Sanjay Kumar

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

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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Old Modi, New India

It seems that the United States (US) has ruffled a few Indian feathers by calling out the rise in Hindu extremism in India. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a distinguished gathering in New Delhi that India should stand for religious freedom. He stated that, “India is the birthplace of four major world religions. Let’s stand up together in defence of religious freedom for all, let us speak out in favour of those rights, for whenever we do compromise those rights, the world is worse off.” WATCH | "Let's stand up together in defence of religious freedom for all," ...

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Modi says ‘Hindus cannot be terrorists’ – so what does that make Godse then?

‘Hindus can never be terrorists,’ and ‘Hindus are not beef eaters’. India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) , and its patron Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), are very vehement when it comes to defending these two statements. They can even incite a lynch mob to prove their point. But why do they say that a Hindu can never be a terrorist? The BJP’s idea of India is a majoritarian state where the Hindu way of life takes precedence over all other faiths. In their worldview, it is important to clearly demarcate the Hindus from Muslims. It is sine qua non ...

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Voting for Modi again? 6 questions every Indian should ask

With India now fully in election mode, only one question reigns supreme in the minds of the people of India as well as the world: should Narendra Modi become the Indian prime minister again? Has he ushered in the “ache din” (good days) he promised five years ago? This question is polarising India. It is, however, a valid question. This is a man who came to power in 2014 with a promise to usher in a new era of development, coined a popular new slogan “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (collective effort, development for all), assured the nation he would address the ...

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