THE CURIOUS CASE OF COMMUNISTS AND KASHMIR.
In recent days a major controversy has emerged over pro Kashmiri separatist slogans shouted in Delhi by JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) students at an event to protest the execution of Afzal Guru, a convicted terrorist who helped attack the Indian parliament. JNU is well known as a communist stronghold and the Kashmiri separatist cause has much sympathy from communist types, which is on one hand astonishing and in the other unsurprising, as I shall attempt to show below.
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF KASHMIRI SEPARATISM:
Kashmir became a part of India in 1948 when the then King, Hari Singh, signed the Instrument of Accession with India upon the invasion of Kashmir by Pakistani tribesmen.
Despite political upheavals, there was little large scale civil unrest until 1988. Indeed a Pakistani invasion in 1965 meant to spark an uprising in Kashmir was foiled when the local populace alerted the Indian army to the invaders.
In 1988 however, a full scale rebellion broke out, and the army and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength to the civilian areas of Kashmir, especially the valley.
WHAT DO SEPARATISTS WANT?:
Prior to the 1988 rebellion a local election was held in 1987 in which, reflecting the intensifying Islamic wave sweeping many parts of the world, Islamic parties in Kashmir formed an umbrella coalition called "Muslim United Front". This poll, it is alleged and I assume correctly so, was rigged and the Islamic coalition received much fewer seats than they'd have in a free vote. This disenchantment led to many politicians forming, with plentiful Pakistani help, jihadist groups. In my view, this paradigm was boosted by the success of jihadist groups in Afghanistan against the Soviet regime there. Full scale rebellion against Indian rule burst out in 1988, including the assassinations of prominent figures associated with India, including mass violence against the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits, hundreds of whom were killed and the rest expelled from Kashmir. In response, the Indian armed forces were dispatched to civilian areas of Kashmir.
The insurgency and separatists want either an independent Kashmir or merger with Pakistan. In either case, we can assume, as was the stated agenda of the 1987 coalition which later initiated the insurgency, that an Islamic political system was part of the plan, as is the case with practically every majority Muslim society today (as evidence, I note that countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria, Malaysia etc all declare Islam as the state religion and all Muslim countries prohibit, de jure or de facto, conversion out of Islam). In more recent years, more Islamic insurgent groups (like Lashkar-e-Toiba, LeT) have taken over from the less Islamic insurgent groups of 1987 like JKLF.
Thus, we can conclude that the separatists and insurgents want to replace secular Indian rule with Islamic rule.
Why the urge for Islamic rule? Is Islamic practice obstructed or oppressed under secular Indian rule? In practical terms, no Kashmiri Muslim was or is, in the least obstructed in the practice of his religion and culture under Indian rule as he saw fit. Islamic religious practice in Kashmir, as in the rest of India, is fully free, and no obstacles are placed in the path of personal observance of whatever religious practices, clothing choices etc was imposed. Nor, prior to the outbreak of the insurgency in 1988, was there a heavy army presence in the valley or frequent checks which are cited today as a major grievance. The only thing not possible was the active relegation of non Muslims to second class status as is the norm in practically all Muslim majority societies globally, analogous to the situation that developed in Pakistan after partition.
Thus, we see that the conflict in Kashmir is essentially between two diametrically opposite visions; a secular state with full equality for sects and sexes as represented by India versus an Islamic polity discriminating against non Muslims represented by separatists.
THE QUESTION OF LEFTIST SUPPORT FOR KASHMIR SEPARATISM:
Considering the leftist affinity for equality, why is the left opting to condemn secular, non discriminatory Indian rule and throwing its weight behind Islamists, who, if they attain power, will crush both leftist ideas and leftist individuals? This position is a direct reversal of leftist support for the USSR as a beacon of progress and equality against the mujahideen in Afghanistan.
The answer to this riddle, in my view, is the intense empathobesity into which the modern leftist has descended. I define empathobesity as a pathological level of the otherwise useful instinct of empathy, analogous to how a historically healthy affinity for food can mutate into obesity. As I have discussed in my post from December 2015, this is a common affliction amongst Western liberals too.
Thus, the mantra of the leftist, as I have proposed earlier, is "the underdog is always right". This hypothesis cogently explains some of the other factoids that have emerged from JNU in recent times, such as a demand for beef to be served (taboo to topdog Hindus) but crucially, no mention of pork (taboo to underdog Muslims) or the worship of mythological demon Mahishasur (underdog killed by topdog goddess Durga), irrespective of Mahishasur's personal nature (NOTE: I myself consume both beef or pork and have no opinion about Mahishasur, given the lack of historically accurate information).
Regarding Kashmir, as the separatists have underdog status vis a vis topdog India, leftists naturally develop sympathy for them, even though the underdog can be expected to impose a regime far more discriminatory and much less tolerant of leftist notions like equality of religions, and sexes.
Lenin apparently used to refer to well-meaning but clueless people who helped communism advance, without realizing what communists had in store for them, as "useful idiots". Today we have the ironic situation of Leninists playing useful idiots to Islamists.
In effect, like an obese person compelled by instinct to act against his wellbeing, empathobesity compels leftists to support parties that are fundamentally antagonistic to core leftist values. Such pathologically suicidal viewpoints cannot survive for long. What remains to be seen is what they are replaced by.