Eqbal Ahmad become simply one of the finest examples in South Asia of what his pal Edward statedcalled a “public intellectual.” He was additionally one of the first to urge a extreme exam of the political roots of modern militancy inside the center East and South Asia.
Eqbal Ahmad taught at a number of universities and schools within the US, but he became not handiestan academic. He had actively engaged with the anti-colonial struggles in Algeria and Vietnam. it is similarly9aaf3f374c58e8c9dcdd1ebf10256fa5 that Eqbal Ahmad remained a committed Marxist in the course of hislifestyles (he as soon as referred to as Marxism “a non-narcissistic outlook on existence”) while he grew to become vital of Leninist politics.
Eqbal Ahmad’s first exposure to the Left changed into a number of the Communist warring parties in Kashmir in the first India-Pakistan struggle of 1947-48. a few leaders of the Communist celebration of Indiainside the Forties saw Kashmir as a possible launching pad for socialism in South Asia and had beeninvolved inside the Pakistani attempt to secure Kashmir in past due 1947. Eqbal Ahmad was among thefirst Pakistani warring parties in Kashmir inside the fateful October of 1947 and had a four-month longcombating stint in Kashmir.
making a foray
Eqbal Ahmad had been recruited with the aid of the activists of the Muslim League from his universitycampus in Lahore. This become the Talim-ul-Islam college of the Ahmadi sect which have been relocated to Lahore after Partition. The Ahmadis had been now not only actively concerned inside the efforts to organse for Kashmir inside the Punjab, but also fought inside the 1947-48 struggle. best 5 studentsvolunteered to fight in Kashmir whilst Muslim League activists visited Eqbal Ahmad’s college. on theyounger age of 15, after approximately 4 days of training in small firearms, Eqbal Ahmad was taken by using the Muslim League activists to Muzaffarabad wherein he joined volunteers from the northern areas of Pakistan.
despite the fact that the young Eqbal Ahmad were delivered to Muzaffarabad by using the Muslim League, he joined a Communist celebration unit led by means of Latif Afghani. This became his firstintroduction to Communist politics.
Latif Afghani become a Communist activist and a alternate union chief who had additionally been a member of the All India college students Federation of the Communist birthday party of India. Latif Afghaniturned into later arrested in 1950 by the Pakistani government for his protests against the seasoned-US Iranian Shah.
This frustrated try and unlock Kashmir with the pressure of palms by using a coalition of ragtag forcespassed off in opposition to the historical past of genocidal violence in neighbouring Punjab which had spilled over into Jammu via the September of 1947.
Voice of know-how
Later, Eqbal Ahmad wrote that the Pathan tribesmen had started preventing every different before they could even input the metropolis of Srinagar inside the remaining week of October. He suggested heavy casualties a number of the Pakistani preventing devices from the northern regions as soon as the primary battalion of the higher-armed Indian navy changed into airlifted to Kashmir on October 27, 1947.
Eqbal Ahmad’s stint as a guerrilla fighter in Kashmir ended with him being shot, no longer by the Indian navy,but inside the preventing among the rival Pathan factions.
This enjoy become to echo inside the recommendation Eqbal Ahmad relentlessly gave to the Pakistaniestablishment whilst he became approached to help lobby for the Kashmiri conflict for self-dedicationafter the 1990 uprising. He strongly counseled the Pakistani navy against repeating the errors of Afghanistan in Kashmir and advised them now not to try to assert control over Kashmiri guerrillaopponents. Eqbal Ahmad additionally warned of the dangers of any try to split the country wideliberation warfare in Kashmir. In cautioning the Pakistani navy, Eqbal Ahmad turned into drawing upon hisvast enjoy inside the dynamics of country wide liberation struggles all around the international.
Eqbal Ahmad said his revel in of preventing in Kashmir in an unpublished interview given to his daughter Dohra in 1998 and excerpted in Stuart Schaar’s Eqbal Ahmad: critical Outsider in a Turbulent Age that is anterrific quick advent to Eqbal Ahmad’s life and instances through one in all his close buddies.
Eqbal Ahmad changed into additionally one of the first South Asian intellectuals to offer a extreme vitalstatement on the occasions in Kashmir in a series of articles inside the mid-1990s written for the Pakistani newspaper, The dawn, which nonetheless continue to be unrivalled for his or her insight into the natureof the Kashmir battle. Eqbal Ahmad wrote passionately in those articles of “a Kashmiri answer for Kashmir” and unambiguously stated that no method to Kashmir became possible with out the involvement of Kashmiris.
