As a philosophy, it is fair to say that insurgency has sparked a lot of curiosity in today’s conflicts. Despite ranges from asymmetrical violence, irregular warfare, and moves that question the writ of various states for political reasons, insurgency remains an undefined term. In relation to this article, South Asia has been and continues to be regarded as a breeding ground for various forms of insurgencies. It is correct that the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Maoist in India are two influential insurgencies that have emerged in South Asia. It can be acknowledged that these insurgencies mainly take the form of armed resistance and have both divergent and common denominators. However, they usually bring into the limelight the politics behind them. It can be acknowledged that both of the above-listed insurgencies use a lot of violence against the government with the aim of achieving their own goals. Insurgencies mainly use the ideological motivations and the economic deprivations of people as tools to mobilize a lot of people against the existing state statutes, as well as, the government. In regards to this, this particular paper will endeavor to discover what the main causes for the emergence of insurgencies in South Asia are, and by comparing and contrasting 2 insurgencies in South Asia, this paper will determine whether it is the proximate factors that were suggested by Ganguly in the Kashmir insurgency that is important or if it is the historical structural causes that were suggested by Mukherjee that are important.
It can be acknowledged that insurgencies have been a main area of interest for many social, as well as, political scientists. Over the years they have been defined separately on the basis of semantics. However, it has been agreed upon that since they are a broad phenomenon, the numerous definitions that exist for them are true and a few of them include the following;
‘Organized movements with the aim of overthrowing governments that have been constituted to exercise authority in a state through the use of armed conflict and subversion to weaken the control of a government’ (Fearon and Laitin 75-90)
‘The struggle between the ruling authorities and the non-ruling groups where the non-ruling groups use the various political resources available, for example, demonstrations and propaganda, or where the non-ruling groups use violence to destroy or reformulate one or more aspects of politics.’ (Jenkins and Perrow 249-268)
From the two definitions, it can arrive at that insurgencies is forms of armed resistance from within a country that challenges the authority of that country. It can be established that insurgencies mainly use hidden or guerilla force to achieve their goals. A majority of the insurgent groups in South Asia are composed of organizations 2 distinct parts and the first parts are made up 2 paramilitary forces, that is, the local militia and the regional forces, and the second parts are made up of the mobile main force. It is important to note that since insurgencies are illegal, their main goal is to make sure that they survive.
The main causes for the emergence of insurgencies in South Asia
A majority of the insurgent movements in South Asia have various motivation factors that act as a source of energy for the masses that make up these insurgencies. The various motivation factors to the insurgencies in South Asia include the following:
It is important to note that ideological basis is some of the major contributing factors to the insurgencies in South Asia. The most common insurgencies that are based on ideological grievances are the communist and the Islamic insurgencies (Ylonen 1-36). This mainly happens in societies where the people are more divided as the ethnic conflicts that arise assist the rebel and the insurgent groups to take the center stage in politics.
Greed is another contributing factor to the emergence of insurgent groups in South Asia. For a majority of these groups, conflict creates an opportunity through which they can benefit both financially or achieve power and control over certain resources.
The state capacity also contributes to the development of insurgencies in South Asia. It is important to note that if the government continuously fails to meet the increasing expectations of the people created relative deprivation which frustrates the population and encourages violence and this is mainly seen through the development of insurgencies (Rotberg 1-25)
The objectives not only shape, orient, and determine the future of an insurgent group but they also act as reasons for the development of insurgent groups. The objectives that lead to the development of insurgent groups in South Asia include;
This particular objective leads to the formation of insurgent groups whose aim is to remove and replace the current political order. A good example of such an insurgency is the Cold War, however, this did not take place in South Asia.
The insurgencies formed as a result of this objective are aimed at dismissing a particular regime and that includes all its policies, as well as, the social and economic systems. It is acknowledged that a majority of the insurgencies that are formed with the aim of meeting this objective mainly use the terms modernization and reforms. In South Asia, the insurgent groups formed to meet this particular objective mainly blame particular Western ideas and teachings stating that they have eroded the very foundation of their beliefs, for example, the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) insurgency.
The world is culturally diverse and a majority of the insurgencies in South Asia are taking advantage of this diversity to create divisions and separations. It is important to note that in culturally diverse society, an insurgency is most likely to crop up from a section of the population that considers itself excluded from the political, economic, and social opportunities of the state.
The insurgencies that are formed to meet this particular objective in South Asia are mainly formed to compel foreign military power to withdraw itself from an area the insurgent group considers to belong to their people (Rotberg 1-25).
The Kashmir Insurgency
The Kashmir insurgency is a conflict between the Kashmir nationalists and the separatists. It is important to note that this particular insurgency is often described to as the conflict between the Indian government and the utter extremists. It can be acknowledged that since the beginning of the year 2002, a number of insurgent movements have constituted what is presently referred to as the Kashmir skirmishes in the region. It can be acknowledged that these particular skirmishes have strong Islamic connections and a majority of the insurgent groups are supported by the existing Jihadist movements. The underlying cause of the conflict between the Kashmir insurgency and the Indian government is local autonomy (Evans 69-81). It is important to note that the development of democracy in the Kashmir region had been limited for a very long period of time by the Indian government and because there existed little or no non-violent ways for the people of Kashmir to express their grievances, a majority of them opted to support the insurgency. It is the disputed state elections of the year 1987 that led to the formation of many armed insurgent groups and in the demonstrations and strikes that followed in the year 1988 on the Indian government officially led to the formation of the Kashmir insurgency. In the early 1990s, the Kashmir insurgency escalated and became a serious security threat in India and it has led to the deaths of thousands of people. It is estimated that 3,400 people have disappeared, 7000 service personnel and about 47,000 civilians have died since the insurgency begun (Ganguly 76-107). India has for all this time suspected and to a greater extent even accused Pakistan of training and supporting the members of the insurgency and in the year 2015, the former president of Pakistan Mr. Pervez admitted that indeed Pakistan had trained and supported the mujahideen fighters of the insurgency but claimed that that was in the 1990s. It is, however, important to note that the number of deaths and disappearances have drastically reduced and this is mainly because of the peace negotiations between India and Pakistan.
