AS INDIA CELEBRATES her seventy-third year of independence from British rule, ragged children thread their way through traffic in Delhi, selling outsized national flags and souvenirs that say, “Mera Bharat Mahan”—My India is Great. Quite honestly, it’s hard to feel that way right now, because it looks very much as though our government has gone rogue.
On 5 August, it unilaterally breached the fundamental conditions of the Instrument of Accession, by which the former princely State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. In preparation for this, at midnight on 4 August, it turned all of Kashmir into a giant prison camp. Seven million Kashmiris were barricaded in their homes, internet connections were cut and their phones went dead.
On 5 August, India’s home minister proposed in parliament that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution—the article that outlines the legal obligations that arise from the Instrument of Accession—be overturned. The opposition parties rolled over. By the next evening the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 had been passed by the upper as well as the lower house.