“It’s appropriation when an Azadi chant is deployed in defence of the Indian occupation of Kashmir. But that is not happening. The problem is only that many of those who do the Azadi chant now have not supported the Kashmiri movement’s call for Azadi. So it is important to emphasise this in the hope that the chanting of Azadi opens more minds to its Kashmiri manifestation as well. However, Azadi is not only about Kashmir, nor is the word an invention of Kashmiri people. Across Asia, it belongs to many freedom struggles — in Kurdistan, Balochistan and also in India, where movements have spoken of concepts like “jhooti Azadi” (fake independence: the transfer of power in 1947) and the need for “another freedom struggle” against the imperialist system from which India is still not independent.

Anti-fascists in India tap into the legacy of the anti-colonial movement against British Raj, and see a continuity with their own struggles of the day. Azadi expresses this sentiment, and now that the Kashmiri movement has given a powerful and lyrical vocabulary and rhythm to go with it, the Azadi chants in the streets of India actually prefigure the necessarily connected future of anti-colonialism and anti-fascism in the subcontinent — the Azadi Kashmiris demand and what Indians mean by Azadi when they say the word in protests are so inextricably linked that neither struggle can advance without advancing the other. Simply put, there cannot be a democratic India if Kashmir is under occupation. Freedom and democracy are prerequisites of each other, so there can be no democracy without self-determination.”

–Indian activist Satyadeep Satya