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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has become one of the most reviewed books since and even before its publication in June 2017. The antici...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Emergency-an historical perspective

I have been reading Coomi Kapoor's book on emergency published in 2015 and it has proved to be more revealing than I had bargained for, but not in the manner I had expected. That period remains strongly etched in my memories, and I always have considered that act of Indira Gandhi as completely unconstitutional and constituted an unnecessary subversion of the entire system. Nevertheless, Coomi Kapoor's book has forced me to rethink the entire issue through an historical perspective. In the aftermath of the declaration of the emergency and the excesses carried out under its name, the true causality  had become and remains obscure until this day. 

What no one talks and that book, between the lines, reveals is that crescendo of opposition agitation prior to the emergency and its organization was under the complete control of RSS. Coomi Kapoor herself had been associated with RSS in many manners. The book has a foreword written by Arun Jaitely, who only sometimes back wrote one of the most shallow accounts of that era. 

More importantly, most of the leading lights of opposition were guided by RSS. Indira Gandhi might have had a purpose in declaring that emergency but its operations were taken over by thuggish Sanjay Gandhi and his coterie of Punjabi mafia. And the outcome was a horrible period in the Indian history. Curiously, many of the leading persons from that mafia later became part of BJP.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Validation of Einstein at universal scale

In the span of last one month, three separate reports validated different aspects of Einstein's theories on universal scale. One study, published in Science on June 22, showed bending of light as predicted in General Relativity at a galactic scale using two distant galaxies. Another study, published in Nature on July 5, validated the equivalence principle of universal free-fall, from General Relativity, using a three star system, two dwarfs and a pulsar, about 4.2 light-years away. And finally a study, published in Nature Physics on July 16, and based on two-year data analysis of atmospheric neutrinos from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory failed to find a violation of Lorenz symmetry. Lorenz symmetry forms the basis of Special Theory of Relativity.

That actual vindication of Einstein might come from another report indicating that quantum field theory might after all not be explaining the entire reality and discovery of phenomenon expounding the transformation of quantum fuzziness to 'realism' might be close. Einstein never was comfortable with quantum uncertainty.

Friday, March 23, 2018


Secularism embodies separation of the state and church and mutual non-interference. The concept developed in reaction to the excesses of the Catholic Church in middle ages. One of the main proponents of secularism was the enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire who spent last decade of his life crusading against the church. When Voltaire died in Paris on May 30, 1778, he was refused a Christian burial. It was after the revolution that triumphant French National Assembly in 1791 forced Louis XVI to recall his remains to the Pantheon. The dead ashes were escorted through Paris by a procession of 100,000 men and women and the funeral car had the words: "He gave the human a great impetus; he prepared us for freedom." Voltaire did not give democracy and he rather gave a cry to challenge the ideas that were forced down on people. But it was the Church against whom he reserved his ultimate wrath.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Quantum Weirdness

Quantum world is weird and that's an understatement. One of the theories explaining that weird world, called Copenhagen interpretation, shuns realism. Niels Bohr was the main proponent of that interpretation that made Einstein uncomfortable and spats between the two on the subject are legendary. As it turned it is clear until now that Einstein was incorrect. Another explanation for quantum mechanics was proposed by Hugh Everett in his PhD thesis, called Many-Worlds interpretation and was based on concept that myriad possibilities inherent in a quantum system each manifest in their own universe. That interpretation, summarily rejected by Niels Bohr, later made  comeback but not soon enough for Everett, who gave up the field and went on to work for Pentagon for the rest of his life.

Ironically, Einstein's discovery of photoelectric effect saved scientific world from ultraviolet catastrophe and laid foundation of quantum field. But it was Niels Bohr and others' interpretation that turned Einstein against the uncertainty of quantum mechanics and until the very end he never reconciled with it. In between he unsuccessfully tried to poke many holes into quantum interpretation, with one of the most famous being EPR thought experiment. EPR stands for Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen. Einstein remained convinced that quantum uncertainty indicates incomplete understanding of reality. Nevertheless, the field thrived with contributions from likes of Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac and later John Wheeler, Richard Feynman, John Stewart. It has been long since that experiments have proven quantum entanglement, what Einstein used to call 'spooky action at distance' and is explained without violating the speed of light paradigm.

It maybe pointed out we live in a quantum world, without fully knowing how it works. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lowest of low creeds

Every time something ludicrously horrible comes of Modi's mouth, people start feigning exasperation. The reality is that notwithstanding his high office and belief of his fanatics, the lowest of low creeds is what defines him and has been the hallmark of his infamous career in politics. 

Right at the time when he stormed into power in Delhi riding on mostly a fact-free campaign, William Dalrymple had written a longish article on Modi in the New Statesman tracing his roughshod ride through ranks of the Hindu fascist organization to become chief minister of Gujarat. According to Dalrymple, Vinod Mehta, the late editor of Outlook, described Modi as a bad news; Modi before before he assumed chief ministership in Gujarat used to visit Mehta with alleged incriminating material against his predecessor from his own party. It was his demeanor that alarmed Vinod Mehta. 

It didn't take long for the entire world to see that demeanor when Modi most unscrupulously went on air to seek revenge for the Godhra train burning incidence and used his office and position to fan pogroms against Muslims in Gujarat in following days and weeks. His low creed was at full display when he taunted hapless displaced victims of those riots unleashed by his henchmen with his total abetment. Years following the Gujarat riots of 2002 were marked by fake encounters, elimination of uncomfortable allies, false charges against opponents that were orchestrated by his most trusted accomplice, Amit Shah, who for all practical purposes became second most powerful person in the country. Amit Shah was Ratko Mladić to Radovan Karadžić. 

Throughout his election  campaign of 2014, Modi embarked on spilling outright lies to total mauling of history. His appeal was to the baser instincts of intolerance to bring to the forth the worst of the worsts with so-called Gujarat model nothing more than a charade to cover his real motive. The office of the prime minister far from making Modi a statesman has instead steeply diminished in purpose and reputation. His prime ministership marked a new beginning in India that country could have done without; it emboldened and reinforced the his fascist supporters to indulge into gruesome and grotesque acts of violence against Muslims in particular.

Throughout and predictably, his low creed remained in plain sight through his steadied silence, no matter how gruesome the act. Be it the bludgeoning of a human on the mere suspicion of beef consumption or hacking and burning of another human on the basis of so called love-jihad, the low creed of Modi became even lower. Only time, he like a chameleon feigns hurt is when news of gruesome India gets picked up in international media. That does not stop him from following some of the worst elements on Twitter. 

The worst from him came when in one of the most egregious and most likely illegal act he visited a collective punishment on the entire country through abrogation of 86 percent of the national currency in circulation. The overnight havoc hit the most vulnerable in the population that Steve Forbes called inhumane and Manmohan Singh termed as organized loot. Any other leader if forced to take such decision would be somber and explain to the people reasons. Again his low creed got better of him and he made fun of the suffering Indians while on an official trip to Japan.

One would think that people have seen the rock bottom of lowliness, only to see him crashing though another bottom to remind his deep seeped low creed. That moment came in just finished election in Gujarat, the state he ruled as the chief minister for more than a decade. The mere hint that he might lose one election sent him into downright gutter and he once again went freelancing fact free and outrightly dangerous lies.

The most bizarre moment came when Modi, the prime minister of India, insinuated that Manmohan, his sanguine predecessor had entered into a conspiracy with Pakistan to alter the outcome of the election in Gujarat. Basis of that downright stupid insinuation was a dinner party hosted by Mani Shankar for visiting former Pakistani foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri. That diabolical bloviate from Modi was countered by a sharp rebuke from usually reticent Manmohan Singh and has been repudiated by the host himself and two of the invitees, Rahul Singh and M. K. Bhadrakumar, with latter calling the discussions at the dinner party as airy-nothings. That was a dinner party were likes of Modi never get invited but we can be assured of him falling through another rock bottom. 

If that was what a mere hint of loss in Gujarat did to the mental stability of Modi, we only need to imagine where a perceived loss at national level could send him. When election results from Gujarat come, there is already a big time loser, Narendra Modi.
-Rajiv Kumar

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The existential crisis

India has entered a phase of an existential crisis; it's on a quintessential path to fascism. If the impending disaster comes to fruition, no demographic group will escape its trepidation. Specious protests and online campaigns will be insufficient to combat their concerted campaign in progress. They already are in the possession of highest echelons of power in the country and they will bring in the final shove once they get an overwhelming control of both houses of the parliament. When Indira Gandhi declared internal emergency, the press and judiciary acted as bulwark against authoritarianism of the time. And now India is straddling an abyss where fascism emanates from media and judiciary mostly endorses it; dissenters routinely get murdered.

