Accession Day is observed on October 26 every year. The day marks the anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh signing the ‘Instrument of Accession’ with the Government of India. The signing of this document cemented Jammu and Kashmir as a member of the Dominion of India. It was first announced as a public holiday in 2020. The people in Jammu and Kashmir whose nationalist sentiments favor India celebrate the day by lighting fireworks, singing the Indian national anthem, and hoisting the Indian flag. Those in Jammu and Kashmir who have more separatist aspirations observe the day as a ‘black day,’ mourning the loss of Kashmir’s independence.
History of Accession Day
Jammu and Kashmir has a long and rich history. The area has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic period in 3000 B.C. Since then, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have lived under the rule of many monarchs — the Uttara-Kurus, the Maurya Empire, the Karkota Empire, the Mughals, and the Sikhs, among others.
The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir was torn apart when British India was partitioned to form the modern nations of India and Pakistan. When Pakistani forces launched a guerrilla attack on Kashmir in 1947, Hari Singh, the reigning monarch of Kashmir at the time, turned to Mountbatten and India. He was asked to sign the Instrument of Accession — a document declaring the princely state as part of the Dominion of India. After the first Indo-Pakistan War drew to an end, the United Nations was called for mediation. The U.N.’s suggestion to hold a referendum to discern the aspirations of the Kashmiri people was refused by India.
Jammu and Kashmir, thus, became a part of the Union of India. The state was accorded special status by Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The article, though, was repealed in 2019 and the state of Jammu and Kashmir was split into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladhak. In 2020, Accession Day was made a public holiday. The people in Jammu and Kashmir whose nationalist sentiments favor India celebrate the day by lighting fireworks, singing the Indian national anthem, and hoisting the Indian flag. Those in Jammu and Kashmir who have more separatist aspirations observe the day as a “black day,” mourning the loss of Kashmir’s independence.
Accession Day timeline
Neolithic sites are first inhabited in the Kashmir valley.
India gains independence from the British.
Maharaja Hari Singh signs the ‘Instrument of Accession.’
Accession Day is made a public holiday.
Accession Day FAQs
Is Jammu Kashmir a part of India?
Jammu and Kashmir is recognized as a Union Territory of India.
Who sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh?
The British sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh for 7.5 million Nanakshahi rupees.
Who is the last king of Kashmir?
Maharaja Hari Singh was the last king of Kashmir.
How to Observe Accession Day
Read the history of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir has a long and complex political history. Use the day to educate yourself about it.
Read up on the varying consequences of colonialism
The tense Indo-Pakistan relations are largely a result of colonialism. Try to understand the varying effects colonialism has had on erstwhile colonies.
Understand the political aspirations of Kashmiri people
There exist a variety of political and nationalist aspirations in the people of Kashmir. Read up on first-hand accounts.
5 Interesting Facts About India
The Pir Panjal railway tunnel
The Pir Panjal railway tunnel is India’s longest railway tunnel.
Srinagar serves as the summer capital and Jammu serves as the winter capital.
The coldest inhabited place
Dras is the coldest inhabited place in India and is the second coldest in the world.
The state bird
The state bird of Jammu and Kashmir was the black-necked crane.
Kashmir is the third-largest saffron producer in the world.
Why Accession Day is Important
It highlights the modern history of Jammu and Kashmir
Accession Day highlights the history of how Jammu and Kashmir became a part of the Indian Union. Considering that India is the largest democracy in the world, it is an important piece of history to know.
We learn about political aspirations
Jammu and Kashmir has sparked nationalist aspirations in many people in many different ways. It’s an opportunity to learn about how that impacts the functioning of a state.
It’s an opportunity to understand special statehood
The concept of special statehood is fairly unique and intrinsically linked to the Union Territory’s history. Use the day as an opportunity to understand the idea.
Accession Day dates