Some good video of heavy duty riots in Kashmir in the past few days. Six people were wounded when security forces opened fire on the rioters, who were throwing stones and attacking the Indian forces with sticks.
There are few things more infuriating than discussing Kashmir with a typical Indian. I’ve discussed this subject with many Indians. Most of them were upper class Hindus, but a few were actually Punjabis. It’s a sad comment that after the failure of the Sikh Rebellion, many Punjabis have descended into the rank sewer of Indian nationalism.
The reaction when discussing Kashmir with an Indian is always the same. First, they start getting very angry, pounding the table, and raising their voice. They insist that all Kashmiris love India and want to be a part of India. The entire Kashmiri rebellion, such as it were, is being fomented from this evil behemoth called Pakistan. The Kashmiris themselves, loyal patriotic Indians, have nothing to do with it and even hate the Pakistani invaders.
One particularly brainwashed fellow insisted that there were no such thing as Kashmiris, there were only Indians. This brings to mind Golda Meir’s comment that there are no such thing as Palestinians.
Indians are about as stark raving batshit nuts on the subject of Kashmir as your average Israeli Jew is on the subject of Palestine. There’s no reasoning with them, no room for conversation, nothing.
Try to bring up the history of Kashmir and you get more defense, blockage, diversion and bluster.
Here is the history of Kashmir.
When India was granted its independence in 1947, there were about 5,000 princely states in India. Each one was in effect its own state with its own government, leadership, etc. The terms of the independence protocol were that each of the 5,000 states would have a right to decide their own future. Join India, be independent, join with some other princely states in another state, etc. The overwhelming majority of the states opted to join India. However, the entire Northeast, Kashmir, and a number of other states around India did not.
Very quickly, most of the small states that refused to join India were attacked by the Indian military and overrun. Many people were killed by the Indian military in these blatantly imperialist endeavors. The entire Northeast was invaded, overrun and occupied. Many Northeasterners resisted, and they have been fighting the state off and on ever since. Pakistan was partitioned off, which was a good idea (Who wants all those hostile Muslims?) and this resulted in horrendous massacres on both sides as Hindus fled Pakistan and Muslims fled India.
Kashmir, in the northwest mountains, had few natural resources and was mostly known as a vacation spot, the Switzerland of India. The population was 90% Muslim, but there were also Buddhist and Hindu minorities there. They practiced a tolerant, syncretistic form of Islam far removed from Islamic fundamentalism. The different communities had traditionally gotten along.
The people of Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan, but the ruler of Kashmir was a Hindu prince. The prince wanted to join India simply because he was a Hindu. No one seemed to be able to make up their minds about what to do.
In the midst of this steamy stasis, Pakistani propaganda rallied many Pakistani tribesmen, mostly Pashtuns, over the mountain passes into Kashmir. This was basically an armed invasion of Kashmir by Pakistani forces, but the use of “independent irregulars” absolved Pakistan of responsibility. The prince called for the Indian army to come in and help him and joined India so he could officially call the army in. The Indian line is, “We were only trying to help.”
A messy war ensued, the end result of which was that Kashmir was split in half between Pakistan and India. India placed Kashmir under a lockdown of military rule, a dictatorship, that lasted for decades.
In the following decades, Kashmiris patiently tried to petition the state with their grievances. Mostly they wanted a UN Resolution to be implemented which called for elections in Kashmir so the people could decide what to do – join Pakistan, stay in India, or go independent. India has been flouting this UN resolution since 1948. As far as outlaw rouge states go, shitty big India is up there with shitty little Israel.
Peaceful protest was crushed for decades by the Indian state in the Dictatorship of Kashmir and real elections were banned for fear that Kashmiri nationalists would win. During this time, all politicians in Kashmir were appointed by India. Finally, some controlled elections were allowed, but only India’s handpicked candidates were allowed to run.
After decades of repression, some small Kashmiri independence groups began to be formed. At one point, there were more than 50 different armed groups fighting the Indian state. They were Muslim, but they tended to be pretty secular within the Kashmiri tradition.
By the 1990’s, the repression from the Indian state was in full swing. At this time, it was estimated that 90% of Kashmiri Muslims supported the separatist insurgents.
There was mass rape of Kashmiri Muslims, death squads roamed the streets, homes were routinely invaded and either shot up or searched for captives who were disappeared never to be seen again. Kashmiris were rounded up in huge detainment camps. Entire neighborhoods would undergo lockdown, and hundreds of young men would be handcuffed to the ground while hooded informers roamed through the group, pointing out insurgents. It was a typical Hellish insurgency.
