One of the many charges raised against the people of Kashmir, still denied their right of self-determination by a brutal Indian government, is that they celebrate August 14, Pakistan's Independence Day, rather than India's a day later. Yet August 14 was marked by Kashmiris for the first time in the united subcontinent, at a time when it was not yet clear that the British would give any date for Indian independence, and before the All-India Muslim League had yet made a demand for a separate homeland, though Allama Iqbal had presented the concept in his Allahabad Address. However, back in the 1930s, this celebration was not of a new dominion, but a commemoration of the martyrdoms offered on, which marked the beginning of the Kashmiris' fight, first against the Dogra Maharaja, and then against the Indian occupation. In fact, the first commemoration, back in 1931, had been because 22 demonstrators had been killed by police firing in Srinagar, because a crowd protested outside Srinagar Jail, where the trial in camera of a certain Abdul Qadeer was taking place, for making a speech against the Maharaja's rule, because the events that year had shown that the Maharaja's officials in Jammu were preventing Muslims from worshipping, and were desecrating the Holy Quran. Though the incident occurred on July 13, the All-India Kashmir Committee thereupon set up declared August 14 as the Martyrs' Day, on which day there were meetings organised in all of India's major cities, and demonstrations all over Jammu and Kashmir, including one of 50,000 in Srinagar itself. This day, August 14, continued to be marked as Martyrs' Day until 1947 and after, when the actual date of July 13 was observed, and August 14 had become Pakistan's Independence Day, which is observed by Kashmiris in response to Pakistan's diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiri freedom struggle. Another event, which does not give such strong reason for August 14 to be a special day for Kashmiris, is the arrival of the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP), one of the first UN bodies on any conflict, which arrived in July 1948 on what was to prove the only serious UN mediation effort on India's initial attempt to deal with the Kashmir issue by the holding of a plebiscite after the withdrawal of forces. The UNCIP presented its plan for this on August 13, but its refraining from any moral comment adverse to Pakistan let Pandit Nehru torpedo the plan. The Maharaja's response to the 1931 incident and its aftermath was not to remedy the situation, but to change prime ministers, dismissing the incumbent, an Englishman named Wakefield, and replacing him with a Kashmiri Pandit, Sir Hari Kishan Kaul. It is interesting to watch how the Maharaja used the prime ministership of his state to establish linkages with the Indian establishment. In some cases, the Indian establishment used former Kashmiri PMs as important members. Thus it is worth observing Kashmiri PMs and their connections. The most glaring example is that of Mr Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan, the Hindu member of the Radcliffe Commission, which threw Gurdaspur district into India, with the result that India gained what was then the only route to Kashmir, even though it was a Muslim-majority district. Mr Justice Mahajan went to the East Punjab High Court after partition, but also profited from the continuance of the office of Kashmiri PM by getting the appointment just in time to preside over the alleged accession of the state to India, with which it was connected only by a district in which he had practiced law. He became PM through, it appears, the good offices of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who was also responsible for the states, and who drew the name of Mahajan to the Maharaja's attention in the first place. This accession also led to a Pak-India war, the first of three, all of which involved Kashmir. India had formed a Defence Committee of the Cabinet on September 30, which consisted of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Home Minister Vallabhai Patel, Defence Minister Baldev Singh, the finance minister, and the Minister Without Portfolio, Gopalaswamy Iyengar. Iyengar was important because he had been Prime Minister of Kashmir between 1936 and 1943, and because he would become defence minister in 1948. He was reputed to be pally with Sheikh Abdullah, in whom Pandit Nehru set great store. The prime ministership of Kashmir mattered. At the time of independence, the Maharaja appointed Janak Singh to the post, a relative. And India appointed as its military adviser in the state, in replacement of the departing state military commander, Maj Gen H L Scott, along with the new commander Brig Rajinder Singh, as adviser a certain Lt Col Kashmir Singh Katoch, the son of Janak Singh. Note: this was a lieutenant-colonel in the regular Indian Army, but an appointment in the Jammu and Kashmir Army, which received a separate commander from the Indian regulars. When these appointments were made, Lord Mountbatten continued as Governor-General of India, while he still hoped to reverse the partition, and was still in position to use his influence to make sure that Kashmir acceded to India, not Pakistan, as the logic of partition demanded. One of the mysteries, and perhaps the most definitive evidence of Indian complicity, is the presence of a Patiala State infantry battalion in Jammu, and that of a battery of gunners in Srinagar. In fact, when the Indian forces invaded Kashmir, the Maharaja of Patiala turned up personally to command these forces. However, long before, at independence in fact, all state forces had passed under the command of the Indian and Pakistan armies. So it was impossible for Nehru and Patel not to have known of the presence of Patiala forces in Kashmir. Indeed, the Patiala forces had come under New Delhi's control as early as May 5, when Patiala had acceded to India. It is also not known widely enough that Kashmir was also a victim to the rioting that took place in the Punjab at partition, which led to the deaths of an estimated 500,000, and the migration of some eight million Muslim East Punjabis to West Punjab. In Kashmir, Muslims were massacred, mostly in Jammu, one of the areas of the state where they were not in a majority. The state was a joint creation of the Sikhs and the British for the Dogra Wazir of Ranjit Singh, Gulab Singh. However, there evolved the question of the Northern Frontier, with the British principle that Indian, Afghan, Russian and Chinese borders should not meet. In particular, the Russians were not to be allowed to take over Kashghar. Because of this, the British took on lease from Jammu and Kashmir State in 1934 the areas that now make up the Northern Areas. In 1947, when the Communists were about to take over China, the threat to the Northern Frontier must have seemed real enough for the British to have actively connived at the 'right' Dominion taking over the Northern Frontier. If its eastern corner had been given to Gulab Singh in the 19th century, the British wanted it given to India in the 20th. As a result, the entire state, except for Azad Kashmir and the Northern areas, were given over to Indian occupation and oppression, and a dispute was started between the two South Asian neighbours. E-mail: