of the areas too. There are grand delusions of reabsorbing Punjab and Sindh and places like Swat valley as you yourself can see below. Unfortunately the reality on the ground is quite different, Indian army has better fighting chance in Punjab than they do in mountainous regions in the north. Besides with nuclear weapons, any full scale war will not continue for more than a week.

            Pakistan should have accepted LOC as the border when India was on the back foot in the region back in 1990. However now there is belligerent governments on both sides, I don’t see either side backing down anytime soon.

          5. “If tomorrow Pakistan offered remaining Kashmir to India on a platter, India would take it with both hands. This has little to do with handling Muslims..”

            What type of comparison is this ,LOL? Of course India will take it.

            If India offers Indian Punjab to Pakistan, will Pakistan say No? Or Himachal for that matter? I agree that Indians do have delusions of re absorbing back Pakistan, just like there are Pakistanis who want unfurl the Pakistani flag on red fort, or ones who believe India is just one civil war away of breaking up.

            Almost every war India has fought on Kashmir including Kargil has been around about the same area of LOC. In 65 and 71 we have even traded areas which we won in Kashmir, because ultimately it neither changes the strategic calculus (Pakistani Kashmir terrain is just better) nor does it hold any religious/cultural significance. Compare it to had India held Lahore, or had Pakistan held Amritsar. Just a decade back we were in talks of de-militarizing Siachen, a place which Indian army already controls.

            I do agree that now LOC turning into Border is a near impossibility. But on the contrary Pakistan successful plans in 90s actually emboldened it to NOT 2 accept LOC as the border. Even now, if you ask me there would be more acceptance on Indian side to accept LOC than Pakistani side. There is just no emotional connect to Pak-Kashmir from Indian side, than what is there for Indian Kashmir from Pakistani side.

          6. That’s the point I am making – states will take territory if its offered to them on a platter without concern for the population that resides that. So I can’t accept the argument that India doesn’t want Pak Kashmir because its full of Muslims. Similarly Pakistan will accept Indian Punjab, even though it has less than 2% Muslims.

            Anyway, Pakistan’s Kashmir strategy is not just limited to ‘it’s Muslim majority so its ours’ now, there are important rivers flowing through the area that are lifeline to Pakistan’s agriculture, and its something that cannot be ceded to India.. This was always of secondary importance in the past but with climate change, this has become the primary concern.

          7. Indians just want Haji Pir pass (so that we can make a road from Poonch to Baramulla via Uri (and possibly a rail too via Jammu-Poonch-Uri-Baramulla)) and some parts of Shakargarh, if Pakistanis are being generous. You can keep Mirpur/Gilgit-Baltistan with you. We don’t care.

        1. “Well technically Pakistan doesn’t claim J&K but claims its right to a plebiscite to decide it’s fate. Although I concede that the real choice people of J&K have is between India or Pakistan, not independence, and Pakistan is just pushing the plebiscite argument because it knows it has a better chance of winning.”
          This comment from S Qureshi is misleading. Pakistan does claim that Kashmir is its ‘shahrug’, its jugular- the comment was first made by Jinnah and repeated by Ishaq Khan the former Pakistani President. It is also misleading to say that Kashmir has a ‘right’ to a plebiscite. Jinnah opposed a plebiscite (referendum) in J&K to decide its future. He insisted that the Maharaja alone had the right to decide to which country the State would accede. That was also the law.
          S Qureshi is also wrong in saying that India does not have an emotional connect to Kashmir. There may be more Kashmiri Muslims settled in Pakistan than there are Kashmiri Muslims settled in other parts of India, but there is a huge number of Kashmiri Hindus settled in India who remain emotionally connected to Kashmir, as was Nehru himself. He broke down in front of Mountbatten at the prospect of losing Kashmir.

