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Kashmir: Modern People Dispute Ancient Lands: Documents A

Document Analysis

Directions:  Read the excerpts from each of the documents presented below.  Use the questions to analyze these documents and their relationship to one another and the on-going dispute in the Kashmir region.

  1. Did the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) give the area to India as a gift? Explain your answer citing evidence from the documents.
  2. What powers did the Indian government gain over the people and lands of J&K?
  3. What powers did the government of J&K retain (keep) over its people and land?
  4.  How did these actions increase the conflict in J&K?

The Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir (1947)

Maharaja Hari Singhji gave control of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to India with the condition that India respect the ideas outlined in the "Government of India Act, 1935."

The Instrument of Accession stated that: 

  • "Nothing in this Instrumenshall empower [India] to make any law authorizing the compulsory acquisition of land" [in J&K.] for any purpose."  This means that the government of India could not take land from the people of J&K. 
  • "Nothing in this Instrumenshall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future constitution."  This means that the Maharaja could continue to negotiate with India.
  • "Nothing in this Instrumenaffects the continuance of my sovereignty in and over this state, or, save as provided by or under this Instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as Ruler of this state or the validity of any law at present in force in this state."  This means that the Maharajah would always have the power to rule the country.  
  • "I hereby declare that I execute this Instrument on behalf of this state and that any reference in this Instrument to me or to the ruler of the state is to be construed as including to my heirs and successors."  Some people have argued that this power extended beyond him into the future government of J&K, include the democratic legislature later elected by the people. 

Article 370. Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (1947)

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provided for:

  • a state constitution for Jammu & Kashmir that exempted the state from all but two of the articles of the Indian Constitution.
  • the limit of India's legislative powers over J&K to defense, foreign affairs, and communications.
  • the President of India's right to abrogate or amend the article in agreement with the established constituent legislature of J&K. 

Presidential Order of 1954 / Article 35A (1954)

By presidential order with legislative approval, 

  • Indian citizenship was extended to "permanent residents" of J&K, with the J&K legislature having the power to legislate the privileges of those residents.
  • Fundamental rights of the Indian constitution were extended to J&K. 
  • The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India was extended to J&K.
  • The government of India could declare a national emergency in the event of external aggression, but needed concurrence of J&K government to do so in the event of internal unrest

Learn more...

Nayak, Venkatesh, The Backstory of Article 370: A True Copy of J&K's Instrument of Accession, The Wire, October 26, 2016
Examines the authenticity of the document housed in the National Archives of India and the controversy that surrounds the document.


abrogate: to repeal or do away with; to evade responsibility.

constituent legislature:  an assembly of elected officials that represent the voters.

exempt: free from having to follow or apply.

external aggression:  a threat from enemies outside of the state.  

internal unrest:  demonstrations and other acts of protest from people within the state.

maharaja: and Indian prince, the historical leader.

permanent residents:  people who were subjects of the Maharaja prior to 1954 or who have been a residents of J&K for 10 years AND owns landed property.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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