This Day in History (29-Nov-1947) – U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

As part of the 19th-century Zionist movement, Jews had begun settling in Palestine as early as 1820. The effort to establish a Jewish homeland received British approval in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. During the 1930s, Jews persecuted by the Hitler regime poured into Palestine. The post-World WarII acknowledgment of the Holocaust—Hitler’s genocide of 6 million Jews—increased international interest in and sympathy for the cause of Zionism. The British mandate to govern Palestine, which had been in place since 1923, ended after the war, and, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small international zone. Arabs rejected the idea, but the plan moved forward and the British officially withdrew on May 14, 1948, and the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.

Hostilities broke out almost immediately after the state of Israel was proclaimed. Neighboring Arab nations invaded, intent on crushing the newly declared State of Israel. Israel emerged victorious, affirming its sovereignty. By the cease-fire on Jan. 7, 1949, Israel had increased its original territory by 50%, taking western Galilee, a broad corridor through central Palestine to Jerusalem, and part of modern Jerusalem. The new border is called the Green Line. As many as 750,000 Palestinians either flee or are forced from Israel and settle in refugee camps near Israel’s border. The status of the refugees goes on to become a sticking point in further Arab-Israeli relations. The Palestinian defeat and exodus is known as the Nakba, or disaster.

The new Israel government was admitted to the UN on May 11, 1949. The remaining areas of Palestine were divided between Transjordan (now Jordan), which annexed the West Bank, and Egypt, which gained control of the Gaza Strip. Through a series of political and social policies, Jordan sought to consolidate its control over the political future of Palestinians and to become their speaker. Jordan even extended citizenship to Palestinians in 1949.

The conflicts around Israel and Palestine continued for years. In October 2011, UNESCO admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member.

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/un-votes-for-partition-of-palestine

http://www.infoplease.com/world/countries/israel-palestine-conflict/early-history.html

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

This Day in History (16-Nov-1938) – Hallucinogenic drug LSD is synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann

LSD known as LSD-25 or Lysergic Acid Diathylamide is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It was first synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in Sandoz Laboratories in Basle, Switzerland. However, it was a few years before Albert Hofmann realized what he had invented. LSD-25 was the twenty-fifth compound developed during Albert Hofmann’s study of amides of Lysergic acid, hence the name. LSD is considered a semi-synthetic chemical, the natural component of LSD-25 is lysergic acid, a type of ergot alkaloid that is naturally made by the ergot fungus, a synthesizing process is necessary to create the drug. LSD was being developed by Sandoz Laboratories as a possible circulatory and respiratory stimulant.

It was not until 1943 that Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD. LSD has a chemical structure that is very similar to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. However, it is still not clear what produces all the effects of LSD.  Albert Hoffman deliberately dosed himself [after a milder accidental dose] with just 25 mg, an amount he didn’t imagine would produce any effect. Hoffman got on his bicycle and rode home from the Lab and arrived in a state of panic. He felt he was losing his grip on sanity. Albert Hoffman wrote this about his LSD experience, “I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away..”

The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances requires its parties to prohibit LSD. Hence, it is illegal in all parties to the convention, which includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. Medical and scientific research with LSD in humans is permitted under the 1971 UN Convention.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-16-1532-ce-francisco-pizarro-captures-the-inca-emperor-atahualpa

http://inventors.about.com/od/lstartinventions/a/LSD.htm

http://www.psychedelic-library.org/child1.htm

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 (8-Oct-1932) – The Indian Air Force comes into being

The Indian Air Force was established on 8 October 1932. During World War II, IAF personnel were awarded 22 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements. Between 1945 and 1950 it was called the Royal Indian Air Force. In 1947 war with Pakistan, the Royal Indian Air Force provided air support to Indian troops and helped in transport. After India became a republic in 1950, the prefix ‘Royal’ was dropped, and it began to be known as the Indian Air Force (IAF). The President of India is the ex-officio commander-in-chief of the IAF.  The IAF’s English Electric Canberra played a major role in a United Nations operation in Congo in the early 1960s. In 1961, to drive out the Portuguese from Goa, and Daman and Diu, IAF played a major role.  India’s unwillingness to use its air force against Chinese forces in the 1962 war is regarded by some military experts as one of the reasons why India suffered serious losses in the conflict.

In the 1965 India-Pakistan war, the IAF raided Pakistani bases, but also lost many aircraft, most of the losses taking place during battles over Kalaikunda and Pathankot. In the 1971 Bangladesh ‘War of Liberation’, on the western front, the IAF’s tasks included disruption of enemy communications, destroying fuel and ammunition reserves, and stopping mobilisation of Pakistani ground troops. On the Eastern front, the IAF’s main goal was to support Indian forces on the ground. The IAF received its first and only Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, during the 1971 war, posthumously awarded to Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon of the No. 18 Squadron.

