In a single day this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi undid nearly seven decades of history.
He altered India’s relationship with its only majority-Muslim region, revoking a measure of autonomy that had been in place since the 1950s and stripping Kashmir of its status as a state. His government instituted an unheard-of communications blackout in Kashmir, affecting millions of people.
Modi, who recently won reelection in a landslide, has always cast himself as a bold leader willing to break with the past. But his latest moves in Indian-controlled Kashmir mark one of the biggest gambles of his tenure and cast the future of India’s most restive region into doubt.
For Modi, revoking the special status of Kashmir is the fulfillment of a long-held demand of Hindu nationalists, who view India as a fundamentally Hindu nation rather than the secular republic envisioned by its founders. [Continue reading…]