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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
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The Vox Populi

Gandhi visits Srinagar and insists the people, not the ruler, should decide the future; Nehru submits the list of the first Cabinet of free India to Mountbatten

The Vox Populi
The Vox Populi
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

TRUE to his word, Gandhi did not address any public meeting in Srinagar after arriving there on August 1. Yet it was a vital visit. For while he did not suggest that Jammu and Kashmir should accede to India, he insisted that the people, not the ruler, should decide the state's future.

Jinnah had offered Maharaja Hari Singh a blank cheque to join Pakistan. But Gandhi had confidence in the communal harmony for which the valley was known, under the leadership of the Kashmir National Conference president, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. He was later to say: "My sole hope and prayer is that Kashmir would become a beacon light in this benighted subcontinent." Abdullah himself was under detention for leading a movement for democratic rule in the state. Gandhi was unable to see him, but conveyed his message by seating Begum Abdullah beside him. Nehru had established close links between the Indian National Congress and the National Conference, which was why he was not welcome for the Maharaja; Gandhi's low-key visit strengthened the links on the eve of...

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