  8. Being nice did play out well for India around independence. India did not throw out nearly all its minorities like Pakistan and built a secular state again unlike Pakistan. It also wasn’t as amorally aggressive about gaining territory like Pakistan but ended up with gaining nearly about every bit of territory the leader were interested in. Except for the loss of Muzaffarabad and Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistan and Aksai Chin to China there isn’t any other territory which Indians were interested in and do not control today. Even these bits of land are largely inconsequential. Muzaffarabad is Muslim-Pahadi/Punjabi, not the kind of population India would be interested in. Gilgit is mostly high mountains of Karakoram. Aksai Chin is desert wasteland.

    India even kicked out Portugal from Goa in a military operation with barely a peep from western powers. China doesn’t “fully” control Hong-Kong even today.

    Truly remarkable!! Such excellence is not always expected from Indians and the Indian govt.

    1. Such excellence is not always expected from Indians and the Indian govt.

      And all of this “excellence” was exhibited by Congress governments, especially the much-maligned Nehru. 🙂

      1. Haha.
        I agree.
        Unlike some hindutva-vadis i am totally fine with giving nehru a place of honor and not ridicule in our pantheon. He did much to lay the foundation of a strong state which could bring hindus into modernity. He also did get things wrong but those pale in comparison to what he got right.

        A lot of nehru hatred is there because his dimwit descendants still control the congress party and have reduced it to a two-bit leftist NGO. Also Nehru and indira animosity exists because of their handing control of indian history and social sciences to assorted, card carrying communists and leftists who have trivialized the pursuit of history in indian academia. eg DN jha who died recently was a forever hindu-baiter. He was revealed to be a communist party member after his death.

    2. “Even these bits of land are largely inconsequential. Muzaffarabad is Muslim-Pahadi/Punjabi, not the kind of population India would be interested in.”

      All land is of some consequence, had India not controlled Kashmir, it would have said , “they are Muslims anyway , why would we be interested ? “. As i said, all semantics to justify one’s stand .

      “And all of this “excellence” was exhibited by Congress governments, especially the much-maligned Nehru.”

      If not for Nehru, Kashmir wouldn’t have been an international case , nor Pakistan got a diplomatic right 2 talk about it. So i wouldn’t say it was excellent. .

      1. You’ve to take the bad with the good for a person like nehru. He was a true liberal. He had international standing as a true liberal.
        Going to the UN after having captured two-thirds of Kashmir was a way to say- see we are indeed the good guys here. Also I am not very sure that the indian army would have completely prevailed upon Pakistan army in 1948. The conflict could have gone on for years with much loss of life and societal disruption.

        Nehru govt’s liberal credentials and international standing led india to do things without attracting much opprobrium and physical opposition. If india had a reputation of an opportunistic land grabbing country the international community would have had more to say about military action in hyderabad, goa and kashmir. Big powers might have inserted themselves into the conflict and india as the stronger power would have been worse off.

        1. Yes, I don’t get blanket hate for Nehru. He screwed up on many things but he also got more than a few things right.

          However, I don’t agree with you on the importance of POK/Gilgit Baltistan. Losing those territories to Pakistan resulted in a) Loss of direct access to Afghanistan and thus Central Asia and beyond and b) More importantly direct Pak/China land access which as we can all agree is not great for us.

        2. Dont know all this diplomatic niceties makes that much of a difference. The cease fire would have been achieved without all referendum business. If u read those UN meetings, contrary to ‘Nehru govt’s liberal credentials and international standing ‘ helping, it was Nehru;s presence which lead to hostility against US and UK.

          Hyderabad was too close to partition. And Pakistan didn’t push the matter through, or perhaps even it could have ended like Kashmir. Goa , again had it been colony of consequential NATO member like UK-Diego Garcia, rather than inconsequential Portugal, u would have seen more push back.

          But i agree hind side is 50-50. Nehru conduct later on Chinese front needs more scrutiny than 47 events.

          1. Have heard this episode. Not much new information. Mostly reiteration of Nehru’s stand and how Patel wanted 2 give Kashmir to Pakistan. Or that Hindu right are the villains of the whole thing. Everyone apart from Nehru is to blame for the mess.

