A new India is emerging, and it is a country ruled by fear

Four months have passed since Narendra Modi and the BJP came back to power in India, and more seems to have happened there than in the last 40 years. The sense of severance that many experience today, of being divorced from the workings of the nation, exceeds even the helplessness felt during the suspension of civil liberties in the emergency of 1975 to 1977 and the political traumas that followed.

This is because – without the matter being explicitly articulated – citizen has been set against citizen: not just Muslim against Hindu or, say, Kashmiris against the rest of India, but those who subscribe to the BJP’s new conception of the nation against those who do not, leaving one without trust in the other.

How to judge these past four months? A series of disruptions has dwarfed the now distant seeming upset of Modi’s economically disastrous demonetisation programme of 2016. In August there was the abrogation of article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted “special status” to Kashmir in acknowledgment of its contested history. This was followed immediately by the “house arrest” of elected Kashmiri leaders and the imprisonment of thousands of others….[ ]

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