The latest London Review of Books includes the following letter, in response to Perry Anderson's articles about Gandhi, Nehru and modern India:
Perry Anderson says that Kashmir became part of India in 1947 ‘with a forged declaration of accession’, and that the document then disappeared for ‘over half a century’. Not quite. The maharajah of Kashmir was pushed into joining India by an invasion of Pakistani tribesmen, and there’s little doubt that he signed the instrument of accession. A facsimile of the crucial page bearing his signature was published more than forty years ago, and the entire document was posted on the website of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. However, when I sought permission to consult the original, I was told – it would be nice to think that the play on words was intentional – that the Indian government had ‘not acceded’ to my request.
There is certainly something fishy about the circumstances of the accession. The evidence is compelling that the maharajah signed on 27 October, but was told to record the date as 26 October. In other words, he put his name to the document a few hours after India began an airlift of troops to the Kashmir valley (the beginning of a military presence that continues to this day), but in a manner which suggested it had been signed before the military operation began.
There's more about this in my book about Kashmir in 1947 - and for ease of reference, here's the signed copy of the Instrument of Accession:
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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