Democracy in Indian has seen a worrisome erosion over the last few years which is a wake-up call to those watching from afar — including America, author and foreign policy expert Jonah Blank writes in US-based magazine The Atlantic.
Noting that the country has slid from No. 35 in 2006 to No. 53 today on The Economist’s Democracy Index, the article says the root of the backsliding is a rejection of the core democratic principle that all citizens are equal.
“India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) champions Hindutva, an ideology that privileges the Hindu majority over religious minorities. First articulated a century ago, Hindutva has grown from a fringe movement into the focus of national politics. Its immediate target has been the country’s Muslims, who represent 14 percent of the population,” it says.
The article says that India’s judicial system has bent to the wishes of politicians since 2014, when Narendra Modi first came to power.
The Atlantic article lists “dozens of mob attacks on Muslims”, “brazen attacks” on press and Modi’s actions post the abrogation of Article 370 that “officially and unofficially advantaged Hindus over Muslims nationwide”.
“All of these moves would have been anathema to the drafters of India’s constitution. Yet all were within the technical limits of the law, and none has been seriously challenged in the nation’s now-quiescent courts,” it says.
The article also drew a parallel between India and America while citing former President Donald Trump’s labeling of the press as the “enemy of the people” and attempts to intimidate sitting judges.
“A critical mass of the Republican Party is at least as motivated by white grievance as the BJP base is by Hindutva,” it says.
“This is why Americans should be paying close attention to the politics of India … if the system fails in India, it can certainly fail closer to home,” it says.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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