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Kashmir issue

In Kashmir, Modi's Israel comparison feeds old stereotypes about the Indian state

It also plays into into parallels between Kashmir and Palestine commonly heard in the Valley.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on Tuesday comparing the Indian Army with Israel’s might have have gone down well in some quarters. But in Kashmir, it was greeted with hurt and some resignation.

At a rally in Himachal Pradesh, Modi had said the surgical strikes on "terror launch pads” in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir were “no less” than the exploits of the Israeli military. The comment comes after three months of protest in Kashmir, which have left scores of people dead or hundreds injured.

“By mentioning Israel, the prime minister has hurt a lot of sentiments here,” said Junaid Mattu, a spokesperson for the National Conference. "Already close to 100 people have died." Mattu added that the analogy was “problematic” since, in Kashmir, many believe that the state uses the same kind of excessive force that Israel does.

Modi's statement also feeds into parallels between Palestine and Kashmir commonly heard in the Valley. In the past, comparisons have been made between protests in Kashmir and Palestine, where civilians have been displaced, lost livelihoods, faced restrictions on movement and denied basic amenities.

In the Valley, many call the movement for “azadi” an “intifada”, an Arabic word that means “to shake off” and which was first put to political use in Palestine in the late 1980s. Some images of the civilian protest in Kashmir, such as stone-pelting children, also echo those of the Palestinian intifada.

A ‘confession’

The Valley’s largest circulating English daily, Greater Kashmir, carried the headline “PM equates ‘surgical strikes’ with Israeli operations” on its front page. Its sister publication, the Urdu newspaper, Kashmir Uzma, also took note. Its front page report on Modi’s remarks went under the headline: "Bharat ne wahi kia jo Israel ne Falastine mei kia" – India has done what Israel did in Palestine.

Urdu newspaper Chattan also featured the story quite prominently though other leading newspapers did not cover the prime minister's remarks.

Modi isn't the first person to make this comparison between India and Israel, observed Sheikh Showkat Hussain, head of the School of Legal Studies at the Central University in Kashmir: it's an analogy that Pakistan has long been pushing. “Now it is sort of a confession on the part of Narendra Modi,” Hussain said. “This has endorsed the long-drawn perception which was thought to be communicated by Pakistan and even separatists over here that Israel and India are two faces of the same coin.”

Indeed, separatist leaders of the Hurriyat greeted Modi’s comparison with little surprise. “I don’t see anything new in it,” said Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesperson of the Hurriyat's Mirwaiz faction. "I remember since the '90s when militancy started, Israeli teams used to come here [to Kashmir] and give [army] training." India learnt how to “suppress the movement” in Kashmir from Israel, separatists contend.

But a student in Kashmir University, who didn’t want to be identified, felt the analogy did not show India in a good light. “Israel is a big bully in that part of the world," this person said. "If that is what India is trying to do here, that shouldn’t be proud moment for India. It glorifies how we are being bullies in South Asia and moreover justifies the claims of some sections of Kashmir.”

The battle of perception

The prime minister’s comments have done nothing to help the popularity of the Indian state in Kashmir. In a Muslim-majority region, Hussain pointed out, comparisons with Israel were bound to create anxieties.

Such remarks, many felt, were bound to push Kashmiris farther away from the state. “Modi has a very superficial understanding of political psychology,” said Mattu. “In conflict zones...perceptions matter more than reality or facts. The long-term effect will be further alienation among Kashmiris.”

Others, however, tended to dismiss the remarks as mere rhetoric, and would have no long-term consequences for Kashmir. “The strike is being politicised for the elections in Uttar Pradesh, there is no other importance,” said Tahir Mohiuduin, editor of the daily Chattan newspaper. “As the situation was already bad here, it would have no other impact over the people.”

A local journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the prime minister’s statement was “more rhetoric and less substance”, and that it was a hollow boast. “India is nowhere near the defence capabilities, particularly in terms of indigenous manufacturing of weapons and innovations,” he said.

He added that Modi’s remarks were tailored for his political supporters and had little to do with Kashmiris. “Linking his statement with Kashmir would be unfair and illogical because the statement was meant for non-Kashmiri audience, mainly the states that are going for polls,” he said.

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As corporate India changes from strait-jacketed to stylish, here’s how you can stay on-trend

For men and women, tips to make your office style game strong.

Office wear in India tends to be conservative. For men, the staple blue or white shirt and dark trouser arranged in a monotonous assembly line has been a permanent feature of the wardrobe (a tactic shrewdly administered to ensure minimum time is spent shopping). For women, androgynous work wear has been ever reliable and just as dull.

