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  • Author: Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Indian democracy is flawed, but pessimists claiming that Modi will crush all dissent, abandon secularism, and make India a Hindu state have been proved wrong. India’s constitution guarantees democracy, civil liberties, and secularism. But fears of India becoming a Hindu authoritarian state have been voiced after Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in New Delhi in 2014. The party’s Hindutva philosophy—the creation of a great Hindu state—envisages a Hindu state where citizens with other religious beliefs are tolerated but have second‐​class status. It lauds military toughness. Earlier governments were reluctant to retaliate militarily against Pakistan for fomenting terrorism in Kashmir, but Modi has responded twice with military strikes, gaining popularity as a strongman. In Muslim‐​majority Kashmir, which is claimed by Pakistan, Modi has abolished the state’s constitutionally guaranteed autonomy, arrested top local politicians and activists, and locked down the state. Meanwhile, a Pew Research Poll in 2017 suggested that most Indians would support military or authoritarian rule.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Authoritarianism, Hinduism, Narendra Modi
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India