These Indian workers were dispersed by the police last week as they waited to leave Mumbai for their villages by bus after losing their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown. Credit Divyakant

India has been under a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus for two months. On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, India had 618 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

As India is easing the lockdown now, it has more than 151,000 cases and more than 4,300 deaths — a much smaller number compared with the fatalities in the United States and various European countries, with a much smaller population. The cases rose from 100 to 100,000 in the United States in 25 days, in Britain in 42 days.

In India, which had the longest and strictest lockdown, the rise in cases from 100 to 100,000 took 64 days.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian man wearing a protective mask sits on a bench, as India remains under an unprecedented lockdown over the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) on 10 April 2020, in New Delhi, India. Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images.

India’s first wave of economic reforms were triggered by an economic crisis during which economic growth fell to just 1.1 per cent in 1991. With some estimates suggesting that India’s economy will contract by a staggering 45 per cent year-on-year contraction for the current quarter, there are some signs that the current crisis could trigger a change of direction in terms of economic management – though in which direction is much less clear.

Since Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014 there had been expectations – perhaps more from external observers than domestic commentators – that he would undertake the ambitious economic reforms that had eluded his predecessors.…  Seguir leyendo »

El modelo de Kerala

Mientras los 1,3 mil millones de habitantes de la India se esfuerzan por lidiar con la pandemia de COVID-19, uno de los 28 estados del país destaca por sobre el resto. Kerala, en el sudoeste de la nación, ha tenido tanto éxito en “aplanar la curva” que muchos ahora hablan, admirados, del “Modelo de Kerala” como ejemplo de manejo de las emergencias de sanidad pública.

Kerala fue el primer estado indio en informar un caso de COVID-19, un estudiante de medicina que había llegado de Wuhan, China, a fines de enero. Cuando el Primer Ministro indio Narendra Modi anunció un confinamiento nacional el 24 de marzo, Kerala tenía más casos que ningún otro estado.…  Seguir leyendo »

En marcado contraste con el eficaz liderazgo mostrado por la canciller alemana Angela Merkel, el presidente surcoreano Moon Jae-in y la tecnocracia autocrática de Singapur, en todo el mundo los nacionalistas de ultraderecha han respondido a la crisis de la COVID‑19 con algo que no se había visto en décadas: la política fascista de la enfermedad. Y el mejor ejemplo es el presidente de Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro.

Es verdad que otros pocos líderes mundiales (entre ellos el presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega y los dictadores de Bielorrusia, Turkmenistán y Corea del Norte) siguen negando que el coronavirus suponga algún riesgo. Pero entre los negacionistas del coronavirus, Bolsonaro es un caso aparte.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women in Ahmedabad, India, protest violence against women after two high-profile rape cases in 2018. (Ajit Solanki/AP)

In March, India executed four men for the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old New Delhi woman in December 2012. In a 2015 BBC interview, one of the rapists asserted that they were teaching the woman a lesson, explaining that a “decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night.”

The Delhi rape case vividly illustrates a persistent challenge in unequal and poor societies: How can women gain equality in ways that resist backlash? Economic opportunities alone do not create equality. In many countries, such opportunities clash with traditional gender expectations that restrict women’s basic autonomy, such as the ability to leave their homes unaccompanied.…  Seguir leyendo »

A migrant worker carried his 5-year-old son in New Delhi as they returned to their village during India's nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of the coronavirus. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

Saraswati Kunj is a village in the shadows of the glitzy city of Gurugram, which is southwest of New Delhi and home to multinational companies, luxury-car showrooms and plush high-rise apartments. Here in Saraswati Kunj, families live often five or eight to a single room, in tenements crisscrossed by open drains. Most residents are migrants who came to the city in search of work. Many, if not all, survive on daily wages.

Last week, a villager, Mukesh Mandal, 30, decided to sell his phone. He used to work as a house painter before the coronavirus lockdown, now entering its fifth week in India, made it impossible to find jobs.…  Seguir leyendo »

Municipal workers spray disinfectant on people lining up at a mobile testing station for the coronavirus in New Delhi. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

The novel coronavirus is unveiling differences and structural fault lines in the cities it impacts. Urban centers in Italy and Spain have suffered high death tolls partly because of the rich public lives their elderly citizens enjoy, leaving them more exposed. The U.S. response reveals the pitfalls of its decentralized approach to governing, with cities forced into competing with one another for lifesaving equipment. In India, meanwhile, the spread of the virus is underscoring how unequal and unsustainable the country’s urbanization process has been for a long time.

With their especially precarious combination of density, poverty and poor sanitation, India’s urban areas have long been susceptible to disease.…  Seguir leyendo »

Residents use a public tap to fill their water containers in Hyderabad, India, last month. on March 18. (Mahesh Kumar A./AP)

India’s lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus is laying bare immense social inequalities in the country’s sprawling cities. The plight of migrant laborers has been especially alarming. Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden announcement of a 21-day lockdown on March 24, migrant laborers have scrambled to return to their villages of origin in search of food and shelter, in many cases on foot.

Residents of India’s urban slums represent another population whose vulnerabilities have intensified during the lockdown. According to India’s 2011 census, 65 million people, or 17 percent of the country’s urban population, live in slum settlements. Broadly, these are low-income neighborhoods, with dense and unplanned housing, often weak or absent formal property rights, and marginalized access to basic public services, including public health systems.…  Seguir leyendo »

La India bajo sitio

“La India camina a casa”, declaró el titular de The Indian Express a medida que los periódicos y las pantallas de televisión se llenaban de imágenes de millones de trabajadores migrantes, llevando sus magras pertenencias, que se agolpaban en las desiertas carreteras del país para volver a sus hogares, a cientos de kilómetros de distancia.

La última vez que se vieron imágenes así en India fue hace siete décadas, cuando la partición del país y el surgimiento de Pakistán obligó a millones de desplazados a amontonarse en las fronteras hacia sus nuevos hogares. Esta vez fue un tipo diferente de tragedia de origen humano.…  Seguir leyendo »

A crowded marketplace in New Delhi on Thursday, after a 21-day nationwide lockdown had been ordered.

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 1.3 billion Indians to stay inside their homes for 21 days in an unprecedented bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Soon after the first case of the coronavirus arrived in India in late January, India responded with restrictions on flights and screenings at its airports. Yet the country had more than 80,000 arrivals every day, mostly from Europe and the Gulf States, where the virus had spread. And across the country, millions of people live in proximity, in densely populated slums where access to health care is poor.…  Seguir leyendo »

For decades following World War II, the free world has looked to the United States for democratic and civil guidance. So, when President Trump wrapped up his two-day visit to India in February and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s «religious freedom» following Hindu-Muslim riots in parts of the capital, it didn’t just feel like Indian democracy was crumbling further; it felt as though it had got the go ahead from a global superpower.

«We did talk about religious freedom, and I will say that the prime minister was incredible on what he told me,» Trump said while announcing a $3 billion trade deal with India at a press conference in New Delhi on February 25.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pages of a Quran burned by rioters in a mosque in northeast Delhi on Feb. 26.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times

Forty-six people have been killed, more than 250 injured and four mosques set on fire in the sectarian violence in Delhi that coincided with President Trump’s visit to India.

The violence, which lasted over three days and nights and was mostly directed at Muslims in northeastern areas of Delhi, was not surprising. Over the past six years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his colleagues in the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, their armies of social media trolls and a vast majority of India’s television networks have consistently been building an atmosphere of hatred, suspicion and violence toward India’s Muslim minority.

The pogrom in Delhi follows in the wake of the discriminatory citizenship law that Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman sits on the terrace of a damaged building following clashes between people supporting and opposing the amendment to India's citizenship law, in New Delhi on 27 February. Photo: Getty Images.

The outbreak of communal violence in Delhi this week is the worst in India’s capital for decades. It both reflects and will reinforce India’s polarization.

That polarization is between the view that India represents homogeneity, grounded on the fact that its citizens are overwhelmingly (around four-fifths) Hindu (the view of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] of Narendra Modi), and the alternative that India represents diversity – its population includes hundreds of millions of non-Hindus and speakers of dozens if not hundreds of different languages.

India’s polarization is reflected in the reaction to the three days of violence in northeast Delhi, which left hundreds injured and, at the time of writing, 34 dead.…  Seguir leyendo »

Paramilitary troops patrol in New Delhi on Tuesday after clashes erupted between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

As President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat down to a dinner on Tuesday of cajun-spiced salmon, mutton biryani, marinated leg of lamb and hazelnut apple pie, the family of Shahid Khan, 22, was at New Delhi’s Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital trying to make sense of his murder. Shahid, a rickshaw driver and the youngest of four brothers, was one of more than a dozen of people killed as India’s capital erupted in riots over the government’s contentious citizenship law.

As New Delhi became a battlefield for the worst communal violence the city has seen in decades, there was a dissonant and surreal spectacle of toasts and chumminess unfolding at the regal Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace, where Trump was being hosted.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police set up roadblocks in New Delhi after clashes between supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law. (Prakash Singh/Afp Via Getty Images)

Editor’s note: In light of the violent protests in India this week, we asked Suparna Chaudhry to update her December 2019 analysis of India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill.

In December, India’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, fundamentally changing the country’s Citizenship Act of 1955. That prompted protests by people from a wide range of backgrounds, including students across the country.

The protests and sit-ins in the capital, New Delhi, have continued for more than two months and have been largely peaceful. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has used incendiary rhetoric, threatening to shoot the protesters. A local BJP leader issued an “ultimatum” to protesters in the lead-up to President Trump’s first visit to the country on Monday and Tuesday.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks by a wall in Ahmadabad, India, with portraits of President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. ahead of Trump's planned visit to the country. (Ajit Solanki/AP)

“Jihadi.” “Presstitute.”

Those are some of the insults the government of India routinely deploys against critical journalists. I’ve been at the receiving end of both. A few weeks ago, the Twitter account of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called me a “jihadi” for my criticism of its polarizing tweets against Muslims in India.

But I’m far from alone. Journalists are facing enormous pressures and intimidation in India.

President Trump, who is visiting the country next week, will surely feel right at home with a government that also dismisses critical news stories as fake and casts aspersions on journalistic integrity everyday.

Fabrication, hyper-nationalism and self-censorship are on the rise as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tightens its grip on the country’s political and economic life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de que la India lanzara sus reformas económicas de gran aliento en 1991, su estatura mundial fue creciendo año a año. El país ya estaba recibiendo reconocimientos por ser una floreciente democracia y un ejemplo para el mundo sobre cómo gestionar la diversidad en una sociedad libre y abierta. Se añadían a su atractivo su peso económico y el tamaño de un mercado cada vez más próspero. Su autopromoción como la mayor democracia de libre mercado del planeta, y la de más veloz crecimiento, estaba funcionando bien: los líderes mundiales hacían fila para visitar Nueva Delhi, hasta el punto de convertirse en una carga para los funcionarios de protocolo diplomático.…  Seguir leyendo »

Muslim women protested against India’s new citizenship law in Mumbai last week.Credit...Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times, via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a major defeat in elections for the Delhi state legislature. Amit Shah, the prime minister’s confidante and the country’s home minister, led a highly divisive and sectarian campaign foregrounding Hindu nationalism and demonizing the city’s Muslims, and tried to paint the opposition Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders as treasonous.

Yet out of Delhi’s 70 seats, Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah’s B.J.P. won a mere eight seats, and the A.A.P., led by Arvind Kejriwal, who has been the chief minister of Delhi since 2015, won 62.

Mr. Kejriwal, an anti-graft activist turned politician, focused the electoral campaign of his party on his record of governance — the significant improvement he made to the delivery of services in public hospitals, the quality of education and infrastructure in schools, and the cost of electricity in Delhi.…  Seguir leyendo »

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal, center, his wife Sunita Kejriwal, right, and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia visit Hanuman Mandir in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Str/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

One of India’s newest political leaders — who studied to be a mechanical engineer at one of the country’s most prestigious institutes, became a government revenue officer and started his journey in public life as an anti-corruption crusader — has just taken on and beaten the might of the Bharatiya Janata Party in a stunning political victory in Delhi.

Arvind Kejriwal is set to be Delhi’s chief minister for a third time, winning in the face of the most divisive, hate-filled campaign the national capital has seen in decades. Given that Home Minister Amit Shah, the second most powerful person in India, personally ran the war room against Kejriwal, the win is extraordinary.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les manifestations qui ont récemment éclaté en Inde sont d’une telle ampleur qu’on les a comparées au « mouvement pour l’indépendance nationale » du début du XXe siècle. Toutefois, si la contestation est aussi massive aujourd’hui, c’est parce qu’elle est portée par des protestataires issus des castes inférieures, dont l’oppression avait été occultée par le mouvement pour l’indépendance. Mais les manifestations ne peuvent pas définir en soi un horizon, sinon le devoir de « protéger la Constitution ». Or, ces troubles s’expliquent en partie par la Constitution de l’Inde elle-même.

Les protestations portent sur deux mesures juridiques adoptées par le gouvernement nationaliste hindou au pouvoir : le Registre national des citoyens (RNC), un processus bureaucratique servant à identifier les « citoyens légaux », et la nouvelle loi sur la citoyenneté (le Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA), qui définit implicitement ceux qui, parmi les « réfugiés », peuvent être considérés comme « légaux ».…  Seguir leyendo »