By Lal Khan
Kashmir’s defiance and resistances refuse to surrender. Curfew was clamped again on Friday as authorities apprehended fresh protests in the valley where 36 persons have died and over 3,100 injured in clashes following the killing of young Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani last week.
The current outbreak of was triggered when Indian forces took out Burhan Wani in a blatant extra judicial killing. Tens of thousands of angry youths poured out of their homes in towns and villages, hurling rocks and bricks,and demanding Indian state relinquish control of this festering wound of partition left consciously behind by the British imperialists in 1947.
Wani is from the latest generation of youth in Kashmir defying Indian hegemony. A new breed of educated youth that joined militant struggle after the 2010 uprising that are web-savvy and use social media to popularise their demands. It was no surprise more than 100,000 people attended his funeral last Saturday.
Kashmiri youths like Wani are yearning for an end to their national and economic oppression having little choice but to either hurl stones at the state forces in the streets or join these militant outfits due to lack of real and genuine alternative to Kashmir’s Indian collaborators like the Abdullahs, Syeds, or the so called Hurriyat leaders. The All-Parties Huriyat Conference (APHC), the main political opposition in Indian-Held Kashmir, is far from a homogeneous alliance and there are said to be between 12 and 20 parties in it.
As there are rivalries and discord between the armed insurgent groups, so there are splits in the so-called political opposition. A long lasting internal split in the APHC is now out into the open. The leadership of this alliance is split into two main factions. One includes Syed Ali Shah Gilani and the other Maulvi Omer Farooq and Maulvi Abbas Ansari, who have the tacit support of Shabbir Shah. The latter represent the so-called moderate elements and Gilani, a Jamaat-e-Islami stalwart, is taking a hard-line position, probably at the behest of a section of the ISI.
Apart from the personal conflicts amongst the leadership, there is certain confusion in the aims and objectives of the movements leading to a continual bickering and wrangling among the opposition leaders. As a result, changes in loyalties and sides are common. The proliferation of groups, supported by state agencies, confusion in objectives, divisions in the ranks, and Pakistan’s changing policy towards the different groups have also contributed to this chaos.
In an recent article Times of India has pointed out that indigenous violence in the pursuit of ‘azadi’ coupled with the deep state games played by both India and Pakistan provide fertile ground for mythologies in Kashmir. Quoting a military officer the newspaper writes,”Burhan was not the militant material. I think we fell in the Pakistani trap. They led us to create an icon out of him.” The Indian state called it a successful anti-terror operation but common Kashmiris propped up Wani along with the likes of JKLF’s Ashfaq Majeed Wani, an “iconic martyr” of the 1990 Kashmir militancy. Some have even dubbed him as a ‘Kashmiri Bhagat Singh’!
However the Indian state clearly didn’t expect such public outrage.Each day last week has brought a new surge of resistance by young, rock-throwing protesters defying curfews to challenge the Indian troops firing live ammunition. It seems that by this provocation the Indian troops revived a rebellion. Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister aptly tweeted“after many years I hear slogans for “azadi” resonate from my uptown Srinagar locality. Kashmir’s disaffected got a new icon yesterday”.
The pressure from this mass upsurge is palpable within the Indian establishment. Narendra Modi called a high-level meeting to discuss how to restore peace.Indian authorities sent at least 2,000 more paramilitary troops to the mountainous region, where more than five hundred thousand already are arrayed permanently, one of the highest.
For the Pakistani state and the regime it was an opportunity to wash their dirty linen. From the usual condemnations and appeals to the so-called UNO and ‘world community’ by the regime, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif could not let the opportune moment let go without adding his populist theme.
