tirsdag 14. januar 2020

It’s tempting to see India as a place apart. But it offers lessons for us all

It’s the largest democracy in the world. It’s also one of the most fragile, one in which dissent has often been curtailed and communal divisions inflamed. At no time have the vulnerabilities of India’s democracy seemed more exposed than they are now.

The return to power last year of the Hindu nationalist BJP, under the leadership of prime minister, Narendra Modi, has polarised politics. Modi clearly now feels empowered to pursue unyieldingly reactionary policies. The revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the military lockdown of the state, the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which openly discriminates against Muslims, and the unleashing of thugs on to streets and campuses to intimidate dissenters all bear witness to this agenda. At the same time, opponents of the BJP have discovered a new voice in recent weeks, millions taking to the streets in protest, defying the violence, official and unofficial.