TOPIC – Mixed messaging

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s first visit to Jammu & Kashmir after August 5, 2019 when Parliament diluted Article 370 of the Constitution that granted it a “special status” and downgraded and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories, took place against the grim background of the killings of 11 civilians by terrorists in one month. J&K has been under central rule since June 2018 and the political and parliamentary subterfuge in reorganizing the erstwhile State still rankles as a discordant chapter of India’s experiments in federalism. Mr. Shah used the three-day visit to underscore the progress J&K has made since its reorganization — the uptick in tourist inflow and the string of development and welfare projects. As for the stringent curbs that the people have had to endure meanwhile, Mr. Shah said those were bitter pills that helped save lives. Through a series of public engagements and official functions in Jammu and the Valley, the Home Minister’s single-minded focus was on reiterating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s political narrative on Kashmir. He said “three families” had held J&K to ransom until the party came to its rescue. Whether or not politics in J&K has been any more or less corrupt than other parts of the country are anyone’s guess, but it is a matter of fact that the former State had a poverty rate of 10.35% against the national average of 21.92%. The Centre has been successful in removing the question of independence or even autonomy from the conversation on Kashmir. But to pretend that there is no political question in Kashmir to be discussed or resolved is reckless. Besides trying to systematically delegitimize the mainstream parties, the BJP policy also sought to build an entirely new political apparatus in the Union Territory. Mr. Shah ruled out any talks with Pakistan, but said he was willing to talk to the youth of Kashmir. That promise can be meaningful only with immediate action. Now that the Centre has made the restoration of statehood as the endgame of an unclear political process, it must establish a mechanism for dialogue with the people. In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met political leaders from J&K in Delhi but there has been no follow up to that since then. On the contrary, Mr. Shah’s messaging over three days emphasized the divisions between the people of the Valley and Jammu, and berated political leaders. True, he made the right gestures in terms of visiting victims of recent violence and interactions with locals but that is far from enough. More than 700 people had to be detained ahead of his visit, which is instructive of the continuing volatility in the Valley. Mr. Shah’s trip is the latest in a series of visits by Union Ministers in recent weeks. While the Centre’s outreach is indeed a welcome step, it needs to be more honest and open to be effective.

The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms 


Bifurcated (verb) – To divide into two separate parts

Synonyms – Cleaved, ramified, sundered, unyoked, rifted

Antonyms – Blended, fused, stuck, welded, agglutinated


Subterfuge (noun) – Deceit used in order to achieve one’s goal

Synonyms – Chicanery, skullduggery, deviousness, craftiness, sophistry

Antonyms – Stagnation, verity, legitimacy, confrontation, forthrightness


Discordant (adjective) – That spoils a general feeling of agreement

Synonyms – Discrepant, repugnant, acrimonious, inimical, factious

Antonyms – Corroborative, tallying, euphonious, congenial, coherent


String (noun) – A line or sequence of people or things

Synonyms – Procession, echelon, entourage, consecution, cortege

Antonyms – Drought, disorganization, disarray, interruption, stoppage


Endure (verb) – To suffer something painful or uncomfortable, usually without complaining

Synonyms – Countenance, indulge, condone, acquiesce, abide

Antonyms –Succumb, budge, stumble, buckle, abdicate


Reiterating (verb) – Say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity

Synonyms –Belabor, ingeminate, rehash, regurgitate, enumerate

Antonyms – Conceal, halt, cease, confuse, sabotage


 Ransom (noun) – The holding of a captive to be released in return for a payment

Synonyms –Abduction, capture, bounty, squeeze, exaction

Antonyms –Incarcerate, fetter, enslave, immure, subjugate


Restoration (noun) – The return of something to its original condition

Synonyms –Overhaul, revamp, gentrification, darning, hemming

Antonyms –Dilapidation, shabbiness, desuetude, desolation, seediness


Interactions (noun) – A mutual relationship or connection between two or more things

Synonyms –Pendant, conjunction, similitude, semblance, effigy

Antonyms –Disparity, discrepancy, discord, irregularity, distinctiveness


Detained (verb) – To stop somebody from leaving a place

Synonyms –Ensnared, entombed, penned, incarcerated, shackled

Antonyms –Disillusioned, emancipated, untethered, freed, liberated