However in the last seventy years the masses in Kashmir on both sides of the control line suffered. Socioeconomic agony for the oppressed masses of the subcontinent was no less. Seventy years after the partition of India and the end of direct British rule, Kashmir is still a festering wound. The resolution of this conflict seems to be as far away as ever. Three and a half wars and several decades of official and “track two” diplomacy have failed to resolve this traumatic issue in the Indian subcontinent. Kashmir has been the ‘bone of of contention’ between the two nuclear powers that are amongst the highest spenders on armaments and lowest on health and education. India and Pakistan rank among the lowest of the 174 countries listed by the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index: Pakistan’s rank in the human development index fell from 120 in 1992 to 147 in 2015, while India’s rank has hovered between 130 and 140 since 1995. This is not a function of poverty alone, but involves horrendous neglect and a callous disregard for basic human needs as well as distorted public spending priorities. The politicians of the vale’s elite also betrayed Kashmir masses. Despite all the odds the defiance and revolutionary fervour has passed on from one generation to another.
Across the line of control the situation is not much better. It is manipulated and subjugated by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and the state’s security agencies. Pakistan is teetering on the brink. Through the failure of the bourgeois and decades of manipulation, the military has risen to become the unchallenged political power in the country with infinite means of patronage. It is the largest land holder, the largest industrial empire, the largest transporter and one of the largest standing armies in the world. But it presides over one of the most volatile nations, torn apart by religious extremism, territorial disputes and ethnic strife. The Pakistani government has no sense of direction, its administration is riddled with corruption and incompetence and its society is increasingly demoralised, with no security of life, no access to justice and no self respect. Most Kashmiri youth mainly from the Pakistani controlled region have immigrated to Britain, Europe and to the Middle East. Their plight of this uprooting is another tragic story. India and Pakistan can offer nothing to the masses of Kashmir. Kashmiris can see the conditions of the masses in these countries, and why would they willingly submit to the same conditions? In the last six decades the Indian and Pakistani ruling elites have only been able to produce societies that are infested with exploitation, disease, ignorance, unemployment, sexual abuse, corruption, crime and violence. They are repugnant rather than a source of attraction to any people.
There have been ebbs and flows in the mass movements throughout these seven decades of aggression. However individual terrorism has been counterproductive. It has been used as an alibi for the justification of the Indian state’s vicious repression on the one hand and allowed Pakistan’s deep state to infiltrate the struggle with fundamentalist proxies. These Islamist bigots didn’t even spare the innocent Kashmiris from their fanatic brutality. Where individual terrorism failed to get the Kashmiri masses any closer to freedom, the dream of attaining independence through a negotiated settlement seems to be farther away than in 1947.
The UN and the so-called world community have proved to be impotent and deceptive. However there have been several mass uprisings in the shadow of the Himalayas. The Kashmiri intifada of 1987 shook the Indian state. The movement in 2010 was orientated more towards socioeconomic emancipation. Any spectacular event or a major incident can trigger even greater mass revolts. With the incessant and seething turmoil in Kashmir there can be no stable rule.
Seven decades after “independence”, the subcontinent is worse off than it was at the time of partition. The rulers having solved nothing, and refuse to admit their shameful failure. Any possibility of improving the living standards of the masses and of developing society on a bourgeois basis is a utopian dream. All indicators point to the opposite. These rulers can neither afford war nor maintain peace. All their games of war and peace are a deception to conceal their failure and divert the attention of the masses away from their burning problems. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the capitulation of the “Left” and populist leaders and the caving in of most of the militant trade union leaders helped them in their pursuit of these policies.
The subservience of the subcontinental rulers to imperialism continues even after sixty nine years of so-called independence. The crisis of the US economy and the aggressive military, economic, and diplomatic stance of US imperialism after the events of 9/11 further pressurised these regimes down this road. It is in this economic background that the change in the definition and priorities of the “national interest” has to be understood.
The whole thing is a farce played out to please the so-called international community (read imperialist masters) and the gullible peace activists. The so-called “national interest” changes with the changing role of finance capital. The name of the game is economy.
In the conditions of the present day capitalist economy the demands of the imperialist investors and that of the rulers of the poor countries are the same. They strive to create a better ‘atmosphere’ for investment (increased exploitation). Where they are waging an aggressive class war against the rights of the workers, they also want larger units where they can move capital and goods without much hindrance and without to much expense. At the same time they want peace for their own purposes. This is the basic motive behind the imperialist interest in averting a war between India and Pakistan.