            Not surprising.

          2. @Saurav:

            Dude, you are certifiably nuts. Or, you are so utterly politically minded that you are incapable of thinking about issues neutrally. I’m no Congress supporter nor a big Nehru fan, and I didn’t get what you got out of that podcast at all.

            (Sorry, don’t mean any offense. I’m saying all of this in a friendly way.)

          3. I am not saying u are a Nehru fan. What exactly did u take away from the podcast? I am genuinely curious.

        3. “the international community would have had more to say about military action in hyderabad, goa and kashmir”
          You mean the same International Community which didn’t say a word to stop British Colonialism in India? Nehru is the same guy that amended the Constitution to curb Freedom of Speech because someone published critical views of his inept foreign policies. Yeah, real paragon of virtue he was!

  9. History is always written by winners who CLAIM to be moral post-hoc. The amount of whitewashing of the Raj’s legacy in the West is a naked proof of that. Not a single Indian Lib worth his/her salt challenges assertions of the British “Modernizing” India with Imperialistic brutality. Everyone just accepts it no matter how absurd it is, “yeah bro, they like totally abolished Sati&educated the low castes! British were not so bad, not like those EVIL Commies&Nazis!”. Words can’t describe how much i despise the selective amnesia of Indian Libs, “Low Castes were oppressed for 5000 years, they need reparations!!” meanwhile we’re gonna pretend like the Raj is a DISTANT Memory. Why not forget Babri&2002, while we’re at it?

    I hope you get the picture, it doesn’t matter who’s more “Moral”, the fact is that Pakistan still holds POK, gets sympathy from Libs globally and India can’t do shit about it. I agree with Qureishi, what’s the point of these arguments? Who honestly gives a shit whether India strong-armed Muslim rulers to accede or not? India should’ve reabsorbed Punjab&Sindh a long time ago, that would’ve ended the Hindu-Muslim turmoil in the Sub-Continent for good. India is the second largest country in ASIA, we should start acting like it.

    1. Not a single Indian Lib worth his/her salt challenges assertions of the British “Modernizing” India with Imperialistic brutality.

      This is completely false. Read whatever Shashi Tharoor has written on the subject, or listen to him on YouTube (Dear Leader Modi himself praised Tharoor). All of our left/liberal commentariat from ’47 up to the Hindutva ascendance was engaged in the project of denouncing the British Raj. This got tamped down recently only because our Hindu nationalists harbor far more hatred for the Muslim invader than they do for the British one.

      But of course, Whatsapp university teaches a different story!

      1. I don’t think Tharoor is a Woke Lib in his 20s&30s. He’s part of the old guard. Those who look at the west&India the same way as Tharoor are over 50+ or in the extreme right. Modern Indian Libs are essentially blind to the Colonial/Abrahamic underpinnings of the Modern Western thought and lap it all up.

        “All of our left/liberal commentariat from ’47 up to the Hindutva ascendance was engaged in the project of denouncing the British Raj.
        The pedestalization of Western Values and the blurry line between Modernization&Westernization makes me think otherwise. “Denouncing” of the Raj is a mere symbolic gesture&tokenism, Indian Libs remain intellectually slavish to the West, they do nothing but echo whatever westerners say from their EuroCentric perspective. When was the last time Indians demanded for the return of stolen artifacts from British Museums? Everyone’s cool with the Brits displaying Chola’s Nataraja Bronze Relief and Amravati marbles in their museums. Did the queen ever formally apologize for the crimes of the Crown? And yet we shamelessly remain a part of the commonwealth for some reason.

        Liberalism has become a sacred Cow and the barometer for how progressive/good something is, my question is WHY? Why are the social&moral principles complied by a bunch of thieving, hypocritical, racist Europeans in the 18th Century more important than the social&moral principles of our Ancestors? This unwavering commitment&primacy given to European Social Philosophy is a proof of the fact there’s no overarching National Vision for India, Indians only aspire to be in the posse of the West.

