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Marxist Theory: India and Pakistan over Kashmir

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Marxist Theory: India and Pakistan over Kashmir

            Theories have a very essential role in society. The processes of explaining various phenomena in the world become easier by using these educated assumptions. The reasons pertaining to the causes of conflict could also be analyzed by using various theories. These theories can also be used to identify the ways on how to address the conflict. This idea is exemplified by the Marxist Theory and how it is applied in the dispute between India and Pakistan and the conflict territory of Kashmir.

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Marxist Theory
Marxist theory or philosophy pertains to the philosophical work that is strongly influenced by one of the most renowned personality in history, Karl Marx, a great German theorist and political activist. He became well known through his materialist approach theory.[1] He is also responsible for several social theories that deal with social conflict.[2]

The Marxist theory that deals with the conflict approach highlights the materialist understanding of history. The materialist perspective of history originated from the idea that the most essential factor that determines the kind of social life of an individual is based on the work that he or she is doing.

The theory gives importance to the type of job that provides the basic necessities. Marxism deems that work is socially organized, and the existence of technological advancement tremendously impacts production and other aspects of the society. Marx also stresses that everything of value in society is the outcome of human labor. Hence, he looks at men and women who are engaged in labor as the makers of the society. They are responsible for forming the circumstances in which they live in.[3]

              Marx separated history in three stages in terms of the society’s economic structure:  feudalism, capitalism, and socialism. Majority of Marx’s works focus on the materialist theory of society and how it could be applied in a capitalist economy. Marx’s emphasis on capitalism is due the fact that this was the dominant type of economy during the 19th century in Europe which Marx used as a model. Marx elaborated the idea of capitalism by describing it in terms of private property. He believed that this is the core institution of such kind of society. Capital refers to money and other means of production like machines, tools, factories. Marx stated that these important resources are controlled by the minority of the population. This resulted in two opposing classes, namely: the bourgeoisie or the owners of the means of production and the proletariat or the workers. The proletariat’s only property is their labor which they use as a commodity and sell to the bourgeoisie to sustain their needs.[4]

            According to the Marxist theory, the bourgeoisie gain profit by giving unfair compensation to their laborers. The owners would pay their workers less than what their work actually deserved; this is referred to as exploitative labor. The terminologies in this theory emphasizes the material forces of production or the means of production and the social relations of productions, which pertain to the division of labor, and its relation to social classes and their relationships.[5]

            The abovementioned economic exploitation is also directly related to political oppression. This is observable through the capitalists’ capability to use their economic leverage in order to achieve control in the state. By placing themselves in the position of power, the capitalists manipulate the state so that it would adhere to their economic interests. A good example of this manipulation is through police power. The bourgeois could influence them to implement property rights and make sure that the contracts used would benefit them at the expense of the workers.[6] Simply put, they would legalize the unjust partition of property wherein the capitalist gains more leverage than the laborers.

            Forms of oppressions are not always as blatantly done as the previous example. There are also subtle ways of this injustice. Religion could also serve the interest of the bourgeois by pacifying the people through the teachings of their faith. The capitalists can also pay intellectuals in order to convince society of the soundness of the existing economy that is grounded on the idea of bourgeois-proletariat relation. Generally, the capitalists’ economic advantage could affect the other areas in the society like its morality, ideologies, and even aesthetics such as arts and literature. Hence, the economic structure has a great impact in society, creating a superstructure that could modify other institutions such as the state, family, and educational system in order to support the kind of economy that they want to preserve.[7]

            The power of the ruling class encompasses the economy as well as the ideology that the society follows. Since they control the social interaction of production, they also have the capability to impose the thinking of capitalism among the people. Thus, social institutions would function in their favor as they will reproduce and reinforce the economic structure of the ruling class. In all of these, Marx perceived that the unjust economic make-up of capitalism is the real basis wherein the superstructure composed of social, political, and ideological awareness is created.[8]

