Imperialist powers have artfully designed and employed the very instrument of colonialism to perpetuate the institution of slavery in the world after simply extending its scope from individuals to the nations. During the period between the 14th and the 20th centuries, the ‘white man’s burden’ paved the way for the establishment of a number of colonies in Asia, Africa and The Americas by the European Imperialist powers. Thus Great Britain also succeeded in establishing a great colonial empire in South Asia in the mid-19th century.

Britain’s post-World War II domestic compulsions forced it to voluntarily put an end to the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent, resulting in the creation of two Independent states, Pakistan and India. Somehow stepping into the shoes of its former colonial master, India readily acted to establish a foothold in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir in quite a colonial fashion as soon as the British left this region in 1947. Ever since, India has been trying to consolidate its illegal occupation in Kashmir by cunningly employing all the typical coercive instruments which have been the hallmarks of colonialism.

The ‘will of the people’ always forms the underlying basis of authority for a regime in any country. Therefore, the legitimacy of a government and its moral right to use state power is not legal and justified unless consented to by the people. Thus the ‘will of the people’ is also an important touchstone to determine the ‘right to rule’ of an occupying power in any territory. Mostly, imperialist powers have been establishing their rule over the territories around the world against the will of the native people through various coercive and compulsive means.

Having forcibly occupied the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, India has been ruling this territory against the will of Kashmiri people ever since. The people of Kashmir have never formally consented to join the Union of India. Instead, they have constantly been protesting against the illegal Indian occupation. On 26 October 1947, India treacherously managed to signed a controversial Instrument of Accession with the then Maharaja of Kashmir, a usurper who had also lost his own ‘right to rule’ since the people of Kashmir had already revolted against him. Every year, the Kashmiris observe the 27th of October as the black day to denounce Kashmir’s illegal accession to India. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, India current rule over the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a sort of colonial occupation.

Presently India is governing the state of Jammu and Kashmir somehow in the similar colonial fashion as the Britain had been governing the India for almost a century. Article 370 of Indian Constitution provides the necessary guidelines to govern Kashmir as the British enacted the Government of India Act in 1919 and 1935 to govern the Indians. In fact, mere holding the periodic state elections in Kashmir, and establishing courts and other state institutions in Kashmir don’t necessarily legitimate the illegal Indian rule in Kashmir since similar institutions were also extended to the Indians by their British masters during their colonial rule in India.

Just like the Britain, India has also devised a two-pronged strategy to suppress the aspirations of the native people. This strategy includes the extensive employment of the military coercive apparatus supported by a set of harsh public laws. Empowering the Indian security forces to use power with impunity, India has enacted a number of black laws, namely Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), over a period of time. Earlier, the British promulgated the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance in 1942 to suppress the Quit India Movement. At present, besides more than half a million regular Indian Army troops, India has deployed a large number of personnel of Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Special Operation Group in Kashmir to suppress the ongoing Kashmir Freedom Movement.

As a matter of fact, India has been a more callous and ruthless occupying force than its own colonial master. The human rights abuses in the occupied territory ranges from the mass killings, enforced disappearances, torture and rape to the curtailment of political rights and freedom of the speech. According to some reports, India has killed over fifty thousand civilians in Kashmir. This month, Indian brutalities in the occupied valley have reached their zenith. After opening indiscriminate fire and pouring lethal pellets on the unarmed protesters, India has imposed a ‘media blackout’ in the held Kashmir for the last three weeks.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was an unfortunate incident in which the troops of British Indian Army opened fire on a crowd of nonviolent protesters, killing hundreds of men, women and children in the Indian city of Amritsar in 1919. This massacre was one of the darkest aspects of the British rule in India. A century later, somehow reviving the bitter memories of this gruesome colonial-era incident, the Indian security forces brutally killed more than 50 unarmed protesters in the capital city of occupied Himalayan state this month in an equal callous way. Therefore, be it 20th century Britain or 21th century India, history has shown us that occupying forces have been equally hard-headed and callous towards the subjugated people.

Flowing the Jallianwala Bagh incident, a non-cooperation movement was launched in India in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation of India. It was a nonviolent movement. Regrettably, the Hindu religious tenets like Ahimsa (cause no injury), which were strictly adhered to by the Mahatma Gandhi, have no relevance in the current Indian national discourse. Instead of adhering to the Gandhism, now the republic looks more inclined towards practicing the Machiavellian art of statecraft. This is the reason the violent followers of a non-violent anti-colonial leader are trying to suppress the ongoing freedom movement in the state of Jammu and Kashmir through forcible measures.

Presently India’s one third population simply lives below the poverty line. More than 90 million people in India make less than 1 USD per day. According to the 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, India is among only three countries in the world where GHI has gone up by 23% over the past few years. A report of the New York Times says that about 55% children in India suffer from malnutrition. At present, India has the largest illiterate population in the world. About 78 million people in the country are homeless.

We can easily maintain that India is the poorest country in the history of mankind which has ever tried to behave like an imperialist power. It has deployed tens of thousands armed military and para-military troops in Kashmir, which is also believed to be the highest soldier-to-civilian ratio in the world. The poor Indian tax payers should ask their government how India is justified in spending the extensive financial resources of the poor nation only to put the helpless Kashmiris in perpetual subjection? Obviously the poor Indians hardly bear this cumbersome ‘brown man’s burden’.

Until the mid-twentieth century, the European imperialist powers had learnt that their policy of exploitive colonialism would no longer be effective to suppress the aspirations of their colonial subjects. Now it’s high time India should also realise that the obsolete tools of colonialism can’t conveniently be employed in 21st century to rule the people against their will. This policy will certainly get India nowhere. Instated, it will only add to the miseries of hapless Kashmiris as well as the deprived people living on both sides of the Radcliffe Line.