  10. “Unlike some hindutva-vadis i am totally fine with giving nehru a place of honor and not ridicule in our pantheon.”

    I think the revulsion towards Nehru is decreasing in general and wonder how much of this phenomenon is a consequence of now having experienced BJP rule, and realizing that India’s problems are much more complex than the particular person at the helm.

    Regarding Kashmir, I think in the long term Indira Gandhi will be seen in a much less positive light. The opportunity was there to free the whole of J&K from Pakistan, and possibly gain some additional territories like the Swat valley. But she probably did not want to humiliate Pakistan any more. In the end, we failed to truly imbibe the conviction that Pakistan has no right to exist. Pakistan, quite remarkably, has not given up the opposite conviction despite repeated defeats.

    1. The 71 war was won in the East. On the West it was mostly a stand still. With both India and Pakistan occupying mostly inconsequential territories. Not sure how Indira would have got Kashmir , forget Swat and stuff.

        1. Please take a look at the terrain and stuff, On its best days India cannot militarily push into Pak Kashmir.

          If your point is to conquer Lahore ( unlikely after the events of 65) and then diplomatically barter it for Kashmir, then i am sure ‘Hey Pakistan, u just lost half ur country, how about giving us Kashmir as well?’ wouldn’t be a nice ice breaker to Pakistan and international community.

    2. I think the revulsion towards Nehru is decreasing in general

      What period/people are you referring to? This is completely contrary to my observations. When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, Nehru was a universally loved and praised figure. His birth centenary in ’89 was a big deal. My grandma (no liberal herself) told me she literally cried when she heard of Nehru’s death back in ’64.

      All of this seems to have changed only recently. Since I moved back to India in the previous decade, I’ve heard hardly anyone praising the guy. Instead, one foible or the other seems to be discovered and disseminated on social media everyday. Among people with Hindutva sympathies, and especially Modi fans, his name is firmly mud as far as I can see.

  11. All borders are only valid until the next war.

    Nehru had a mixed strategic legacy. He was broken, personally, by the 1962 defeat. So it’s not unfair to view him by that albatross.

    Shastri carried out the greatest jailbreak ever, the 1965 war was India’s, even though it was just a stalemate.

    Indira achieved a strategic victory, every military planner should be proud of. She did that by assembling a good team of advisors and listened to them. She learnt well from her father’s mistakes.

    RG was ambitious in everything he did. He achieved some sort of a detente with China after Sumdorung Chu. Started Brasstacks against Pak. Tried to mollify LTTE and SL. Finger in every pie.

    PVNR navigated quietly.

    Gujral was a disaster.

    Vajpayee consolidated well. The sanctions are proof.

    MMS is too near to make any sort of assessment.

  12. “Nehru had a mixed strategic legacy. He was broken, personally, by the 1962 defeat. So it’s not unfair to view him by that albatross.”

    Its correct to view him through that albatross, considering that he himself was the architect of that albatross.

    “MMS is too near to make any sort of assessment.”

    Or is it? It not like India suffered the greatest terrorist attack on its soil during his tenure. I know small details, but still…

    1. It not like India suffered the greatest terrorist attack on its soil during his tenure.

      Is that literally true? I know it got a lot more play in the media, but surely many terrorist attacks in the 80s and 90s were as bad?

      I don’t know how old you are, but I grew up during that time and the terrorism of that period both left a big impression on me and to some extent inured me from shock at hearing about terrorist attacks. Honestly, the 2008 attacks didn’t have anywhere as big an effect on me as previous ones did. It seemed like it was targeted at the west/Israel more than India.

      Agree that MMS’ response was quite limp, but frankly, my primary worry at the time (I lived in the States then) was that this would escalate into a nuclear war and half our country would be destroyed (I didn’t really give a damn about Pakistan.)

