Page 6 - seniors today August issue
P. 6

Cover Story                                                                The first Republic Day Parade in
                                                                                   Srinagar, 1950. All photographs
                                                                                    copyright Sati Sahni.

                                                              The Kashmir


        The story behind the Instrument of Accession and its signing, by India’s first
        war correspondent, the late Sati Sahni, who was there

        The Instrument of Accession signed by Sir Hari       in British India, or failing this, entering into
        Singh, Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir State on          particular political arrangements with it or
        26 October 1947 is legally and constitutionally      them.” The Indian Independence Act 1947
        a valid document. Time and again this is             accepted this as its guiding and main principle.
        questioned by many people and having been in         Except for a few states, all 562 states acceded
        Kashmir at that crucial time, I have observed        either to India or Pakistan before 15 August
        and have also written about the events closely.      1947.
        Here are the facts;

         In 1947 and before the partition of India, the
        constitutional relationship between British
        India and the Government of India Act of
        1935 was on a federal basis. Under this act
        accession by states was to be voluntary while
        for provinces it was automatic. The ruler of a
        state had the power to sign the Instrument of
        Accession and the Paramount Power signified
        its acceptance. It was the Cabinet Mission           Sat Paul (Sati) Sahni, who was born in
        Memorandum of 12 May 1946, announced by              Rawalpindi in 1922, participated in the Indian
        Lord Mountbatten, which was to be the basis          freedom struggle and later became one of the
        of the policy of the government towards the          few multimedia journalists of his generation.
        states to decide on the partition. This document     He was a pioneer photojournalist, and
        provided that the paramountcy of the British         worked for leading international publications
        over Indian States would lapse on 15 August          and news agencies. An experienced war
        1947. “This void could be filled over either by the   correspondent, he covered all the four major
                                                             wars India was involved in, and has written
        states entering into a federal relationship with     many books – his last book was titled Nehru’s
        the Successor Government or Governments              Kashmir. He passed away in October 2010.
                                                                                   SENIORS TODAY | Volume 1 | Issue 2
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11