Turning the pages of history always gives us new perspectives with a throwback to the dusty stories which got beneath the political interests. In the wake of political gains, it often happens that people you have been treating as a hero may ultimately turn out to be a villain and vice-versa. One such controversial historical figure was Ram Chandra Kak, who could be a hero but eventually got tagged as a villain in Indian history.
Who was Ram Chandra Kak?
Ram Chandra Kak, was once the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 1945 to 1947. He was a rare case to hold this position being a Kashmiri Pandit. He was among the officials to hold the controversial job of navigating the troubled waters of the transfer of power from British colonists to the independent territories of India and Pakistan.
Born on 5 June 1893, Ram Chandra Kak also served the post of Chief Secretary in 1934 followed by Inspector General of Customs & Excise in 1935. In 1938, he was appointed as the “Political Advisor” to the Maharaja and then as the Minister of Military Affairs in 1941. He held the role of “minister-in-waiting” for Maharaja Hari Singh from 1942 to 1945, which gave him the opportunity to come to power. He served as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from June 1945 until 11 August 1947.
If Kak wanted, Kashmir would be Indian territory
After the decision to partition India in June 1947, the decision on the accession of Kashmir was stuck. Lord Mountbatten visited Kashmir in June (June 19-23) and persuaded the Maharaja as well as Kak to make a decision guaranteeing the continuation of the constitutional monarchy. When asked about the “correct choice” by Kak, Kak’s final position was that “since Kashmir will not join Pakistan, it cannot join India”. He advised the Maharaja that Kashmir should remain independent. At least one year till the issue of merger can be considered.
Kak met Congress and Muslim League leaders in New Delhi in July that year. Jinnah told them that if Kashmir is annexed immediately but not later, then Kashmir will be merged with better conditions. Kak also met VP Menon, the secretary-in-charge of the princely states for India, and sought security. The Chief of Staff of the State Forces, General Henry Scott, said in his last report that Kak was in favor of independence but had close ties with Pakistan. On 1 August 1947, when Gandhi visited Kashmir and told Kak how unpopular he was among the people, Kak offered to resign. Kak can be called the architect of the idea of independent Kashmir. Although Kak could have become the hero of Kashmir if he wanted, due to short-sightedness and selfishness, he decided to become a villain.