Contrary to most people’s belief, Marx was an optimist because he believed that, regardless of what stage in history an unjust economic structure might exist, it would eventually be abolished due to its own destructive tendencies. In the Marxist dialectic method, Marx explained that the existing social structure comes with its own destruction, referred to as the thesis. The unsoundness of this kind of social structure would trigger its own destruction. When that happens, it would pave the way for a social structure that is the exact opposite of the existing one, pertained to as the antithesis. The thesis and the antithesis would create a struggle wherein the outcome would be substantially different form of social structure called the synthesis.[9]

India and Pakistan Conflict

            The tension between India and Pakistan is rooted from Britain’s decision to separate its previous Indian Empire. In 1947, the partition of the sub-continent took place which also marked the rivalry between these two countries. The hostility is brought about by various causes such as religion and history. The conflict is further aggravated by the long running territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. As years pass by, the animosity worsened to the point that it escalated into the proliferation of nuclear arms.[10]

            When India received its independence from Great Britain in 1947, the Indian subcontinent was divided. The existence of Pakistan originated from a proposal that there should be a separate homeland for Muslims. Thus, the partition took place, but the movement of Muslims, Sikhs as well as Hindus resulted in massive violence. This is because most of them transfer to the wrong side of the partitioned provinces. The reported casualties caused by this incident reached approximately half a million due to communal violence, while millions more were left homeless.[11]

Jammu and Kashmir

            Jammu and Kashmir are regions characterized by their cultural distinctness. These territories were previously under the Sikhs during the 19th century. However, when the British defeated the Sikhs in 1846, they established a Hindu ruler, the Maharaja. The Maharaja took control of the Buddhist area of Ladakh, the Jammu region composed primarily of Hindus, the valley of Kashmir comprised mostly of Muslims, and other smaller Muslim Kingdoms.[12]

            The partition created India and Pakistan, but it left the case of Kashmir uncertain. There was no clear decision on who would annex this territory. Two months following the countries’ creation, the Maharaja gave the national government of India the authority to control Kashmir. This triggered the war between India and Pakistan. The cessation of the war took place after the United Nations managed a ceasefire in July 1949. At the same time, Pakistan gained control of one third of Kashmir’s territory. India then gained the remaining territory but with a near independence status.  Nevertheless, in 1956, India annexed Kashmir as a state despite the previous agreement. This incident immediately resulted in a riot within the Muslim population of the territory. Eventually, the war resumed in 1965 and another armed conflict between India and Pakistan broke in 1971 due to Bangladesh’s independence (formerly East Pakistan). The development of the conflict almost turned into a nuclear war. As both countries are not parties to the nuclear non-proliferation agreement, they were able to create nuclear arsenals despite the opposition coming from the international community.[13]

            Both countries have different arguments as to why they should have the authority towards the regions of Jammu and Kashmir. For over 50 years, Pakistanis deemed that these regions should become part of their country because the majority of the states’ citizens are Muslims, especially in Kashmir. On the other hand, India claimed that they should have the authority over Jammu and Kashmir because the Maharaja gave this to them through the instrument of accession in October 1947.[14]

            There have been promising updates towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict. In January 2004, the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had an agreement which involves normalizing the India-Pakistan relationship and making the necessary steps in the Kashmir dilemma. However, the agreement’s progress has been slow. There are also threats that violence might resurface especially with the change of leadership in both countries.[15]

Application of the Marxist Theory over the Conflict

            As discussed earlier, Marxist Theory gives importance to the means of production, specifically the capital such as land and technological machineries. In the same manner, one of the causes of the conflict between India and Pakistan is also due to their competition over resources. This is greatly observable in their animosity towards each other due to the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

            The regions of Jammu and Kashmir have been considered as “heaven on earth” and the “bio-mass state of India.”[16] The Kashmir valley’s fertile soil is advantageous for agriculture. The regions are also havens of various flora and fauna as well as different wildlife. Furthermore, aquatic vegetation and marine life are also abundant in these territories.[17] Hence, it is not surprising that India and Pakistan are fighting over these regions.

