Article 370, History, relevance, ambiguity, conspiracy theories and busting some myths around it.

It is a very long thread from 306a to 370 so grab a cup of coffee or tea.

The thread is a commemoration of this historic moment both the accession agreement & abrogation of 370
The first & second page of IoA of Jammu & Kashmir which has been in controversy unlike other IoA’s of other states that joined India.
The document above is the original Instrument of Accession (IoA) signed in October 1947 by the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh and accepted by Lord Mountbatten of Burma, who was Governor General of India at the time.
A lot of left intellectuals & scholars have denied the very existence of this IoA. While lot of other people and intellectuals from Kashmir have doubted the authenticity of the IoA.
Eg- ‘Kashmir: Triumphs and Tragedies, Gulshan Books, Srinagar, 2014, authored by Dr. Abdul Ahad.
The reference to his claims is found in Abdul Majid Zargar, “Kashmir Accession Document Shrouded in False Myths”, Counter Currents, 27 October, 2013.
First, like several other IoAs, the document is signed by the Maharaja of J&K is in two parts. The first three pages contain the text of the terms of the accession- this is the IoA proper.
Page 2 of the document bears the signature of Maharaja Hari Singh and the acceptance of instrument signed by Lord Mountbatten.
Page 3 contains the list of subjects on which the Dominion Legislature’s powers to make laws applicable to J&K were accepted by the Maharaja by virtue-
of this accession instrument. Pages 4 and 5 contain the standstill agreement between J&K and the Dominion of India, as it was called in 1947 before India became a republic.
Second, in all the IoAs signed by the rulers of Mysore,Manipur,Tehri Garhwala &Udaipur, Lord Mountbatten signed his acceptance of the instruments and mentioned the date of acceptance in green ink – just like he did while accepting the J&K IoA.
Further, the overall faded appearance of this document – just like the other IoAs I picked up – clearly hints to its vintage.

Third, the appended standstill agreements are an added element confirming the authenticity of the Jammu and Kashmir IoA.
In all these cases, the standstill agreements were signed by the rulers’ subordinates. In the case of Mysore, the standstill agreement was signed by the dewan of Mysore, in the case of Manipur, it was signed by the private secretary to the maharaja, in the case of Tehri Garhwal.-
l it was signed by the chief secretary of the state and in the case of Udaipur it was signed by the then acting prime minister.
The J&K standstill agreement, however, was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh himself and for good reason.
All writers commenting on the events leading to the accession of J&K to the Indian Dominion are unanimous on one fact, i.e., the then prime minister of J&K, Justice M. C. Mahajan was in New Delhi on October 26 – the date on which Maharaja Hari Singh is said to have signed the IoA
So there was probably no authority other than the Maharaja in Kashmir who could sign the standstill agreement. In all five cases, the standstill agreements were signed by Shri V. P. Menon on behalf of the Dominion of India.
Some people ask about the letter that Maharaja Hari Singh is purported to have sent to Lord Mountbatten along with the signed IoA and the reply the latter sent back to the maharaja. The authenticity of letter is not proved & is not part of IoA or kept with Standstill agreement.
But what about the overwriting in text of IoA? This is debated by people often & in my opinion is not answered properly.

This issue can be explained by the fact that a common template was used for the purpose of the IoAs.
The printed stationery mentioned the month of August, leaving a blank space for filling up the exact date of accession at the time of signature by each Ruler.
While a large number of Rulers signed their respective IoAs in August itself, Maharaja Hari Singh signed it in October-
-when his hands were forced by the invasion from across the State’s borders. This explains the striking out of “August” to insert “October” in the IoA
Debating authenticity of IoA on basis of correction is stupid and lacks any metal worthy of debate. If you look at Mysore IoA
the date of acceptance was initially mentioned as the “ninth” day of August in black ink. Lord Mountbatten seems to have put in the correct date, namely, the “sixteenth” while appending his signature. The correction is made in green ink – the same colour he used in all IoAs
Further, in case of the standstill agreement with Mysore, the dewan signed on the portion which was reserved for the signature of the Secretary of the States Department of the Dominion. So the designation of V. P. Menon had to be typed up manually at the bottom of this document.
While the title of the rulers of Manipur and Udaipur were type-written on the IoAs, those of their counterparts in the case of the IoAs of Mysore, Tehri Garhwal were hand written. Should this then be used to dispute the validity of the accession of any of these princely States?
All IoAs were drawn in the name of rulers of the states except in case of JK where it was drawn on the name of State. This doesn’t explain as contested by some that people were not consulted before accession. The circumstances of 1947 & sheer number of docs led to this in JK
Another thing that people point out during informal discussions that the maharaja had recognised the powers of the Dominion to make and implement laws only on three subjects matter, namely foreign affairs, defence and communications. This is MYTH & needs to be busted.
A comparison of the four IoAs of Mysore, Manipur, Tehri Garhwal and Udaipur that I accessed from the National Archives and a careful reading of V. P. Menon’s narrative account of the process by which India was integrated, indicates otherwise.
Every one of the 140 princely states that signed IoAs with the Dominion of India agreed to the same terms and conditions as J&K.
All these rulers also initially acceded to the Dominion limited to the same three subjects.
The remaining powers were retained by them just as the maharaja of J&K had sought to do. However, eventually some of them signed instruments of merger, to form larger administrative units such as the Matsya Union, Vindhya Pradesh, PEPSU, Travancore and Cochin etc.
The then yuvaraj of J&K who exercised all powers delegated to him by the Maharaja, issued a proclamation on November 25, 1949 stating that the soon-to-be-adopted Constitution of India would govern the relations between J&K.
And the Union only to such extent as its provisions would apply to J&K. Article 306a – which would later become Article 370 – laid down the terms and conditions of this relationship.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as the deputy PM, in charge of the Ministry of States, tabled the IoA of J&K along with those signed by 116 other princely states before the CA-L on 19 November 19, 1947. Kashmir is listed at #68 in Schedule I Part A of the paper laid in house
One more myth popular in pro aazadi & kashmiri Political intellectuals regarding existence stems from writings of Prof. Lamb. Lamb has written that the signed copy of the IoA was never attached to the White Paper on J&K that the Government issued in 1948 or included in the-
-documents that the Indian government sent to the UN Security Council that year.

It must be noted that during the late 1940s and 1950s, photocopying was not available in India. So the government perhaps appended only a copy of the IoA template which was used for all other states
It had been already shown that the text of the IoA templates was retyped for the purpose of laying them before the CA-L. Of course the government could have anticipated its future acerbic and often vituperative critics and included photographs of the signed copy of the J&K IoA-
all these documents. It was within its powers to so do. Why it elected not to do so, is the job of govt of india to explain and the congress regimes that carried out the process.

This is the journey of 306a to 370. I will be covering the effects of abrogation of 370 soon.
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