Authored by journalist B.G. Verghese
Veteran journalist, B.G. Verghese, said the J&K Chief Minister, Omer Abdullah, was right in saying that Kashmir had acceded to India and was not its integral part. He faulted the BJP for creating a fuss without knowing history.
He was speaking after release of his book “My memoirs, First draft: Witness to the making of modern India” at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) here on Thursday. Former Governor, V.S. Ramadevi, released the book which chronicles the past half a century of major events as seen by Mr. Verghese, mostly as a journalist and briefly as Information Advisor to the former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
Accession, Mr. Verghese said, was in respect of defence, foreign affairs and communication. Kashmir had acceded in 1947 but did not integrate constitutionally with India like other princely states. The Article 370 defined the special relationship of Kashmir with the Centre and governed the mechanism of administration. The BJP had got the facts wrong. It was the ‘illiteracy' of leaders that made him write the book, Mr. Verghese asked.
People were also equally ignorant about geography while being fond of boundaries. Without history and geography one was left naked, said the former editor of Hindustan Times.
Ms. Rama Devi complimented Mr. Verghese for presenting history in a story form. The book made interesting reading as it was punctuated with humour. She recalled how Mr. Verghese was among the few journalists who held their own during the dark days of Emergency while others crawled when asked to bend.
Former RBI Governor, M. Narasimham, described Mr. Verghese as development journalist and praised him for his objectivity and regard for truth.
ASCI Director General, Siripurapu K. Rao, historians V.K. Bawa and Narender Luther, also spoke.