      1. [Honestly, the 2008 attacks didn’t have anywhere as big an effect on me as previous ones did. It seemed like it was targeted at the west/Israel more than India.]

        LOL. Can’t even..

      2. Perhaps you are the only person who feels that 2008 was directed more towards Israel than India. Or the fact that anything before or after 2008 comes even remotely close to Mumbai attacks.

        1. Didn’t realize you had such strong feelings about this. My west/Israel comment was gratuitous, but otherwise I’ll stick to my original answer. I personally know or had heard of people who came close to being captured by terrorists back in the 80s and 90s (ironically, not in Kashmir but in Punjab and Assam respectively). In the 90s, there were train bombings in India. I, as a frequent train-rider, felt viscerally in danger sometimes. Nothing like that in 2008, though my distance from India could have been the factor then.

          There was also the Indian Airlines hijacking (the one that led to the release of terrorists in Kandahar) that left a big impression on me.

          Anyway, I asked you a factual question. Did the 2008 attacks kill more people than in any other terrorist attack in India? (I’m not looking for a political discourse, but just a number 🙂 )

          1. If i may jump in here;
            Success of Terrorism is not in body count – but the “Terror” created in the public imagination – shock effect.
            Same for 9/11 same for Mumbai 26/11

            On all counts 26/11 was the biggest terrorist attack on indian soil.

          2. @Gaurav:

            Agree with your definition. I genuinely felt terrorized at times in the 80s and 90s, but somehow the 2008 attack just didn’t have that effect on me. (I’m not saying it had no effect; I have close relatives in the city and I felt worried about them). But I guess I’d already heard about so much terrorism by then in my life that I was inured to it. (Even 9/11, which happened literally a week after I stepped on to American soil, left me somewhat cold, though I recognized how fearful ordinary Americans got at the time.)

          3. It seems you were already jaded by Terrorism by then;
            For most people I know – 26/11 was the peak of the decade of terrorism (2000-2010) – Outside conflict areas.
            There was palpable fear especially after 2006 train blasts peaking with 26/11 – but again this is subjective.

            But even objectively the scale & MO like (French attacks or NZ mosque attacks) – the sense of ongoing attack – would arguably make 26/11 more *terrory* than others.

            Personally i had my Thermodynamics paper in 2 days & most people in my class had a bad couple of days which affected everyone’s performance.

          4. ” Did the 2008 attacks kill more people than in any other terrorist attack in India?”

            I think the only other terror attacks which killed more people are the 93 and 2006 train blasts , both in Mumbai.

    2. @Saurav @Numinous

      MMS painted a really broad canvas in terms of strategic security. He was a chip off the old block from the PVNR era. The 26/11 attacks were bird droppings on this canvas. It is natural everyone’s attention goes to the bird droppings. We will come to that in a bit.

      The Indo-US nuclear deal was MMS’s baby right from the start in 2005. You know he started putting the blocks together right after he was sworn in 2004. He staked everything on it – including the stability of the UPA-1 at some point. He correctly came to the assessment along with the strategic establishment that we have enough fissile material for a very potent force covering all paths for the future.

      This includes about 4 tonnes of HEU, about 600 kgs of weapons grade Pu and another 6 tonnes of reactor grade Pu. If all these were properly processed then we are looking at about 600 – 800 warheads in various configurations. The real problem was that other demands were competing for the same stockpile – newly built nuclear reactors and our embryonic nuclear fleet of submarines.

      So we were really in a bind – we could use them and dwindle them to power our reactors or wait for a new mine to be found. So MMS went ahead and opted to get imported uranium via the trade route to cut this Gordian knot. The problem was that without entry into the Boys Club, nobody would trade it with us. There enters the nuclear deal with the US.

      Many of these calculations were gamed by the bureaucrats but it was MMS who staked his reputation and political capital to reach for a solution. It was not easy – with the Communists in UPA-1. So it took all of 3 long years to hammer out an agreement in several steps.

