The protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Shaheen Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi on Dec. 30, 2019. Credit Saumya Khandelwal for The New York Times

By now, the world knows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) have eroded the liberal principles of the Indian Constitution and are turning the country into an increasingly illiberal democracy. It is common knowledge that Mr. Modi thrives on the grievances and bigotries that pit privileged majorities against minorities living in fear.

Less familiar, but much more hopeful, is the response of the main target of this majoritarian assault: India’s Muslim minority — roughly 172 million people who account for just about 14.2 percent of India’s total population of approximately 1.32 billion people, roughly 79.8 percent of whom are Hindu.…  Seguir leyendo »

India has long been one of the more pro-American countries in the world. While President Donald Trump doesn’t enjoy the same support as predecessors former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush — presumably because of his trade threats and his restrictions on visas for highly-skilled workers, most of which go to Indians — that broad approval remains largely intact, with 56% of Indians polled saying they had confidence in Trump to do the right thing on world affairs.

Indian diplomats say privately that handling the Trump administration has been complicated. At one level, India and the US have continued to move their nascent strategic relationship forward with mutual concerns about China’s territorial and political assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific serving as the backdrop.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian model posing with Tanishq jewelry in 2012. Last week the popular Indian jewelry brand withdrew an ad featuring an interfaith Hindu and Muslim family after a right-wing backlash on social media. (Bikas Das/AP)

Hate is suffocating every aspect of life in India. No space seems safe.

Early morning on Oct. 18, a neighbor alerted me to a WhatsApp message distributed by our building’s security guard celebrating the killer of Mahatma Gandhi and urging people to take up the gun to protect the idea of Hindu sovereignty. These types of messages are popular with Hindu nationalists and right-wing supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When I posted it on my social media, many unabashedly supported the hate and threat in the message.

And when the iconic jewelry brand Tanishq recently ran an ad showcasing an interfaith marriage, the resulting Hindu right-wing backlash on social media forced the company to pull the commercial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold placards on Monday during a protest in New Delhi over the alleged gang rape and killing of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh state, India. (EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

A rape and murder case in a village in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, has shaken India. In a country in which 87 rapes are reported every day on average, this incident has exposed how every institution in India — the police, the media and the politicians — has failed women.

At the capital’s Safdarjung Hospital, where I first met the victim’s family, her younger brother Sandeep told me: “We have struggled alone. My sister had just gone to fetch fodder for the cattle at home. We found her lying in a pool of blood with no clothes on.”

She fought valiantly to live.…  Seguir leyendo »

Narendra Modi is trying to stifle Amnesty in India. Photograph: Sanjay Baid/EPA

Speaking truth to power has ever been a fraught and dangerous occupation, as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was recently reminded after he narrowly survived a poisoning plot he says was directed from the Kremlin.

Uncounted Kurdish activists languish in jail for challenging Turkey’s modern-day sultan. In Iran, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is punished mercilessly for championing women’s causes. In Zimbabwe, Catholic clergy who condemn abuses by Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime are accused of treason.

When China jailed Ren Zhiqiang, a noted communist party critic who ridiculed emperor-president Xi Jinping as a “clown”, much of the world shrugged. What else to expect from an authoritarian dictatorship sustained by gulags and mass surveillance

But when supposed democracies behave in similar fashion, alarm bells ring.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks past the Amnesty International India headquarters in Bangalore in 2019. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

On Tuesday, Amnesty International, one of the most respected human rights nonprofits in the world, announced that it was halting its operations in India after the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi froze the organization’s bank accounts. The closing is another shameful blow to civil society, human rights and free speech in India.

“The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental,” said Avinash Kumar, the executive director of Amnesty International India. “The constant harassment by government agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate, is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi police and the government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in Delhi riots and Jammu and Kashmir.“…  Seguir leyendo »

Activists protest against the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in the northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, on Aug. 4, 2018. (Altaf Qadri/AP)

India and China are once again clashing along their disputed border in the Himalayas — for the first time since 1975. Soldiers on both sides have lost their lives — including at least 20 Indians and an unknown number of their Chinese counterparts.

