Atish Taseer writes in the Wall Street Journal:

America has experienced a political upheaval, but it retains that supreme achievement of a mature democracy: It has two credible sides, left and right; the two sides have held, more or less; and the pendulum may swing again before long.

India has experienced something quite different in the three years since Mr. Modi took power. The “other side” — liberal India, secular India, the India of Nehru and Gandhi — hasn’t merely been decimated electorally; it has ceased to exist as a cultural and moral force. In area after area of life — from politics to media to cinema — there is now Mr. Modi’s India, and then a great void. The India of my childhood, with its fond notions of Hindu-Muslim unity, has gone under. It is as complete and comprehensive a defeat as one can imagine.

The BJP man, dressed in a saffron kurta, with a chrome watch around his wrist and an expensive gold pen dangling from his pocket, looked the part of a venal politician. He was unable to resist mentioning that he had been repeatedly elected, which felt like a jab at the recently defeated Mr. Singh, and I realized that Indian politics now belonged to this other kind of leader. The class of person Mr. Singh represented had served — as Nehru had — as intermediaries between India and the West. But that age of custodianship was over, and India was in Indian hands, as it had never been before.

India seems to run into a dangerous slippery slope of intolerance.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in: https://refind.com/arinbasu

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