The Causes of the Kashmir Insurgency
The 1987 Election Dispute
It can be acknowledged that the insurgency started after the disputed 1987 elections in which there were strong allegations of rigging. During the election period, the Indian government established that the more than half of the elected village leaders were empty and blamed this on the ongoing conflict (Puri). The Indian government also noted that the few that were there had no governing authority due to the heavy presence of the insurgents. Since then, there has been little voter turnout in India and this demonstrates the number of people who secretly support the insurgency.
The Republic of India is a Hindu majority nation; however, Kashmir is the only region in India in which the Muslims are in majority. It can be acknowledged that the Muslims in India are economically and politically marginalized if compared to the Hindus. It is important to note the move that the Indian government made that solidified the above-mentioned view of marginalization where the government transferred more than 90 acres of land to the Hindu pilgrims but transferred nothing to the Muslims.
With assistance from the Pakistan government, the Mujahedeen fighters slowly infiltrated Kashmir after their home in Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Army. The main intention of the fighters was to spread the radical Islamist ideology.
It is true to state that Pakistan supported the independence movement of Kashmir through the Kashmir insurgency. It did this due to the dispute it has with the Indian rule over the legitimacy of the Kashmir. It was later discovered that this was intended to keep the Indian army distracted, as well as, cause India international condemnation due to the mass killings.
The Humanitarian Abuse
The Indian military sent its troops to Kashmir once the insurgency started in the early 1980s and despite the fact that Indian military refuses to state the actual figure of troops it has sent to Kashmir, it is speculated that there are over 600,000 Indian troops in Kashmir and this number is responsible for mass humanitarian abuses, as well as, extrajudicial killings. It is important to note that the Indian troops located in Kashmir operate under the emergency powers which allow them to curtail people’s civil liberties creating further support for the insurgency by the people of Kashmir.
The Maoist Insurgency
Just like the Kashmir insurgency, the Maoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict between the Indian government and the Naxalites of India. It can be acknowledged that the conflict began officially in the year 2004 after the formation of the Maoist rebel group that is made up of the Maoist Community Center (MCC) and the People’s War Group (PWG) (Mahadevan 203-220). The conflict is currently taking place in over 29 states in India with thousands of people losing their lives due to the armed clashes between the Maoists and the Indian government.
It is important to note that the Maoists are supported by the majority poor and through this, they consistently attack all government workers in what they call and attempt to fight for their land rights, as well as, for the equitable distribution of resources for the poor in the country. The Maoist insurgency is quite different from the Kashmir insurgency because the Naxalites are championing for a rural rebellion against the Indian government.
The Causes of the Maoist Insurgency
It can be acknowledged that the Maoist insurgency was started by Mupala Luxman in the year 1969 and it took the form of a peasant uprising in the western part of Bengal. This movement at that particular time protested against the Hindu landlords who molested the poor people continuously through forced labor, forceful torture, minimal wages, and killings. Instead of the Indian security forces addressing the grievances of the peasants, they worked with the rich to use the states force to crush the Maoist movement and for this particular reason, the Maoist launched an armed struggle for their rights. It can be acknowledged that the Maoists consider themselves to be the liberators that fight for the rights of the landless farmers that have for a long period of time been forcefully pushed into the circle of poverty by both the government and the rich class in the country (Muni). They fight to disband the indiscriminate social order that has existed in India for years that deprives the poor of their self-respect and dignity. According to the Maoists, the democratic forces of India are the main reason why the poor in India have continued to experience inequality over the subsequent regimes. It is true to state that with a population of up to 1.7billion, over 40% are poor completely dispossessed. They are ideally against the government and continue to express the idea that the Indian people still hunger for freedom, not to be exploited by the rich landlords and industrial upper class, as well as, to have an equal access to the resources of the country. To go through with their plans they target all government workers and these include the politicians, police, military, and even the village representatives and landlords.
From the above discussion, the real cause of the insurgency can be established, however, the Indian government continuously blames the Republic of China for backing the Maoist guerrillas. According to some Indian representatives, Beijing is supplying the guerrillas with small arms, as well as, ammunitions in the neighboring Nepal region where the Chinese language is dominantly spoken. Indian officials continue to state that Beijing has managed to connect the Indian Maoists and the Nepali Maoists and together these 2 groups have formed a nexus that continues to cause harm to the people in India (Mishra 627-646). There are also allegations that there are special training grounds within China where the Maoists are trained and the dispatched to India to cause chaos. It is important that the Indian government notes that the Maoist insurgency has been caused by the lack of the basic rights of the Indian people who belong to the lower and the middle class. This lack of rights is as a result of the oppression of by those in the upper class who have throughout history been supported by the Indian government.
Insurgencies are organized movements with the aim of overthrowing the government or changing the state of rule in a country. The Kashmir insurgency in India has been caused by a number of proximate, as well as, cultural factors and so has the Maoist insurgency in India. From a critical analysis of the two insurgencies in India, it can be established that both the proximate and the historical, and cultural causes lead to the formation of insurgencies.
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