This article is framed around the emotive factor, or the forgotten social dimension of a conflict as theorised by Michel Howard. Logistic sustenance of emotions over a prolonged period of time depended upon, ‘a third dimension of strategy: the social, the attitude of the people upon whose commitment and readiness for self-denial this logistical power ultimately depended. Clausewitz had described war as a remarkable trinity, composed of its political objective, of its operational instruments, and of the popular passions, the social forces it expressed. It was the latter, he pointed out; that made the wars of the French Revolution so different in kind from those of Frederick the Great’.

This was a new dimension inserted into the science of conflict and conflict resolution. Vietnam and Afghan wars point out the tragic consequences of not heeding to the emotive factor. In both cases far more economically and technologically advanced powers were forced to retreat.  In the context of prolonged struggles, let’s not forget Mao Tse-tung, who espoused the importance of protracted struggle, strength of will, and political considerations over military action. The conflict in Kashmir on a timeline far exceeds the cumulative duration of French Revolution, American Civil War and Long March, known as the biggest case study of People’s War.  Incidentally, the Afghan conflict next-door is also into forty years of its struggle. Ignoring resolution of Kashmir is ignoring lessons of history. Despite India’s best attempts to barricade it into a hermit region, out pouring of emotive factors will keep haunting the moral standing of the United Nations.

What do we call the Kashmiri resistance of over eighty years? Is it a revolutionary movement, a civil resistance, an insurgency or a rebellion? The resistance has remained relentless despite commercial deals between the Sikhs and East India Company, illegal occupation by India, treachery of some Kashmiri Muslim leaders and India-Pakistani rivalry. It has now imbedded itself into the fifth generation of Kashmiri people and can be rightly called the longest freedom struggle of contemporary history. Tashkent and Shimla Agreements, India’s call for bilateralism and the strategic imperatives of the West have not been able to dilute the resolve of the people whose bondage and repeated attempts to break free of shackles for the past century has resulted in bloodshed of the innocent. Every drop of blood is like a seed that shall grow out of the soil. The movement has shed too much blood to fade away.

Historically, the Kashmir Freedom Struggle is a legitimate movement of the right of self-determination spanning eight decades. It is malicious to link part of the movement to interference from Pakistan and then in the 90s to the terrorism bandwagon. In fact the only constant has been relentless atrocities by Dogra and Indian occupation forces.

Time has only served to aggravate the history of the case and push the people of the region to ideological extremities. It is ironic and tragic that Modi the mastermind of Gujarat Muslim massacres was popped up by the same Sang Parivar that conducted the massacre of over 250,000 Kashmiris in Srinagar and Poonch in 1947. Yes, it is the same Jana Sangh and RSS that masterminded the genocide of Muslims in 1947 to trigger the worst human rights atrocities in 1947. As these emotive factors of hate and suspicion grow, not only Kashmir but also the region will become more violent. Otherwise, it was never possible to sustain a movement into a fifth generation of activists.  Kashmir movement will only become part of history after the struggle reaches its logical ends.

Kashmir is a legitimate struggle of the people that will never be subdued by the power of India or dynamics of geo strategy. No matter how much India strives to link Kashmir to terrorism, history and legal frameworks retain it as a legitimate movement that must reach its logical ends of policy. Below are two important excerpts to support this argument:

Professor Josef Korbel, Former Chairman of UNCIP, Father of Madeline Albright, and Former US Secretary of State wrote, “The accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India cannot be considered as valid by canons of international law… The history of the case has made it clear that time has only aggravated, not healed the conflict; that neither the Pakistanis nor the Kashmiris will accept the status quo as solution… The United Nations has a principal responsibility to seek a solution.” He is right. Kashmir burns while the world sleeps.

On 15 June 1962, the American representative to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, stated, “The best approach is to take for a point of departure the area of common ground which exists between the parties… which in essence provide for demilitarization of the territory and a plebiscite whereby the population may freely decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir. This is in full conformity with the principle of the self-determination of people which is enshrined in Article I of the Charter as one of the key purpose for which the United Nations exists.” We must awaken the international conscience from its elasticity.

To understand how the events unfolded and why sentiments for freedom become stronger each day, warrants recourse to history.

This is what Sir Walter Lawrence in his renowned book, ‘The India we served’, wrote: “Maharaja Hari Singh’s Army instead of donkeys and horses, were using   Kashmiri Muslims for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas... army was employed in forcing the villagers to plough and sow, and worse still…the soldiers came at harvest time and when the share of the state had been seized… and there was very little grain to tide the unfortunate peasants over the cruel winter.”

Such was the scale of tyranny that Sir Albion Benerji, a Bengali Christian minister of the Raja forced by his good conscience resigned to join the ranks of Reading Room Club. He said that ‘in the sectarian and despotic character of Dogra Rule large Muslim populations were governed like dumb driven cattle, the press was non-existent and economic conditions were appalling’. This inhumane treatment created enduring revulsions and the cycle goes on.

Though the intellectual resistance in the form of Reading Room Club had begun much earlier, the physical resistance against the Dogra rule began on July 13, 1931 in front of the Srinagar Prison during the trial of Abdul Qadeer Khan and his colleagues for inciting rebellion against the Raja. At the time of Zuhr Azan, 22 Muslims were shot dead by the Dogra Soldiers who successively tried to complete the call to prayer. This cold blooded murder gave birth to the Kashmir Movement and engraved the names of first martyrs. Eighty years hence we have witnessed similar outrage at the funeral of Burhan Wani.

Early 1947, protesting against the oppressive anti Muslim taxes, the people of Poonch rose in rebellion. Muslims were asked to surrender and submit to Sikhs and Hindus. In September 1947, mobs of Hindus, actively helped by Dogra soldiers, slaughtered over 200,000 Muslims. Others fled as refugees to Pakistan.  This incident was also highlighted by the London Times that reported through its special correspondent that over 237,000 Muslims were assassinated by the Dogra Army and Hindu mobs. These events are subscribed by Christopher Sneddon an Australian analyst in his book, ‘Kashmir: The Unwritten History’. The book highlights why and how India succeeded in obscuring such a big massacre in Kashmir and effectively misconstrued the tribal invasions from Pakistan that were in fact a reaction to Muslim massacres to justify the accession. According to Tehlka.com, ‘Nehru didn’t want to publicise the Poonch Rebellion because it would have strengthened Pakistan’s case’. Due to Indian propaganda that also impresses a fringe group of Pakistanis; the tribal lashkers are depicted as blood hungry hordes. They must also remember that Pakistan’s interventions in 1947 were made by a group of the progressive left.

So, let not Pakistani opinion makers make their conclusions in the framework of prevailing environments. The struggle was already sixty years old when Soviets occupied Afghanistan. Kashmir is a fourth dimensional conflict that has endured the times. Kashmir is a legitimate struggle and Pakistanis across all divides must support it.