The partition of India during 1947 after almost 200 years of continued British rule give birth to the nations of India and Pakistan. It was during this partition that Pakistan tried to impose its nefarious designs by creating ripples in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of religious ethnicity

   Brief History

         Prior to 1815 the area now known as “Jammu and Kashmir” comprised 22 small  independent states (16 Hindu and six Muslim) carved out of territories controlled by the Amir (King) of Afghanistan, complied with those of local small rules, these were collectively referred as “The Punjab Hill States”. These small states, ruled by Rajput kings, was variously independent, assals of the Mughal Empire since the time of the Emperor Akbar or sometimes controlled from Kangra state in the Himachal area. Following the decline of the Mughals, turbulence in Kangra and invasion of Gorkha, the hill states fell successively under the control of the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh. After the first Anglo Shikh War (1845-46) the Sikh rulers war compelled to pay huge sums as indemnity. However, due to their inability to pay the amount, the East India Company gave the reason of Kashmir to the Dogra ruler Gulab Singh against a payment of 7.5 lakhs.

Dogra Rule

             Kashmir under the Dogra rule remained discontented primarily due the religious diversity involving a majority of Muslim population in Kashmir province, a roughly equal division of Hindus and Muslim in Jammu province and a sizeable mix of Buddhist and   Muslim in Ladakh and territories further North. With the independence of the Dominions, in 1947, the British Paramountcy over the princely states came to an end. The rulers of the states were advised to join one of the two dominions executing an Instrument of Accession. Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, was in a dilemma as to whether assert independence or join either of the two dominions. The predominant political movement in the Kashmir valley under the National Conference led by Sheikh Abdullah, believed in secular politics. It was allied with the Indian Nation Congress and was believed to favour joining India. On the other hand, the Muslims of the Jammu province supported the Muslim Conference, which was allied to the All-India Muslim league and favored joining Pakistan. The Hindus of the Jammu province favored an outright merger with India. Amongst the political turmoil, Maharaja Hari Singh was facing an uprising by Muslims in Poonch and later lost control of the western districts of the Kingdom.

Operation Gulmarg

            According to Indian military sources, the Pakistani Army prepared a plan called Operation Gulmarg and put it into action as early as 20 August. According to the   plan, 20 lashkars (tribal militias), each consisting of 1000 Pashtun tribesmen, were to be recruited from among various Pashtun tribes, and armed at the brigade headquarters at Bannu, Wanna, Peshawar, Kohat, Thill and Nowshera by the first week of September. They were expected to reach the launching point of Abbottabad on 18 October, and cross into Jammu and Kashmir on 22 October. Ten lashkars were expected to attack the Kashmir Valley through Muzaffarabad and another ten lashkars were expected to join the rebels in Poonch, Bhimber and Rawalakot with a view to advance to Jammu. Detailed arrangement for the military leadership and armaments were described in the plan.Colonel Sher Khan, the Director of Military Intelligence, was tasked with procuring arms and ammunition for the ‘freedom fighters’ and establishing three wings of the insurgent forces. The south Wing commanded by General Kiani, a Central Wing based at Rawalpindi and a North Wing based at Abbottabad by 1 October, the Cavalry Regiment. On 22 October 1947 Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal militias crossed the border of the state. These local tribal militias and irregular Pakistani forces moved to take the capital city of Srinagar, but upon reaching Baramulla, they took to plunder and stalled. The war was initially fought by the Jammu and Kashmir State forces and by Militias from the frontier tribal Ares adjoining the North-West Frontier Province.

Instrument of Accession, War and Ceasfire

            Maharaja Hari Singh made a plea to India for assistance, and help was offered, but is was subject to his signing of an Instrument of Accession to India. Following the accession of the state to India on 26 October 1947, India airlifted troops and equipment to Srinagar under the command of  Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai, where they reinforced the princely state forces, established a defensive perimeter and defeated the tribal forces on the outskirts of the city. Initial operations included the notable defense of Badgam holding both the capital and airfield overnight against extreme odds and the successful defence including an outflanking manouvre by Indian armored carsduring the Battle of Shalateng. The defeated tribal forces were pursued as far as Baramulla and Uri and these   towns, too, were recaptured. British commanding officers in Pakistan initially refused the entry of Pakistani troops into the conflict, citing the accession of the state to India. However, later in 1948 they relented and Pakistan’s armies entered the war shortly afterwards. The fronts solidified gradually along what later came to be known as the Line of Control. A formal ceasefire was declared effective 1 January 1949.


Leave a Reply