The mainstream media in India has once again elided the ‘root cause’ of the fracas in JNU; the issue that has, by and large, constituted the core of its denigration of journalistic principles just as the Indian Left has revealed its red-facedness on that same basic issue: Kashmir. The final question is always that of ethical fidelity: be it fair reporting, which by definition should mean an understanding of the matrix of power, or to what extent a professed ideology resists being mutated in the face of extant exigencies. In Kashmir, as this editorial is being written, once again people are showing solidarity, in the face of probable death, with militants during an encounter in Kulgam. This phenomenon of people marching to encounter sites and pelting stones at Indian forces is, like the ‘new’ phase of militancy, a response to the falsification of basic realities here. The ‘return to the gun’ is quite an inverse reaction to being ruled by the gun. No one is to blame for this except the Indian state and its minions in Kashmir; those who speak of peace and democracy under a regime of torture, killings and the attempt at an effacement of memory and history are always the real enemies of peace. How that effacement works, in the case of Kashmir, is not only at the level of the state – here, for a moment, understood as the actual issuer of orders – but within the media and even the so-called opposition to that state.
The Indian media has tried hard to elide that Kashmiris once again forcefully demonstrated for Azadi. The issue at JNU has been muddied into opposition to Modi and the BJP. In this, the media is being, willy-nilly, assisted by the Indian Left, given its capitulation to ideas of colonialist-nationalism. After the Indian media was discredited in Kashmir, it is now, seemingly, the turn of the Indian Left, which now harbours only the appurtenances of ideals of solidarity with anti-colonial, national liberation struggles. Some of them, perhaps, would do well to remember that the now-defunct Communist Party of Great Britain, in 1940, unambiguously iterated a position on ‘cancelling the partition of Ireland; (and giving) full freedom to the Indian people and all peoples of the British Empire’.
‘Azadi’ is now sought to be appropriated by the Indian Left, given the welcome spread that slogan has had after its unstinted, unequivocal, irresistible articulation in Kashmir. But this ‘Left’ must realise, that it has, in reality, been appropriated by the Indian right.