Source: Doctrine of graduated escalation - (The Hindu)

What is meant by the bold part here

Every time a Pakistani leader wishes to build better ties with New Delhi, his effort is undermined by the military masterminding a serious cross-border attack or terror strike. Indeed, it was during Mr. Sharif’s previous stint in office that a major Indian peace initiative — as symbolised by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s bus diplomacy — collapsed spectacularly, with the bus itself getting hijacked allegorically to Kargil, triggering a war.

(Kargil is a place where India-Pakistan war of 1999 was fought)

I looked up a dictionary but I can't understand its meaning here. Please explain to me.

Thank you.

  • As Maciej explained, it's a metaphor (not quite an allegory). One could substitute the words "so to speak" or "as it were" for the word allegorically. If it had been "train diplomacy", one could say that the war in Kargil had "derailed the peace train, so to speak".
    – TimR
    Oct 15, 2014 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


I'm not very familiar with the situation, so I can't be of that much help, but I'll try.

From what I understand, "bus diplomacy" refers to a particular bus route standing as a symbol of Indo-Pakistani peace efforts. So when the source says about the bus "being hijacked", they don't mean a literal kidnapping, but extrapolate on the symbol - a "hijacked bus" would stand for the collapse of the peace efforts it (as a symbol) stands for.

So it's an allegory - an extended metaphor, comparing the act of hijacking a bus with the act of "hijacking" the peace efforts and triggering a war.

  • I think that this is close, but to clarify on the definition, I wouldn't say that the hijacking triggered the war, but rather that the war itself was the act of hijacking the diplomacy represented by the bus route. Also, this definition helps clarify the use of the word allegorically. It's more than an extended metaphor. It's a representation of the abstract idea of diplomacy.
    – mathewb
    Oct 24, 2017 at 20:09

allegory means a story in which each character is a symbol representing a quality such as truth, death, evil, etc. (the meaning was taken from oxford advanced learners dictionary)

now if your text is taken from a history book or something the same, we can say that the word "allegorically" is used to remind us the place (kargil) and its background.

here's an example of using this word:

the hero of the film was allegorically characterized to have only one eye.

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