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State holiday for Sheikh, but no holiday for Maharaja Hari Singh
Strange is Indian state
9/22/2018 10:46:50 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Sept 22: Strange are the Indian State and those who control it. They had the audacity to declare December 5 as state holiday as a mark of respect to Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir - Sheikh Abdullsh, who had sent close Lieutenants Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and Ghulam Mohammad Said to Lahore to negotiate Kashmir's accession with Pakistan and who turned towards JL Nehru only when MA Jinnah and Liaquat Ali snubbed both the Kashmiri leaders. In fact, it was the mortal fear of death at the hands of Pakistan that made Sheikh Abdullah, who had no locus standi in the state, turned towards Nehru, who obliged him much to the chagrin of the people of Jammu and Ladakh and the miniscule minority of Kashmiri Hindus. They could declare December 5 as a state holiday as a mark of respect to Sheikh Abdullah whom Nehru dethroned and had him arrested on August 9, 1954 under the charge of sedition and whose government PM Indira Gandhi had brought down in 1975 on the ground that the "Sheikh had become a threat to national security".
But the Indian state doesn't have the will and the guts to declare September 23 as a state holiday as a mark of respect to Maharaja Hari Singh, who on October 26, 1947 acceded his Jammu & Kashmir to India against all odds, including the opposition of JL Nehru. The story of Jammu & Kashmir today would have been completely different, had Maharaja Hari Singh not acceded his state to Indian Dominion that day. In fact, he had offered accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the powers-that-be in Delhi even before October 26, but all his pleas and the pleas of his Prime Minister Mehar Chand Mahajan were turned down by Nehru under one pretext or another.
It would have been in the fitness of things, had the authorities declared September 23 as a state holiday long back. That it didn't happen is a sad reflection on the nature of the Indian state. And that the authorities continue to overlook the overwhelming sentiment in Jammu or ignore the long-standing demand in Jammu seeking state holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh only adds to the anger of the already angry people of Jammu province, who have been struggling to get September 23 declared as a state holiday. What has shocked the people of Jammu province all the more was the failure of the BJP to respect the people's sentiment. It was in power in the state for almost three years. It itself had been demanding state holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh. It could have easily respected the Jammu's sentiment by telling the PDP that it would quit the coalition government in case the PDP refused to meet the Jammu's age-old demand. But it preferred power over the Jammu sentiment.
The Union Government, which is headed by the BJP, could have asked the Jammu & Kashmir Governor to declare September 23 as a state holiday as the state Governor during the Governor's Rule under Section 92 of the State Constitution enjoys absolute executive and constitutional powers and he is also the legislature. But the Union Government has thought it proper to overlook the Jammu sentiment. No wonder then that the people of Jammu are seething with anger and making preparations to convertSeptember 23 as a great event on Sunday.
Maharaja Hari Singh was not an ordinary ruler. He was a nationalist of nationalists and patriot of patriots. It was he who established the High Court of judicature in 1928 to dispense justice to the people. It was he who had passed the state subject laws in 1927 to check the fissiparous activities in Kashmir backed to the hilt by certain elements in British India, especially Punjab. It was Maharaja Hari Singh, who had established Praja Sabha in 1934 to enable people to participate in the law-making processes. It was Maharaja Hari Singh, who in 1939 established a Board of Judicial Advisors, which was manned by renowned legal luminaries. And, then his contribution to the field of education, agriculture, administration and his zeal for social reforms was just spectacular and exemplary. But more than that, it was Maharaja Hari Singh, who in 1931 told the Round Table Conference in London that he was for the political emancipation of India.
To not declare September 23 as a state holiday as a mark of respect to Maharaja Hari Singh constitutes an affront to the self-respect not only of the people of the state, but the whole nation and all those who fought for the freedom of the country.
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