Peace and stability of course means different things to different classes of people. They mean one thing to the rickshaw puller who endures the white heat of the uphill travel and another to the portly passenger who bides the tortuous journey counting the pennies he is going to short change the toiling man by. In the India Pakistan context both characters could fit the bill as advocates for peace but both have entirely different motives in setting their stated objectives.
The imperialists want to avoid a military conflict, yet at the same time they want to maintain up a certain degree of antagonism. They want to continue selling weapons of destruction to both sides at exorbitant prices, and maintain a controlled hostility between the two countries to continue practicing their policy of divide and rule.
More upheavals impend. However for the national and social liberation of the Kashmiri people these mass movements have to be linked to the class struggle. Kashmir’s history is also rich with the struggles of the workers, peasants, and above all the youth. In the summer of 1924 the Kashmiri workers revolted. The workers of the Srinager silk factory came out on strike. The next day they occupied government land and whole city came to a standstill. The Maharaja resorted to ruthless repression. The army was called in and the strike was brutally crushed. But this was only a prelude to the mammoth struggles that were to come. As their Muslim counterparts had oppressed the Hindus and other religious minorities, the Dogras, especially under the rule of Hari Singh, had also discriminated against Muslim Kashmiris, especially those from the oppressed classes. Hari Singh and his advisors were staunch Hindus. These included his wife Maharani Tera Devi, her brother Chand, and a Swami (Hindu Saint) referred to by some as “the Rasputin of Kashmir”.
After a public meeting on June 25, 1931 a Pathan cook named Abdul Qadir made an impromptu, highly ‘inflammatory’ speech condemning Hindus in general and Hari Singh’s rule in particular. He was immediately arrested on charges of sedition. Qadir’s tale provided a fresh focus for the anger of the Muslims. When proceedings started at the Srinagar Session Court on July 6, a crowd of some 7,000 gathered outside and demanded entry into the jail. Scuffles broke out between the crowd and the police. The latter eventually opened fire on the crowd killing twenty-one people. As the bodies of the dead were being carried in a procession to the Jamia Masjid, anti-Hindu riots broke out in some other parts of Srinagar. The worst violence took place at Maharaj Ganj where Hindu shops were looted and three Hindus killed. Altogether some 163 people were injured.
Though the events of July 1931 on the surface appear to have been caused by religious concerns, it would be more accurate to describe the cause as socio-economic. However, the movement against the Maharaja was not exclusively religious. It is true that at times class and religious issues in Kashmir coincided. The real target of the anger of toiling Muslims was not the Hindu community despite the attack on them but the state.
The Muslims of Poonch, notably the Sudhen tribe, had served widely in both the British Indian army and in the Jammu and Kashmir forces. In 1947, following the end of the Second World War, some 60,000 ex-servicemen had returned to Poonch. These men possessed both military experience and arms.
In June 1947, a revolt broke out over the state government’s exorbitant taxes. Some 10,000 Poonchis decided to march on Poonch City in protest at high food prices. Before they reached the city they clashed with state troops at Bagh. The government ordered the inhabitants to surrender their weapons. This was largely ignored. The situation was exacerbated on August 14, when Muslims attempted to celebrate Pakistan Day (also Kashmir Day) in defiance of a government ban. In addition, with the killings in Punjab after partition and the arrival of a large number of Muslim refugees in Poonch the conflict took on a communal aspect. By September the revolt had acquired a degree of organisation under Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (the Muslim representative for Poonch in the Praja Sabha and a Muslim Conference member), and had evolved into a secessionist movement. In October 1947, the ‘Government of Azad Kashmir’ declared the area independent of Dogra rule, and set up its capital in Muzaffarabad.
