The Government of Kashmir had during the time before the accession of the princely state to the rest of India asserted and reiterated that the northern border of Kashmir extended to the Kuen Lun range and beyond. The Govt. of Kashmir had built a fort at Shahidulla which was virtually on the southern flanks of the Kuen Lun range to command the Kuen Lun border area. The Map of Kashmir pertaining to the survey of W.H. Johnson, depicted the northern border of Kashmir upto Kathai Tam in the Kilian valley. According to Ney Elias who was British Joint Commissioner in Leh from the end of the 1870s to 1885, “officials of the Kashmir Durbar occupied Shahidulla for 20 years after the capture of Ladakh in 1842”. He did not cite specific evidence, but there was positive information that in 1864, the Wazir of Ladakh, Mehta Mangal had a fort built there. A Ladakhi named Ahmad assisted by 34 others build the fort. There is substantial contemporary evidence that the Wazir of Ladakh stationed officials in the Shahidulla outpost after it was built in 1864. The writer retained by the Government of India at Leh kept the Kashmir resident regularly informed about the happenings in the border area. On 24, July 1866 he reported that there were ten soldiers of the Maharaja stationed at Shahidulla area (Shahidulla area virtually on the southern flanks of the Kuen Lun range extended inter alia upto the Kilian pass and Khathaitham in Kashmir) “on the Border of Khotan and Ladakh”. What is more, the Hajis and the merchants from Yarkand complain loudly against the exactions levied from them by the Maharaja’s men stationed at the posts of Shahidulla. The Chinese completed the reconquest of eastern Turkistan in 1878. Before they lost it in 1863, their practical authority, as Ney Elias and Younghusband consistently maintained, had never extended south of their outposts at Sanju and Kilian along the northern foothills of the Kuenlun range. Nor did they establish a known presence to the south of the line of outposts in the twelve years immediately following their return. Ney Elias who had been Joint Commissioner in Ladakh for several years noted on 21 September 1889 that he had met the Chinese in 1879 and 1880 when he visited Kashgar. “they told me that they considered their line of ‘chatze’, or posts, as their frontier – viz. , Kugiar, Kilian, Sanju, Kiria, etc.- and that they had no concern with what lay beyond the mountains” i.e. the Kuen Lun range in northern Kashmir.Similarly, the findings of the survey of W.H. Johnson , who was the Civil Assistant of the Trigonometrical Survey of India, in July 1865, established certain important pertinant points”. "Brinjga was in his view the boundary post" (near the Karanghu Tagh Peak north of Khushlashlangar, in the Kuen Lun in Ladakh ), thus implying "that the boundary lay along the Kuen Lun Range". Johnson’s findings demonstrated that the whole of the Kara Kash valley was “within the territory of the Maharaja of Kashmir” and an integral part of the territory of Kashmir. "He noted where the Chinese boundary post was accepted. At Yangi Langar, three marches from Khotan, he noticed that there were a few fruit trees at this place which originally was a post or guard house of the Chinese". To quote from “Himalayan Battleground” by Margaret W. Fisher, Leo E. Rose and Robert A. Huttenback, page 116 “The Khan wrote Johnson ‘that he had dispatched his Wazier, Saifulla Khoja to meet me at Bringja, the first encampment beyond the Ladakh boundary for the purpose of escorting me thence to Ilichi’… thus the Khotan ruler accepted the Kunlun range as the southern boundary of his dominion.” According to Johnson, “the last portion of the route to Shadulla (Shahidulla in Kashmir) is particularly pleasant, being the whole of the Karakash valley which is wide and even, and shut in either side by rugged mountains. On this route I noticed numerous extensive plateaux near the river, covered with wood and long grass. These being within the territory of the Maharaja of Kashmir, could easily be brought under cultivation by Ladakhees and others, if they could be induced and encouraged to do so by the Kashmeer Government. The establishment of villages and habitations on this river would be important in many points of view, but chiefly in keeping the route open from the attacks of the Khergiz robbers.” The findings of the survey of W.H. Johnson hold good to this day and nothing at all has changed legally. The map pertaining to the findings of the survey of W.H. Johnson who was the Civil Assistant of the Trigonometrical Survey of India,
in July 1865 unequivocally depicts the northern border of Kashmir with Khotan in the area of the historic Hindutash pass in north eastern Kashmir, more-or-less on the crests of the Kuen Lun range not withstanding the fact that the map does not reflect the true findings pertaining to the survey of W.H. Johnson and does not depict Khushlash Langar as part od Aksai Chin. Colonel Walker who was the Surveyor General in 1867 “insisted that the map as published was far different from Johnson’s Original”.