At the same time, there was almost zero reporting of this insurgency in the US, as the US has always been slavishly pro-India. There are various reasons for this, but the main one is that about 98% of the reporters on the Indian beat at any paper or mag are high caste, typically Brahmin, Hindus, who are always ferociously, utterly deranged, nearly psychotic Indian nationalists. Hence there is almost never any critical coverage of the Indian state coming out of the US press for decades now.
At some point in the 1990’s, Pakistan got involved in the Kashmir issue. Mostly the Pakistani state, nearly as vile as the Indian state, just used Kashmir to whip the public into idiot jingoism and support for a state that few Pakistanis in their right minds should support. In this way, support for Kashmir was used to defuse national tensions in the same sickening way that Arab dictatorships use the Palestine issue to rally support around an elitist state that avoids serving their people properly.
The Pakistanis funded radical Muslim jihadi groups who sneaked into Kashmir, set up bases in the area and engaged in armed fights with the Indian forces. Many of these groups were very hardline radical fundamentalist radicals who were not particularly popular with Kashmiris. But gradually the insurgency shifted from the local Kashmiri groups to the Pakistani jihadis.
Now, if you ask your average Indian dipshit, the entire phase leading up to the involvement of Pakistani jihadis in Kashmir simply never occurred. I tell them about this period of history and they act outraged, as if they are being told toweringly offensive lies. It’s clear that they have never heard of the entire phase of the struggle leading up to Pakistan’s involvement.
The only conclusion is that almost all middle class and higher Indians have been ridiculously brainwashed on this issue. One wonders how this occurred. Clearly, the Indian mass media, long controlled by an ultranationalist high caste Hindu elite, has never told the Indian people the real story of Kashmir. Nor has the school system, as I assume that Indian students are heavily brainwashed even in school on Kashmir.
The Pakistanis are not innocent on this issue, but most of the ones I talked to are a lot saner than the Indians. Pakistanis tend to be calm and level-headed about Kashmir, if somewhat deluded.
But most Pakistanis do not want Kashmir to go independent or stay with India. They only want it to go to Pakistan. So in their own way, they are as contemptuous of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination as the Indians are. If you tell Pakistanis that Kashmiris don’t want to join Pakistan (only ~6% want to join Pakistan), you get sputters of denial and insistence that Kashmiris really do want to join Pakistan. Turns out the Pakistani state and press have been doing some brainwashing of their own.
Things have calmed down in Kashmir these days, and even the Pandits, the Kashmiri Hindus, are returning to Kashmir. They were ethnically cleansed, it is true, mostly in the early 1990’s. Most Kashmiris now seem ashamed of this act, and try to distance themselves from it, but it happened, and many Pandits were killed in the process. However, at the time, many Kashmiris opposed the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits.
The Pandits, 10% of Kashmir’s population, have since become a rallying cry for Hindutvas and idiot Indian nationalists. Many of them moved south of Jammu into refugee camps. Others scattered to the four winds. Even progressive Pandits are not too keen on Kashmiri self-determination as a consequence of their tribulations.
The insurgency is now at a very low level, but that’s because there are 500,000 Indian troops in Kashmir, which is not a large area. Keep in mind that at its peak, the US had 150,000 troops in Iraq which is twice as large as Kashmir. It would be as if the US had 1 million troops in Iraq.
Consequently, Kashmir is now one of the world’s pre-eminent garrison states. While the insurgency has died down, street protests have become the latest form of resistance in the past few years. The scene has an Intifada feel about it. Huge throng of Muslim youths fight it out in the streets with Indian forces on at least a weekly basis. This Intifada style rebellion is almost completely absent from the US press. On rare occasions, one glimpses a startling article to remind you that all’s not ok.
Try to tell an Indian about these huge throngs of Muslim youths regularly protesting and rioting and you will get a violent bluster. They insist, incredibly, that this is simply not occurring.
At some point, a sane state would give Kashmiris the right to vote on their self-determination. Support for independence has withered from 90% in the early 1990’s down to ~50% today. There’s about 45-50% support for both independence and staying with India. The option to join Pakistan, as noted above, is only 6%, which makes sense. Look at Pakistan. Why would any people in their right mind want to join that state?
There’s a little Kashmir backgrounder for you. You’re sure to never find that anywhere in the US or Indian media.