Eqbal Ahmad become overtly supportive of independence for Kashmir and simply as similarly overtlycritical of Indian and Pakistani stands and tactics to Kashmir. In certainly one of his articles he wrote:
The truth is that New Delhi’s moral isolation from the Kashmiri people is overall and irreversible. It is probably reversible if India were to envisage a qualitatively special relation with Kashmir, one thatmeaningfully satisfies Kashmiri aspirations of self government, however to this point New Delhi has evinced no inclination on this path.
In every other piece he wrote this about the Pakistani policy on Kashmir:
Pakistan maintains to wage a 1/2-hearted conflict of role replete with non-public doubts, symbolic posturing and petty opportunism. Its help has nonetheless no longer helped unify or energise the insurgency in Kashmir right into a prevailing movement. The resulting stalemate seems ‘strong’, and not going to be dissatisfied inside the absence of a conventional India-Pakistan warfare. due to the factstruggle is not an choice, Pakistan’s policy is decreased to bleeding India; and India’s to bleeding the Kashmiris, and to hit out at Pakistan each time a wound may be inflicted.
And with all of the dangers of an all-eating conflict in mind, Eqbal Ahmad entreated in every otherseminal article that every one stakeholders ought to take delivery of these realities to reach at a solution: One, a navy solution of the Kashmir dispute in no longer viable. , it is equally tough to envisage, as India does, a unilateral political answer. three, even as the united states has a stake in peace among India and Pakistan, neither the top notch powers nor global opinion shall make a decisive contribution towardsresolving this struggle. four, direct negotiations provide the handiest effective direction to a peacefulanswer. but, meaningful negotiations aren’t viable with out Kashmiri participation. therefore the maximumpractical manner to clear up the dispute is tripartite negotiations involving Pakistan, India and arepresentative Kashmiri delegation. Direct negotiations do no longer avert a facilitating position for the United nations or the usa.
in opposition to US intervention
despite the fact that he remained committed to a communicate among India and Pakistan with Kashmiri participation, he strongly hostile any Oslo-like settlement driven by means of the usa. He turned intoadditionally the primary to warn in opposition to any navy adventurism on both facet which did not recallthe fact that national liberation struggles are generally political.
Eqbal Ahmad had visible too many victories of nations inside the South fade into defeat as a success anti-colonial struggles placed a corrupt, nationalist elite into electricity which, in turn, created their very ownpolitical monsters in the shape of reactionary extremism. For Eqbal Ahmad, the actual battle for acountrywide liberation movement become to construct a popular, mass-primarily based, political motionwhich delegitimised the army scenario through imparting a parallel management to the colonised.
Eqbal Ahmad regularly harassed that the extended struggle over Kashmir had created a socialenvironment of conflict in India and Pakistan. whilst he tirelessly encouraged direct negotiations amongIndia, Pakistan and Kashmiris, he remained skeptical of any US mediation on Kashmir as he viewed the usby and large as a status quoist power which become unlikely to take Kashmiri interests into consideration as against those of India and, to a lesser degree, Pakistan.
Eqbal Ahmad additionally predicted that the armed battle in Kashmir is in all likelihood to endure,however expected that it became unlikely to find its aim of onerous the enemy smooth inside theabsence of unbiased deliver strains. but perhaps Eqbal Ahmad was at his maximum prescient when he spelt out the dubious role of the Kashmiri intelligentsia which he considered to be greater willing to relaxedits magnificence pursuits instead of Kashmiri pastimes. He reminded his readers that Kashmiri intelligentsia is probable to behave as a careful class, as it did in early Nineteen Nineties, extravulnerable to opportunity than open to risk-taking.
Eqbal Ahmad was more aware than anybody else of ways the political defeat of countrywide liberation struggles can cause despair within the suffering hundreds which, in flip, is exploited with the aid of the intelligentsia to guide the popularity-quo as soon as there may be a shift inside the stability of powertowards the liberation movement. Eqbal Ahmad changed into a Pakistani intellectual but he remained unambiguous in his commitment to a Kashmiri answer for Kashmir and bemoaned why Pakistan had denied itself, and Kashmiris, the gain of “progressive strength“.
Abir Bazaz is a PhD candidate in Asian Literatures, Cultures and Media application on the college of Minnesota. He is also a filmmaker.