It conveniently suited the English to arbitrarily treat the area in the Highlands of Kashmir between the Kuen Lun range and the Karakoram range as “no-man’s land”. Since India, unlike The America or Australia (where the English went out of their way in protecting the interests of their possessions) could not be colonized by Anglo-Saxons after exterminating the nationals, the English were least concerned or emotionally motivated about securing Kashmir’s historic and natural frontiers on the Kuen Lun and beyond. So as long as the Russians, who were out competing with the Chinese to grab as much of eastern part of Turkistan, an alien and foreign territory over which neither the Chinese nor Russians had an iota of claim, as possible, were not a threat to their rule in the rest of India, they did not care a damn if the Chinese encroached into the cis-Kuen Lun part of Kashmir.
So, when the Government of Kashmir in 1885, at a time when the Chinese were least concerned or bothered of the alien trans- Kuen Lun areas in the highlands of Kashmir , beyond their eastern Turkistan dominion “and had literally washed their hands of it”, prepared to unify Kashmir and the Wazir of Ladakh , Pandit Radha Kishen initiated steps to restore the old out post of Shahidulla, Ney Elias who was British Joint Commissioner in Ladakh and spying on the Government of Kashmir raised objections. “This very energetic officer’ , he wrote to the resident, who duely forwarded the letter to the Government of India, “wants the Maharaja to reoccupy Shahidulla in the Karakash valley ….I see indications of his preparing to carry it out, and, in my opinion, he should be restrained, or an awkward boundary question may be raised with the Chinese without any compensating advantage”. (italics mine to highlight) In the circumstances, since Elias had represented to the Supreme Government, it was a relatively simple matter for him to ensure that the plans were dropped. He told the Wazir that he had reported against the scheme to the Resident, and pretty soon the subservient Wazir succumbed and assured him that he did not intend to implement it. Elias was also promptly meticulously backed up by the Government of India. A letter dated 1st September was sent to the officer on Special Duty (as the Resident was called before 1885) instructing him to take suitable opportunity of advising His Highness the Maharaja not to occupy Shahidulla”. Elias had already killed the proposal. Thus, the English after treacherously perniciously successfully preventing the reunification of Kashmir vis-à-vis the outpost in the Shahidulla area in Kashmir and the natural and historic border of Kashmir on the Kuen Lun range and beyond, by vehemently opposing it at a time when the Chinese were least concerned or bothered of the alien trans- Kuen Lun areas in the highlands of Kashmir , beyond their restive eastern Turkistan dominion “and had literally washed their hands of it”, rather than as much as supporting the endeavour much less aiding it, prevented the unification of Kashmir.