Yet headlines in the outside world have largely overlooked the fate of local civilians — embodied by five young men from the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Apparently hired as porters for the Indian Army, they were captured by the Chinese on Sept. 1 and held captive until just a few days ago, when, thankfully, they were finally returned home to their families.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian army convoy carrying reinforcements and supplies drives toward Leh, on a highway bordering China, in Gagangir, India, on Sept. 2. (Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

Last week, the India-China border standoff came the closest it has yet to war. As Taylor Fravel explained, the long-standing border dispute dates from the 1962 Sino-Indian War. The dispute came to a boil in May when a large force of Chinese soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the disputed border between the two countries since 1962. A deadly skirmish in June temporarily raised tensions, but it was the result of tragic happenstance rather than large and risky military maneuvers.

Tensions have escalated more seriously since late August because both sides have jostled for tactical advantage, creating incentives for each side to outflank or even fight the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

Acallarán al parlamento de la India

Tras una pausa de casi seis meses, el parlamento indio volverá a reunirse a mediados de septiembre, con el país hundido en una crisis cada vez más profunda. Pero temo que no consiga una rendición de cuentas del ineficaz gobierno.

El parlamento está obligado a reunirse ahora porque la constitución de la India limita el intervalo entre sesiones a no más de seis meses, y la pandemia de COVID‑19 obligó a suspender todas las sesiones desde marzo. Con 4,5 millones de casos hasta el momento, la India ya es el segundo país más afectado del mundo, por encima de Brasil y Rusia y sólo detrás de Estados Unidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian army soldiers at Gagangeer in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday. (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

Tens of thousands of Chinese and Indian troops are facing off in the uppermost reaches of the Himalayas, on the precipice of a possible war between the two major countries.

China’s incursions into eastern Ladakh across the Line of Actual Control that separates it from India should be seen as part of its global pattern of bad behavior. If left unchallenged, China’s provocative and perfidious military actions along the border with India could destabilize South Asia.

China’s massive buildup of troops and infrastructure in pockets across the border not only violates bilateral agreements, but also forces Indians to confront a new reality.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una India para quiénes

Mientras la India se prepara para celebrar el 73.º aniversario de su independencia, el 15 de agosto, cada vez más indios están convencidos de que la batalla por preservar la esencia del país que nació en 1947 ya está perdida. Muchos comentaristas han concluido que en la práctica, el gobierno del primer ministro Narendra Modi ya ha inaugurado una «segunda república», desvirtuando los fundamentos de la primera.

Según estos analistas desesperanzados, la «refundación» comenzó el 5 de agosto de 2019, con la derogación del artículo 370 de la Constitución y la anulación de la autonomía de Jammu y Cachemira; y se completó este mes en Ayodhya, justo un año después.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been one year since India revoked the semiautonomous status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state and placed the region under a complete communication blackout and military siege, and detained thousands of Kashmiris.

One year later, the fears that the Hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will accelerate an existing settler-colonial project that aims to alter the demographics of the Muslim-majority disputed region have materialized.

India’s long-standing war crimes in Kashmir— ranging from extrajudicial killings, home demolitions, rapes, use of human shields, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, mass blindings and torture, to name a few — have been well documented, and endured by a population that has been denied its right to self-determination for more than 72 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Banners with the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, Lord Ram and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath on the eve before the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, images and renderings of the Grand Ram Temple — which will be built on the the site of the Babri Masjid, an important mosque in Uttar Pradesh state demolished by right-wing Hindu nationalists— will be beamed across giant billboards in Times Square by a U.S. organization to mark the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple’s construction, which will feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying silver bricks as the foundation.

Wednesday is also the anniversary of India’s decision to revoke the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Muslim-majority state where 7 million people have been living under a brutal military occupation and Internet blackout.…  Seguir leyendo »

A year ago, India eliminated the semi-autonomy provisions of Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s sole Muslim-majority state and a region disputed by Pakistan, a move that analysts anticipated would ripple across the region.

