Jammu-Kashmir National Students' Federation: A left resurgence

The JKNSF is a significant political force amongst youth in Kashmir. It is now led by Marxists with a clear socialist internationalist programme, and is getting an enthusiastic response from the radicalised Kashmiri youth.

The Jammu-Kashmir National Students' Federation (JKNSF) is one of the most significant students’ organisations in the ongoing struggle in Kashmir. It was formed in 1966 initially for the fulfilment of students’ demands. Later on when it gained a significant base amongst mainly Kashmiri students in different parts of Kashmir and elsewhere it became an important political force in the Kashmiri liberation struggle.

In its long history it has faced various ebbs and flows in its strength and popularity. Although it always maintained a revolutionary stance, the ideological, strategic and methodological perspectives were not very clearly defined.

The convention held in September 2001 shows the impact of the JKNSF on the ongoing struggle in Kashmir. The radicalisation was very evident and it had its impact on the results of the elections for the new leadership. Shujaat Kazmi was elected president and Aadil Khan as general secretary of the JKNSF. Both of these leaders are Marxist and believe in revolutionary politics. After their election victory they have started an audacious campaign to reorganise the JKNSF on a revolutionary footing. They have vowed to enhance the political role of the JKNSF and to step up the struggle against the occupation of Kashmir by the reactionary Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie states. In a discussion with Asian Marxist Review, Aadil and Shujaat said: “The national liberation of Kashmir cannot be accomplished without the social and economic emancipation of the oppressed classes of Kashmir. This is only possible through the struggle for national liberation directly linked to a Socialist Revolution.” They also appealed to the workers and youth of India, Pakistan and the world over to join in class solidarity and give support to the struggle against the national, social and economic oppression of the people of Kashmir.

The JKNSF has a total membership of more than 6,000. They are scattered in Kashmir and various cities of Pakistan. Hence with limited resources it is a mammoth task to reorganise the JKNSF. But the new Marxist leadership has set itself to meet this challenge. Conventions are being held in various cities and new bodies are being elected. The JKNSF organ Azm (determination) has been revived and it is being produced and distributed on a regular basis. Although the new leadership is confronted with opposition from the ex-Stalinists, reformists and narrow nationalists, it is moving forward on the basis of a revolutionary programme and Marxist ideas. The main slogan of the JKNSF is “Knowledge - struggle - victory”.

It is already getting an enthusiastic response from the radicalised Kashmiri youth from all over. This new left resurgence of the movement of Kashmiri youth under the banner of the JKNSF will play an important role in the struggle of the Kashmiri masses against national oppression, capitalist exploitation and the imperialist stranglehold.

The emergence of JKNSF as a mass revolutionary force amongst the oppressed people of Kashmir will go a long way towards strengthening and inspiring the forces of Socialist Revolution in the South Asian subcontinent and beyond.

Yasir Irshad

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