Thus, after successfully preventing the reunification of Kashmir, when the Chinese encroached into Kashmir in 1892 and illegally placed an alleged boundary mark pillar deep in Kashmir along with a board which stated that “this board is under the sway of the Kakan, the Chinese Emperor, “the distance was taken from Shahidulla, which was the limit of Kashmir territory, Raja Sir Amar Singh in his letter of 2 November,” described this action as ‘a transgression of Khatais (Cathays) over the Ladakh boundary. The Kashmir State has no intention of making any encroachment on foreign territory, but I hope you and the Government of India will enable (i.e. assist) it to maintain the territory already acquired and in its possession, and in that case, the unlawful aggression of the Khatais must be repelled , and the original boundary restoured”, The Wazir Wazart of Ladakh, complained to the Vice- President of the Jammu –Kashmir State Council of the Chinese Amban who had constructed the Pillar. The Wazir said that as far as he had been able to ascertain, his own frontier was considered upto Shahidulla, 16 stages from Ladakh, where one of his predecessors had built a fort which was still standing. This proved, he added “the state frontier extends to that place”, the English did nothing of the sort and betrayed the Government and people of Kashmir. As a matter of fact, the English had surreptitiously illegally decided that “the Indus watershed should be considered as the boundary of the Kashmir territories to the north”, vide the instructions of the Government of India of 21 August 1890 stealthily sent to the Resident’s predecessor, Nisbet, and asked the Resident to convey this to the Durbar and the Joint Commissioners in Ladakh. But Nisbet had either deliberately or accidently done what deserved to be done with the instruction, either keep the instructions to himself or better still destroy it! The English were hand in glove with the Chinese in their occupation of the areas of Kashmir between the Kuen Lun range and the Karakoram.
The statement of John Lall author of “Aksaichin and Sino-Indian Conflict” at page 95 that , “Considering that the State’s officials abandoned Shahidulla as long ago as 1867, the Raja’s assertion that it was in their possession was a flight of fancy”, is a misrepresentation per se and a lie that needs to be refuted. First Mr. John Lall, The State of Kashmir never abandoned the Shahidulla outpost commanding the Kilian and Kathaitham areas in northern Kashmir and the Kuenlun range in 1867 as claimed by you. As late as in 1885, at a time when the Chinese were least concerned or bothered of the alien trans- Kuen Lun areas in the highlands of Kashmir , beyond their eastern Turkistan dominion “and had literally washed their hands of it”, the Government of Kashmir prepared to unify Kashmir and the Wazir of Ladakh , Pandit Radha Kishen initiated steps to restore the out post of Shahidulla, but this legitimate act had been opposed slyly by the English who even if they did not support it, even if they did not aid it, could have at the least ignored the endeavour as none of their business to decide for the Kashmiris where the northern border of their state, was! And desisted from objecting to the endeavour. So Mr. John Lall, you are required to refrain from lying and making misrepresentation to suit your perverted mindset and whims and fancies. Facts are facts and nothing can change them. Neither you, nor any one of your lot!
“What”, if one asks the Hypothetical question, “if the English government had not opposed the endeavour of the Government of Kashmir to reunify Kashmir?” The English, if they did not support it, even if they did not aid it, could have at the least ignored the endeavour as none of their business to decide for the Kashmiris where the northern border of their state, was! And desisted from objecting to the endeavour. The practical authority of the Chinese, as Ney Elias and Younghusband consistently maintained, had never extended south of their outposts at Sanju and Kilian along the northern foothills of the Kuenlun range. At that time, when the Chinese were least concerned or bothered of the alien trans- Kuen Lun areas (trans- Kuen Lun from the East Turkistani side and cis- Kuen Lun from the Kashmiri side) in the highlands of Kashmir , beyond their restive eastern Turkistan dominion “and had literally washed their hands of it”, the Kashmir would have easily reunified Kashmir vis-à-vis the outpost in the Shahidulla area in Kashmir and the natural and historic border of Kashmir on the Kuen Lun range and beyond at Kilian, Kathai Tam and Sanju areas in Kashmir. Once the Government of Kashmir consolidated the unification which was the easiest thing given the absence of imperialist adversaries, the Chinese would never ever have even considered or harboured the very idea or notion of controlling an area beyond the natural frontiers of their restive dominion along northern foothills of the Kuen Lun range as stated by Ney Elias , “they told me that they considered their line of ‘chatze’, or posts, as their frontier – viz. , Kugiar, Kilian, Sanju, Kiria, etc.- and that they had no concern with what lay beyond the mountains”. The subsequent incident of planting an alleged border pillar by the Chinese deep inside the territory of Kashmir would never have occurred. The Chinese were given a carte blanche and an invitation to trespass into Kashmir by the act of the English in opposing the unification of Kashmir and conspiring with the Chinese, and once they got a foothold in Kashmir their imperialist designs were facilitated manifold giving result to all the present plethora of border troubles and further facilitating the hostile anti-Indian cartographers like the notorious hostile Times Atlas in their endeavour to go berserk in their experiments to draw various anti-Indian maps! And the whole of the Sub-continent of India is suffering today due to the wanton mischief indulged by the English then. This is a wake up call for the People of India and Paksitan and the rest of the sub-continent of India. The English may purportedly support one side against the other, but are they really supporting a side? They are just playing off one side against the other and indulging to attain their nefarious designs. We south Asians should be weary of them and see through their nefarious designs and treat it with the contempt it deserves. At the end of the day, reunification of India is the only solution.