The Indian government scrapped the constitutional provisions of autonomy in Article 370 and 35A, dissolved Kashmir’s state assembly and split the region into two union territories. The government also surged paramilitary troops, instituted months of communications blackouts and curfews, and detained thousands of political leaders.

India’s leaders contend these measures were needed to clean up the “mess” of Kashmir and dismantle a system they claimed fostered separatism, radicalization, militancy, corruption and underdevelopment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Days before India lifted its nationwide lockdown on June 1, the country’s health ministry issued a press statement with a triumphant headline. «15 countries with highest number of Covid-19 cases, with almost same population as India, have reported 34 times cases and 83 times deaths as reported in India,» it said.

Fewer than 60 days later, India has reached a million Covid-19 cases. It is now third on the Johns Hopkins University tally of country cases, following the US and Brazil. Far from flattening the curve, India’s graph of transmission is swinging skyward like a Mo Salah free kick.

Since June 1, cases per day have multiplied — from 8,100 to more than 32,000 — while total deaths surged from 5,600 to about 25,000.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrant workers plant paddy in a field at Jhandi village in Patiala, India. Photo by Bharat Bhushan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images.

The World Bank estimates that the magnitude of internal migration is about two‐and‐a‐half times that of international migration. Within India, an estimated 40 million internal migrant workers, largely in the informal economy, were severely impacted by the government’s COVID-19 lockdown.

With transportation systems initially shut down, many had no recourse to travel options back to homes and villages, resulting in harrowing journeys home. Those who were able to make it home found, in some instances, villages refusing entry because of fears of transmission.

The shocking images of migrants forced to walk in desperation showed the enormity of the crisis as well as some of the challenges posed by an extended lockdown in India where so many people live hand to mouth and cannot afford not to work.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras el choque del mes pasado en el valle del Galwan (región de Ladakh), en el que murieron 20 soldados indios y una cantidad desconocida de uniformados chinos, la India y China se preparan para un duelo prolongado en la disputada frontera en los Himalayas (aunque se informa de una retirada del sitio del enfrentamiento). Lo más importante, sin embargo, es que la reciente escaramuza puede ser señal de un cambio más amplio en la geopolítica asiática.

Esta idea puede parecer a primera vista exagerada, ya que ambos países venían haciendo esfuerzos aceptables por convivir. Si bien nunca llegaron a una solución duradera respecto de su disputada frontera de 3500 kilómetros (2200 millas), en 45 años no hubo un solo disparo en la línea de control efectivo (LAC por la sigla en inglés).…  Seguir leyendo »

I grew up in West Africa to East Indian parents. Every year, we would spend our summer vacation in Kerala, a state along the southern coast of India.

While it is known for beautiful backwaters and ayurvedic centers, today Kerala is making headlines due to its success containing Covid-19. Despite the fact that Kerala confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on January 30, the state, with a population of around 35 million, has 3,726 active cases as of Friday, with 22 deaths — about one death per 1.5 million people — as reported by the Indian government.

Kerala, which is a communist state, has invested in robust public health and education systems.…  Seguir leyendo »

As India emerges as one of the global hot spots of coronavirus and the health-care system starts to collapse under the strain, it’s hard to believe that many considered the virus under control when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March. But many more also warned this could happen.

Cases are on the rise as the country partially reopens in the face of increasing starvation and an unprecedented shock to the economy (the lockdown was implemented without any planning or assistance for India’s most vulnerable, including the many migrant workers). India now has more than 440,000 cases, the fourth highest in the world after Russia, Brazil and the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian army convoy drives toward Leh, on a highway bordering China, on June 19 in Gagangir, India. (Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

On June 15 at 6.30 p.m., Col. Santosh Babu, an Indian army officer from the southern state of Telangana, organized 20 of his men to accompany him on what he thought was a straightforward mission. He’d been informed that the monthlong simmering tension between India and China at different points of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh was drawing to a close. Military commanders had agreed to “de-escalate»; the Chinese were to withdraw from areas inside Indian territory. His job that evening was to ensure that the two tents erected by the Chinese inside the Galwan Valley (named such by the British for Rasool Galwan, a teenage Indian trekker who helped save their lives in 1895) were taken down, per the negotiated agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »