This Day in History (29-Dec-1930) – Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s presidential address in Allahabad introduces the two-nation theory

Sir Muhammad Iqbal remains in India both a controversial and revered figure. To nationalists he is the misguided intellectual progenitor of Pakistan; but to many lovers of poetry he is one of India’s greatest 20th century poets, perhaps next only to Rabindranath Tagore. Though he wrote in both Urdu and Persian, it is mainly upon his Urdu poetry that his fame rests. In India he is also remembered as the author of the popular song Tarana-i-Hindi  – ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha’. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title “Sir”.

Having pursued higher studies in Lahore, by 1905 he was off to England. Prior to his departure, he had already become famous as a poet for such nationalist poems as Naya Shivala- ‘The New Temple’ and Tarana-i-Hindi. Western society and German vitalist philosophy had a major impact on him. He envisaged that if Muslims could recreate the Islam for modern-times, they could offer a model for the East and to the world in general. He believed that a polity created by Muslims in India could serve as a rallying point for Muslims throughout the world and the beginning step towards a global brotherhood. This is the background to his 1930 speech at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League where the first geographic outlines of this state were demarcated.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered the presidential address at the 21st Session of the All India Muslim League held from 29-30 December, 1930, in which he declared: “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluschistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North West India”. Largely due to the course of the political events that ensued, Iqbal has ended up becoming the poet-patriot of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan, nine years after Iqbal’s death, Jinnah and other League politicians would publicly credit Iqbal as one of the visionaries and founders of the new state. The Pakistan government officially named him a “national poet”. His birthday ‘Iqbal Day’ is a public holiday in Pakistan.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_29

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/aproct09/7.htm

https://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/British/Iqbal.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Muhammad_Iqbal

http://www.poemhunter.com/allama-muhammad-iqbal/biography/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Iqbal

This Day in History (8-Dec-1971) – The Indian Navy Launches Operation Python on Karachi, West Pakistan

Pakistan’s Naval headquarters was based at the historic and strategic port of Karachi here almost their entire fleet was concentrated. Karachi not only represented the area of maximum strategic importance, but also was also critical for Pakistan’s external trade and maritime interests, meaning that a blockade would be disastrous for Pakistan’s economy. For these reasons, the port received some of the best defence Pakistan had to offer as well as cover from strike aircraft based at two airfields in the proximity.

To counter India’s involvement in Bangla Desh freedome struggle, on December 3rd, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) flew sorties against 11 airfields in India, under Operation Chengiz Khan in an attempt to reduce the numerical superiority held by the Indian military.  Indian Air Force (IAF) retaliated later in the evening, starting 1971 war. On 4th December Indian Navy launched Operation Trident and caused heavy damages to Karachi port without any damage to any Indian ship.

On the 8th December night, under operation Python, the missile boat INS Vinash escorted by the frigates INS Talwar and INS Trishul set course for Karachi at high speed. En route, electronic emissions were detected on a Pakistan Naval frequency, which were being monitored. It was appreciated that a vessel with a powerful transmitter was reporting the presence of the force to Maritime headquarters Karachi. The vessel was soon sighted and Talwar opened fire, blasting the communication craft to pieces. At 2300 hrs, the group arrived off Karachi and detected a group of ships on radar. When around 12 miles off Karachi, after some careful calculation, Vinash fired all her 4 missiles at her contacts, 3 of which were ships and the other a coastal target.

Python was another successful operation by the Indian Navy. The Pakistani fuel reserves for the sector were destroyed. India had established complete control over the oil route from the Persian Gulf to Pakistani ports. Shipping traffic to and from Karachi, Pakistan’s only major port at that time, ceased. The Pakistani Navy’s main ships were either destroyed or forced to remain in port. A partial naval blockade was imposed by the Indian Navy on the port of Karachi.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/december-8-1971-the-indian-navy-launches-operation-python-on-karachi-west-pakistan

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE4-4/harry.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Python

This Day in History (2-Nov-1953) – Pakistan becomes Islamic republic

When India and Pakistan became independent states in 1947, each inherited a bristling minority problem. Twelve million apprehensive Hindus stayed in Pakistan; 43 million Muslims stayed in India. The Indian Parliament guaranteed its minorities equality, and Prime Minister Nehru conspicuously appointed Muslims and Christians to his Cabinet. But Pakistan, in framing its own constitution, chose the dark path which might lead to theocracy and fear. The Constituent Assembly ruled that the nation should become “the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” (presumably within the British Commonwealth, like India)

Pakistan became independent of the United Kingdom in 1947, but remained a British Dominion like Canada or Australia until 1956. Under Section 8 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, with certain adaptations, served as the working constitution of Pakistan, but the need of a full independence and a constitution to be framed by the elected representatives of the people was all the more necessary for the free citizens of a sovereign state. Since India became a republic in 1950, the feeling had increased that Pakistan should assume the same special status that India felt she had attained. Republican sentiment had almost certainly been further strengthened by what many Pakistanis consider Britain’s failure to support her openly in the Kashmir dispute. Even so, Pakistan had no present intention of dissociating herself from the Commonwealth. A proposal to do so was quietly dropped.

