Riots in Kashmir

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.

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6 thoughts on “Riots in Kashmir”

  1. Hi Robert,

    Happy to be posting comments after so many weeks. Doesn’t mean I was not following your posts.

    You have done justice by criticizing Pakistan on this issue. In fact, Pakistan is no where to be left blameless on the issue of Kashmir. No doubt, India is not respecting the will of the Kashmiri people for self-determination but the Pakistanis also want Kashmir only to be annexed into their cesspool like country.

    The Pakistani state as you also mentioned, has been encouraging radicalism in Kashmir and has only been supporting the Kashmiri groups who are pro-Pakistan like the Jammu Kashmir Huriyat Conference. While there are several rather secular groups like the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) who want Kashmir to be independent and such groups are opposed by the Pakistani state.

    Pakistan is playing the same game in the Pashtun areas. They have always created and then supported fundamentalist parties amongst the Pashtuns. The secular Pashtun groups with a nationalistic agenda have always been weakened and oppressed by those in Lahore and Islamabad. They label them traitors and separatists. So what..? If separatism is such a big crime, why did Pakistan separated from India in the first place. I think Pakistan is responsible to a larger extent for the currently prevailing perception and image of the Pashtuns as zealots and fundamentalists. Remember, Pakistan was and still is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Not only this, they secretly created the Pakistani Taliban and have now waged ‘war’ against them in order to be showered with some dollars from the US and show them that he is their active partner in their ‘war against terror’.

    Sometimes, the stupidity of the Americans really shocks me to be relying on a partner like Pakistan. I as an ordinary man can see where the Taliban are living (not proper to say hiding) here in Quetta. They are armed and funded by the Pakistani government and then sent to Afghanistan or Waziristan to fight. I wonder how blind the CIA is not to know about all this despite having no lack of resources at their disposal. The conspiracy theories really make some sense in situations like this. The theory says: The US government (CIA included), Al-qaida and the Taliban are all three sides of the same triangle. And that Bin Ladin and Mullah Omar are CIA agents. How can’t they find them despite their relentless search for all these years. The ‘war on terror’ is just a pre-text to keep a presence in the area and check the increasing dominance of China and Russia. America does not intend to find Osama. Neither DEAD nor ALIVE.

    In all this mayhem people like Pashtuns, Balochis and Kashmiris are the ones who pay the real price. These people are regularly murdered by both side of the war. They suffer and no one really cares. Do you believe Pakistan is serious at solving the Kashmir issue once and for all. Without this issue, how can Pakistan justify spending 70% of its total annual budget on defense. How can it justify developing a nuclear bomb while majority of the ordinary people live under the poverty line.

    Peace,

  2. Great article except for a few errors:
    -I believe Pakistan controls 1/3 of Kashmir while India controls about 2/3. It’s not a half-half split.

    -I’m not sure if Kashmir has no resources. That place is a major tourist spot and might have plenty of freshwater and agricultural resources.

    -I don’t know about the Kashmiris being secular. In general yes they may be, but due to Indian occupation they have become heavily radicalized by their own leaders.

    Other than that great post. Also I don’t recommend you take this Pakhtun guy seriously. He sounds like an Afghan refugee in Quetta. Afghans are typically biased towards Pakistan. They typically come on the Internet posing as Pakistani Pakhtuns wanting to break-off from Pakistan or join Afghanistan. His comments regarding the Taliban are more or less the same claims coming out of most Afghans.

    I’d recommend you talk to real Pakistani Pakhtuns to get their opinion. I cannot comment on their behalf since I myself am not a Pakhtun.

    And yes you’re correct that many Pakistanis support Kashmir’s annexation into Pakistan. I myself support this annexation. I will discuss these key points with you via email. It’s too long to discuss on this page.

    Regards.

  3. Hey Rahman,

    What are you smoking?

    If you label all Pashtun nationalists or those who want to secede from Pakistan as refugees from Afghanistan, then I think your standard of judgement is far too high to be understood by ordinary people like us. Balochis also want to secede. What type of refugees are they? Have ever been to Pashtun areas and talked to the nationalists there about what they think about Pakistan. If that’s not possible; have you ever been on the face book and seen ideas of these ‘Afghan refugees’ from Swat, Peshawar, Waziristan, Malakand, Karachi, Quetta and many other places talking about their ‘beloved Pakistan’.

    I don’t care what a Punjabi (or whoever you are) thinks about me as you have never considered Pashtuns as Pakistanis in the very first place and I don’t regret you didn’t. If you can not tolerate a province of our own name within Pakistan after 60 years, then I don’t know what would you expect in return from these patriotic citizens Oops! Afghan refugees of Pak Sarzamin. Though it is not a sin to be a refugee from Afghanistan. They are our brothers and we share the same blood, language and culture. Pashtuns were the ones who served them and gave them shelter on their land not the Punjabis.

    For your information though, I would tell you that I belong to Kakar clan from Zhob area. I currently live in Quetta and have been an active member of the Pashtun-khwa Milli Awami Party (Pashtun-khwa National Popular Party) since my college time. This is a left-wing pashtun nationalist party. I was member of their central committee for five years. Recently though, I left the party after they did not actively support the Baloch insurgency here and instead gave statements as being against the Balochi people. By doing so, they are playing into the hands of Punjabis who want to ignite ethnic conflict between Pashtuns and Balochis so that the Punjabis can watch by and stay safe. This disappointed me too much and I resigned from the party and their central committee membership. Many hardcore nationalists have left the party as well.

    I love the Baloch people and I am sure they would one day be able to get independence. They are so much anti-Pakistan and I like this thing about them. But I am happy that more and more Pashtuns are awakening now too.

    I would like to invite you to visit Quetta this summer. First, so that you can escape the heat of Punjab (or wherever you live). Second, to show you the many graffiti on the walls here saying “Death to Pakistan” and “Death to Punjabi Imperialism”. And don’t be afraid anyone’ll harm you. We Pashtuns are renowned for our hospitality and for protecting anyone who comes at our home even if he is our enemy.

    I quote you:
    “And yes you’re correct that many Pakistanis support Kashmir’s annexation into Pakistan. I myself support this annexation. I will discuss these key points with you via email. It’s too long to discuss on this page.”

    That’s hilarious. I can’t stop laughing. A typical Punjabi excuse when left with no argument. Why the hell don’t you discuss it here on this open forum. Come on dude, don’t worry about our time. No matter how long, it takes, we’ll stay wake up till midnight to read your valuable philosophical arguments. But plz make it a bit simple, so that people on this blog can understand and figure something out of it.

    Peace,

    1. Yes, the Kakars of Zhob are indeed Pashtuns from Balochistan.

      Nadir is a Punjabi, I think. But I think he is from Karachi, not sure. He is now living in Canada. He’s a young guy and was associated with a secular Pakistani nationalist site on the Web. He likes the Islamists about as much as you do, Barai. But he is not keen on any form of Leftism, as his family in Pakistan is into some serious money I think.

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