But camouflage is of no use in the corporate jungle anymore. The Indian office is no longer a place for dull, unthinking conformity, it is a place that expects vibrancy in thought and action. With a younger workforce and a greater mix of multinationals and jobs, there is a greater acceptance of edgier trends. Men are stepping away from their blues and greys and women are reshaping their workwear to be more interesting and distinctly feminine. As corporate India is proving its mettle on the global stage and to itself, it’s also growing confident in expressing individuality and style in the formal work environment. From clothing to office décor and fashion accessories to work tools, the workplace is becoming a place to display merit as well as taste.

Work clothes have shed their monochrome and moved into the light of technicolor. Bright colours have steadily become popular as Pantone’s annual colours of the year show us. For the corporate warrior who wants to be stylish here is our pick of trends worth considering.


Statement jacket. A statement jacket is one that doesn’t merely stand out in a crowd, but blows it open for you. How do you recognize one? You’ll know it when you see it. Most statement jackets have a non-traditional color. They could also have subtle prints on them if you want to go funky.

Technicolor socks. Multicolored socks (or hipster socks as they are known in some quarters) peek out every once in a while and brighten things up in the workplace. From polka dots and caricatures to geometric patterns, you can choose a pair to suit your mood or your workplace. A great way of telling people you don’t take fashion rules seriously (except these ones).

Plaid: Well played is well, plaid. Great for your 9-to-5 and even performs well after. Plaids, in shirts and jackets, are perhaps the most versatile tool in the corporate warrior’s armory, and straddle the fine line between formal and casual effectively. They’re also age-resistant meaning a young buck in his twenties can rock them as much as your seasoned forty-plus campaigner. Plaid, though Scottish in origin, has an Indian connection too, in the Madras checks that became popular all over the world after the World War.

Inside collars and cuffs. If you like to keep it classy but still a little edgy, nothing does it like contrast or printed insides of your collar and cuffs. After the work day, when it’s proper to roll up your sleeves, it even adds a touch of evening character.

Coloured Shoes. Alternate your staid blacks and browns with variants like burgundy, light buttery browns and ashen blues. Play with moccasins, tassel loafers and lace-ups. Go beyond leather and try suede and maybe even canvas. But do remember to take a quick course in matching.


Floral prints. Flowers are back (though one could argue that they never went out) and now they’re storming the bastion of your office. Even the traditional Indian paisley is making its way into formal wear. With the prevalence of digital printing, with a little hunting, you’ll even find beautiful florals in watercolour style.

Scarves. The first rule of wearing scarves is to rid yourself of the notion that they are to be worn only in winter. A colourful scarf paired with a monochrome top works wonders. A dozen online videos will teach you to wear it in a dozen ways. Plus, it always comes in handy when the thermostat isn’t to your liking. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wears scarves frequently, and is a great example of how you can use it strikingly.

Pants. Yes. Pants. Experiment with different styles and you’ll be surprised how they can really spruce up a boring look. Silhouette is everything when it comes to pants. Choose from high-waisted, wide legged, pleated to ankle length pants and what not! The best part is offices rarely prescribe silhouettes, so you can always get by with some style even if your workplace demands a uniform.

Houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is at the sweet intersection between casual and formal and can be worn to make a splash in either occasion. Whether its jackets or a dress or a simple top, a houndstooth pattern is incredibly versatile.

Chic suits. A sharp suit is a must for a modern professional’s wardrobe. And please don’t even look in the direction of black. Pastel colours or even greys with patterns are great options for suits. Uncoordinated suits are also a great option depending on how edgy you want your office attire to be.


It isn’t enough to be well-dressed in the modern workplace. A good professional is known by his or her tools and how they carry it.

Designer laptop sleeves. Your high-precision instrument deserves a cover chosen with as much care. Black Neoprene is out. Pastel monochromes, geometric patterns and bold designs are very much in. Different materials like cotton, leather and even paper are a great option.

Natural fiber or leather bags (yes kill your black synthetic one now). Briefcases are ancient and black messenger bags are done. Go for a color variant or a subtle pattern. Pay attention to the different leather finishes. Adding a few nicely done metal trims can make all the difference. But convenience and ease are top priority. If you travel a lot, get a stylish strolley and thank yourself later.

Commute pack. The urban corporate needs to be productive at all times, or at the very least, needs to be accessible. A modern commute pack should include wireless headphones, a USB battery pack (power bank) and a wire/gadget organisation pack just so that you’re always prepared.

Machine. We’ve all showed off our latest smartphones. Your work machine is way more important. And like in smartphones, a good laptop is no longer only about performance. The specifications must be top-notch but it has also become an expression of your personality. It can up your style quotient and significantly impact your experience.

Source: Dell
Source: Dell

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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