-Rajesh Tyagi/ 20.3.2016
Kashmir continues to be a running sore in South Asia. The question was focused again and again in recent past, more recently in JNU incident where slogans were raised in favour of an independent Kashmir.
Kashmir issue, a bone of contention between the rival states of India and Pakistan, is the direct fallout of the reactionary, communal partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, a catastrophe that occurred at the climax of a counter-revolution, engineered by the British colonialists and aided and supported by the sections of Indian bourgeois led by Congress, Muslim League, RSS and by the bogus policies of the Stalinist CPI. Through brutal suppression of the anti-colonial revolution and fostering massive communal riots, the foreign and local bourgeoisie succeeded in preventing the working class from taking to power. The reactionary settlement between the two, aborted the anti-colonial struggle, tore apart the Indian sub-continent to establish rival client states of imperialism-India and Pakistan, and resulted in horror of unprecedented communal riots in human history ever, that took twenty million toll, apart from massive loot, arson, and rapes.
Kashmir, left as a buffer zone between the rival states of India and Pakistan has been the worst victim of this rivalry since 1947. Bourgeoisie of both countries, having contending claims over the territory of Kashmir, has used this hinterland to foist disturbances in each other’s countries through proxy wars, while deploying heavy armed forces in the region to defend itself.
Alongside, the rival territorial claims of India and Pakistan over Kashmir, there exists the most genuine aspiration of the mass of workers, toilers, poors and oppressed to get rid of the oppressive yoke of the bourgeois rule, exploitation, violence and bloodshed. The local bourgeois in Kashmir, attempts to build itself on exploitation of this aspiration, but for its vested interest that are not different in any manner from that of New Delhi and Lahore.
The bourgeois in South Asia is largely divided in three sections over the issue of Kashmir. The section led by New Delhi, wants to keep Kashmir annexed to Indian territory, in its stranglehold and under its domination. The rival section led by Lahore, knowing well that it is engaged in mission impossible, contends for Kashmir with an ostensible purpose to annex it to Pakistan. Then comes the local bourgeoisie in Kashmir, having its own political aspirations to rule and thus stakes in the issue. It demands ‘azadi’ for Kashmir, i.e. an independent Kashmir, under its own rule.
Needless to say that all of these three sections of bourgeoisie are closely bound-up with imperialist camps in the world. Despite all demagogy, their role and purpose is nothing else than to act as necessary link between world market and Kashmir to assist in exploitation of its natural and human resources and raise their own bills for the service.
Both India and Pakistan are closely linked with rival Imperialist camps. While India has drawn closer and closer to the military bloc of NATO led by US, Pakistan is embracing the rival bloc led by China and Russia. This proximity of the two countries to heavily armed imperialist powers, threatens Kashmir, for its geo-political location in Asia, to become a battleground for this imperialist rivalry in near future.
While rejecting rival claims of Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie over Kashmir as bogus, we also reject the call of sections of Kashmiri bourgeoisie for ‘azadi’ of Kashmir. The statelet that Kashmiri local bourgeoisie, led by organisations like Hurriyat Conference or Jamat-e-Islami, proposes to establish, cannot promise anything to the working and toiling people of Kashmir. World bourgeois, as a whole has become counter-revolutionary long back in history and so the nation-states under it. These national states, old or new, cannot address the aspirations of working people. Any new nation-state founded on bourgeois foundations, would be more deformed than before and would render nothing progressive. Bangladesh, founded in 1971, becoming home to worst exploitation, extreme poverty, communal violence, illiteracy and diseases, is living example of it.
The movement of ‘Azadi’ of Kashmir, led by local bourgeoisie, is thus thoroughly reactionary movement. Instead of uniting various communities in Kashmir, it divides them on religious lines and proposes to establish an essentially religion-based state. This movement and its leaders are having close nexus with imperialist powers. Their aspiration to rule has no match with aspiration of workers and toilers for liberation from exploitation and oppression that is result of operation of capitalism. Kashmiri Bourgeoisie has no program different from that of New Delhi or Lahore. It only wants autonomy to place itself at the head of Kashmiri workers and toilers, get rid of big brothers at New Delhi or Lahore and connect it directly to world market. It wants to substitute itself for rulers in New Delhi or Lahore at the head of the despotic regime. Its program does not go beyond maximum autonomy at its worst and a client state for imperialism at its best. Instead of striving for independence and liberty from the yoke of capitalism and imperialism, it strives for closer proximity and direct connection to world markets and imperialism. Its program, totally reactionary and conservative at its base, promises nothing for the workers and poors in Kashmir.
However, the genuine aspirations of Kashmiri people against despotic rule of New Delhi have to be taken into account. These aspirations, emanate from military oppression of Kashmiri nationality and its forced annexation to New Delhi.
Opposing the military oppression and forced annexation of Kashmir to New Delhi, we thus support unconditionally the right to self-determination of all Kashmiri people, without discrimination of caste, creed, religion or community, habiting the territory of Kashmir. And support the right to self-determination upto secession from Indian territory.
However, we tell the truth to workers and toilers of Kashmir. No secession, no establishment of azad Kashmir, is going to change anything for the working and toiling people in Kashmir. The regime of bourgeoisie of Lahore or Srinagar would be no different from that of the regime under New Delhi. Secession is no solution!
No real fight for democracy and liberation of workers, poors and oppressed can be launched in twenty first century on the reactionary, narrow and conservative premise of bourgeois nationalism. It can only be launched on the basis of proletarian internationalism and only as integral part of world socialist revolution.
It need be underscored that the parties and leaders associated with Stalinist and Maoist left, oppose this internationalist program advanced by the Workers’ Socialist Party. They, instead, remain adhered to different sections of bourgeoisie and advocate its program. While Stalinist parties like CPI, CPM throw their weight and support behind New Delhi to oppose the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people in the garb of unity and integrity of India, Maoists support the claims of ‘azadi’ of Kashmir, being advanced by rival sections of the bourgeoisie. Both Stalinists and Maoists thus remain tied up to this or that section of the regime of rich and elites.
The problem of Kashmir emanates from the reactionary communal partition of 1947. The way forward, thus, is not the secession of territories and further balkanization of the region, but to overturn this partition and re-unite the Indian sub-continent, through a socialist revolution. This socialist revolution in the sub-continent would emerge as part of the world socialist revolution to trigger a broader revolutionary offensive of the working class against all capitalist states in South Asia, overturning them and uniting them into a federation of independent socialist republics.
To advance this revolution, we must present and fight for a transitional program in Kashmir and outside, that includes among others, the demand for unity among the Kashmiri workers and toilers, unity among the sections of workers inside and outside Kashmir, stoppage of all hostility in Kashmir, immediate withdrawal of all armed forces and all black laws from Kashmir, and to forced annexations and the recognition of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris and all other nationalities and that upto secession. This fighting program must be crowned above all by the clarion call to the working class in south asia to carry out the socialist overturn in all countries of south asia and unite them into a federation of socialist republics.