The crowning glory of India, Jammu and Kashmir, observes a holiday every October 26 to mark the anniversary of Accession Day. The holiday has been observed every year since 2020 after the Union government abolished the special status of the erstwhile princely state. Maharaja Hari Singh, the Hindu Raja of Muslim dominated state of Kashmir, acceded to India on October 26, 1947. The proposal was accepted by Lord Mountbatten the following day. As part of the Indian independence Act, British India was divided into India, Pakistan, and 580 princely states.
Section 6(A) of the Independence Act mandated that all the princely states would have to sign the Instrument of Accession before joining either India or Pakistan. They would specify the conditions in which they were becoming a part of any of the dominions. Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir also signed one such instrument and became a part of the Union of India.
What Led To Signing Of Instrument Of Accession?
Initially, the Maharaja had adopted a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan to remain an autonomous territory. However, the unrest was caused after tribespeople, and army men from Pakistan invaded Kashmir to make it a part of the Muslim country. This pushed the Maharaja to seek help from the Indian authorities and sign the Instrument of Accession, giving the newly-formed democracy three subjects: defence, external affairs, and communications. Sheikh Abdullah was the Prime Minister of the interim government of Jammu and Kashmir. He was later appointed as the Chief Minister of the state. The Kashmiri stalwart was popularly referred to as Sher-e-Kashmir or the Lion of Kashmir.
What Does The Instrument Say?
Clause 5 of the Instrument of Accession explicitly mentioned that Maharaja's instrument of accession could not be amended by any amendment of the Act or the Indian Independence Act; he accepted such an amendment in an auxiliary instrument.
On the early morning of October 27, 1947, the Indian Army's first Sikh Battalion was airdropped in India's new Kashmir to resist repeated invasions by Pakistan. Till today, Pakistan claims that Maharaja was forced to sign the agreement with the Indian government. Every year on October 27, Pakistan observes a 'Black Day' at all national and international levels to express solidarity with the people of what it deems as India's Illegally Occupied Kashmir.