This provides a brief outline of the book’s structure, discusses some terminology, and provides three reasons for writing the book. It also mentions three disputes that concern Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and which reappear throughout other chapters in the book. The first is the intractable Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan over which nation should possess the former princely state of J&K – or, since the late 1950s, how and where they should divide this disputed entity. The second is the dispute between India and its state of Jammu and Kashmir about this state’s integration into India. The third concerns whether residents within the geo-political sub-region of the Kashmir Valley, the real Kashmir after which the princely state took its popular name of ‘Kashmir’, want their region to remain with India, unify with Pakistan, or become independent from both nations.
This chapter focuses on azadi, particularly on aspects associated with its interpretation as ‘independence’. After a scene-setting overview of the Kashmiris’ anti-India uprising and its five phases, the chapter discusses some of the meanings, interpretations and usages of this vexed term. It then discusses the significant constitutional and administrative changes that New Delhi imposed on J&K in 2019 – and which comprise a sixth, and uncertain, phase to the Kashmiris’ anti-India uprising. For some members of the Indian Government, these changes seemingly have resolved both the issue of J&K’s special status and Kashmiris’ sense of being special. Supposedly, Kashmiris are now just like other Indians. Taking azadi specifically to mean independence, the chapter then discusses the feasibility of either an independent J&K or an independent Kashmir surviving as an independent state. The chapter concludes that there are now two ‘realities’ concerning J&K: the Indian reality that J&K is fully integrated into India and the Kashmiri reality that most Kashmiris want little to do with India: they want azadi.
This chapter examines Maharaja Hari Singh, his personality and influence, his regime and administration, and his options for J&K’s status in 1947. In particular, it looks at the option of independence for J&K and Hari Singh’s (non-)efforts to obtain this status, as well as the personalities and factors that ultimately ensured that he acceded to India in 1947.
This chapter examines the political rise of Kashmiri nationalism from around 1924 until 1947 and, in particular, the overwhelming rise of one of its major proponents and political leaders, the ethnic Muslim Kashmiri, Sheikh Abdullah. Essentially, Kashmiri nationalism ‘re-awoke’ in 1931, partly, but not only, because of his significant actions, which made him a leader of Kashmir Muslims. Sixteen years later, when it was certain the British would be leaving India, Abdullah had become recognised as the undisputed leader of Kashmiris. He was then the most significant and, arguably, the most popular politician in J&K. Abdullah remained significant until his death in September 1982. He enjoyed great prestige and popularity amongst Muslim Kashmiris, both urban and rural. However, he was not as popular with non-Kashmiris and/or with non-Muslims, especially Jammuites and Ladakhis, and particularly after J&K joined India in 1947. Partly, this was because, for them, Sheikh Abdullah represented the Muslim Kashmiri identity and the aspirations of the Kashmir region, rather than acting as a unifying leader for the whole state. Abdullah’s political assertiveness would cause him problems on a number of occasions after J&K joined India on 26 October 1947.
This chapter discusses Sheikh Abdullah and his often contrary attitudes to independence for J&K between 1946 and 1953. It also discusses his challenging relationship with New Delhi, which sometimes caused him to waver in his support for India and to contemplate other options for J&K, particularly independence. For New Delhi, the relationship was equally as challenging. While this relationship started positively, by 1953, there were many – indeed, too many – negative aspects. The assertive Abdullah was trying to ensure that ‘his’ state had as much autonomy and administrative distance from New Delhi as he could secure. New Delhi wanted the total opposite: for J&K, including Kashmir, to be ‘just another Indian state’ and for its residents, including Kashmiris, to be ‘ordinary Indians’. The turning point for Abdullah occurred in mid-1953 when New Delhi and some colleagues in Srinagar feared that he was seriously contemplating independence for Kashmir. By then, Prime Minister Nehru, who also had become disenchanted with the J&K Prime Minister, allowed Abdullah to be dismissed from office.
This chapter discusses Sheikh Abdullah and his attitudes to independence, autonomy or self-determination for J&K between 1953 and 1982. After the Head of the State dismissed him from office in 1953, Abdullah was denied the opportunity to confirm his majority in the Constituent Assembly. Instead, he was detained. With him sidelined, other Kashmiris came to the fore, enabling New Delhi to slowly tie J&K into the Indian Union. In 1957, the new J&K Constitution reiterated that J&K was with India. In 1964, Abdullah was finally released, after which he reconciled with Nehru then visited Pakistan seeking agreement on the Kashmir dispute. Tragically, Nehru died while Abdullah was away. During brief periods of release, and certainly after his final release in 1968, Abdullah would talk of self-determination, or sometimes autonomy or independence, for J&K-ites via the Plebiscite Front, a political party. He also sought a solution to the Kashmir issue via two important People’s Conventions in 1968 and 1970. A major turning point occurred when India conclusively defeated Pakistan in their 1971 war and Bangladesh was created. This confirmed that Islam was not a monolith, that Pakistan could not liberate J&K, and that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was politically unassailable. These factors greatly moderated Abdullah’s aspirations for J&K’s international status. In 1975, he agreed the Kashmir Accord with Gandhi, which enabled him to return to power in J&K. However, he had to accept unequivocally that J&K was an integral part of India. Abdullah died in office in 1982.
