India

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 »

India witnessed one of the most melancholy moments in its recent past when the eminent historian Ramachandra Guha was dragged away by the Bengaluru police during the anti Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

His apparent offense? Participating in the right of dissent that is the holy grail of any constitutional democracy. Guha and others have rightfully taken a stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by the upper and lower houses of India’s Parliament, which is vague and unconstitutional because it makes fast-tracked citizenship dependent on one’s religion.

Watching Ramachandra Guha being taken away reminded me of his riveting exposition on why India is the most fascinating country in the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Qué le pasó a la India

Es una pregunta que últimamente oigo cada vez más. La prensa internacional habla de represión en Cachemira, chauvinismo hinduista en alza, protestas generalizadas contra nuevas leyes, ataques a mujeres, etcétera. La India que antes el mundo elogiaba (la democracia liberal de libre mercado que más rápido crecía en el mundo) hoy parece estar cediendo paso a una autocracia violenta, intolerante, iliberal.

Lo que cuenta la prensa es verdad, y la imagen que traza no es bonita. Pero los que desean lo mejor para la India no deben perder las esperanzas en el país. La oposición democrática está dando pelea, sostenida por el apoyo de jóvenes que protestan en forma espontánea (no a instancias de ningún partido político) contra los excesos del gobierno del Partido Popular Indio (Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP) encabezado por el primer ministro Narendra Modi.…  Seguir leyendo »

Biplov Bhuyan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images A protester against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act being detained outside a government office for the state of Assam, New Delhi, India, December 23, 2019

Assam, India—In this northeastern state of India, a plague of documents is afflicting nervous citizens. Home to around 30 million people, Assam is a kind of cartographic anomaly wedged between India’s neighbors China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The oppressions of bureaucratic record-keeping owe much to the country’s former colonial government, but today the malignant paperwork serves a different ideology, that of saffron-hued Hindu nationalism.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has forced all residents of Assam to prove they are citizens, or face incarceration, deportation, or drastic marginalization. It is here in Assam that the BJP’s process of legal harassment of Muslim Indians began—harassment that has set off a wave of protests nationwide, in which dozens have died, thousands have been jailed, and mobs have attacked minority communities.…  Seguir leyendo »

University students protest India's new citizenship law, in Kolkata, India, on Monday. (AP) (Bikas Das/AP)

Citizens across India have turned out in recent weeks to protest a controversial piece of legislation known as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The CAA became law on Dec. 11, after the upper house of India’s Parliament passed the measure and the country’s president gave it his assent.

India’s government — headed by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — holds that the CAA will make it easier for people from “persecuted minorities” in the country illegally to obtain Indian citizenship. It argues that the CAA is an important improvement to the Citizenship Act of 1955, which left people in the country illegally without any avenues to become citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protestors hold up their signs at the Gowali Tank Maidan in Mumbai.

Across India, people are protesting the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, (CAA) after the bill was passed in both the country’s upper and lower houses of Parliament. The CAA grants fast-tracked citizenship to undocumented migrants from the «Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014.»
Muslims are left out

The government’s informal reasoning here is that the countries listed in the CAA are Muslim-majority countries. Minority religions, who are more likely to face persecution in their home countries, therefore deserve fast-tracked citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators in Delhi, India, protested against the new citizenship law.Credit...Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

As India’s new citizenship law seeks to create a stratified citizenship based on religion, a large number of Indians opposing it are emerging as a people of one book, the country’s Constitution, which came into force on Jan. 26, 1950.

In the past two weeks, diverse crowds across the country have responded to the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act, referred to as the C.A.A., passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government by chanting the preamble to the Constitution of India, with its promises of social, political and economic justice, freedom of thought, expression and belief, equality and fraternity.

Student protesters being herded into police vans, opposition leaders standing outside the Indian Parliament and ebullient crowds of tens of thousands in Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai have read aloud the preamble and held aloft copies of the Constitution and portraits of B.R.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les manifestations contre la loi sur la nationalité indienne (Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA), adoptée le 11 décembre, ont plongé le pays dans une crise nationale. En dix jours, 25 personnes ont trouvé la mort. L’article 144 du code pénal interdisant les rassemblements publics, la détention d’intellectuels, tel l’historien Ramachandra Guha, et les coupures d’Internet n’ont pas dissuadé les manifestants de continuer à se rassembler.

Le 20 décembre, l’Armée de Bhim, une association de basses castes hindoues opprimées conduite par Chandrashekhar Azad, a rejoint la prière du vendredi dans la grande mosquée de Delhi (Jama Masjid), pour réaffirmer son attachement à la Constitution indienne, où sont inscrits les principes de laïcité, d’égalité et de justice.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tens of thousands of Indians protesting against a discriminatory citizenship law and citizens registry, in Mumbai, India, on Thursday.Credit...Divyakant Solanki/EPA, via Shutterstock

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government have deployed propaganda very successfully since coming to power in 2014. So much so that numerous egregious decisions the government has made — demonetization, electoral bonds allowing secret donations to political parties, a flawed citizens registry in the state of Assam, revoking the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir — were accepted by a majority of people.

