During his high profile meeting with the Indian diaspora at Houston, Texas, which was attended by US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi grandly said that Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir promoted terrorism and denied people of the state many rights that were available to Indians in other parts of the country. Its abrogation, he said with an expansive use of his hands, had integrated the state and its people with the rest of the country.
How does a place look like when 10 million mobile phones and their talkative owners are shut down forcibly for a month and more? How does the place look like when concertina wires are used to block the movement of people to their schools, colleges, offices, courts, hospitals and to playgrounds? When the markets are shut endlessly and the economy has been totally destroyed? When 8 million people stay indoors from fear of arbitrary detention and the stares of impersonal, armed paramilitary forces?
Then, truly speaking, can this place be called normal?
Is it a flag? Scattered remains of a flag? Scattered remains of a day on a starkly empty street in a starkly scorching day in sublime and sad Srinagar?