Unfortunately the Government of Kashmir succumbed to the English threats and intimidations in the year 1885 and did not implement the endeavour immediately but kept it pending and delayed it though the Government of Kashmir never forfeited the sovereignty of Kashmir over the Shahidulla out post area extending to Kilian pass and Kathaitham as was reiterated by Raja Sir Amar Singh in his aforesaid letter of 2 November, and the English having opposed and sabotaged the endeavour were required and were bound to protect the territory of Kashmir when in the first place the Chinese encroached into the area and placed alleged border pillars as a result of the deliberate nefarious and willful act of the English and the English were entirely responsible for the encroachment and were liable and bound to redress the situation and restore the status quo anti , but the English had been all along hand-in-glove with the Chinese and covertly conspiring with the Chinese to cheat and betray the Government and people of Kashmir and had surreptitiously and stealthily in collusion with the Chinese already taken a decision for the People of Kashmir that “the Indus watershed should be considered as the boundary of the Kashmir territories to the north”. However, even the English could not escape from the inevitable fact that the northern border of Kashmir extended to the crests of the Kuen Lun range and beyond. Viceroy Hardinge had written to the Secretary of State for India on September 12, 1912:, “The following would be a good line: From Beyik Peak, where the line would start, eastwards to Chang pass, Dehde (Dafdar?) and Taghdumbash being left on our side; thence through Sargon pass along crest of (Kuen Lun )range, and so to crest of Kuen Lun range north of Raskam after crossing the Yarkand river; thence along crest of Kuen Lun range to Sanju or Grim pass via the passes named in the map of 1891,” (“reference is invited to map prepared by Survey of India in 1891 to illustrate explorations of Capt. Younghusband”) “viz: Kukahang,(Kukalang?) Dozaki, Yargi,” (Yangi to the north of Kulanaldi?) “and Kilik; thence along Kuen Lun watershed” (via obviously the Hindutash pass) “to frontier of Tibet crossing Karakash river,” ( obviously in the vicinity of Ali Nazar) “the plain of Aksai Chin left on our side of the frontier”. F.D., 535/15 Enclosure in No. 208. Kashgar. September 12, 1912.
When Kashmir acceded to the rest of India , the territorial integrity of Kashmir vis-à-vis the Kathai Tam and Kilian and the rest of the Kuen Lun range in Kashmir wherein are the Hindutash and Kukalang passes in Kashmir remained intact and un-forfeited despite the crooked mechanisms of the English. Dafdar the northernmost part of Kashmir bordering the former Russian Empire turned “U.S.S.R.” continued to be part of Kashmir. To quote Nehru himself from his telegram dated 26 October, 1947 to the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, he says, "Kashmir's Northern frontiers, as you are aware, run in common with those of three countries, Afghanistan, `the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' and `China' ". Also, the Maharaja Hari Singh states in his correspondence with Lord Mountbatten dated October 26, 1947, “Besides, my State has a common boundary with ‘the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ and with ‘China’ ” It was this territorial integrity of Kashmir which was recorded and preserved in the Constitution of India after the independence of India in Entry 15 in the First Schedule of the Constitution of India. Entry 15 reads “The territory which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was comprised in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”, and thankfully, the same continues to this date with out any obnoxious and illegal amendment.