But then the country signed itself to a virtual doom, the day Modi was elected prime minister with an unbridled majority. The harsh and bitter reality rather has been that the country elected him concisely for the reason of being an unapologetic bigot. Nevertheless, the manner and causes of his election have been rendered moot and futile; the culture of intolerance and rabidity under his watch has defied the worst fears that anyone had ever harbored before he became the prime minister. The political murders under his watch bring India close to nadir of its morality but then anyone who expected anything different would have been living in a fool's paradise. 

The real news reserved for the ardent supporters remains that once the forces of evil unleashed under the Modi regime are done with their hatred of imaginary enemies, they will turn on to the middle class, the very people who in their devotion for a strong leader put him in power. Fascism, once entrenched in a country will run its full course with many indiscriminate victims. It might be Muslims, progressives and intellectual, who are for now in the cross hair of those treachrous forces but with their increased power will come their need for invention of new enemies to keep their apparatus of destruction running. The fact that Modi is edging close to being exposed for the hollowness of his policies be it in the spheres of econmics or external affairs, makes those evil forces unleashed by him even more dangerous than they are already. Their think tanks are already running mock trials of bringing the consitution to its knees and pull down the entire democratic edifice.

They might very well attain their that ultimate aims on the backs of their passionate supporters who will be their ultimate fodders for running their devil's workshop. But then the people who let him get away with one of the most hideous schemes of so called demonetization deserve no better.     

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Nobel Shame

Aung San Suu Kyi has not only proven to be a gargantuan disappointment but she also reflects that flawed and capricious fetish of turning less than mortals into heroes and then romanticizing their tales. A cursory look at her background would reveal that her father was the founder of Burmese national army and was murdered by the rivals in the force. Aung San after her long stays in India and west returned to Burma and started leading a democratic movement against military junta. Nowhere her resume manifests her as a humanitarian and that misguided Nobel Peace Prize was only in recognition for her struggle against military dictatorship. But her zealous lead in persecution of hapless Rohingya Muslims more than ever merits a recall of the prize given in the name of peace. No one has made more mockery of that coveted prize than her and if the Committee fails to move perhaps other winners of the Peace prize can raise their concern at belittling of their honors by the doings of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Monday, August 14, 2017

India at 70

Just as  India embarks on celebrations to mark 70 years of freedom, a stark and sobering reality reared its head in the form of deaths of over sixty sick children in a state run hospital in the largest state in the union. Those children were from poor of poorest families who couldn't afford expensive treatments in private hospitals. As per the news reports, even in the state run hospital the poor parents had to buy medicines and bandages on their own. With their meagre means those parents did everything asked, only to see their children die in their very helpless presence. The reason, oxygen ran out. Probably those living in opulency will find it hard to fathom and will go around their business on the backs of underaged vulnerable helps, whose families occasionally are condigned to die for the lack of oxygen. And that Modi wouldn't lose his breath while thumping and shouting hoax from the Red Fort built by Mughals. But at this juncture being crepuscular works in his favor, otherwise he would be horrified to see the impending doom of his making.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has become one of the most reviewed books since and even before its publication in June 2017. The anticipatory mêlée had a sort of cultish tinge akin to that witnessed in the last decade of the last century before release of Harry Potter books or later in this century when Steve Jobs had his gadgets visit the humanity to change the trajectory of the homo sapiens in the manner of cognitive, agricultural and industrial revolutions. Every single human trajectory has been uniquely uneven leaving unfilled interstitial spaces for those unable to keep the pace for eclectic reasons to fall through only to be forgotten by rest of the humanity. They might be forgotten but the unforgotten also called underprivileged hardly stop living; as a matter of fact they in their own way live their exhilarating lives by creating the ministry of utmost happiness where living and non-living; person and nonpersons share whatever there is to share and critical to their survival support one another stoically unknown in the ‘real’ world.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is an amalgamation of tales with arching labyrinths of contemporary tumultuous events where heroes are the people whose existence in society is acknowledged only when utterly essential. Protagonist of one of the main stories in the book is a transgender, born as Aftab who later rechristens herself as Anjum, weaves her existence in a house aptly called Khwabgah, the house of dreams but not before his/her mother having exhausted her supplications at the mausoleum of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed. Historically, Sarmad, an Armenian Jewish mystic described by Audrey Truschke in her book on Aurangzeb as an irreverent who had prophesized that Dara Shukoh would take throne; Aurangzeb had him executed in 1661. Slowly and tortuously, Aftab realizes his non-status and starts looking for signs for the life that would have meaning for him; although, it might be said, it was not due to dearth of love for him.

The house of dream with history dating back to Mughals turns out to be a quintessential place not only inhabited by queer and transgender but any perceptional misfit finds there a shelter.  But Anjum’s life takes a turn after she survives the visit to Gujarat during the pogroms against Muslims unleashed under and provoked by the state administration with, as in Roy’s words,
  • “the then chief minister of Gujarat appeared on TV in a saffron Kurta with a slash of vermilion on his forehead, and with cold, dead eyes ordered the burnt bodies of Hindu pilgrims be brought to Ahmedabad, the capital of the state, where they were put on display for the general public to pay their respect”.

Anjum survives only for being a transgender as the killers, on a Muslim killing spree, did not want to court a bad luck by killing a transgender. As Arundhati Roy tells

  • “nothing scared those murderers more than prospect of a bad luck. After all, it was to ward off bad luck that fingers that gripped the slashing swords and flashing daggers were studded with lucky stones embedded in thick gold rings. It was to ward off the bad luck that the wrists wielding iron rods that bludgeoned people to death were festooned with red puja threads lovingly tied by adoring mothers. Having taken all these precautions, what would be the point of willfully courting bad luck?”

Anjum fresh from the trauma leaves Khwabgah and makes a home with dead in a cemetery that eventually becomes shelter for the intentionally and deliberately forgotten. That is where her new companion, originally a low-caste boy, Dayachand, who later calls himself Saddam Hussein, tells Anjum the story of orchestrated cow-based lynching of his father. That reflects foreboding of the lynching season to descend on India with cow as a pretext to target the most vulnerable Muslims. In time, the dwelling in the cemetery, called Jannat (Heaven) Guest House becomes a converging point ultimately joined by another protagonist in the book, the indomitable Tillotama. It is through Tillotama, Tillo in short, that Arundhati brings the Indian devilry through inhumane occupation of Kashmir to the fore. Tillo’s story brings to the world, not that there was left anything unknown, the treachery of Indian occupation of Kashmir and the heinousness that state resorts in suppression of the aspirations of freedom. It brings in graphical details the mechanical and bureaucratic apparatus that the state had built to maintain an aura of Indian control over state, it only lacked the wherewithal to create an Orwellian state to affect hearts and minds of Kashmiris. That shortcoming was not for the lack of trying.  The brutal killing of Jalil Andrabi, a human rights lawyer and firing at the funeral procession of Maulvi Farooq, though fictionalized are truthful representation of true events. More than any of those events, the book conveys an unambiguous defiance of Kashmiris in the face of tortures and deaths; graveyards as a matter of fact became symbols of resistance and resilience.

The panorama created by Arundhati Roy traverses across a vast canvas brings in an irrepressible hues of characters caricaturing almost everyone in Indian politics be it lisping Vajpayee, trapped rabbit Manmohan Singh or Kejriwal with unsingular look or that manipulated anti-corruption crusader, the Farex baby faced Anna Hazare. But the book lightens up the most where the story focuses on the unacknowledged people fallen through the cracks, who are essential for opulent lives as long as they remain invisible. It’s the description of things they do to lighten the oppressiveness of their lives like graphic sacrifice of a water buffalo for Eid that makes the book what it is and Arundhati Roy who she is; through her prose one can peek into her soul. The irony is that it might be that those people are as vulnerable as their opulent counterparts given the political turn of events. The then chief minister of Gujarat, with cold dead eyes, is now presiding the entire country with unparalleled power and with quirk of events coupled with personal greed of unscrupulous politicians, his party is also saddled in power in Kashmir. Not that any of this matters, Kashmiris have long resolved to not be swayed by politicians of any color in Delhi or their local facilitators in the valley for their ultimate goal to breath free air of the pristine valley free of gun-wielding agents and schemers and to not allow them to traduce anymore than they have already.

At the end one would wish Tillo and her three companions instead of going to a school for architects had been studying law or international relations given the trails their individual and shared lives traverse in the book. For Anjum, her accomplices and collaborators I wouldn’t change a thing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

LBJ, Kashmir, and Indian Liberals

Towards the end of his presidency, Lyndon B Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America, had been reduced to a figure of universal scorn and derision. His escalation of the Vietnam War to a point from which it became impossible to extricate the US ended up  in becoming one of the defining human tragedies of twentieth century. This was war fought on the basis of pretexts that did not actually exist.  The slur “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” which became an anthem of sorts for protestors eventually compelled him to forgo running for a second term in office in 1968.  Those protesting against the war, those who eventually forced Lyndon Johnson to leave the political arena were Americans who were overcome with images of atrocities and the rising count of civilian deaths in a mindless war.
The Vietnam War was far from an exception. Even after its end, we might still be able to catalog scenes of wanton brutality and killings from around the world into several heavy volumes, each prefaced by notes indexing the vileness of the human species, which remains the only one to conjure schemes of the annihilation of its own kind for reasons that have no justification or sanction in the natural world.  No life form kills for the sake of the shape of a map in an atlas. Nationalism routinely makes humans go to war for such reasons.
Some of these same false premises that have been used to rationalize killing elsewhere in the world have also been in use for far too long to perpetuate brutality and subjugation in Kashmir. For years Indians have been indoctrinated with an image of their country on a map that has no bearing on reality. The shape of the state of Jammu & Kashmir on Indian maps lies at the heart of this fiction. Be it an average fruit seller or an industrialist or a mentally and morally bankrupt bureaucrat or a duplicitous politician – this image has made Indians of all manner and description treat Kashmir as their backyard. This is what lies at the core of the intransigence of the Indian establishment when it comes to Kashmir, and it is this very intransigence that is hurtling the populace of Kashmir towards a precipice, accompanied by an increased wave of repression. The Indian state is straddling a moral abyss. Incidentally, this situation exposes the hollowness of even that  section of Indian society that takes prides in calling itself ‘progressive’.
In recent days, in the face of rising discontent, we have witnessed the voicing of Indian demands for even more stern actions by the armed forces in Kashmir than have been already employed. One wonders what could be sterner than the blinding of people, including under-aged children through indiscriminate and unprecedented use of pellet guns. It is as if Kashmir becomes an exception to the perception of how any form of state power should be used to deal with a recalcitrant population. Stone pelters elsewhere in the territories policed by the Indian state are not met with bullets and pellets, but in Kashmir, they inevitably are. What is it that makes many ‘progressive’ Indians (who refurbish their credentials by being so vocal against the actions of the rabidly right wing government of Narendra Modi) fall silent when it comes to Kashmir, atrocities in Kashmir, or even the outstanding issue of the legal status of the territory. Is that ingrained, unquestioned map of India, with Kashmir as its crown that forces even ‘progressives’ to become alter egos of the activists of hardcore rightwing parties?
The situation in Kashmir remains what it has been for more than two decades and a half, littered with instances of Indian mendacity and deliberate sabotage of any move towards real peace that reflects the aspirations of the population. The majority of Kashmiris themselves, despite having gone through the upheavals of  a violent insurgency and state terror in the 1980s and 1990s remain unchanged in their demands and aspirations. Their aspirations for freedom and peace have remained constant through the transition from an armed insurrection to a virtually unarmed mass struggle.
What has also remained unchanged is the violent vehemence of the Indian establishment’s response to these aspirations. Until the current Modi regime decided to publicly take a hard line on Kashmir, many Indian politicians (in and out of power) professed a desire to ‘engage’ with the people of Kashmir. These public pronouncements never altered the realities on the ground, which instead of moving forward, only worsened with time. An over-reliance on an electoral process already discredited by force and fraud led to a wilful neglect of the basic nature of the disputed status of the relationship between Kashmir and the Indian Union. This only led to further deterioration of an already dire situation. Amidst all the noise and kerfuffle that emanated from India vis-a-vis Kashmir, what fell through the cracks of the sparse and frugal mental apparatuses of the Indian establishment (and of even its ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ factions) was the fact of the dehumanizing siege that the entire population of the Kashmir valley had been subjected to since the beginning of the uprising in the late 80s, or even before. Now, with the Modi regime all but declaring war on the people of Kashmir, the crisis has reached unimaginable proportions. How did things get so bad? Those who call themselves ‘progressive’ in India and yet retain a fondness for the Indian master narrative on Kashmir cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for the situation having become what it is today.
Leaving aside for a moment the well documented cases of extra-judicial assassinations, rapes, enforced disappearances and torture for more than two decades, one needs only take into consideration the minute by minute humiliations that people in Kashmir have had to endure at the hand of security personnel at  checkpoints, while being frisked, at ‘identity’ parades, in the course of random ‘spot’ checks, house-to-house searches, curfews and a heap of senseless harassment that constitute the daily grind. If you face this reality squarely, then the fact that an entire people are rising ought to come as no surprise.

Take, for instance, the recent parading by the Indian Army of a young man, a voter, called Farooq Ahmad Dar, as a ‘human shield’ with a paper warning tied to his chest and bound to the front bumper of a jeep while he was driven through nine villages was hardly the isolated incident it is being made out to be. The image of this incident, which hit the world media, has become emblematic of the India-Kashmir relationship. While this image did evoke genuine outrage in some sections in India, it is also true that it was celebrated and justified, and became the catalyst of demands for ‘even more stringent actions’. These demands did not come from the Hindutva fringe alone. They were also voiced by some ‘liberals’ who had otherwise  been outraged at the lynching of Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan by Hindutva vigilantes. Its as if things change the moment one invokes Kashmir.
What is that evokes such reactions against the population in Kashmir even amongst some liberals? Is that imaginary map of greater India so chiseled into their brains that the thought of any tinkering leads to complete irrationality? Perhaps that is where some introspective reading of history, not only of Kashmir but of the entire world, can help sometimes to dispel in-built prejudices.
The exact circumstances of the accession of Kashmir to India remain shadowy. The accession, for what it was worth, was contingent on a plebiscite that India has never allowed to be held. One leader after another of the Kashmiri people were bought, or thrown into prison, or were thrown into prison and then bought. Every kind of leadership, both Indian and Kashmiri, played its part in suppressing the aspirations of the the population of Kashmir. There grew to be an unbridgeable chasm between what was professed and what was practiced in Kashmir. The mantra of Kashmir being an ‘integral part’ of the Indian Union revealed a fixation that cared for the occupation of land, never for a concern with the people who happened to be on that land. The people of Kashmir never became anything other than colonial subjects  for India, just as Indians had been for the British. And like Britain, India also always found local collaborators, especially to help it indulge in meaningless electoral exercises.These ‘polls’ which India touted in place of the absent plebiscite, got so discredited over time with force and fraud that the last exercise of elections attracted only seven percent of the electorate and ended in a toll of eight deaths.
Lyndon B. Johnson ended his presidency completely discredited by the fiasco of Vietnam, but he is still considered among the greatest presidents the United States has ever had. After assuming the presidency in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson went on to achieve something that had eluded every American presidents after Abraham Lincoln’s abolition of slavery. The Johnson presidency saw the successful passage of the civil rights bill that undid racial segregation and allowed backs to vote throughout the country. Despite everything, these facts remain unmatched and stellar accomplishments. Ironically, immediately after the passage of voting rights acts there were widespread riots by African-Americans in different cities. Johnson, who could understand the irony, famously said, “What did you expect? I don’t know why we’re so surprised. When you put your foot on a man’s neck and hold him down for three hundred years, and then you let him up, what’s he going to do? He’s going to knock your block off.”
Can the problem of Kashmir ever be solved? It can, only if India evolves a leadership with a Only if Johnsonian grit and the altruistic determination to acknowledge that the problem exists in the first place. No solution will ever come from someone like Modi, given his avid hatred of Muslims in general. One just has to play those recordings from the time of Gujarat riots of 2002 when Modi taunted the hapless Gujarati victims of the macabre killings that took place under his watch to understand why Modi simply cannot be expected to take the initiative towards peace in Kashmir. Rather than working towards a solution, the doomed coalition between Modi’s party, the BJP and the local family business of the  Mufti clan under the garb of the Peoples Democratic Party has made things even worse. It has made the ever existing chasm between Kashmir and India wider than ever and it has sullied India’s image more than ever, at home and abroad. Things are so bad, that it is difficult to imagine them getting worse.
Paradoxically, this recognition may also hasten the complete rupture between Kashmir and India. Perhaps the moment is ripe for an Indian LBJ, who takes heed of the need to be sensitive to the question of civil rights, and, instead of perpetuation a needless war, ends it. Can the Indian Liberals find such an LBJ, or will history snatch Kashmir away from them without the grace of a dignified departure?
Rajiv Kumar is a Professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany