So when that is the case what does it mean to call the leaders of this movement “separatist”? Because then you are already accepting that it’s a form of secession.
Whereas in fact that’s not the case. So then what do we mean when we say India, you know? Sometimes there are so many different types of struggles taking place in the world: there are struggles for self-determination and then there are struggles of those who are within nations who suffer terrible trials. But when somebody says India or America I begin to flounder because I try to think what does this mean. What does India mean, you know?
In 1947 we were told that India became a free country, a democratic, socialist - that came a bit later - a sovereign republic and the constitution was adopted. But from the day that India won independence from a colonising power it became a colonising power itself. From that day it went to war against Nagaland, against Manipur against Mizoram. Since then, if you look at what the Indian State has been doing. You often hear people flinging this accusation against the Maoists that they believe in something called protracted war. Actually in some ways if you look at the doctrine, the Maoist doctrine, in many ways it’s very similar. The idea of protracted war is very similar to the idea of jihad. It is a fight for a kind of justice, you know. But the Indian State has waged a protracted war against people and subsumed nationalisms from the time it came into being in 1947. It has militarily intervened: just look at the list Nagaland, Manipur, Telegana, Mizoram, Goa, Hyderabad, Kashmir (goes without saying) and Punjab and against the Naxalites in ‘69. And now they are thinking of calling out the army in central India against the poorest people in the world.
An upper caste Hindu state that is constantly at war against the other
Najib just said in his presentation it’s the battle that Kashmiris face against the Indian military occupation, as opposed to Palestine, it is the battle of inclusion, of them saying you are our people. That’s true and not true if you listen to the conversations about whether the army should be deployed in Chattisgarh they are always saying how can the army be deployed against our own people? And I asked them down at the airport as so many people said that to me I asked them, are you admitting that in Kashmir you are deployed against people who are not your own? So you’re automatically admitting to the cause of the Kashmiri people?
But there’s been an intervention and it you look at this list that I just named. Look at what type of places where the Indian State has called on the military to intervene. In Manipur, Nagarland, and Mizoram: these are all Adivasi and Christian people. In Telegana they were mostly Dalits and lower caste people and in the Punjab of course it was the Sikhs. In Hyderabad it was Muslims and in Goa it was Christians. The list shows you an upper caste Hindu state that is constantly at war against the other. So now when you talk about identity and struggles for identity, somebody just asked the question, is it not correct the debates about what kind of Kashmir you want should happen after Azadi. That’s never the case. Look at the Indian war of independence. Look at the great debates between Gandhi and Ambedkar and Nehru and Jinnah.
You know these debates have to happen they cannot be postponed to a later date because those debates are a part of the struggle they are very much a part of the sharp blade of resistance. They are how you sharpen the resistance. So of course every colonising power like when those debate were happening in India of course whatever India is the boundaries of what we knew as India were marked out by the British in 1899. So at that meeting the day before yesterday one of the people who spoke said that India is a prison house of many nationalities. So what is India? When the war for independence was happening of course the British tried to use these divisions to try and postpone or break, I mean divide and rule it is an old, old colonial game: to pit the Hindus against the Muslims, the Dalits against the upper caste, this region against that region. Of course, the colonial power will always use whatever cracks it can see. But eventually that doesn’t mean that you don’t have those debates because if you don’t have those debates and you try and paper over them. They still know where the fault lines are. They still try to use that against you.