Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Maoists Support Kashmiri Freedom

Posted by D and I Consulting on November 11, 2010

PHOTO: SHAILENDRA PANDEY

Poet Varavara Rao

An interview with revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, from Tehelka.

‘We have a common enemy in New Delhi’

Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao tells KUNAL MAJUMDER that the Naxals will support the separatist movement in Kashmir

Why did you attend the conference demanding secession of Kashmir? What connects the Kashmiri separatists to Maoists?
I feel azadi is the only way for Kashmir. Self-determination is the right of every nationality. Being a Maoist, I support revolutionary and independent movements of people. On that Marxist-Leninist principle, I support the nationality struggle of Kashmir and of the Northeast. I come from the Hyderabad riyasat. Both Hyderabad and Kashmir were invaded by India. Even the Indian Union uses the word ‘accession’ in both cases. They annexed Hyderabad on the pretext that the rulers are Muslims and the ruled are Hindus. In Kashmir, they said the king is Hindu. In both places, they played the Hindu card.

Going by your argument, should India then be split into 28 different countries?
We support nationalistic aspirations. Only those princely states that were under Delhi till 1947 and those who agreed to join the Indian Union should be in India. Nehru had even taken the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. If Kashmir was like any other state after 1950, then what is the need for Article 370? If it is a part of the Indian Union, why do you have to send the army? Why do you have AFSPA? From Nehru to Vajpayee, there have been talks on Kashmir with Pakistan, because the government knows it is a disputed issue.

How do you define azadi? Pakistan calls the part of Kashmir occupied by it as azad Kashmir.
Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir. Even Syed Ali Shah Geelani is asking for the right of self-determination for Kashmiris. Who is India or Pakistan to decide about what Kashmir wants? As a Maoist, I say that Kashmir should be liberated, but if the people of Kashmir decide otherwise, we will accept it.

Doesn’t asking for secession of Kashmir amount to sedition?
The right to secede is recognised by the Geneva Convention. Many countries have attained independence through plebiscite. It is not unconstitutional. I believe the only way forward for Kashmir is azadi.

What about the views of the Kashmiri Pandits? They even protested at the conference.
There were around 700 people at the conference, most of them supporting azadi. Around 200 of them were Kashmiris. The Sangh Parivar people, including Kashmiri Pandits, were not more than 70. That means the people of Kashmir are not alone in their struggle. Delhi is the common enemy of Kashmir and the struggling people of this country. Those people even threw shoes. What kind of culture is this? This is nothing but Hindu fascism.

Some reports suggest that the ISI is trying to link up Kashmiri separatists with Maoists. Is there any truth in this?
This has been around for long. There is no truth in it.

What about tie-ups between the Maoists and the separatists?
Right from the days of Charu Mazumdar, we have supported the struggle for azadi in Kashmir and the Northeast. That support remains.

Will the Maoist movement expand into Kashmir?
I can’t say. It all depends on the strength of the Maoists. We will support their nationalist movement as we see it as an anti-imperialist movement. Delhi, like I said, is the common enemy.

5 Responses to “Maoists Support Kashmiri Freedom”

  1. Shiva said

    The use of the term ‘separatist’ to refer to the Kashmiri liberation struggle is misleading.
    A region annexed by force, threat of force or unfair political pressure is not really a part of the bigger structure. It is cotrrect for it to ask for resoration of the status quo prior to annexation.
    All parts of India that constitute nations/nationalities –even if they were ‘willingly’ included in the Union– have the right to secede.
    Secession is not an end in itself. It is a last desperate measure of an oppressed people.
    A united India is desirable to all progressive forces, but only as much as it is desirable to the nations, nationalities and national minorities that constitute it.
    So, what is desirable is an India which is a voluntary union of nations, nationalities and national minorities where all identies are treated with equal respect and their rights are respected in word and deed.
    Only a liberated India can ensure that. Which means that India has to be freed of US imperialist domination of India, as well as Indian imperialism that now increasingly dominates the region. That means an India led by the mose progressive section of society, namely the proletariat.

    A parallel with the Communist Party of the Philippines is relevant. The CPP suppoerts the Moro people’s struggle for liberation and its support base among the Moro is small. But the CPP is not seen as a hostile force by Moro liberation forces.
    The stand of Turkish Marxist Leninists vis-a-vis the Kurdish struggle is like that of Marxist Leninists elsewhere on national questions in their respective contexts.

  2. No one denies the Kashmiri people the right to autonomy.However from a proletarian revolutionary standpoint it is incorrect to support the movement as it is still vitiated with reformist and pro-Imperialist content,although it contains progressive forces.

    I am reproducing below apiece written by Com.Harbhajan Singh Sohi in 1990 in the revolutionary Journal”The Comrade”

    “In the present Kashmiri movement there are positive aspects and negative aspects. The positive aspect is that it involves the broad masses of the Kashmir people and has also been secular maintaining the long secular tradition f the Kashmiri people. There have been several heroic clashes of the unarmed Kashmiri masses combating the Indian Para -Military Forces, in contrast to terrorist actions of militants. Despite the Hindu revivalist policies of the Indian State (To retrieve Hindutva and build a temple in the RamJanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Area-destroying the mosque) the Kashmiri people have remained basically secular, not falling prey to Islamic Fundamentalism. The negative features of the J.K.L.F are their national reformist outlook.

