“Azadi!”—Urdu for “Freedom!”—is the slogan of the freedom struggle in Kashmir against Indian occupation. Abroad, New Delhi promotes itself as the world’s largest democracy. At home, the picture is quite different. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP, led by Narendra Modi espouses Hindutva, Hindu nationalism. It promotes Islamophobia and stifles dissent. What it wants from largely Muslim Kashmir is submission. To ensure that it has deployed hundreds of thousands of troops making the Himalayan region the most densely militarized zone on earth. Kashmir is an unresolved issue dating back to the partition of India in 1947. For decades Kashmiris have been in revolt against Indian rule. Many tens of thousands have been killed. Many more have been displaced. What do Kashmiris want? Azadi.
Interviewed by David Barsamian.
Sanjay Kak is a New Delhi-based, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and journalist. His films include How We Celebrate Freedom, Words on Water and Red Ant Dream. He is editor of the books Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir and Witness.