August 14th and 15th are celebrated as the days of independence of Pakistan and India from direct British imperialist rule. It is celebrated with great pomp and fervour, prompted by the state and the corporate media. The official historians of the ruling classes both in India and Pakistan have their own interpretations of the struggle for independence, suiting the interests of their bosses. However, this independence came about in the midst of a traumatic partition of the Subcontinent into two truncated states, Pakistan and India, accompanied by a communal holocaust. A frenzy of madness and a ferocious campaign of murder were unleashed on a religious and ethnic basis.

If the armed struggle, religious fundamentalism, nationalism and other such notions of people’s freedom in Indian occupied Kashmir have failed to deliver any respite to the oppressed masses, the rhetoric of ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ are equally no solution. In reality they are mere deceptions. The PDP’s coalition with BJP is nothing but a blatant betrayal and an insult added to injury for the Kashmiri masses that voted for the PDP in the recent elections, making it the largest party in the Kashmir state assembly.

At the beginning of January 500,000 miners in the nationalised coal industry in India went on strike against governmental plans to privatise coal mining. This monumental show of strength in defiance of the Coal Ordnance law is indicative both of the tensions within Indian society and the pressure that is being brought to bear on the leadership of the working class to put up a fight.

Some of the most deceitful forms of elections and ‘democracy’ are to be found these days in countries that are suffering direct or indirect military aggression and occupation by world and regional imperialist powers. The elections and governments in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries under imperialist occupation are, in the last analysis, a tragic farce. Indian-controlled Kashmir is no different because it is directly under the boot of the imperialist Indian military – an occupation enforced by the so-called ‘largest democracy’ in the world using one of the largest military deployments on earth and draconian laws like The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) to infringe the basic rights of the Kashmiri oppressed masses.

The discrediting of Congress, mass discontent in the country, a developing economic crisis and an anti-corruption mood led to a realisation by the ruling class that Congress could no longer be relied upon. Over the past period, when in power, Congress had been carrying out wide ranging liberalisation of the economy. However, it was too weak to carry out the tasks that the Indian capitalist class requires today.

India has seen two very powerful general strikes in the past two years, revealing a sharp class polarisation in the country, and yet we have the disastrous result in the recent Indian elections for the Communist and left parties. This apparent contradiction has brought into sharp focus the role of the leaders of these parties and their total inability to offer a way out of the impasse they themselves have been responsible for creating.

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