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HT This Day: February 13, 1950 — Kashmiris would vote India: Sheikh Abdullah

MADRAS: “I have absolutely no doubt that whenever a referendum is held in Kashmir the vote will be in favour of India and not in favour of Pakistan,” said Sheikh Abdullah, Chief Minister of Kashmir, today.

HT This Day: February 13, 1950 — Kashmiris would vote India: Sheikh Abdullah (HT)

He was addressing a largely-attended meeting at a local college this morning.

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He said he was not making this statement in a spirit of emotion. There were many people in India who still asked if a referendum was held in Kashmir, how the Muslims there could vote for India instead of for Pakistan.

“To them.” Sheikh Abdullah said, “I say the people of Kashmir did not join hands with Pakistan when there was nobody to stop them from doing so. If Mr Jinnah and his friends were so sure that the Muslims of Kashmir would vote for Pakistan, they would never have I launched their attack on Kashmir.”

“Kashmir has chosen to align herself with India,” he said, “not because ( of any coercion or of any mutual I advantage but because the people of Kashmir feel ideologically on the same level as the people of India. We feel there is that ideological similarity between us and India and, therefore, our alliance will be with India and not with Pakistan.

“If the Muslims of Kashmir would resist aggression from Pakistan when they had no friends, why should anybody in India now expect a change in the minds of Kashmir people, when India has helped them against this aggression for these two years with men, money and moral support and when hundreds of comrades from all parts of India have given their all-out help to us and given their lives on the soil of Kashmir and cemented the bonds between Kashmir and India? Nobody should think that human beings are so ungrateful.

The Difference

“We can see a ray of hope in Pandit Nehru and other leaders of India who are trying to resist communal theories in India and everywhere in the world. But in Pakistan we find quite the opposite. They are trying to build their State on communal hatred while we are building ours on secular democracy. As believers in secular democracy, our duty is to help those forces trying to implement the same ideologies in their country. We shall always be with India and never with Pakistan.”

“What is after all religion and what does religion teach?” Sheikh Abdullah asked. ‘You read the Gita and the Quran. Religion always teaches the brotherhood of man and it does not teach hatred.”

“We have thought,” Sheikh Abdullah continued, “and chalked out our programme and future line of action most carefully and we are sure that whatever may happen, we the people of Kashmir, will not waver from the path we have chosen long ago”.

“I assure you that Kashmir will always be with Jawaharlal and Jawaharlal will be with Kashmir Whatever may happen Jawaharlal is not going to abandon Kashmir and I may assure you we are not going to abandon India.”

Righteous Cause

“Of course, we have many difficulties. Many difficulties we have surmounted and more we have yet to face, but so long as our cause is just we do not baffle about the results. That is the sermon of the Gita. As long as our cause is just, we are sure to win. Even if we give up our lives in the cause of righteousness that will not be considered as defeat. That is the noble lesson which Mahatma Gandhi has taught us. Even if we have to sacrifice our very lives m that path, we shall have the satisfaction that we have done our bit for the right cause.”

Sheikh Abdullah said though they had succeeded in driving out the foreign masters from the land, he did not believe the country was yet free. Though the country was physically free, so long as the people remained mentally slaves, the freedom they had won was worth nothing. He therefore, wanted the student whom the future of the country rested, to analyse calmly the causes of slavery of this great sub-continent and then try to avoid all those pitfalls and remove all those weaknesses which in the past had led to their subjugation.

The partition of the country, he said. was due to their internal weakness. “Our main approach to that question was fundamentally wrong. We should have demolished the very basis on which Mr Jinnah tried to build his Pakistan. We ought to have attacked the very fundamentals on which the two-nation theory was built.”

Sheikh Abdullah wanted the people to realize that it was “due to our weakness that India was subjected to foreign rule and it was due to our own weakness that the country was partitioned and it will again he due to our weakness that our freedom would not last long”.

The Kashmiris, he said, were working for the goal of secular democracy, the removal of economic exploitation of the people, the abolition of the zamindari and the putting down of communalism. Students could help in the cause by strengthening the spirit of secular democracy in India. The stronger the secular democracy grew in India, the stronger would the bonds between India and Kashmir be. He urged them to work for communal peace, secular democracy and fight against economic exploitation and economic and social inequalities.

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