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The People's Militia: Communists and Kashmiri nationalism in the 1940s

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In autumn 1947 communists in the Indian princely state of Kashmir took the lead in organising a people's militia, part of a mass mobilization which confirmed the end of princely rule and the advent to power of a radical Kashmiri nationalist movement. The embracing of popular armed force – to an extent revolutionary in purpose, but supporting rather than challenging the Indian state – was a novel departure for the Indian communist movement. Using oral history and contemporary news reports as well as secondary sources, this article addresses the role of communists in the militia and more widely in the National Conference, the Kashmiri nationalist party. It also explores other key aspects of communist influence the National Conference, including the drafting of its 'New Kashmir' manifesto of 1944; its 'Quit Kashmir' campaign of 1946; and its radical policies, notably on land ownership.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • Twentieth Century Communism provides an international forum for the latest research on the subject and an entry-point into key developments and debates not immediately accessible to English-language historians. Its main focus is on the period of the Russian revolution (1917-91) and on the activities of communist parties themselves but its remit also extends to the movement's antecedents and rivals, the responses to communism of political competitors and state systems, and to the cultural as well as political influence of communism.
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