There was no indication of what precisely the term ‘Islamic Republic’ would mean, but the leader of the Hindu members of the Constituent Assembly, who walked out in protest, had already labelled it as.” an attempt to make Pakistan a theocratic State,” in which Hindus (13 per cent of the population) would be placed on a separate electoral rolls, denied the highest office of State, and forced into a position of inferiority. Certainly it would not help to solve the problem of the Hindus of East Bengal, nor improve relations with India.

Pakistan was the first country to become Islamic Republic, followed by Mauritania, Iran and Afganistan over a period.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/november/2

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,819249,00.html

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/6th-november-1953/4/the-islamic-republic-of-pakistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_republic

This Day in History (26-Oct-1947) – Maharaja Hari Singh agrees to the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India

Gulab Singh founded the state of Jammu and Kashmir after purchasing the entire territory along with people between the rivers of Ravi and Indus from the East India Company in 1846, for 75 lakh. Hari Singh, the great-grandson of Gulab Singh was the ruler at the time of India-Pak independence. Hari Singh, in the weeks after August 15, 1947, gave no indication of giving up his State’s independence, unlike other 570 princely states in the region. It proved to be the root cause of present day Kashmir conflict. Md Ali Jinnah wanted to meet Hari Singh through the excuse of visiting the beautiful valley to recover his lost health. A state with such a vast muslim population makes clear point to come in Pakistan & Jinnah was over sure about this. His shock found no limit when he knew  that Hari Singh does not want him in Kashmir  even as a tourist. Pakistan then decided to force the issue, and a tribal invasion to drive out the Maharaja was initiated. In the early hours of October 24, 1947 the invasion began, as thousands of tribal Pathans swept into Kashmir. Their destination: the state’s capital, Srinagar, from where Hari Singh ruled. The Maharaja appealed to India for help.

On 25 October, V. P. Menon, a civil servant considered to be close to Patel, flew to Srinagar to get Hari Singh’s nod for Kashmir’s accession to India. By signing the Instrument of Accession, on October 26, 1947, Hari Singh agreed that the State would become a part of India. On 27 October, India’s 1st Sikh battalion flew into Srinagar.  Srinagar was soon secured from the Pakistani invaders but the battles in the larger region were just beginning. When Jinnah learnt of the Indian troops’ landing, he reportedly ordered his acting British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracey to move two brigades into Kashmir, who refused the request. Pakistan finally did send troops to Kashmir but by then Indian forces had taken control of nearly two thirds of the state. Gilgit and Baltistan territories were secured by Pakistani troops. Meanwhile Hari Singh fleed Srinagar with a convoy of 85 cars and wealth of 500Cr. Loaded in 8 trucks and finally settled in Mumbai. Finally, a United Nations (UN) ceasefire was arranged. After long negotiations, the cease-fire was agreed to by both countries, and came into effect at the end of 1948.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/26th-october-1947-maharaja-hari-singh-agrees-to-the-accession-of-jammu-and-kashmir-to-india

http://www.jammu-kashmir.com/documents/harisingh47.html

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-14/news/37713654_1_karan-singh-jammu-and-kashmir-omar-abdullah

https://somensengupta.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/a-nemesis-called-kashmir-a-sin-of-hari-singh-and-we-pay-the-price/

This Day in History (22-Sep-1965) – End of second Indo-Pak war

The second Indo-Pakistani conflict was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. The war began in August 5, 1965 and was ended Sept 22, 1965. The war was initiated by Pakistan who since the defeat of India by China in 1962 had come to believe that Indian military would be unable or unwilling to defend against a quick military campaign in Kashmir, and because the Pakistani government was becoming increasingly alarmed by Indian efforts to integrate Kashmir within India. There was also a perception that there was widespread popular support within for Pakistani rule and that the Kashmiri people were disatisfied with Indian rule.

After Pakistan was successful in the Rann of Kutch earlier in 1965, Ayub Khan was pressured by the hawks in his cabinet (led by Z.A. Bhutto) and the army to infiltrate the ceasefire line in Kashmir. It was boasted at the time that one Pakistani soldier was equal to four Indian soldiers and so on. On August 5, 1965, 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed the Line of Control dressed as Kashmiri locals headed for various areas within Kashmir. Indian forces, tipped off by the local populace, crossed the cease fire line on August 15.

