Sanjay Kumar

The author is a New Delhi based journalist covering South Asian and international politics. He tweets as @destinydefier (

We are fighting to protect India’s soul from a majoritarian regime

There were many question marks surrounding Narendra Modi when he was making a bid to become prime minister of India back in 2014. Would he be able to devote his attention towards the development of the country? Would his slogan ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ (together with all and development for all) translate into a reality? At the time, many went against their instincts and voted for him, confident that his past would not hinder the construction of a new beginning in Delhi. But few could have foreseen the dark turn the Modi regime would take in the years to come. Sometimes our worst fears really become a reality, and India today ...

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill has tarnished India’s secular ideals

When a government considers itself to be the sole arbiter of a nation’s destiny then it has become a prisoner of its own hubris. At the time of his reelection in May, there was hope that the renewed mandate of Narendra Modi and his regime could perhaps usher in some positive change in India and South Asia. But that was not to be. The bloated ego of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strengthened the belief in the party that its agenda is far more important than the aspirations of the people. The abrogation of Article 370  was part of the ...

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Why did students protest against a Muslim teaching Sanskrit in India?

India has quite a few institutes which teach Sanskrit, and often times interested people from different parts of the world attend classes to learn the ancient language. In the 19th century, German Max Mueller learnt Sanskrit and translated the ancient Vedic texts into English and other languages. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit at a time when the world was not exposed to India the way it is now. His translation of the Indian ancient texts helped ensure that the world had access to India’s philosophical and cultural treasures. This cultural exchange has been part of the civilisational history of South Asia, and the Indian ...

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For us Indians, the Kartarpur Corridor represents hope

The Kartarpur corridor shows that although the people of  the subcontinent may have been divided by man-made boundaries, they still share a great deal of history and culture. It also demonstrates that political hostility between the two neighbours should never become subservient to the goodwill shared by people on both sides of the border. In that sense, the corridor is a corridor of possibility and hope. This development is all the more remarkable given that it takes place at a time when the hostility between India and Pakistan is at an all-time high. Currently, even the concept of potential dialogue between the two ...

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October 22, 2019

How an Iqbal poem got a Muslim headmaster suspended in India

It no longer shocks us in India. Prejudice and bigotry have become such a part of our existence that it no longer pricks our conscience when a lynching takes place, when a Muslim is humiliated for their way of life, when an overwhelming majority of television stations dish out jingoism all day long – it no longer baffles us. The recent suspension of a school headmaster, Furqan Ali, in the Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is only the latest demonstration of these growing hostilities. A local Hindu right wing leader belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), one of the ideological brothers of the ...

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How significant will Manmohan Singh’s Kartarpur visit be?

History teaches us that an absence of dialogue leads to war. The Kartarpur corridor is an attempt at dialogue at a time when the relationship between India and Pakistan is at an all time low. Therefore, the timing of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kartarpur, as part of a group of pilgrims, acts as a coolant during this tense atmosphere. It is not important whether Singh has accepted Pakistan’s invitation or whether he is going on the invitation of the Chief Minister of Indian Punjab. What matters is what his visit represents. Happy to meet former Prime ...

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Will the people of Kashmir accept India’s version of ‘normal’?

The word ‘normalcy’ is the most used and abused term in India today. Never before has this nation been so obsessed with these three syllables. Forty five days after the revocation of Article 370, Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) still remains paralysed, the majority of political leaders are in detention, civil society activists are under scrutiny, and the media has been asked to become the handmaid of the government. Under this backdrop last week, while hearing petitions filed with regards to the situation in Kashmir, the Indian Supreme Court asked the state to “restore normalcy” in the region as soon as possible. ...

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How the NRC further widens the religious fault lines in India

What happens when a myth comes face to face with a harsh reality? A nation which has been fed a myth feels betrayed when that lie is finally exposed. The National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise intended to compile data about the citizens of the Indian state of Assam, has been chasing a myth.  The original aim of the NRC was to determine which individuals who settled down in Assam after 1971 are illegal immigrants, regardless of their religion. But with time, the NRC became an exercise aimed at weeding out illegal Muslim immigrants who had come in from ...

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India and Pakistan need to win peace, not arguments

Following the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian constitution by the Indian government on Monday, there is a sense of déjà vu among the ruling party, a strong section of the majoritarian community and a section of the media. They are rejoicing that the ‘Kashmir problem,’ a legacy of history, has been ‘resolved’ once and for all by discarding the legislature since it was a hindrance in the final integration of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). The problem with this argument is that it disregards history, ignores the larger reality of geo-politics and completely discards the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Can ...

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It’s not Jadhav who is in prison; the subcontinent is the prisoner of paranoia

If anyone thought that India and Pakistan’s reaction would have been different had the verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case been different than what it is, then they are being delusional about the postmodern history of the Indian subcontinent. We are now conditioned to react without thinking. Both of us derive pleasure in humiliating each other – be it on the sports field or in the arena of politics. Newspapers on both sides of the border painted their pages with the titles that suited their national interests. Indian media celebrated the verdict in the same way they did when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ...

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