      First of all the US amended its internal Atomic Energy Act – a historic first to make such a statute for another country. They had to – they were looking for a ally to counter China and the Indian establishment wasn’t budging until its nuclear pariah status was removed. And in 2008, we ratified the treaty in Parliament.

      We will see the full impact of this by the end of the coming decade. We will have at least 3 SSBNs and 2 SSNś in the water – a true blue water Navy. And the output and commissioning of our civil reactors have also picked up.

      The Mumbai attacks followed the ratification by exactly 4 months – July was the deal ratification and in November we had the attack. If you ask me, this was some sort of casus belli to cause a limited conflagration. And………the US got a new President in 2008 November – Barack Obama. I guess the Pakis were hoping that the new Democratic administration would throw out the deal, given a pretext. They always had good connections in the Democrat WH.

      But the MMS administration kept quiet – giving no cause to the Democrats to act upon. Short term pain for long term gain. In the coming decade we will see the full consequences of the MMS decisions and actions. Modi administration followed upon on MMS by joining Wassenaar and MTCR…..its kind of like….all the dominoes started falling.

      You know MMS was a bureaucrat. He played really long run games. He totally opted out of the short version. Picture abhi baki hai….

      1. Well I just hope that we see the climax of this movie in our lifetime.

        Anyways , MMS inaction was more due to politician he was, and the men he surrounded himself with, rather than some ‘long term’ thinking and all. Mostly people whose are more at ease in writing books and talking in various think tanks about Indian security, rather than actually working on Indian security.

        P.S: Always felt the nuclear deal was over-rated. Still will go by your version on it.

        1. I thought the nuclear deal was a, well, really big deal. It underlined the fact that we had turned a corner in India-US relations. Also, contra-Ugra, it was the first time a Republican administration was going out of its way to bury the hatchet with India. I was really pissed off, not just at the communists but at the opportunistic BJP (then led by Advani) for opposing the nuclear deal in parliament.

          1. Strange u were pissed at BJP then on commies, weren’t commies part of the govt?

            Its like if u are a Punjabi farmer, being more pissed at Congress for passing of 3 farm laws

  13. “Hey Pakistan, u just lost half ur country, how about giving us Kashmir as well?”

    The mistake here was to think that Pakistan was merely a military threat to India. Indira Gandhi knew the full extent of the Bangladesh genocide, you dont let a state complicit in genocide so lightly. Pakistan got away far too lightly for the scale of crimes it committed, and this came back to haunt us later.

    Regarding the tactical situation, we have overwhelming numbers, were not far away from air superiority and could have blockaded their mean sea port due to the non-existent Pak navy. The only inhibiting factor would have been the US, which was steadfast in supporting Pakistan.

    1. “The only inhibiting factor would have been the US, which was steadfast in supporting Pakistan.”

      This was too big a factor for India to ignore. Please read Gary Bass’s book ‘The Blood Telegram’ to know how much USA was supporting Pakistan during the 1971 war. USA provided weapons stealthily despite its own sanctions, nudged Islamic countries to do so, nudged China to attack India, sent an aircraft carried battle group to intimidate india, sponsored security council resolutions against India etc.

      If India had attacked west-pak after finishing up the war in the east, the USA might have come out completely in support and also done more to egg China to attack India.

      The Soviets who were wimps and never ever stood up for their clients when the going got tough, asked India to call for a ceasefire as soon as the eastern theatre was won and said they wouldn’t keep vetoing Sec. Council resolutions after that.

      However I do believe Indira let Bhutto off too easily during the Shimla conference. For that I would blame the Kashmiri pandit coterie of bureaucrats she had collected around her who were high on their own “liberal” kool-aid. They really were the intellectual fathers of today’s deracinated dumbasses who represent Indian liberals. A more son-of the soil kind of a group (today’s BJP for instance) might have driven a harder bargain.

      1. Yes, Pakistan got off way too lightly. The US was really spooked about the Soviets at this time, and both Pakistan and China took ample advantage of their fears.

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