Once upon a time there was a king who ruledfreely. But his defense was not strong. One day the King’s land was attacked. Theaggressors raped women, killed children and destroyed everything that stood intheir way in order to kill the ruler and get the land. 

The ruler was under great pressure from hisown people. Therefore, in order to save himself and his people, he signed apact with a neighboring nation, and was thus able to remove the aggressorsfrom a major portion of his land. In the end, he signed a treaty with the countrywith the help of a third organization.

That Ruler was Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu& Kashmir; the aggressors were Pakistan and India was the country thathelped the king to defend his own land. Later on, United Nations pressurizedthe Indian and Pakistani governments to end the war on Kashmir, which isexactly what happened in 1948. 

However, the real story of Kashmir is muchmore complex than the one that has been narrated here. One of the largestprincely states of India at one point of time, Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslimmajority but a Hindu ruler. The state’s army was confined to ceremonialpurposes and internal matters were seen to by Maharaja Hari Singh, therefore,the region always enjoyed autonomy and people used to feel independent.

In 1947,however, when the British were going to leave India, they asked all princelystates to join either of the two dominions (that is, India or Pakistan) or stayindependent.

Maharaja Hari Singh decided for Jammu andKashmir to be an independent country in context of autonomy that Kashmir had alwayshad even during the British rule.

 However, the events that ensued in 1948made Jammu and Kashmir and integral part of India.

Article 370 is follows in the footsteps of theBritish, providing a kind of autonomy to Kashmir over other states in India.Initially, Article 370 actually offered certain advantages to J&K whichhave today been marginalized due to the intervention from the judiciary.

Anexample of this was the practice of having a Prime Minister for Jammu andKashmir, a position that was later relegated to that of Chief Minister.

Article 370 states that:

· All provisions of the Article 238 (that was omitted from theIndian Constitution) will not apply to Jammu and Kashmir.

· All laws except those concerning defense, finance, foreign affairsand communication shall be required to be passed by the state government beforethey can be accepted as applicable.

· No person has the right to own property in Jammu and Kashmir, adigression from the original right which states that an Indian citizen can ownproperty in any part of India.

The right has been suspended in case of Jammuand Kashmir.

· The state can have its own flag.

· Article 370, along with Article 5 of the constitution (whichspecifies the territory of jurisdiction of the Indian Parliament), cannot bealtered.

Even during the British Raj, Jammu and Kashmir had been a princelystate with its own laws, finance and other provisions. It was not an integralpart of India even during the Mughal period. In 1948, when the first war overKashmir ended, the Pakistani army captured 30 percent of Kashmir’s land, whichis now known as the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). It became the reason why aplebiscite that had been suggested by the UN could not be conducted.

Both countries still retain their viewpoints: India wantsPakistan to free their land, whereas the latter wants the Indian arm to retreatfrom the India Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Stuck between these two countries, the Kashmirisfeel cheated. 30 percent of their land has been occupied by Pakistan, whereas 20percent lies with China. As a result, Article 370 gives certain privileges toJammu and Kashmir and brings Srinagar closer to Delhi keeping it an integralpart of India.

Regardless, Article 370 is a debatable issueand needs to be discussed in depth. Now that BJP government is in power, thefate of 370 can be decided upon soon, but removing it is still a hard task forthe government due to the regional parties of the region.