In 1987, around 70,000 sorties were flown by the IAF to support the Indian Peace Keeping Force troops in Sri Lanka. On 3 November 1988, the IAF dropped Indian paratroopers in the Maldives after the Maldivian president sought Indian help to stop a mercenary invasion in his country. The Indian military operation was swift and successful. In the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Indian Air Force targeted Pakistani intruder positions using aircraft and helicopter gunships.  IAF participated in the UN peace keeping mission at Sierra Leone, Africa in year 2000. The IAF also helps in providing relief during disasters such as floods.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/8th-october-1932-the-indian-air-force-comes-into-being

http://indianairforce.nic.in/show_page.php?pg_id=98

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/history/2000s/1054-sierra.html

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 (2-Jul-1972) – Shimla Treaty’ was singed between Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Pakistani counterpart Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

During 1971 Bangladesh independence war, Pakistan attacked at several places along India’s western border with Pakistan, but the Indian army successfully held their positions. The Indian Army quickly responded to the Pakistan Army’s movements in the west and made some initial gains, including capturing around 5,500 square miles of Pakistan territory. The war came to a temporary halt with the signing of the Shimla Agreement. In the summit, which opened on 28 June 1972 in Shimla, Mrs. India Gandhi warmly welcomed Mr. Z A Bhutto.

The agreement was the result of resolve of both the countries to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations”. It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. The agreement converted the cease-fire line of December 17, 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that “neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations”.

At the time of agreement, the victorious India had with her 90,000 prisoners of war and a large tract of Pakistani territory. In such a favourable state India could have turned a tough bargainer. However Mrs. Gandhi signed an agreement on the night of 2 July after a one-to-one meeting with Bhutto after the parties had packed their luggage for the return. “No one else was present”, but Mrs. Gandhi’s Secretary and economic advisor who was outside the room and has said that there was verbal understanding for a final settlement of the Kashmir question along with an agreement on the Line of Control. Land gained by India in Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab and Sindh sectors was returned in the Simla Agreement of 1972, as a gesture of goodwill. There was widespread dissatisfaction in India about the Shimla Accord among the various nationalist outfits, intellectuals and patriots. Strongly condemning this agreement, A B Vajpayee, the leader of the Bharathiya Jana Sangh, described it as a “sell out”.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistan_War_of_1971

http://www.peacekashmir.org/views-articles/2011/0607-secret-of-shimla-agreement.htm

This Day in History (30-Jun-1965) – Cease-fire was agreed under UN auspices between India and Pakistan, who signed treaty to stop the war at Rann of Kutch

Other than Kashmir, there was another border dispute between India and Pakistan, this being the Rann of Kutch. The Rann of Kutch is endowed with unique geographical features. During a part of every year, the Rann is a dry, salt desert and for the remaining part it is flooded with water, the depth of which varies from a few feet to a few yards. How and where this water comes from has not been determined yet. The probable reason might be the Saraswati, a great river rising from the Himalayan watershed, symbolically the most important during the Vedic period, is believed to have flowed south and west through present day Haryana-Punjab, Rajasthan, and southern Pakistan to exit through what is now the Rann of Kutch marshland. The Saraswati River has long since disappeared, probably due to geological changes.

It is this strange geographical nature of the Rann which had become a controversial issue between India and Pakistan. India maintained that the Rann is land and claimed it as Indian territory; while Pakistan stated that it was a marine feature and laid claim to the northern half of the Rann. The area was admitted by both sides to be in dispute at the time of the Indo-Pakistani border negotiations of 1960. In January 1965, Pakistani guards began patrolling areas which were controlled by India, which eventually led to attacks by both countries on each other in April. This disputed area soon saw sporadic skirmishes between both countries. In June 1965, Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister of Britain successfully persuaded both countries to end this dispute and set up a tribunal for the same. The verdict of the tribunal saw Pakistan get 330 square miles of the Rann of Kutch against the 3500 square miles they had originally claimed. On June 30th 1965, a ceasefire was agreed between India and Pakistan under UN auspices who signed a treaty to stop the war at the Rann of Kutch.

However Pakistan judged the pro-Pak US response in war and moved ahead crossing LOC in Kashmir in August leading to 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/june-30-1965-a-ceasefire-is-agreed-under-un-auspices-between-india-and-pakistan-to-stop-the-war-at-the-rann-of-kutch

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/rann-of-kutch.htm