This chapter provides important historical and social background about J&K and its administrative structure, as well as some geo-political observations about this princely state. It explains why the princely state was popularly, but confusingly, called ‘Kashmir’ not ‘Jammu’, why the Kashmir region was the most important region in J&K, and why, in 1947, subcontinental politicians desired Kashmir and wooed Kashmiris. The chapter’s other observations chiefly concern the Kashmir region and Kashmiri Muslims’ relationships, or not, with other J&K-ites. In particular, this chapter comprehensively explores the significant and ongoing issues of Kashmiri identity and Kashmiri nationalism and why these are important factors within J&K. The discussion includes examining why Kashmiris have long believed in, and supported, a Kashmir ‘nation’. This dynamic is important to understand as it helps to explain why Kashmir enjoyed greater status and was more significant politically in 1947 than either the Jammu region or the Frontier Districts region. In that tumultuous year, the major ramification of Kashmir’s importance was that people were focused almost exclusively on this region and its residents. The other areas of J&K appeared to be peripheral. Additionally, in 1947 and thereafter, Kashmir and Kashmiris quickly came to dominate politics in J&K and in relation to the Kashmir dispute.
Chapter 5 returns to the politics of fear that is central in understanding the rise of the far right and its focus on wolf politics in Eastern Germany. Against reasonable fearful predictions of how widespread and humiliating underemployment, systemic poverty, terrible pensions, demographic change and empty villages, Western hegemony and Eastern subjugation, identity and history loss, even Western colonialism affect voting behaviours, we find that empirically ascertained fears focus on what are in fact negligible changes: a few new migrants here, a wolf there. This is why an analysis of the politics of fear is interesting: affective politics uses fear to mobilise, and people bask in the resonance this seems to bring. Fear, then, of either wolves or migrants, has a function, and it is this functionality of fear that we address in this chapter in order to explain, in an accessible way, the question of the rise of the right. We show what part the discussion of the wolves plays in this development, and how a politics of fear serves the aims of the AfD, not by manipulating or taking up sentiments already existing in the population but by a theatre of resistance in which ‘feeling rules’ (a term coined by Arlie R. Hochschild) are coming to be contested. Thus, on the one hand, conditioned by imagined realities, the core of the wolf problem is a composition of fear and outrage.
In the conclusion, we return to Raymond Williams’s conception of democracy as a political culture born of collective working-class struggle and experience. Just as Williams looked at Britain in the 1950s as a place where a new wave of popular democratization was both possible and necessary, so under current conditions it is possible to see populism as a potential catalyst rather than a danger to democratic culture in a radical sense. In his later writings from the 1980s, Williams bore witness to the early phase of neoliberalization in the UK under Margaret Thatcher. He noted how the consumerist paradigm marked a withdrawal from collective concerns into the limited sphere of the individual or family home. Returning to the present moment in UK politics, the historic defeat of the Labour Party in the 2019 general election is ascribed to the party’s increasing distance from its traditional working-class constituency. The populist appeal to ‘get Brexit done’ allowed Boris Johnson to amass a Conservative majority in the UK parliament undreamed of two and a half years earlier when Theresa May called a mid-term election. The way for Labour to return from the political wilderness, it is proposed, it to see populism for what it truly is, namely a demand by the working class that the political establishment make good on the historical promise of modern democracy. This must involve, first and foremost, democratization of the workplace, education, healthcare and all other vital social sectors and organizations.
Having invoked ‘the people’ as the inalienable source of legitimacy in democracy, this chapter offers a snapshot of the politics of the British workers’ movements in the nineteenth century. This is the context, arguably, in which the modern democratic conception of ‘the people’ is constructed. E. P. Thompson’s (1968) The Making of the English Working Class is pivotal to this chapter. It is here that a theory of class as concrete collective experience rather than statistical generalization is set out. Rehabilitating class is a crucial, though no doubt contestable, aspect of the analysis of populism offered in this book. In broad terms, the conceptualization of class offered here is ‘cultural’ rather than ‘economic’ in origins and nature. I place the two terms in scare quotes to indicate scepticism about this divide. As Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin remark of this division with regard to current understandings of populism, ‘this binary debate is extremely unhelpful: real life never really works like this’. On the idea of working-class identity, I eschew both essentialist and statistical definitions and align my thinking with Thompson’s celebrated concept of class not ‘as a “structure”, nor even as a “category”, but as something that in fact happens (and can be shown to have happened) in human relationships’. This perspective allows me to reconstruct the struggles for universal enfranchisement in nineteenth-century Britain as historically constituting the linkages between democracy, working-class identity and populism.