Once underway, the Poonch rebellion received support from a number of sources: defectors from the Jammu and Kashmir forces, former Indian National Army soldiers, and Punjabi Muslims from Jhelum. Initially most of the support came from Pathans of the North-West Frontier Province. The government of Pakistan was at first very reluctant to become involved. In fact it refused to recognize the Azad Kashmir government. However, by September it was providing unofficial aid to the rebels.
Looking at the wider picture, the communal violence in Punjab and later in Jammu and Kashmir generally served to harden the prevalent opinions of the major groups. The state’s Hindu community was even more convinced that it had no future under Muslim rule; if the Maharaja could not retain control, they wanted to accede to India. The Muslim Conference supporters moved closer to joining Pakistan, though some still favoured an independent Muslim state.
The national question is an important aspect of the struggle in Kashmir. The religious, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural characteristics of Kashmir have always been changing. Even Kashmir’s political geography and stature have been subject to change.
Over time the borders of the valley of Kashmir have expanded and shrunk, the valley sometimes forming part of a great empire, at other times comprising a kingdom in its own right.
The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, created in 1846, comprised several areas which themselves were also once independent principalities and regions: the valley of Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh, Baltistan, Mirpur, Poonch, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Nagar, Hunza, and other smaller kingdoms and hill states. With the formation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into one political conglomeration, peoples of different languages, cultures, and religions learned to co-exist. The princely state attained by the Dogras by the connivance of the British colonialists covered 84,000 square miles of land; the Valley 84 miles long and 20 to 25 miles wide comprised only one third of this land space.
The present ethnic, religious, and racial diversity in Kashmir further complicates the situation. The majority of the people in Ladakh are Budhists and Shias and have a distinct ethnic makeup. The majority of the population on the plains of Jammu are Hindu and are culturally and ethnically different from the people inhabiting the Valley. Similarly in Poonch, Gilgit, Baltistan, and Hunza there are not only differences and several ethnic and cultural backgrounds, there is an entirely different administrative set-up. There is also a significant area of Jammu and Kashmir under Chinese control.
The most glaring acts of national repression are perpetuated by India and Pakistan. The absurd notion and scientifically false theory that religion alone can constitute the foundations of a nation also affected Kashmir. The creation of Pakistan and the partition of the subcontinent were based on this nonsense. The Kashmiris are discriminated against and exploited not only by the state of Pakistan but also by the Kashmiri Muslim elite. On the other hand, the Indian state, in the name of secularism, democracy, and freedom has also repressed the Kashmiris under its gruesome rule.
In the past, the nationalist leaders of the Kashmiri struggle used the name of socialism and employed revolutionary phrases to gain support. In the present day situation, these ex-heroes of the armed struggle are trying to become “respectable statesmen” in lounge suits with false handshakes and hypocritical smiles. They want to negotiate with the bourgeois states and become acceptable politicians to “the international community”. But first they have to capitulate to the system these states are based upon. They are not only renouncing the armed struggle but in reality are admitting the defeat of this tactic. But if the armed struggle failed, then the option of a negotiated settlement does not stand much of a chance either.
These are negotiations between master and slave. This notion of negotiating independence is false from beginning to end. These ruling elites will not give the Kashmiris their freedom on a platter. The fate of India and Pakistan is a gruesome example of the miseries the masses face when their “national” leaders get them independence through negotiations and accord with the imperialist masters.
In the 1960s and 1970s these Kashmiri nationalist leaders quoted Marx and Lenin in their struggle for an independent, secular, and democratic Kashmir. The Marxist position on the national question is not only misinterpreted but also fabricated to suit the interests and aims of the nationalist leaders – and not only in Kashmir.
Marxists fight against all forms of inequality and discrimination. We are against any privileges for any linguistic, cultural or religious dominant grouping. That was also Lenin’s position on this question. At the same time Lenin never went to the other extreme of pandering to every demand of the oppressed minority nationalities. To do so would have meant making concessions to their own particular bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalism, in effect their desire to become oppressors themselves. We stand for international culture and international workers’ democracy.
