For several years, friends have been urging me to get my extensive correspondence with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru published in view of its considerable historical value. While some of his letters to me have been included in the multi-volume Selected Works being published by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial fund, I felt that the entire corresponded should be available to historians as well as the general public. Our correspondence lasted fifteen years from 1949 when at the age of eighteen I entered public life as head of state in Jammu and Kashmir right up to Panditji's passing away in 1964. The select correspondence in this volume consists of 68 letters from him and 148 letters from me duly edited and annotated.
Panditji was my political mentor for those important years when I was regent, Sadar-I-Riyasat and then governor in Jammu and Kashmir during which period I also developed a keen interest in national politics. His guidance was a great source of strength to me in dealing with the many difficult situations that arose during this period. I will always treasure the memory of the affection with which he invariably treated me and I have taken the liberty of dedicating the book to his memory.
While looking through my papers I also came across a copy of the memorandum that my father Maharaja Hari Singh presented to the then president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, in August 1952. As far as I am aware this document has never been published and as it memorandum be included as an appendix to this volume.
I am grateful to Smt. Sonia Gandhi for writing the foreword to this book and to Penguin for publishing it.
All royalties from this book will go to the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.
From the Jacket
In 1949, Karan Singh had just turned eighteen when he was appointed regent to Jammu and Kashmir, two years after his father Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Aaccession merging the then independent state with India. For the next eighteen years Dr, Singh remained at the helm of affairs, successively as regent, Sadari-I- Riyasat and governor of the state. As Dr. Singh's political mentor, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a source of great strength for a young man who had shouldered large responsibilities.
Jammu and Kashmir 1949-64 is a selection of over two hundred letters from the correspondence between Dr. Singh and Pandit Nehru complied and edited by Dr. Jawaid Alam. The teething problems of a fledging country and a newly grafted state the emerging conflicts between Pakistan and India and the events and issues these letters span. They afford an unmatched ringside view of the momentous events in Kashmir and the rest of India that unfolded after Independence events that continue to have relevance and impact on our lives to this day. Apart from insights into the political situation of the period these letters also provide rare glimpses into the personal lives and thoughts of Pandit Nehru and Dr. Singh and reflect the deep regard and affection that the two had for each other.
The inevitable disruption that the transfer from one form of government to another entails is reflected in the memorandum submitted by Maharaja Hari Prasad Singh to President Rajendra Prasad in August 1952. The memorandum published in its entirety for the first time is reproduced at the end of this book and adds an invaluable perspective on the way the identity and future of Kashmir was shaped.
The biographical and explanatory footnotes that Dr. Alam has provided impose a narrative on the collection of letters and enrich the text, making it accessible to scholars and curious readers alike.
Dr. Karan Singh was born heir apparent to the then ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and served successively as regent, Sadari-I-Riyasat and governor of the state.
A Padma Vibhushan Dr. Singh has held the tourism and civil aviation, health and family planning and the education and culture portfolios in the Indian government and also served briefly as ambassador to the United States. He currently a member of the Congress Parliamentary Party as well as chairman of the Committee of Ethics of the Rajya Sabha.
Dr. Karan Singh has been chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, and Jammu and Kashmir University and is currently the chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University. He had also served as chairman of the Indian Board of Wildlife and is associated with several cultural and academic institutions. He composes and recites devotional songs in Dogri and is a connoisseur of Indian classical musuc.
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