The Left in India and Kashmir

Dibyesh Anand

Most party leftists in india do not support Azaadi in any form in Kashmir. As soon as the left parties accepted parliamentary democracy and the Indian nation-state as the parameters within which to operate, their attitude toward Kashmir simply followed that of the Congress with a little more emphasis on human rights. The way communist parties failed to challenge casteism and patriarchy with mostly upper caste men talking of solidarity and liberation, it is not surprising they remain mute when the Indian state brutalises Kashmiris.

(As they fail to utter a single word when China occupies and suppresses Tibetans.)

Tens of thousands of Kashmiris killed by the Indian state, thousands who disappeared, countless women and men raped and tortured by Indian forces… Who with an iota of decency would not advocate their cause simply because there are violent actors who seek to represent themselves as the proponents of Azaadi? But then there is very little decency one witnesses across the political spectrum in India.

The framing of the Azaadi movement as primarily violent and/or religiously fanatic becomes simply an apology for injustices done on the bodies of Kashmiris and on Kashmiri body politic. If only some rejected as ultra left or campus left or anarcho-left can empathise with these Kashmiri victims of state violence as well as non state violence then it is an indictment of the mainstream left that they insist on treating the Indian nation state as a sacred cow.

If the argument is that the Azaadi movement is hijacked by religious fanatics and therefore one should accept state narrative and state violence as the lesser evil, it is no different from supporters of supposedly secular authoritarian systems that use the Islamist bogeyman to crush and kill thousands say in Algeria or in Egypt.

We should be asking why do more people in India not espouse the cause of Azaadi when India itself was supposedly based on Azaadi from a colonial occupation.

Had the Azaadi movement in Kashmir been primarily secular and non violent (let’s assume this) does any one have the illusion that Indians blinded with nationalism, their distrust of Muslims, and wedded to the idea of cartographic immutability would have actually supported it?
I think not. This is because the nature of Kashmiri Azaadi movement is unimportant for Indians, it is the nature of Indian occupation and nation-statism that is relevant. And that occupation is bracketed within violence and arrogance of power and the nation-statism anchored in privileging of territoriality over people, security over humanity and patriotism over self-reflection.

When it comes to Kashmir one would rather respect anarcho-leftist in India than the mainstream leftist/Rightist/Far Right all of whom remain soaked in the corruption of nation-statism and invested in the occupation and brutalisation of Kashmir.

CPM in Kashmir

  • Pratik Ali

    It’s not so simple. Firstly, there is no consolidated anarcho-leftist opinion (campus, outside, whatever) that can actually be pointed out, let alone on Kashmir. Now if there were to be such an opinion, what would it be? We have parallels with other places to be drawn with Kashmir (eg. Palestine), but that would still leave the matter at a broad level of debate which wouldn’t be controversial at all. Do anarcho-leftists support a Kashmiri state? Can anarcho-leftists see the contours of a future kashmiri state? Will we be actively working among and organizing people in kashmir? These kind of questions, esp the last one, are prior to there being an anarcho-leftist stand on kashmir. Any stand requires people to pull themselves together around it, of which there are none right now. The spanish call it “nada”. Without this, what you have are empty calls of support which don’t matter much.