    They have been unable to arouse the peasantry and have also been supportive of movements like the Palestinian Intifafada and the East European movements to topple backward regimes. They also seek support of bourgeois states. This force has also been unable to demarcate from the Communalist Fascist Actions of the Muslim Fundamentalist Outfits like the Hizbul-Muzahideen,who threatened the common people.This group is openly communal. As a result of the looseness in the J.K.L.F leaders politics such Groups gained political Ascendancy.

    They are also launching attacks on the Hindu Community in Kashmir to communalize the situation by dividing the people. The J.K.L.F ,unfortunately is not effectively countering such propoganda.The J.K.LF.is pegging the Kashmiri National movement to the partial political aim of exercising political determination, towards carving out a separate Kashmir State, without challenging the neo-colonial Grip of Imperialism. Only if the Kashmiri democratic Forces ,having anti-imperialist anti-feudal political orientation ,gain ascendancy, and if all the active fraternal support of all the oppressed masses is secured on the basis of common interests, would the Kashmiri National Movement be able to withstand the strong enemy pressure and the Challenge of Fundamentalist Forces.

    The present onslaught of the Indian State on the J.K.LF is totally unjustified because Kashmir never actually became a part of the Indian Union.Infact the Indian Constitution provided for Article 370 which ensured the right of Self-determination for Kashmiri People. It must be remembered that the present Indian semi-colonial Semi-feudal State is a legacy of the British.

    In the present Kashmiri movement there are positive aspects and negative aspects. The positive aspect is that it involves the broad masses of the Kashmir people and has also been secular maintaining the long secular tradition f the Kashmiri people. There have been several heroic clashes of the unarmed Kashmiri masses combating the Indian Para -Military Forces, in contrast to terrorist actions of militants. Despite the Hindu revivalist policies of the Indian State (To retrieve Hindutva and build a temple in the RamJanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Area-destroying the mosque) the Kashmiri people have remained basically secular, not falling prey to Islamic Fundamentalism. The negative features of the J.K.L.F are their national reformist outlook.

    They have been unable to arouse the peasantry and have also been supportive of movements like the Palestinian Intifafada and the East European movements to topple backward regimes. They also seek support of bourgeois states. This force has also been unable to demarcate from the Communalist Fascist Actions of the Muslim Fundamentalist Outfits like the Hizbul-Muzahideen,who threatened the common people.This group is openly communal. As a result of the looseness in the J.K.L.F leaders politics such Groups gained political Ascendancy.

    They are also launching attacks on the Hindu Community in Kashmir to communalize the situation by dividing the people. The J.K.L.F ,unfortunately is not effectively countering such propoganda.The J.K.LF.is pegging the Kashmiri National movement to the partial political aim of exercising political determination, towards carving out a separate Kashmir State, without challenging the neo-colonial Grip of Imperialism. Only if the Kashmiri democratic Forces ,having anti-imperialist anti-feudal political orientation ,gain ascendancy, and if all the active fraternal support of all the oppressed masses is secured on the basis of common interests, would the Kashmiri National Movement be able to withstand the strong enemy pressure and the Challenge of Fundamentalist Forces.

    Important Notes.

    1.The Integrity of a democratic State is determined by the national integrity of it`s people which itself is the end product of the Objective Integration and the Economic, social and Cultural Life of the People and the attendant national Consciousness and commitment.Likewise,the Integrity of a multi-national Democratic State is determined by the Voluntary Union of the Constituent nations or People`s,on the basis of equal Status, mutual respect and mutual benefit. Then ,the Integrity of a State is regarded as inviolable.

    2.There is no conflict of National Interests amongst various peoples of India. Their National Interests converge on the common basics task of overthrowing the basic rule of Imperialism and it`s Subservient Indian Partners, for opening up the path of self-reliant democratic development.

    3.The basic interests of the Indian People in general, as against those of the Indian Rulers, are incompatible with the National Opression of or discrimination against any of the Constituent Nationalities of India. That is the objective basis for them to raise the banner of unity of all the Indian People in contest with the Indian Rulers banner of integrity of the Indian State. Unless this objective basis finds tangible expression in their actual opposition to National Opression or relative National discrimination, the banner of all the Indian People’s Unity cannot acquire credibility with those nationalities that have grievances with their relative discrimination. The most comprehensive version of such an opposition is the firm stand of upholding the right of every constituent Nationality of India to National Self Determination.

    4.The Kashmiri people have the exclusive right to decide their own national Status and identity, and that any extraneous pressure or use of force to deny or distort the exercise of this right by the Kashmiri People is Impermissible.

  3. Mike E said

    At the risk of stating the obvious, this is does not seem to be true in the comment above:

    “No one denies the Kashmiri people the right to autonomy.”

    And the “right to autonomy” is not the same as the “right of self-determination” — and that difference is, of course, the controversy here.

    Self-determination means that they don’t need your approval — and your views of their political choices should not be the operative question.

    What does it mean to say “they get the right of selfdetermination when they are likely to take a path i like”?

  4. see also http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/national-situation/261-kashmir-a-time-for-freedom

  5. Shiva said

    I fully endorse the comment by Mike E.
    What is at stake in Kashmir is not the right to autonomy.
    Kashmir is a nation, long occupied by two rival states. The right of Kasmir to decide its fate has been denied to it.
    To substitute autonomy for self-determination is exactly what the right opportunists and reformists of the Second International did do defend colonial regimes.
    Communists were quite clear about where they stood vis-a-vis liberation struggles, irrespective of the class that led struggles agaionst foreign domination and occupation.
    That principled stand is still valid, and should be understood in the context of hegemony in the post-colonial context.

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