Lenin understood very well that behind all this lay the interests of the exploiting classes within each nationality. As Marx and Engels explained, the dominant ideas within any society are those of the ruling class. Here is what Lenin wrote:
“The elements of democratic and socialist culture are present, if only in the rudimentary form, in every national culture, since in every nation there are toiling and exploited masses whose conditions of life inevitably give rise to the ideology of democracy and socialism. But every nation also possesses a bourgeois culture (and most nations have a reactionary and clerical culture as well) in the form, not merely of ‘elements’, but of the dominant culture. Therefore, the general ‘national culture’ is the culture of the landlord, the clergy, and the bourgeoisie.”
And he goes on:
“The national culture of the bourgeoisie is in fact (and, I repeat, the bourgeoisie everywhere enters into deals with the landed proprietors and the clergy) bellicose bourgeois nationalism, which stultifies, fools, and disunites the workers in order that the bourgeoisie may lead them by halter, such is the fundamental fact of the present day. Those who seek to serve the proletariat must unite the workers of all nations, and unswervingly fight bourgeoisie nationalism, domestic and foreign.”
Lenin had no problem in opposing reactionary demands of minority groups, such as separate schools. He understood that this, rather than weakening, actually strengthened racial and national prejudice. This is what he had to say about the question:
“Cultural autonomy implies precisely the most refined and, therefore, the most harmful nationalism. It implies the corruption of the workers by means of the slogan of national culture and the propaganda of the profoundly harmful and even anti-democratic segregation of schools according to nationality. In short, this programme undoubtedly contradicts the internationalism of the proletariat and is in accordance only with the ideals of the nationalist petty bourgeoisie.”
Against “national cultural autonomy”, Lenin defended the right of self-determination. He stressed that all peoples have this right, but at the same time Marxists are not obliged to defend separatism in all situations. He wrote:
“For a Marxist, of course, all other conditions being equal, big states are always preferable to small ones”.
The nation state long ago became a fetter on the development of the productive forces. No country, can function as an autarky; they all have to operate within the world market. That is why the ex-colonies that gained independence remain dependent on their former colonial masters.
The proletariat, far from the undertaking to uphold the national development of every nation, on the contrary, warns the masses against such illusions, stands for the fullest freedom of capitalist intercourse and welcomes every kind of assimilation of nations, except that which is founded on force or privilege
Marxists are for the elimination of all frontiers. Our final aim is the socialist united states of the world. However, we also remember what Marx said: that there is no greater calamity for a people than to oppress another people. Marxists always defend the oppressed minority. We fight discrimination, oppression and the denial of national rights. The working class, however, must develop its own, independent position on the national question, as on all issues. But its class interests come first. And the struggle for the socialism is at the top of its list of priorities. It is not in the interest of the working class to abandon its demands because of so-called “national unity”.
The situation is different when it comes to the position of an oppressor nation. Lenin repeatedly pointed to the fact that the Russian Bolsheviks, as members of the Great Russian nation, i.e. an oppressor nation had to come out against the oppressive policies of its own bourgeoisie towards the minorities that made up the Czarist Empire. This was necessary to demonstrate to the workers and peasants of these nations that the Russian workers would not oppress them, on the contrary, they would defend all their rights, including the right of self-determination.
There was another side to the coin, however. Lenin never made the mistake of bending to nationalist pressures, including that of the oppressed. Internationalism permeated the whole spirit of Lenin. The defence of the right to self-determination was in fact aimed at securing the unity of the workers of all nations, whether oppressed or oppressors. It did not imply any kind of support for nationalism or separatism. Lenin was very clear on this:
“The recognition of the right to self-determination does not exclude either propaganda and agitation against separation or exposure of bourgeois nationalism.”
In the case of the struggle in Kashmir, the Marxists support the right of self-determination if the people of Kashmir want to establish a separate homeland. The first question that arises if we examine the broader implications, the integration of all countries into the world economy, the character of present day globalisation, the role of the World Bank and the IMF, and the military, political, and economic aggression of imperialism, it becomes clear that Kashmiri masses would be no better off in an independent capitalist Kashmir.