But over the past few days, India seems to have risen up in countrywide mass protests. A growing awareness of what the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act means for the country seems to have jolted people, bringing them into the streets.…  Seguir leyendo »

En momentos que la prioridad nacional de la India debería ser impulsar el crecimiento económico, el gobierno del Primer Ministro Narendra Modi ha preferido sumir al país en una nueva crisis política creada por ellos mismos.

Fiel a su afición a los movimientos tácticos sorpresivos, el gobierno impulsó en el parlamento un controvertido Proyecto de Enmienda de la Ley de Ciudadanía que acelera los trámites para personas que huyen de persecuciones en Pakistán, Afganistán y Bangladesh, siempre que no sean musulmanas. Al excluir a miembros de una comunidad en particular, el proyecto, que fue rápidamente firmado por el Presidente Ram Nath Kovind para convertirse en ley, se opone fundamentalmente a las tradiciones seculares y pluralistas del país.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman demonstrates against the Indian government's citizenship amendment bill in New Delhi on Dec. 14. (Jewel Samad/Afp Via Getty Images)

“It’s 1947 all over again,” wrote my aunt on the family WhatsApp group as protests erupted across India against the Modi government’s divisive new citizenship law. She was talking about the year India was partitioned by British colonialists to create Pakistan, setting off a period of horrific communal strife between Hindus and Muslims. The comment may sound hyperbolic, but it accurately captures the sense of dread millions of Indians are feeling today.

A bigoted new citizenship law that privileges non-Muslims over Muslim migrants — coupled with the government’s proposal to create a national register of citizens (NRC) — has unleashed a set of forces over which the government may no longer have much control.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers patrol during curfew Dec. 12 in Guwahati, India, following protests over the Indian government’s passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. (AFP/Getty Images)

This week, India’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, fundamentally changing the country’s Citizenship Act of 1955 — and setting off protests in the northeastern states and a curfew in some cities.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government introduced the bill during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term, but Parliament failed to pass the bill at the time. The BJP reintroduced the bill on Monday, and it cleared both the Lok Sabha (lower house) and the Rajya Sabha (upper house). President Ram Nath Kovind signed the bill into law on Thursday.

Why is there such strong domestic pushback, and why did the Indian government deploy more than 5,000 paramilitary troops and impose an Internet blackout to maintain order in Assam and Tripura?…  Seguir leyendo »

Me pilló en Delhi el espeso nubarrón de ceniza que cayó sobre la ciudad y del que este diario se hizo eco, tal como pude comprobar allí mismo, con los ojos volcados en mi móvil, certificando ellos mismos —mis ojos— y mis pulmones que era verdad lo que relataba EL PAÍS, abrigo en la lejanía. La visión era extraña pues había un sol bajo que penetraba la nube dotándola de una especie de fulgor atenuado, crepuscular, que hacía pensar en cierta clase de belleza. Mirabas el horizonte y la ceniza resplandecía, como en atardeceres prolongados compenetrados con brumas marinas. Pero dañaba esa ceniza, y hasta se recomendaban mascarillas para evitar inhalaciones insalubres.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Asia Turn to Illiberal Democracy

The return of the Rajapaksa brothers to power in Sri Lanka drew delighted cheers from their Buddhist nationalist supporters this weekend. But it should bring a shudder of alarm from those concerned for the island’s future.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the nation’s wartime defence chief, emerged as a comfortable winner on Sunday after a presidential poll on Saturday marked by deep ethnic divisions – signaling a likely return to the autocratic style favored by his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who served as president from 2005 to 2015.

More importantly, the result fits a broader and more alarming trend: the rise of illiberal democracy in South Asia as Sri Lanka joins India and Bangladesh in particular in backing nationalist strongman leaders with scant concern for the niceties of constitutional rule.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de ocho años de deliberaciones, la Corte Suprema de la India ha emitido un veredicto que resuelve uno de los conflictos interreligiosos más extensos en la historia turbulenta del país. La decisión de la Corte no podría haber llegado en mejor momento.

El dictamen tiene que ver con un sitio en disputa en la polvorienta ciudad tempo de Ayodhya, en el estado más poblado de la India, Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya atrajo notoriedad internacional en 1992, cuando una multitud de extremistas hindúes derribaron una mezquita musulmana, la Babri Masjid, que ocupaba un lugar prominente en una ciudad desbordada de templos. La mezquita había sido construida en los años 1520 por un noble musulmán, Mir Baqi, en nombre del primer emperador mogol de la India, Babur, en un lugar donde, según se creía tradicionalmente, había nacido el rey-dios hindú Rama, el héroe de la épica de 3.000…  Seguir leyendo »

Hasta hace poco, los indios estaban acostumbrados a dar el crecimiento económico por sentado. Tras una década con un promedio anual superior al 9%, la economía de la India capeó la recesión mundial posterior a 2008 y mantuvo un impresionante 7% hasta 2014‑15. El ritmo de crecimiento del país parecía imparable.

Y entonces llegó el gobierno del primer ministro Narendra Modi, con su mayor error de política económica, la desmonetización, que retiró de circulación el 86% del dinero de la India de un día para el otro (con el objetivo, según Modi, de sacar a la luz patrimonios no declarados). La economía todavía no se recuperó.…  Seguir leyendo »