            Marx’s assumptions with regard to the capability of the ruling class to impact society are also observed in this conflict. Even though Kashmir is dominated by Muslims, the Hindus are the ones who hold the position of power. The Hindus are considered as the ruling class in Kashmir as they are reigning terror and violating human rights of the Muslim population. This is proven by the findings of the Kashmir’s Council for Human Rights which concluded that India violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights General Assembly Resolution 217 A (111) December 1948 and breached Article 5 of this resolution: “no one shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”[18] In this situation, exploitative labor has turned a new face; instead of unfairly compensating the workers for their labor, the ruling class exploited the other group by humanely violating them to get what they want.

            Marx’s dialectic theory of thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis is also applicable in the conflict of India and Pakistan. Due to the unjust social structure in terms of the economic, political, and social aspects of the regions, this existing arrangement would eventually self-destruct. The series of violent conflict that took place that are presently happening are just some of the indicators that this destruction is already evident. Nevertheless, the idea of synthesis is still possible, especially when a substantial and effective peace agreement is created in order to address the destruction that is currently happening.

            The discussions above only prove that theories are indeed beneficial in explaining and understanding why certain events like the conflict between India and Pakistan take place. Moreover, employing the Marxist theory provides a clearer picture of the causes of the dispute. The real situation behind the conflict especially the people who suffer from it also becomes more noticeable and is given due consideration. Hence, the conflict is viewed from a different perspective that further emphasizes the real problem: its effect on society and human lives which must be immediately addressed.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BBC News. “India-Pakistan: Troubled relations.” (n.d.). Database on-line. Available from

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/south_asia/2002/india_pakistan/timeline/default.stm, accessed 10 September 2008.

Enlexica. “Marxist Theory.” (2008). Database on-line. Available from http://www.123exp-

            business.com/t/04254174403/, accessed 10 September 2008.

Kashmir Council for Human Rights. “Conclusions.” (1996). Database on-line. Available

            from http://www.ummah.net/kashmir/kchr/concl.htm, accessed 10 September 2008.

McClelland, Kent. “Conflict Theory.” (2000). Database on-line. Available from

http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/soc/s00/soc111-01/IntroTheories/Conflict.html, accessed 10 September 2008.

News Batch. “India, Pakistan and Kashmir.” (2004). Database on-line. Available from

            http://www.newsbatch.com/kashmir.htm, accessed 10 September 2008.

Reza, Ali. “Bio-diversity of Jammu and Kashmir.” (n.d.). Database on-line. Available from

http://www.kashmirnetwork.com/wildlife/biodiversity.html, accessed 10 September 2008.

[1] Enlexica, “Marxist Theory,” (2008) [database on-line]; available from http://www.123exp-business.com/t/04254174403/, access 10 September 2008.
[2] Kent McClelland, “Conflict Theory,” (2000) [database on-line]; available from

   http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/soc/s00/soc111-01/IntroTheories/Conflict.html, accessed 10 September 2008.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] BBC News, “India-Pakistan: Troubled relations,” (n.d.) [database on-line]; available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/south_asia/2002/india_pakistan/timeline/default.stm, accessed 10 September 2008.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] News Batch, “India, Pakistan and Kashmir,” (2004) [database on-line]; available from http://www.newsbatch.com/kashmir.htm, accessed 10 September 2008.
[14] BBC News, “India-Pakistan: Troubled relations,” (n.d.) [database on-line]; available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/south_asia/2002/india_pakistan/timeline/default.stm, accessed 10 September 2008.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ali Reza, “Bio-diversity of Jammu and Kashmir,” (n.d.) [database on-line]; available from http://www.kashmirnetwork.com/wildlife/biodiversity.html, accessed 10 September 2008.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Kashmir Council for Human Rights, “Conclusions,” [database on-line]; available from http://www.ummah.net/kashmir/kchr/concl.htm, accessed 10 September 2008.

Cite this Marxist Theory: India and Pakistan over Kashmir

Marxist Theory: India and Pakistan over Kashmir. (2016, Oct 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/marxist-theory-india-and-pakistan-over-kashmir/

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