Secondly, if the Kashmiri struggle on its own cannot defeat the semi-colonial, semi-imperialist states of India and Pakistan, how would it be able to defy mighty US imperialism and its lust to exploit and plunder Kashmir?
Thirdly, the oppressors of Kashmir are also the oppressors of the other peoples of the subcontinent. The national oppression of different nationalities, ethnic, and religious groups in India and Pakistan continues unabated. With the intensifying crisis of capitalism in these countries, this oppression is rapidly becoming worse. However, more than national oppression, it is class oppression that is becoming more pronounced. The so-called neo-liberal and free market policies of privatisation, downsizing, liberalisation, restructuring etc., are playing havoc with the masses in the subcontinent. Of course Bangladesh, which attained its independence in 1971, also carries out the dictates of the imperialist financial institutions. Under capitalism, the masses in Bangladesh did not attain liberation or emancipation but only misery, destitution, and torment. It has been declared the most corrupt country in the world in year 2005.
A substantial percentage of the total population of Kashmir has left the area in the last 60 years. This exodus was also due to the fallout of the national question in Kashmir. These Kashmiri masses not only live in the metropolitan cities and towns of India and Pakistan, but a large bulk of them resides in the Middle East. Many also live in Britain, Europe, and beyond. The majority of them would opt for some sort of independence for Kashmir. However, the question is would they and the subsequent generations of Kashmiris born and raised abroad voluntarily return to an independent Kashmir? The answer is most certainly no, if an autonomous and independent Kashmir were drenched in the same poverty, misery, disease, ignorance, and deprivation which was there when they or their ancestors left. This would be especially true for those residing in the advanced countries in Europe and North America. Hence, the question of class and nature of the socio-economic system is not alien to the discussion on the national question. It is in fact an integral and organic part of the question of the national liberation of Kashmir. Only under a planned socialist economy can Kashmir attain the living standards that could become the envy of those living even in the most advanced societies today.
These same rulers, who oppress the Kashmiri masses, crush the masses elsewhere in the subcontinent for the same purpose to prolong and sustain the exploitation of capital. Through this, they get the commissions, perks, and privileges they enjoy as subordinates in the plunder of imperialism. There is a sense of seething revolt and anger amongst the masses against these rulers. This anger against the ruling class of all nationalities must be united into one struggle to overthrow the capitalist system.
The truth is that the ruling class is incapable of giving any concessions or carrying out any substantial reforms for the betterment of the masses. Similarly, they cannot end the national oppression of the Kashmiris and other oppressed nationalities, let alone give them independence. Only by fighting for the transformation of the entire capitalist system can we unite this collective struggle. This fight can only be fought and won on the basis of the class struggle. The many rivers of the struggle for national liberation must be linked and allowed to flow into the ocean of class struggle against this oppressive system and its rulers. Keeping in mind the delicate nature of the national question, Trotsky summed up the Marxist position in the most profound manner:
“The right of national self-determination is, of course a democratic and not a socialist principle. But genuinely democratic principles are supported and realized in our era only by the revolutionary proletariat; it is for this very reason that they interlace with socialist tasks.”
The fundamental and most advanced contradictions of this epoch are class contradictions. The product of these contradictions is the class war, which must be fought to the finish. The destiny of the working class and the oppressed in this struggle will be the victory of revolutionary socialism.
The idea of dividing Kashmir into three parts is a reactionary scheme from beginning to end. Kashmir is too delicate an issue to be treated in this way. The imperialists have left this issue as part of the “unfinished agenda of partition”. The local elites have used and abused Kashmir for their own domestic consumption over the last fifty-eight years. The Balkanisation of Kashmir offers no viable solution and would only cause the situation to deteriorate further. It would create more bloodshed and conflicts in the region than it could solve. The example of Yugoslavia is a horrifying reminder of what Balkanisation brings with it. Those who have been involved in the struggle for the liberation of Kashmir will never tolerate its division. Kashmir must move forward toward higher forms of human unity and solidarity. The clock must not be turned back. Like other bourgeois manoeuvres, it would only lead to disaster and catastrophe.
Under capitalism, an independent Kashmir would be economically incapable of providing the necessary infrastructure to forge unity in the rugged terrain inhabited by such a diverse population. Eight official languages are recognized in the constitution of Indian-held Kashmir. This does not include Gilgit, Baltistan, and other areas held by Pakistan. The Kashmir Valley, Jammu, and Ladakh are under the domination of three different states: Pakistan, India and China. Ladakh, with a population of 200,000, mainly concentrated in Leh, is cut of from rest of the subcontinent. The only link to the city is via the Zojila pass, 3,450 meters above sea level. The majority of the population of Leh are the descendants of Tibetans and Mongolians. The majority of the population of Jammu are Aryans. The Valley’s inhabitants are mainly non-Aryans. To unite such diverse people scattered throughout this rugged terrain would be a truly Herculean task.
If we take a deeper look at the Kashmir issue, the formation of an independent Kashmir is not viable under capitalism. The policies of the ruling elite have created a situation where an independent Kashmir would have intolerable repercussions for both India and Pakistan.
A capitalist Kashmiri state would inevitably be dependent on aid and loans from imperialist institutions for its existence. This would lead to the further impoverishment of Kashmir, and result in renewed ethnic, religious, and racial conflicts. Unless there is the decisive break with this system, unless the state and society are radically transformed, the shackles of imperialism will strangle the generations to come.
Indian and Pakistani ruling elites are deeply dependent and reliant, even if covertly, upon one another. Nationalism, patriotism, and mutual animosity are for the consumption of the masses.
The socialist revolution in Kashmir is intrinsically linked with revolution in India and Pakistan. The left-wing parties and leaders in India and Pakistan cannot be absolved from what has happened in Kashmir.
The Communist Parties in India had a relatively bigger mass base. However, they had an erroneous position on the issue of Kashmir. Again this policy was the product of the “two-stage theory”. The CPs offered support to the Indian bourgeoisie to carry out the tasks of the national democratic revolution. In order to complete the bourgeois revolution, they even went so far as to indirectly support the policy of forcibly incorporating Kashmir into the Indian Union. According to them, this would create a larger bourgeois nation state and complete the national democratic revolution. In doing so, they both directly and indirectly supported the policy of the Indian rulers to subjugate Kashmir and to carry out the national oppression of Kashmir in the name of the secular and democratic state of India.
In practice, this meant they opposed the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri masses. The modest basis that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was able to achieve in Kashmir was due more to its “pro-peoples” policy in Kashmir, which was different from the policy put forward by the national leadership in India. They paved the way for the rise of the nationalists, and later on even the fundamentalists were able to take advantage of the political vacuum created by the CP’s lack of a correct Marxist position.
The left in Pakistan was never able to build a mass party, and the various groups remained on the fringes. These organisations based their policies on the “two-stage theory”. On one the hand they went so far as to support the national liberation of Kashmir on a capitalist basis, and on the other, like their counterparts in India, they supported the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan. As in India, they believed that this would complete the national democratic revolution.
The revolutionary uprising of this class struggle in the subcontinent is the only method through which the strangle hold of the vicious states fighting their greedy wars by spilling blood of ordinary Kashmiris and oppressing more than one and a half billion souls of this historic subcontinent can be broken. The Communist elements in the Indian occupied Kashmir and the Marxists of Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation (JKNSF) across the LOC have this historical challenge to redeem.
They have to provide leadership, organisation and direction to these mass uprisings. It is also the historical task of revolutionary activists, youth and workers in India, Pakistan and beyond to support courageously the struggle of the Kashmiri masses against the oppression and tyranny they have endured and fought for generations. The spark of a Kashmiri mass revolt can kindle a torch that shall enlighten the path of revolutionary socialism for oppressed of this South Asian subcontinent to rise up and make the prospect of emancipation and prosperity a reality.