The initial battles between India and Pakistan were contained within Kashmir involving both infantry and armor units with each country’s air force playing major roles. It was not until early Sept. when Pakistani forces attacked Ackhnur that the Indians escalated the conflict by attacking targets within Pakistan itself, forcing the Pakistani forces to disengage from Ackhnur to counter Indian attacks. Unfortunately the battle was indecisive. By Sept 22 both sides had agreed to a UN mandated cease-fire ending the war that had by that point reached a stalemate. Negotiations in Tashkent concluded in January 1966, with both sides giving up territorial claims, withdrawing their armies from the disputed territory.

Overall, the war was militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy–on the Pakistani side, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan’s army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan.

 

Reference:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/indo-pak_1965.htm

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/india-pakistan-war

This Day in History (18-Sep-1948) – Operation Polo is terminated after the Indian Army Accepts the Surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Army

Spread over most of the Deccan Plateau, the Hyderabad State was established by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724 after the end of the Mughal Empire. Under the rule of Mir Usman Ali, the Hyderabad state was very prosperous and had its own army, railway and airline network, postal system and radio network. In 1947, the then Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel requested the Nizam to join India, but he refused and instead declared Hyderabad an independent nation on 15th August 1947, the day Indian received Independence. The Indian Government then offered Hyderabad a Standstill Agreement, which assured the state that no military action would be taken against it. Unlike the other princely states which acceded to either India or Pakistan, Hyderabad only promised India that it would not join Pakistan. In June 1948, Lord Mountbatten proposed the Heads of Agreement deal which gave Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India. The deal was signed by India, but the Nizam refused to sign this saying that he either wanted complete independence or the status of a dominion under the British Commonwealth of Nations. While these negotiations were being carried out, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims had broken out in Hyderabad. The state was also busy arming itself and was receiving arms from Pakistan and the Portuguese administration in Goa.

As soon as the Indian Government received information that Hyderabad was arming itself and planning to ally with Pakistan, Sardar Patel described the idea of an Independent Hyderabad as “an ulcer in the heart of India which needed to be removed surgically”. This was when talks between India and Hyderabad broke down and India decided to annex Hyderabad under “Operation Polo” and “Operation Caterpillar”, or more commonly referred to as “Police Action”. The battle between India and Hyderabad began on 13th September 1948 and ended on 18th September 1948 after which the Nizam’s army surrendered to the Indian Army and Hyderabad became a part of the Union of India. It is estimated that 32 were killed and 97 injured on the Indian side and 490 killed and 122 wounded on the Hyderabadi side. Subsequentky Hyderabad state was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh in 1956.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/18th-september-1948-operation-polo-is-terminated-after-the-indian-army-accepts-the-surrender-of-the-nizam-of-hyderabads-army

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/hyderabad-indian-army-telangana-police-action-independent-india/1/309167.html

This Day in History (17-Aug-1947) – The Radcliffe Line, the border between the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan is revealed

When the India-Pakistan partition was evident, in June 1947, Britain commissioned Sir Cyril Radcliffe to head the two Boundary Commissions (one for Punjab and the other for Bengal), to equitably divide 4,50,000 km sq of territory with 88 million people. Each Boundary Commission had four representatives, two from the Congress and two from the Muslim League and given the tension between the both, the decision regarding the boundary ultimately lay with Radcliffe. Radcliffe was a brilliant legal mind, but he had no border-making experience, nor had he ever been to India. He arrived in India on 8th July 1947 and was given five weeks to work on the border. While defining the boundary, Radcliffe also took into consideration “natural boundaries, communications, watercourses and irrigation systems”, while paying heed to socio-political affairs. Radcliffe completed the boundary line a few days before Independence.

Understandably, Radcliffe’s final proposals met with howls of disapproval from both sides. Even before he had completed his work, mutual suspicion and rumors about the eventual course of the border led to deadly violence on the ground. To create perceptual distance between the independence of India and Pakistan and the accompanying riots — and especially to deflect blame for the latter from Britain — Mountbatten postponed publication of the Radcliffe Border Commissions’ findings to two days after Aug. 15. For those two days, India and Pakistan were like conjoined twins. With long stretches of the border undefined on Independence Day, some towns raised both the Indian and Pakistani flags. Following the release of the border scheme, called the Radcliffe Award, violence escalated to horrendous levels. When all was over, pogroms and ethnic cleansing had left up to 1 million dead and forced 12 million to move one way or the other across the new border. Disgusted and horrified, Radcliffe burned all his papers and refused the fee of 40,000 rupees for his work. He left on Independence Day and never returned.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/17th-august-1947-the-radcliffe-line-the-border-between-the-union-of-india-and-the-dominion-of-pakistan-is-revealed

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/peacocks-at-sunset/?_r=0