Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Editorial: Former colony now the coloniser



Colonialism is alive and well. Last week, India forcefully asserted its control over its portion of Kashmir. A communications blackout left people worldwide worried about the fate of their relatives in an area that contains the only Muslim majority in India.

This is a problem created by Britain. Broke, it dropped its empire with no thought for the future of its former subjects. Pakistan and India went to war. In Kashmir, families and communities were divided. Two wars have since been fought over control over this land. At no point has this been about the will of the people of Kashmir.

The latest assault on Kashmir’s self-determination seems to be all about the continued consolidation of power by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Politicians need to divide and conquer, preferably by creating an “other”. To do just that, Modi has focused on ethno-nationalism, and a version of India that alienates its Muslim people. Pakistan is the ultimate other. This is about two countries that need to hate each other to justify internal abuses.

Grabbing Kashmir is a provocation. It is a calculated decision in a series of decisions that sometimes lead to war. This latest move might very well end up in war. Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has upped the stakes, saying: “The time has arrived to teach you a lesson.”

South Africa is ostensibly in an alliance with India, if the awkward staged photos from Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) meetings are anything to go by. This is a Brics that claims to be about creating a new world order.

If we continue to allow our partner to brutalise Kashmir for political gain, we are no better than the colonial powers we seek to consign to history. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

State to subpoena and fact-check Agrizzi’s ‘illness’ claims

The National Prosecuting Authority will conduct its own probe into Angelo Agrizzi’s claims of ill health, after he failed to attend court again

UK puts army on standby as fuel pumps run dry

Desperate motorists queued up at fuel pumps across Britain, draining tanks, fraying tempers and prompting calls for the government to use emergency powers to give priority access to healthcare and other essential workers

Tigrayans are starving to death

The famine that was feared has come to pass, and aid just isn’t getting in

How to game Twitter’s algorithm – and hoodwink journalists

It is possible to convince newsrooms looking for a topical story that something is news when it isn’t, to dangerous effect

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…