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What Nehru wrote to Sardar Patel on Kashmir & its ‘oblivious’ Hindu Maharaja

In a letter written in 1948, Nehru complained that Kashmir's then Maharaja behaved in an inexplicable manner and irritated the people of the Valley.

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To Vallabhbhai Patel

5 June 1948

My dear Vallabhbhai,

I have pressed Gopalaswami Ayyangar to go to Jammu and Srinagar for two or three days and he has at last agreed to do so. He will go on the 8th, first to Jammu. While it is true that Sheikh Abdullah is not always tactful and sometimes says and does things which he should not, my last visit to Kashmir convinced me that he was trying hard to meet the Maharaja more than half way. He has to deal with a very difficult situation, the essence of which is to gain popular goodwill.

Whatever happens, the ultimate decision in Kashmir will be greatly influenced by this popular feeling. If the present Kashmir Government cannot succeed in this then it fails utterly. The Maharaja is completely oblivious of this aspect or the international implications of the Kashmir issue. He behaves in a manner which is completely inexplicable to me and which irritates the people. There is at present a vitally urgent problem of arranging for the destitute refugees in Jammu—40,000 or more. Cholera has begun and typhoid is feared.

Our Relief and Health Ministry people visited Jammu and came to the conclusion that the Maharaja’s stud farm was ideally suited for a relief camp. The horses there could easily be put somewhere else or sent to Srinagar for a few months. The Maharaja refused to permit this even though Amrit Kaur and Lady Mountbatten begged him for it. Meanwhile, children are dying in Jammu streets. You can imagine the public reaction to this. Again about certain barracks in Srinagar. They were empty and were urgently wanted for our troops. The Maharaja would not agree. He is unapproachable and cannot be reached even by telephone. Meanwhile, urgent situations develop which must be handled with rapidity. What is to be done then?

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Jammu has ceased to have any great importance from the military point of view. Srinagar is the nerve centre for all activities, civil or military. It is essential for the Maharaja to be there and to remain in constant touch with his Government. Otherwise work suffers and things are hung up, and inevitably he is ignored where urgency demands it. The effect on the public of his remaining away from Srinagar is also very bad.

About the army (State) I fear it can never improve if the Maharaja has anything to do with it. It is in a hopeless mess. I wrote to you about the disgraceful behaviour of the State troops in Ladakh etc. There are Hindu Dogra troops. They, or their officers, have lost all morale and discipline and any further association with the Maharaja will worsen the position. If any effective State army is to be built up, as it must be, it must be by our officers and men.

The matter is too serious for it to be left to the discretion of the Maharaja. We are playing for high stakes and we dare not take risks.

This is the opinion of our army men also.

I cannot write more now as I have to go.

I hope you are progressing well.

V.P. Menon will accompany Gopalaswami to Jammu and Srinagar, unless the wretched Hyderabad affair comes in the way.

Yours affectionately.


This letter has been republished from Who is Bharat Mata? On History, Culture and the Idea of India: Writings by and On Jawaharlal Nehru by Purushottam Agarwal. It has been republished with permission from Speaking Tiger.

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  1. Nehru was best suited to handle Jammu and Kashmir as being a Kashmiri he knew the people’s psychology, had a wide network among KP’s and prominent Muslim leaders and also had contacts with Red hats that were vital assets for India. What we gained by quick action on military front, we post on geography. At least we should have got Gilgit-Baltistan under our control.

  2. India is Nehru….and Nehru is India….the man and later his family lived and lives for India….but most indians are wretched ungrateful people and believe fake news and lies of hindu terrorists who never fought for independence but always stayed loyal to the british….it is nehrus vision and the foundation he gave to our ciuntry that the world looked at india with respect…+even after his death his vision of democratic secular india lived for 50 more years….

    then came the evil people who had caused indias partition with 2 nation theory and muslim hate….nehru patel realized the threat rss and hindutvawadis were for india…and patel even banned rss…latercthe ban was lifted after extracting the promise that they will never fight elections….but sadly after their death rss finally came into their own and through their political arm bjp ended the democratic and especially secular fibre of india….for the first time religion entered politics andcthe disease took root….finally after 50 years of his death rss won over nehrus india through the lies and fake news they spread through the whatsapp university and their it cell

    what nehrus india gainedin 60 years was systematically destroyed in the last 6 years….now india and its media is looked with ridicule and disdain by rest of the world…and india herself is staring at bankruptcy….like mr khushwant singh said in his book End of India which he wrote after seeing the 2002 carnage “no country will destroy india….indians will do hara-kiri”

    his words proved prophetic.

  3. There is a saying in Guru Shishya Parampara that one must not forget the Ladder through which one climbs to the top. It is very easy to develop and progress well once a strong foundation is laid. Blaming Nehru for everything is similar to that. He did make mistakes – for that matter which politicians, including the current ones, are above Board?

  4. Nehru the root cause of India’s peace problems. The breed has ultimately damaged India for their political greeds. MKG had always been fooled to get his suicidal supports.

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