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‘OPERATIONS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR 1947-48’Author Mr S N Prasad, D Phil
Mr Dharampal, Ph D
Publishers Natraj Publishers, Dehradun
Print History Division, Min of Defence 1987
Natraj Publishers, Dehradun 2005
Review by SAMAR SIROHI
1. The operations of 1947-48 were conducted by the Indian Armed Forces in a difficult terrain and inclement weather conditions, soon after independence without adequate preparations. The tribal invasion sponsored by Pakistan came as a surprise to the State of Jammu & Kashmir as well as the people of India. It was effectively repulsed by the gallant action of the Indian Armed Forces but at a heavy cost.
2. The cease fire, which came into force at 2359 hrs on 01 Jan 1949 left nearly one third of the territory in the hands of Pakistan.
3. This is the full story of the military operations in Jammu and Kashmir during 1947-48, undertaken to save that Princely State, which had acceded to the Union of India, from a brutal invasion from Pakistan. The year-long campaign saw many triumphs and tragedies, which are narrated objectively and in detail. The Indian Army and Air Force, just emerging from the throes of partition, and still in the process of reorganisation, emerged from this ordeal with added brilliance and a brighter halo. It is an inspiring saga of heroism, devotion to duty, sacrifice and professional competence.
4. Based on careful and exhaustive research in secret government records, the book analyses the operations and presents the story in simple, non-technical language. It should prove invaluable for the man in uniform as well as the intelligentsia, journalist and the reading public man in general.
Invasion by Pakistan : ‘OP GULMARG’
5. Why did Pakistan invade Kashmir in the first place? First, Kashmir being a Muslim-dominant state, but ruled by a Hindu Ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, was considered a natural part of Pakistan, which had made Islam the basis of its modern nationality. Second, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan's Pathanistan Movement was gaining momentum and Kashmir was held out as a bait for luring the poor tribals away. The internal conditions of Jammu & Kashmir with religious passions aflame, lawlessness rampant and authority paralysed offered the right mix for the raiders to strike.
6. The Army Headquarters of Pakistan planned the main invasion plan, code-named Operation Gulmarg. According to it, every Pathan tribe was required to enlist at least one Lashkar of 1,000 tribesmen. These Lashkars were to be concentrated at Baftnu, Wana, Peshawar, Kohat, Thal and Nowshera by the first week of September 1947. The Brigade Commanders at these places were to issue them arms, ammunition and some essential clothing items. Each Lashkar was also to be provided with a Major, a Captain and ten JCOs of the regular Pakistan Army. The entire force was to be commanded by Major General Akbar Khan, who was given the code name Tariq.
7. All Lashkars were to meet at Abbottabad by October 18th. According to the plan, six Lashkars were to advance along the main road from Muzaffarabad to Srinagar via Domel, Uri and Baramula, with the specific task of capturing the aerodrome and subsequently advancing to the Banihal Pass. Two Lashkars were to advance from the Haji Pir Pass direct on to Gulmarg, thereby securing the right flank of the main force advancing from Muzaffarabad. Another two Lashkars were to advance from Tithwal through the Nastachhun Pass for capturing Sopore, Handwara and Bandipur. And 10 other Lashkars were to operate in the Poonch, Bhimbar and Rawalkot area with the intention of capturing Poonch and Rajauri before advancing to Jammu. Arrangements were also made for detailing of guides/informers from the so-called Azad Army, to all these tribal Lashkars.
8. Major General Khan was also given the task of organising the Azad Army, the major portion of which was to come from the Muslim element of the J&K State forces. Dumps of arms, ammunition, supplies and clothing were to be established forward of Abbottabad by October 15th