Ram Chandra Kak
|Ram Chandra Kak|
|Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir|
June 1945 – 10 August 1947
|Preceded by||Sir Benegal Narsing Rau|
|Succeeded by||Janak Singh|
|Born||5 June 1893|
|Died||10 February 1983|
Ram Chandra Kak (5 June 1893 – 10 February 1983) was Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir during 1945-47. He was also a pioneering archaeologist who excavated the leading sites of antiquities in Kashmir Valleyand wrote the definitive text on them.
He served at various keys positions in Maharaja Hari Singh‘s administration. Beginning as the superintendent of archaeology, he was appointed to the post of chief secretary in 1937. He was the minister of military affairs in 1941 and held the role of “minister-in-waiting” for the Maharaja Hari Singh during 1942–1945. He was appointed as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from June 1945 – 11 August 1947 during the key transitional period when the British prepared for departure from India.
In 1946, the National Conference party began the Quit Kashmir movement against the Maharaja. Its leader Sheikh Abdullah was arrested on 15 May. Jawaharlal Nehru attempted to come to Kashmir as his defence counsel. Nehru’s entry into the state was blocked by Kak. Nehru was arrested on 22 June and kept at the dak bungalow in Domel, close to Muzaffarabad. Nehru returned to Delhi after two days following a summon from Gandhi. Later, Kak met Congress leaders in India in July and Nehru was permitted to revisit Srinagar. He met Abdullah in jail.
Kak was ill-disposed to the Congress party because it allied itself with Sheikh Abdullah and lent its “great weight of authority” to Abdullah’s agitation against the State government. After Abdullah’s arrest in 1946, Congress leaders sent telegrams to Kak as well as the Maharaja demanding Abdullah’s release. Kak held that “highly coloured, inaccurate and vituperative statements” were published by Congress, resolutions passed against the Maharaja’s government, and commissions of enquiry appointed. For these reasons both Kak and the Maharaja decided against acceding to India in 1946 (even before the partition was decided).
In 1947, after the Partition of India was decided, the decision on accession became imminent. Lord Mountbatten visited Kashmir in June for five days (19–23 June) and pressured the Maharaja as well as Kak to make a decision. As to which Dominion to accede, Mountbatten said that it was the State government’s decision, but strongly hinted that Pakistan was the right choice. Accession to Pakistan did not appeal to the Maharaja. Kak wrote that `since Kashmir would not accede to Pakistan it could not accede to India’ (emphasis in the original). His advice to the Maharaja was that Kashmir remain independent for at least a year, after which the issue of accession could be considered. Jinnah told him that Kashmir could hope to get far better terms if it acceded immediately rather than later. But Kak’s position was that the State’s decision on non-accession was final. Jinnah is reported to have said that he did not mind the State not acceding as long as it did not accede to India.
The British Indian government returned Gilgit, leased to it in 1934, to the Maharaja.
Brigadier Henry Lawrence Scott, the Chief of Staff of the State forces, credits Kak for maintaining friendly relations with Pakistan and the Muslim League. During Kak’s tenure, the West Pakistan states are said to have stationed troops along the two main roads leading to the State and protected it from raiding. However, Kak was inimical to the Congress party. Scott believes that the Congress leaders including Mahatma Gandhi “intrigued in the State” for the dismissal of Kak from Premiership.
Kak was dismissed as Prime Minister on 11 August 1947. The dismissal was followed by the “decapitation” of the State administration, according to Kak. All senior officials such as the Chief Secretary, the Chief of the Army Staff, the Inspector General of Police were also replaced by less experienced people from the Maharaja’s own community. According to Henry Lawrence Scott, the Maharaja came under the influence of the Deputy Prime Minister M L. Batra, a Hindu swami, and the Maharani’s brother Chand, all of whom wanted Kashmir to join India and whose intrigues were responsible for the dismissal and public humiliation of Kak.
When Sheikh Abdullah became Prime Minister of Kashmir, Kak was imprisoned on 12 August 1947, and then he was externed. After this, Kak retired from public life.
Academic and historian
Ram Chandra Kak was believed to be in possession of the Sharada script copy of the Nilamata Purana. Kak’s pioneering book Ancient monuments of Kashmir was published in 1933 and Francis Younghusband wrote the foreword to the book.
- Handbook of the archaeological and numismatic sections of the Sri Pratap Singh Museum, Srinagar. Government Press. 1923. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Ancient Monuments of Kashmir, With a Foreword By Sir Francis Younghusband, and an Introduction By A. Foucher. India Society. 1933. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of Kashmir. Publ. under the authority of the Kashmir Durbar. Archaeological Survey of Kashmir, [Repr.] Sagar Publ. 1971. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
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Ancient Monuments of Kashmir. by Ram Chandra Kak. Publisher: Utpal Publications R-22, IInd Floor, Khaneja Complex Main Market, Shakarpur Delhi-110092 …
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