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India's Trump Card?

Donald Trump, described as Man of the Year by Time magazine, scored a victory that has shaken the world to its core. Yet his win should not come as any surprise to those people who have witnessed the emergence of hollow liberal democracies in India and across Europe. The post, post-modern Americans have not found themselves to be immune to this wave and are now braced for change with the same feeling of dread that was felt by Indians after the last election. Disillusioned by previous leaders, the people were offered the promise of ‘Acche Din’ (better days) in Narendra Modi’s much-hyped campaign, which has parallels with that of The Donald. Trump’s emphasis on nationalism has also been realised in the intensified flexing of Hindutva supremacists who wish for nothing more than to make India an exclusive abode for Hindus. Modi's supporters are even calling for Ghar Wapsi (coming back Home; Home meaning Hinduism), believing that all humans are born Hindu. A few members of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party have even fixed dates for converting India into ‘Hindustan’. The Other is being increasingly marginalised, a fear also rising in Trump’s America. The people were promised change for the better but the hefty ‘changes’ in Prime Minister Modi’s India – for example the rise in Hindutva-nationalism, the fallacy of demonetisation, hurling expletives at minorities, the obligatory playing of the national anthem before every cinema screening demanding audiences must stand up, etc – have only added to the unease among communities nervous at the direction in which the country is heading. 

With the emergence of Trump, the relationship between the US and India is one to watch. Both Trump and Modi share common qualities and Kashmiris have been quick to identify Trump as just another Modi. Though the US continues to monitor both India and Pakistan from behind the scenes, in actuality they have never brought the two countries in line in order to achieve any resolution. America appears the best mediator to Kashmir and Trump is in the unique position of enjoying good relations with both India and Pakistan; he has offered to use his ‘extraordinary deal-making skills’ (probably from his bestseller of 1987 Trump: The Art of the Deal) and his ‘boardroom experience’ to make short work of the decades-long Kashmir dispute. However, we have to see the reactions of ‘the terrific guy’, as Trump was said to have called the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and of ‘kamal ka admi’, as the late and present Chief Minister of Kashmir used to refer to the present Prime Minister of India. It doesn’t surprise Kashmiris as they have seen the same in previous US Presidents: how after taking presidential offices they drop Kashmir from their vocabularies. Let’s hope that Trump will, against the odds, prove a man of worth, mostly to the marginalised and the subcontinent, by mediating a resolution for Kashmir after the scheduled farewell of Barack Obama.

Muddasir Ramzan was born in 1990 in Kashmir, India, where he resides. He studied English Literature and is a budding writer. His writings have been published in various national and international journals in India, Pakistan and the UK and he regularly writes blogs for the Muslim Institute. He can be contacted at muddasirramzan[at]gmail[dot]com.