ESSAY : "Semitic Monotheism"
S. Gurumurthy argues that the monotheistic Semitic religions of what he calls "the West" brought intolerance to India. Traditionally, Gurumurthy argues, Indian culture was characterized by a liberal pluralism stemming from the polytheism of Hindu beliefs.
In the history of human civilization there have been two distinct ways of life -- the eastern and the Semitic. If we look at the history of India and of its people on the one hand and at the history of Semitic societies on the other, we find a glaring difference. In India the society and individual form the center of gravity, the fulcrum around which the polity revolves, and the state is merely a residuary concept. On the other hand, in the Semitic tradition the state wields all the power and forms the soul and the backbone of the polity. In India, temporal power was located in the lowest units of society, which developed into a highly decentralized social network. This was the very reverse of the centralized power structures that evolved in the Semitic tradition of the West. We had decentralizing institutions, of castes, of localities, of sects belonging to different faiths; of groups of people gathering around a particular deity or around a particular individual. Society was a collection of multitudes of self-contained social molecules, spontaneously linked together by socio spiritual thoughts, symbols, centers of pilgrimage, and sages. In the West the most important, and often the only, link between different institutions of the society was the state.
THE RESIDUAL STATE
Of course, the state also existed in India in the past, but only as a residual institution. It had a very limited role to perform. Even the origin of the state is said to be in the perceived necessity of an institution to perform the residual supervisory functions that became necessary because a small number of people could not harmonize with the rest in the self- regulating, self-operating and self powered functioning of the society. The state was to look after the spill-over functions that escaped the self-regulating mechanisms of the society. The Mahabharata, in the Santiparva, defines the functions of the state precisely thus. The state was to ensure that the one who strays away from public ethics does not tread on others. There was perhaps no necessity for the state at one point in our social history. The evolution of society to a point where certain individuals came to be at cross purposes with the society because of the erosion of dharmic, or ethical values, introduced the need for a limited arbiter to deal with "outlaws" who would not agree to be bound by dharma. That task was entrusted to the state. This appears to be the origin of the state here. So the society or the group, at whatever level it functioned, was the dominant reality and the state was a residual authority. The society had an identity distinct from the state. Social relations as well as religious and cultural bonds transcended the bounds of the state.
DHARMA VS. SOCIAL CONTRACT
People in the Semitic society, on the other hand, seem to have burdened themselves with the state the moment they graduated from tribalism and nomadic life to a settled existence. Thus the Semitic society never knew how to live by self-regulation. People never knew how to exist together unless their lives were ordered through the coercive institution of the state. The concept of self-regulation, the concept of dharma, the personal and public norms of action and thought that we have inherited from time immemorial, did not have any chance to evolve. Instead what evolved, for example in the Christian West, was the "social contract" theory of the state. And this became the basis of the nation state that dominated during the era of Western hegemony. But even before that, a mighty state, a nation-less state, had already evolved in the West. It was a state that cut across all nations, all societies, all ethnicities, all faiths, all races. This was the kind of state developed by the Romans. The statecraft of the Romans purveyed power and power alone. Later, after the collapse of the nationless state, tribal nationalism began to be assertive. This nation state, whose power was legitimated according to socio-religious criteria, became the model for the Semitic society. Far from being an arbiter, the state became the initiator, the fulcrum of the society.
Western society thus became largely a state construct. Even geography and history began to follow state power. In the scheme of things, the king symbolized total power, the army became crucial to the polity, and the police indispensable. The throne of the king became more important than the Church, and his word more important than the Bible, forcing even the Church to acquire stately attributes and begin competing with the state. That is why the first Church was founded in Rome. Because of the social recognition of state power and the importance that it had acquired, religion had to go to the seat of the state. That is how Rome, and not Bethlehem, became the center of Christian thought. The Church developed as a state-like institution, as an alternative and a competing institution. The Church began to mimic the state, and the Archbishop competed with the King. And finally religion itself became a competitor of the state. Naturally there were conflicts between these two powerful institutions -- between the state and the Church, and between the King and the Archbishop. Both owed allegiance to the same faith, the same book, the same prophet -- and yet they could not agree on who should wield ultimate power. They fought in order to decide who amongst them would be the legitimate representative of the faith. And, in their ^ght, both invoked the same God. The result was a society that was at war with itself; a society in which the stately religion was at war with the religious state. The result also was centralism and exclusivism, not only in thought, but also in the institutional arrangements. Out of such war within itself -- including between Christianity and Islam -- Semitic society evolved its centralist and exclusivist institutions that are now peddled as the panacea for the ills of all societies. As the monotheistic civilization rapidly evolved a theocratic state, it ruled out all plurality in thought. There could not be any doubt, there could not be a second thought competing with the one approved and patronized by the state, and there could not even be a second institution representing the same faith. The possibility of different religions or different attitudes to life evolving in the same society was made minimal. No one could disagree with the established doctrine without inviting terrible retribution. Whenever any semblance of plurality surfaced anywhere, it was subjected to immediate annihilation. The entire social, political and religious power of the Semitic society gravitated toward and became slowly and finally manifest in the unitary state. Thus single-dimensional universality, far more than plurality, is the key feature of Western society. The West, in fact, spawned a power-oriented, power-driven, and power-inspired civilization which sought and enforced thoughts, books, and institutions.
This unity of the Semitic state and the Semitic society proved to be its strength as a conquering power. But this was also its weakness. The moment the state became weak or collapsed anywhere, the society there also followed the fate of the state. In India, society was supported by institutions other than the state. Not just one, but hundreds and even thousands of institutions flourished within the polity and none of them had or needed to use any coercive power. Indian civilization -- culture, arts, music, and the collective life of the people guardianship of the people and of the public mind was not entrusted to the state. In fact, it was the sages, and not the state, who were seen as the guardians of the public mind. When offending forces, whether Sakas or Huns or any others, came from abroad, this society -- which was not organized as a powerful state and was without a powerful army or arms and ammunition of a kind that could meet such vast brute forces coming from outside -- found its institutions of state severely damaged. But that did not lead to the collapse of the society. The society not only survived when the institutions of the state collapsed, but in the course of time it also assimilated the alien groups and digested them into inseparable parts of the social stream. Later invaders into India were not mere gangs of armed tribes, but highly motivated theocratic war-mongers. The Indian states, which were mere residues of the Indian society, caved in before them too. But the society survived even these crusaders. In contrast, the state-oriented and state-initiated civilizations, societies and cultures of the West invariably were annihilated with the collapse of the state. Whether the Romans, the Greeks or the Christians, or the later followers of Islam, or the modern Marxists -- none of them could survive as a viable civilization once the state they had constructed collapsed. When a Semitic king won and wiped out another, it was not just another state that was wiped out, but all social bearings and moorings of the society -- all its literature, art, music, culture and language. Everything relating to the society was extinguished. In the West of today, there are no remnants of what would have been the products of Western civilization 1500 years ago. The Semitic virtue rejected all new and fresh thought. Consequently, any fresh thought could prevail only by annihilating its predecessor. At one time only one thought could hold sway. There was no scope for a second.
In the East, more specifically in India, there prevailed a society and a social mind which thrived and happily grew within a multiplicity of thoughts. "Ano bhadrah kratavo yantu visatah" ("let noble thoughts come in from all directions of the universe") went the Rigvedic invocation. We, therefore, welcomed all, whether it was the Parsis who came fleeing from the slaughter of Islamic theocratic marauders and received protection here for their race and their religion, or the Jews who were slaughtered and maimed everywhere else in the world. They all found a secure refuge here along with their culture, civilization, religion and the book. Even the Shia Muslims, fearing annihilation by their coreligionists, sought shelter in Gujarat and constituted the first influx of Muslims into India. Refugee people, refugee religions, refugee cultures and civilizations came here, took root and established a workable, amicable relationship with their neighborhood. They did not -- even now they do not -- find this society alien or foreign. They could grow as constituent parts of an assimilative society and under an umbrella of thought that appreciated their different ways. When first Christianity, and later Islam, came to India as purely religious concerns, they too found the same assimilative openness. The early Christians and Muslims arriving on the west coast of India did not find anything hostile in the social atmosphere here. They found a welcoming and receptive atmosphere in which the Hindus happily offered them temple lands for building a church or a mosque. (Even today in the localities of Tamilnadu temple lands are offered for construction of mosques). It was only the later theocratic incursions by the Mughals and the British that introduced theological and cultural maladjustments, creating conflict between the assimilative and inclusive native ways of the East and the exclusive and annihilative instincts of Islam and even Christianity. Until this occurred, the native society assimilated the new thoughts and fresh inputs, and had no difficulty in keeping intact its social harmony within the plurality of thoughts and faiths. This openness to foreign thoughts, faiths and people did not happen because of legislation, or a secular constitution or the teachings of secular leaders and parties. We did not display this openness because of any civilizing inspiration and wisdom which we happened to have received from the West. Yet, we are somehow made to believe, and we do, that we have become a somewhat civilized people and have come to learn to live together in harmony with others only through the civilization, the language, the statecraft and the societal influence of the West! It is a myth that has become an inseparable component of the intellectual baggage that most of us carry.
SURVIVING THE SEMITIC ONSLAUGHT
Religious fanaticism, invaded us and extinguished our states and institutions, our society could still survive and preserve its multidimensional life largely intact. Our survival has been accompanied, however, with an extraordinary sense of guilt. In our own eyes, we remain a society yet to be fully civilized. This is because, as the state in India quickly became an instrument in the hands of the invaders and colonizers, we were saddled not just with an unresponsive state, but a state hostile to the nation itself. A state-less society in India would have fared better. Such a paradox has existed nowhere else in the history of the world. When we look at the history of any other country, we find that whenever an overpowering alien state came into being, it wiped out everything that it saw as a native thought or institution. And if the natives insisted on holding on to their thought and institutions, then they were wiped out. But the Indian society survived under an alien and hostile state for hundreds of years, albeit at the price of having today lost almost all initiative and self confidence as a civilization.
GIVE ME YOUR PERSECUTED
How did the assimilative Hindu cultural convictions fare in practice, not just in theory and in the archives? This is probably best seen by comparing the Iranians of today with the Parsis of India. A few thousand of them who came here and who now number 200,000 have lived in a congenial atmosphere. They have not been subjected to any hostility to convert, or to give up their cultural or even racial distinction. They have had every chance, as much as the natives had, to prosper and evolve. And they did. They have lived and prospered here for 1500 years, more or less the same way as they would have lived and prospered in their own lands, had those lands not been ravaged by Islam. Compare an average Parsi with an average Iranian. Does the Persian society today display any native attributes of the kind that the Parsis, living in the Indian society, have managed to preserve? One can ^nd no trace of those original native attributes in the Iranian society today. That is because not only the native institutions, native faiths and native literature, but also the native mind and all vestiges of native originality were wiped out by Islam. That society was converted and made into a uniform outfit in form, shape and mental condition. On that condition alone would Islam accept it. What Islam did to the natives in Egypt, Afghanistan and Persia, or what Christianity did to the Red Indians in America, or what Christianity and Islam did to each other in Europe, or the Catholics did to Protestants, or the Sunnis did to Shias and the Kurds and the Ahmedias, or what the Shias did to the Bahais, was identical. In every case the annihilation of the other was attempted -- annihilation of other thoughts, other thinkers and other followers. The essential thrust of the Semitic civilizational effort, including the latest effort of Marxist monotheism, has been to enforce uniformity, and failing that, to annihilate. How can the West claim that it taught us how to lead a pluralistic life? If you look at history, you find that they were the ones who could not, and never did, tolerate any kind of plurality, either in the religious or the secular domain. If it has dawned upon them today that they have to live with plurality, it must be because of the violence they have had to commit against themselves and each other. The mass slaughter which the Western society has been subjected to by the adherents of different religious thoughts and by different tyrants is unimaginable, and perhaps they are now sick of this slaughter and violence. But the view we get, and are asked to subscribe to, is that the "civilized" West was a peaceful society, and that we brutes down here never knew how to live at peace with ourselves and our neighbors until liberated by the literate. What a paradox!
The foundation of the Semitic system is laid on temporal power. For acceptance and survival in this system even religion had to marry and stick to temporal authority at the cost of losing its spiritual moorings. It was with this power -- first the state power, which still later was converted into technological power -- that the Christian West was able to establish its dominance. This brute dominance was clothed in the garb of modernity and presented as the civilization of the world. The aggressively organized Western society, through its powerful arm of the state, was able to overcome and subordinate the expressions of the self- governing decentralized society of the East that did not care to have the protection of a centralized state. Our society, unorganized in the physical sense, although it was much more organized in a civilizational sense, had a more evolved mind. But it did not have the muscle; it did not have the fire power. Perhaps because of the Buddhist influence, our society acquired disproportionately high Brahmatejas, Brahminical piety and authority, which eroded the Kshatravirya, the temporal war-making power. So it caved in and ceded temporal authority to the more powerful state and the statecraft that came from outside. The society that caves in is, in terms of the current global rules, a defeated society. This society cannot produce or generate the kind of self-confidence which is required in the modern world.
DYNAMIC CHRISTIANS, STAGNANT MUSLIMS
The nation-state was so powerful, that other countries, like India, could not stand against it. And when the nation-state concept was powered by religious exclusivism it had no equal. When religion acquired the state, the church itself was the first victim of that acquisition. Christianity suffered from the Christian state. It had to struggle not only against Islamic states and Islamic society, but also against itself. As a consequence, it underwent a process of moderation. First, it experienced dissent, then renaissance through arts, music and culture. Thus Christianity was able to overcome the effect of theocratic statecraft by slowly evolving as a society not entirely identified with the state. First the state began to dominate over the Church on the principle of separation between the religious and temporal authorities. The result was the evolution of the secular state. Thus the King wrested the secular power from the Archbishop. Then through democratic movements following the French Revolution, the people wrested power from the King. Later commerce invaded public life as the prime thrust of the Christian West. The theocratic state abdicated in favor of a secular state, the secular state gave way to democracy and later democracy gave way to commerce. Then power shifted from commerce to technology. And now in the Christian West, the state and the society are largely powered by commerce and technology. The Christian West today is even prepared to give up the concept of the nation-state to promote commerce fueled by technological advance. Look at the consolidation that is taking place between Mexico, Canada and the United States of America around trade, and the kind of pyramidal politico economic consolidation that is taking place in Western Europe. All this is oriented towards only one thing West.
ISLAM REMAINED UNCHANGED
While the Christian West has evolved dynamically over the past few centuries, the story of Islam is one of 1500 years of unmitigated stagnation. There has never been a successful attempt from within Islam to start the flow, so to speak. Anyone who attempted to start even a variant of the mainstream flow -- anyone who merely attempted to reinterpret the same book and the same prophet -- was disposed of with such severity that it set an example and a warning to anyone who would dare to cross the line. Some, who merely said that it was not necessary for the Islamic Kingdom to be ruled by the Prophet's own descendants were wiped out. Some others said that the Prophet himself may come again -- not that somebody else might come, but the Prophet himself may be reborn. They were also wiped out. The Sunnis, the Shias, the Ahmedias, the Bahais -- all of whom trusted the same prophet, revered the same book and were loyal to the same revelation -- were all physically and spiritually maimed. From the earliest times, Islam has proved itself incapable of producing an internal evolution; internally legitimized change has not been possible since all change is instantly regarded as an act of apostasy. Every change was -- and is -- put down with bloodshed. In contrast, the Hindu ethos changed continuously. Though, it was always change with continuity: from ritualistic life, to agnostic Buddhism, to the Ahimsa of Mahavira, to the intellect of Sankara, to the devotion of Ramanuja, and finally to the modern movements of social reform. In India, all these changes have occurred without the shedding of a single drop of blood. Islam, on the other hand retains its changelessness, despite the spilling of so much blood all around. It is the changelessness of Islam -- its equal revulsion towards dissent within and towards non-Islamic thoughts without -- that has made it a problem for the whole world.
ISLAM IN INDIA
The encounter between the inclusive and assimilative heritage of India and exclusive Islam, which had nothing but theological dislike for the native faiths, was a tussle between two unequals. On the one side there was the inclusive, universal and spiritually powerful -- but temporally unorganized - native Hindu thought. And on the other side there was the temporally organized and powerful -- but spiritually exclusive and isolated -- Islam. Islam subordinated, for some time and in some areas, the Hindu temporal power, but it could not erode Hindu spiritual power. If anything, the Hindu spiritual power incubated the offending faith and delivered a milder form of Islam -- Sufism. However, the physical encounter was one of the bloodiest in human history. We survived this test by fire and sword. But the battle left behind an unassimilated Islamic society within India. The problem has existed since then, to this day.
ISLAM, INDIA AND THE CHRISTIAN WEST
The Hindu renaissance in India is the Indian contribution to an evolving global attitude that calls for a review of the conservative and extremist Islamic attitudes towards non-Islamic faiths and societies. The whole world is now concerned with the prospect of extremist Islam becoming a problem by sanctifying religious terrorism. So long as the red flag was flying atop the Kremlin, the Christian West tried to project communism as the greatest enemy of world peace. It originally promoted Islam and Islamic fundamentalism against the fanaticism of communism. The West knew it could match communism in the market-place, in technology, in commerce, and even in war, but it had no means of combating communism on the emotive plane. So they structured a green Islamic belt -- from Tunisia to Indonesia -- to serve as a bulwark against Marxist thought. But that has changed now. When communism collapsed, extremist Islam with its terrorist tendencies instantly emerged in the mind of the Christian West as the major threat to the world.
HINDUS SURVIVED MUSLIM INVASION
We must realize that we have a problem on hand in India, the problem of a stagnant and conservative Islamic society. The secular leaders and parties tell us that the problem on our hands is not Islamic fundamentalism, but the Hindutva ideology. This view is good only for gathering votes. The fact is that we have a fundamentalist Muslim problem, and our problem cannot be divorced from the international Islamic politics and the world's reaction to it. To understand the problem and to undertake the task of solving it successfully, we must know the nature of Hindu society and its encounter with Islam in India. As a nation, we are heckled by the secularist historians and commentators: "You are caste-oriented, you are a country with 900 languages, and most of them with no script," they say. "You can't even communicate in one language, you don't have a common religious book which all may follow. You are not a nation at all. In contrast, look at the unity of Islam and its brotherhood." But the apparently unorganized and diverse Hindu society is perhaps the only society in the world that faced, and then survived, the Islamic theocratic invasion. We, the Hindu nation, have survived because of the very differences that seem to divide us. It is in some ways a mind- boggling phenomenon: For 500 to 600 years we survived the invasion of Islam as no other society did. The whole of Arabia, which had a very evolved civilization, was run over in a matter of just 20 years. Persia collapsed within 50 years. Buddhist Afghans put up a brave resistance for 300 years but, in the end, they also collapsed. In all of these countries today there remains nothing pre- Islamic worth the name save for some broken down architectural monuments from their pre-Islamic past. How did our society survive the Islamic onslaught? We have survived not only physically, but intellectually too. We have preserved our culture. The kind of music that was heard 1500 years ago is heard even today. Much of the literature too remains available along with the original phonetic intonations. So the Indian society continued to function under a hostile occupation even without a protective state. Or rather, we survived because our soul did not reside in an organized state, but in an organized national consciousness, in shared feelings of what constitutes human life in this universe that happens to be such a wonderfully varied manifestation of the divine, of Brahman.
HINDUTVA AS INDIA'S ANCHOR
The assimilative Hindu cultural and civilizational ethos is the only basis for any durable personal and social interaction between the Muslims and the rest of our countrymen. This societal assimilative realization is the basis for Indian nationalism, and only an inclusive Hindutva can assimilate an exclusive Islam by making the Muslims conscious of their Hindu ancestry and heritage. A national effort is called for to break Islamic exclusivism and enshrine the assimilative Hindutva. This alone constitutes true nationalism and true national integration. This is the only way to protect the plurality of thoughts and institutions in this country. To the extent secularism advances Islamic isolation and exclusivism, it damages Hindu inclusiveness and its assimilative qualities. And in this sense secularism as practiced until now conflicts with Indin nationalism. Inclusive and assimilative Hindutva is the socio-cultural nationalism of India. So long as our national leaders ignore this eternal truth, national integration will keep eluding us.
Center for Policy Studies, Madras.
Power-sharing theory holds that democracy is possible in deeply divided societies but only if their type of democracy is consociational, that is, characterized by (1) grand coalition governments that include representatives of all major linguistic and religious groups, (2) cultural autonomy for these groups, (3) proportionality in political representation and civil service appointments, and (4) a minority veto with regard to vital minority rights and autonomy… consociational theory maintains that power sharing is a necessary (although not a sufficient) condition for democracy in deeply divided countries.
–Arend Lijphart, “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation,” 258
India proudly claims its place as “the world’s largest democracy.” With over one billion inhabitants, more than 20 official languages and frequent internal and external security threats, the country still manages to hold regular free and fair elections for all levels of government. However, India has undergone periods of political instability, often after the assassinations of Prime Ministers, and has historically been a one-party state under the political control of the Gandhi-Nehru family. Thus, the idea that India stands as an “exception” to the South Asian trend of authoritarianism has come under intense scrutiny. In “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation” (1996), Arend Lijphart uses consociational theory to demonstrate that India possesses a stable power-sharing system of government. Despite being a one-party state, Lijphart argues, the ruling party stands as a “party of consensus,” in which individuals throughout the political spectrum can voice their concerns. Additionally, Lijphart continues, the federal system of government and extensive protective framework for minority groups ensure regional and minority interests are represented in government. However, the Indian National Congress (or “Congress”), the ruling party that Lijphart analyzed in 1996, has since been replaced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a right-wing Hindu-nationalist party. Though the BJP led India under a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition from 1998 to 2004, it most notably won a majority—and not just a plurality—of seats in Parliament in 2014 (282 seats to Congress’ 44). Under the leadership of former Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, the BJP claimed the first majority victory in 30 years. As Congress struggles to recover from its crushing defeat in the 2014 general elections, the BJP remains unchallenged by any single party on a national level and arguably stands as the ruling party in a one-party state.
To Lijphart in 1996, the BJP was “clearly anti-consociational, and its growing strength [represented] a major potential danger to power sharing in India.” As a fierce representative of one religion, the BJP potentially endangered the diverse interests, ethnicities, languages and religions of the world’s largest democracy, and stood as a threat to minority rule and the de facto proportional representation of the Westminsterian system under the secular Congress “party of consensus.” Yet, the BJP has evolved significantly since Lijphart published “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy.” Notably, Modi pushed a more popular “narrative of development-oriented governance” to attract voters regardless of class, language and religion during the 2014 general election and to consolidate support immediately after his victory. Thus, to what extent does the current-day Bharatiya Janata Party threaten the consociational nature of Indian government?
Although the BJP has evolved in recent years, I argue that the non-democratic internal structure of the party as well as its inherently anti-democratic values and policies threaten the proportional representation, cultural autonomy, and “minority veto” as they have existed historically in India since independence in 1947. However, as Indian voters ousted Indira Gandhi after the authoritarian “Emergency” period of 1975-1977, they have similarly begun to challenge the usurpation of rights Modi has attempted as Prime Minister.
A New Party of Consensus?
For Arend Lijphart, India met the first condition of consociational theory—possessing a grand coalition government—given the role of Congress as a “party of consensus” within a single-party state. Lijphart writes,
The Congress Party’s repeated manufactured majorities have not come at the expense of India’s many minorities due to its special status as the ‘party of consensus,’ which has been deliberately protective of the various religious and linguistic minorities. Indian cabinets, which have been mainly Congress cabinets, also have accorded shares of ministerships remarkably close to proportional… to the Muslim minority of about 12% and even much smaller Sikh minority (roughly 2%), as well as to the different linguistic groups, states and regions of the country.
Although Congress has become “organizationally weak” and less democratic (even “dynastic”) over time due to the consolidation of power by the Gandhi-Nehru family, it “remained a broadly inclusive party, but less by means of representation from the bottom up than by representativeness from the top down.” As the BJP replaces Congress as the new leading political party, to what extent can it be considered a “party of consensus”?
The fact that the BJP won a majority of seats in the lower house of the parliament has profound implications on its role as a facilitator of a “grand coalition.” Unlike Congress, which has relied upon minority parties to come to (and hold on to) power, the BJP of today has the luxury of filling the government almost exclusively with members of its own party. For instance, only four of the 29 Cabinet Ministers belong to non-BJP parties, which hardly seems to exemplify a “grand coalition” encompassing a range of political parties involved in a power-sharing agreement. As a Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP does not wish to share its power with seemingly “misguided” politicians belonging to other parties or religions.
Yet, voter support for the BJP during the 2014 elections transcended firmly divided identities such as caste and class by appealing to Indians of diverse backgrounds. For instance, while the BJP endorsed “good governance” and the expansion of development programs to attract the lower classes, it also called for a reduction in environmental and labor regulations to gain support from wealthy constituents. Nevertheless, as a Hindu nationalist party, the fundamental ideology motivating the BJP may alienate many more voters than a secular party such as Congress, which has appealed to Hindu and Muslim voters alike. With the BJP’s strongest supporters living within the “Hindi belt,” the BJP may isolate other political groups due to linguistic differences. Further, as a center-right party, the BJP is less likely to be a forum for both left- and right-leaning politicians the way the centrist Congress party appears from Lijphart’s perspective. Thus, if the BJP possesses a democratic internal organizational structure, its membership—regardless of a supposed emphasis on development—does not represent the actual diversity of Indian politics to the extent that Congress tends to.
The BJP may have been more democratic internally (at least relative to Congress) under LK Advani, who helped lead the party’s rise in popularity in the 1980s. The party gained supporters during this period through the “Ram Janmabhoomi” campaign, which called for the construction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya, the supposed birthplace of Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu. According to Indian journalist Saba Naqvi, in those times “the BJP was a voluble party in which people spoke their minds and competed for power. It was more democratic in its inner functioning than parties that are built around an individual or a family.” In part, this democratic internal structure helped bring Modi to power, who “promised to slay the ‘ma-beta’ (mother and son) Congress government under Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul. However, under the current Narendra Modi–Amit Shah (President of the BJP) partnership, “all powers are centralized and decisions [are] taken unilaterally without any attempt at building a consensus.” Saba Naqvi notes that the leadership structure “has certainly stifled voices and sprits within the party. Those who speak out… are individuals who have calculated that they have little left to lose anyway.” Further, the Modi–Shah axis clearly lacks the “representativeness” of Congress upper-echelon leadership, given their views on groups that fall outside their Hindu nationalist ideology, most evident recently as they “have tended to become more brazen about using emotions around caste and religion to upstage the opposition.” The BJP’s internal structure, therefore, may have been more democratic than that of Congress in the past, but Modi and Shah have since practiced an exclusionary form of leadership both within the central government and their own party.
The existence of a consolidated front, however, could benefit Indian democracy in the long run. Much political conflict in the past stemmed from the need to form coalitions, and the incoherent policies that often arise from that process. Seen as a tough ruler that brought rapid economic progress to Gujarat, Narendra Modi has marketed himself to voters as a leader who will modernize India much more efficiently and effectively than Congress, which saw slower GDP growth rates for the last years it was in power. With a majority in Parliament and a focus on development, the BJP could bring about a long-term strengthening of Indian democracy through implementing policies that may be difficult to pass under a divided coalition. These reforms could confront controversial topics such as property rights or trade barriers, which arguably limit the nation’s development potential as they stand today. Also, if development (instead of Hindu-nationalist) policies will keep the BJP popular and in power, it may be likely to avoid many of the anti-consociational policies that Lijphart feared in 1996.
Yet, as the BJP has grown in strength, its ability to control radical right-wing groups has waned, and risks being “outflanked” by these factions, a phenomenon Indian politics has witnessed before. Indian journalist Hartosh Singh Bal claims,
BJP-led governments have shown us more than once that when political parties with communal ideologies come into power, violent extremists to their right, and out of their control, are also given an impetus. But this is a pattern that predates them. In [the Indian state of] Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal, which claims to speak for Sikh interests much in the same way that the BJP seeks to appeal to Hindu sentiments, had to contend with the rise of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the late 1970s. Bhindranwale, initially backed by the Congress, outflanked the Akalis in the early 1980s, by agitating for the implementation of the very demands the Akalis had made of the Indian government… which called for Sikhs to have greater autonomy in their affairs.
Currently, the BJP has been forced to respond to the Hindu-nationalist organizations who espouse ideals that counter Modi’s narrative of development-based governance. Historically, the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—the BJP’s “ideological parent”—calmed more right-wing factions of the Hindu nationalist movement by demanding moderation as they relied upon coalitions to rise to power. Since their majority victory in the 2014 general election, the Hindu-nationalist cultural agenda of these groups is now as important to the Modi government as “good governance” in order to appease more extreme elements of the Hindu-nationalist movement. This has grown increasingly clear since regional elections in the state of Bihar, where “Modi himself… [made] sharp references to caste and religion to polarize votes.” Therefore, the “united political front” focused on pro-consociational policies such as development has since been replaced by a BJP that threatens to be “outflanked” by other Hindu-nationalist groups if it does not expand its Hindu-nationalist—and anti-consociational— cultural platform. As a result, the rights and autonomy of minorities—which are key conditions for consociational rule—stand vulnerable to Modi’s politics.
Hindu Nationalism and Indian Minority Rights
The ideological shift of Modi’s government undeniably represents a threat to the rights of minorities throughout India, and has done little to control more extreme factions of Hindu nationalism. Hartosh Singh Bal writes,
Ever since the BJP came to power at the center, it has given tacit or explicit approval to a number of attempts at cultural re-engineering, including so-called reconversions to Hinduism, restrictions on beef consumption, and violent responses to inter-religious marriage. From these strategies, it hopes to reap electoral benefits. In the background, other issues that the BJP has kept long simmering to serve its political ends remain, such as the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Hindu-nationalist groups have inspired a series of violent attacks on Indians who oppose their ideals. In September, Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, a 52-year-old Muslim resident of Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, was viciously murdered by Hindu residents who accused him of keeping beef in his home. Though forensics later concluded the meat was actually mutton, this terrifying “beef lynching” reveals a growing trend of violence against individuals who “threaten” Hindu beliefs (such as the sanctity of the cow). Modi, however, has only commented that the incident was “unfortunate,” even though several suspects are known associates of a local BJP leader. Senior BJP officials have visited Dadri to defend the beef lynching, while a member of the National Coalition for Minorities has noted that the entire incident appears to have been planned. BJP responses to these attacks clearly demonstrate their lack of regard for—or even aggressive attempt to repress—religious minorities in India, in particular Muslims.
This is not a new trend. Narendra Modi himself was judged by many to have facilitated the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed up to 2,000 Muslims. Arguably, the most severe consequences for Modi were visa restrictions placed upon him by Western countries such as the United States and United Kingdom. No decisive actions were taken against him in India. Most appallingly, Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra notes,
Among the few people convicted was… a fanatic called Babu Bajrangi, who crowed to a journalist that he had slashed open with his sword the womb of a heavily pregnant woman, and claimed that Modi sheltered him after the riots and even changed three judges in order for him to be released on bail (Modi has not responded to these allegations).
The communalism these riots manifest continues to thrive today, for instance in the Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) riots in 2013, which killed almost 100 people. Even after the Minority Rights Group held the BJP responsible for incubating the fearful atmosphere between Hindus and religious minorities that caused the riot in Muzaffarnagar, the BJP has continued to divide Indians along religious lines. During regional elections in Uttar Pradesh, several BJP leaders suggested that Muslim men often commit “Love Jihad” by marrying Hindu women and then forcing them to convert to Islam.
It is clear that religious minorities are seen as a direct threat to the ruling party’s ideology. They have been the subject of vicious attacks by Hindu nationalists both before and during Modi’s rise to power. They are seen as everyday terrorists. Even as Modi claims to focus on economic development for all, he continues to depict Muslims as an enemy that will snatch affirmative action reservations from lower castes, which “must surely count as the most cynical use of identity politics.” When thousands of Muslims have been murdered under pogroms supported by the BJP, it is clear that minority rights along religious lines are no longer culturally autonomous or respected. The BJP fails to meet this consociational condition.
Linguistic minorities are under threat as well, though not to the same extent. The BJP government is accused of “saffronizing” education, or reforming it to reflect Hindu-nationalist ideals. Critics claim the government has imposed Sanskrit onto the three-language formula in public education, which was implemented initially to expand the use of languages apart from Hindi and English in the classroom, including South Indian, foreign and regional languages. By imposing Sanskrit (notably the language of ancient Hindu texts) as the third language, the BJP government limits the extent to which students can develop regional identities, or establish connections with South Indians (where BJP support is weaker) or foreigners.
Finally, Modi has remained largely silent with regard to women’s rights. Although there is a long-standing history of violence against women in India, Modi has not included the advancement of women’s rights in the ten-point plan he laid out when he came to power. Especially considering Modi is seen as an exceptionally vocal head of state on all issues, Monobina Gupta sees meaning in Modi’s silence,
So, when and where does Modi prefer silence to communication? Here are two telling examples that could be signifiers of deeper meaning. Not so long ago, two teenage girls were raped and hanged in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. In Meghalaya, a woman’s head was blown off by insurgents after they raped her. Somewhere on the outskirts of Mumbai, a woman bus conductor was stripped by a male commuter. Modi did not tweet about these ghastly incidents… the prime minister is powerless to speak on communal or gender violence because his landslide victory in the Hindi heartland and elsewhere, to a large extent, was propelled by communal polarization and the consolidation of the majority Hindu vote bank. The specter of 2002, which included unimaginable brutalities against women, and the facts of Hindu consolidation and repressed violence haunt Modi’s refusal to speak. By speaking on these issues—which he is not entirely free from—he might implicate himself in a past he tries constantly to escape. Therefore, the fact that he chooses to remain silent says a lot.
Though the vulnerable position of women in India is not a new issue, a rapid improvement in women’s rights in a country where the head of state refuses to defend—or even mention—women seems dubious.
As Monobina Gupta theorizes above, Modi’s silence on the issue may originate from his reliance upon a voter base that encourages communalism and male supremacy. As its voter base and membership is primarily North Indian, Hindu and male, they have a disproportionate representation in the central government, especially compared to Muslims and women. This thus visibly violates the consociational condition of proportionality in political representation.
However, as Pankaj Mishra astutely argues, it is hypocritical to claim that these infringements on minority rights represent an exclusively BJP phenomenon.
In India itself, the prostration before Mammon, bellicose nationalism, boorish anti-intellectualism, and fear and hatred of the weak predates Modi. It did not seem so brazen previously because the now supplanted Indian elite disguised their hegemony with what Edmund Burke called “pleasing illusions”: in this case, reverential invocations of Gandhi and Nehru, and of the noble “idea of India”. Thus, the Congress party, which first summoned the malign ghosts of Hindu supremacism in the 1980s and presided over the massacre of more than 3,000 Sikhs in 1984, could claim to represent secularism. And liberal intellectuals patronized by the regime could remain silent when Indian security forces in Kashmir filled up mass graves with dissenters to the idea of India, gang-raped with impunity, and stuck live wires into the penises of suspected militants. The rare protestor among Indian writers was scorned for straying from literature into political activism. TV anchors and columnists competed with each other in whipping up patriotic rage and hatred against various internal and external enemies of the idea of India. The “secular” nationalists of the ancient regime are now trying to disown their own legitimate children when they recoil fastidiously from the Hindu supremacists foaming at the mouth.
While communalism and government-approved violence existed before Modi, rights have nevertheless suffered veritable degeneration under the current government. When the Prime Minister fails to control or even condemn the spread of violence—much of which originates from his own party—it tacitly encourages the continuation of such trends. As other factions within the BJP wish to escalate anti-minority efforts such as the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, the internal ideological shift of the the ruling party from development to cultural “reform” may further threaten the position of minorities within India and the Indian government.
India’s “Democratic Soul”: Structural Mechanisms and Public Responses to BJP Rule
Representing the rise of the BJP as the death of Indian democracy grossly oversimplifies and underestimates Indian democracy and democratic ideals. Some of these values are exemplified by the structural robustness of linguistic federalism, public responses to BJP attempts to consolidate power and intra-party dissent.
From a structural perspective, India’s consociational state depends upon the maximal power the BJP can wield within the federal system. Currently, only eight of 31 state chief ministers are BJP politicians. Although the central government holds more power in India than in other federal systems, the State List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India provides 61 items over which the state level has exclusive authority, while the Concurrent List outlines another 52 items over which the central and regional governments have joint control. The Concurrent List includes land policy—which is of utmost importance to the 68 percent rural population—and affirmative action programs. The latter most pertinently determines (mainly caste and ethnic) minority representation in regional governments as well as their access to education and government employment. In some states, Muslim populations are granted reservations as well. As stated previously, Modi claimed during the Bihar elections that the rival coalition wanted to steal reservations from Hindu groups and transfer them to Muslims. This poignantly demonstrates the extent to which the reservation system may represent an obstacle to Modi’s consolidation of power.
Furthermore, although the BJP government has interfered in the three-language formula in public education, the autonomy of linguistic minorities remains relatively unaffected due to federalism. India adopted linguistic federalism in the 1950s, when Jawaharlal Nehru drew state lines according to linguistic groups. For instance, the state of Madras was divided into Tamil-speaking Tamil Nadu and Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh in 1953, which helped eliminate language as a source of political division. The creation of regions based on language thus bolsters the strength of regional governments against the attempt to saffronize education throughout India and guarantees the political representation of linguistic minorities.
Myron Weiner elaborates in his essay “The Indian Paradox: Violent Social Conflict and Democratic Politics” that the state government must be able to manage ethnic and religious conflicts on a local level. Otherwise, unrest may escalate to “confrontations between regional interests and the center,” which has increasingly been the case since the 1960s. The escalation of unrest threatens the consociational state of Indian democracy, as such conflict may encourage consolidation of power by the central government, which was the excuse Indira Gandhi used during “The Emergency” (1975-1977) to impose a quasi-dictatorship for 21 months (though it must be noted that the Prime Minister herself also ended this period of democratic suspension). Yet, relations between the BJP and state governments, and not only the capacities of individual state governments themselves to carry out consociational policies and prevent communal violence, determine the existence of cultural autonomy, proportional representation and minority rule. If the central government sees the administration of a regional government in opposition with its goals, it is more likely to attempt to assert control over that region.
So far, however, Indians have deftly countered efforts to consolidate BJP power. For instance, Biharis interpreted the communalist BJP campaign during the recent state elections—in which Modi and Shah relentlessly crusaded for the ejection of the incumbent left-wing coalition—as a threat to their regional sovereignty. Harish Khare notes,
Bihar also highlighted Narenda Modi’s single-minded preoccupation with the relentless accumulation of power. After Bihar, it would have been West Bengal, then Uttar Pradesh. The unspoken message was clear: Control the [upper house of the Parliament], become invincible, answerable to none, or may be, if at all, only to the [Hindu-nationalist] bosses. Bihar was invited to pay its democratic obeisance to the new Mughal. The invitation was spurned… to suggest that Modi would be Prime Minister for the next 10 years, the Indian people’s democratic soul became restless.
Thus, even in Bihar, ground zero for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Indians recognized the manipulative tactics Modi employed as he attempted to gain control over the state. To renowned Indian author Salman Rushdie, Bihari voters “proved that they are tolerant, inclusive and pluralistic. They have made it clear that they do not want to live in a Hindu fanatic country.”
The failure of the BJP during the elections in Bihar is part of a larger and historical trend in India. Apart from the large class of professionals who rely upon employment through democratic institutions and thus have a vested interest in the continued survival of Indian democracy, other Indians have tended to reject political groups that encroached on their autonomy. Currently, over 40 Indian literary figures have returned government awards from the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, in protest of heightened attacks on free speech under Modi. Historically, after The Emergency in 1977, the largely illiterate peasantry that had suffered the brunt of Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian politics ejected Gandhi and her party from power. Congress lost more than 200 seats in the Indian parliament it once held. One could thus interpret the BJP’s defeat in Bihar as demonstrative the public’s intolerance of any attempts to reduce Indian democracy to a Hindu-nationalist monarchy, especially in a nation as heterogeneous and “argumentative” as India.
Even within the BJP there has been an outcry over the party’s anti-democratic organizational structure. After the Bihar elections, the BJP old guard published a statement berating the new, “emasculated” party “forced to kow-tow to a handful” whose “consensual character has been destroyed,” a clear reference to the Modi-Shah partnership. Although a consensual party leadership would plausibly attempt to expand Hindu nationalism and not development policies, the old guard’s “banner of revolt” may demonstrate the incompatibility of—or at least difficulty to reconcile—religious fundamentalism and economic development for all citizens, including minorities.
The implications of BJP rule on consociational government in India are varied and complex. While a platform of development could transform the BJP into the new “party of consensus,” its long-standing Hindu nationalist ideals—to which it has returned in recent months—threaten to prevent the representation of a broad range of constituencies within the party. As Modi continues to expand exclusionary Hindu-nationalist policies for the sake of appeasing factions within the BJP, he jeopardizes the rights of linguistic and religious minorities, in addition to the rights of women. However, linguistic federalism, state rights and long-standing democratic ideals restrict the extent to which Modi can exert absolute control over Indian politics and society.
Ultimately, the state of consociationalism in India depends upon how Narendra Modi and the BJP react to their defeat in Bihar. If Modi understands that he was not “elected to an all-powerful presidency” and decides to re-shift his focus to development for all, the majority BJP government could undertake swift and expansive reforms at the expense of traditional Hindu-nationalist aspirations. However, were the current path to communalism to continue for the sake of appeasing right-wing political interests, Modi’s government should expect to encounter the same difficulties that previous administrations failed to foresee—a long-standing popular tradition of resistance to non-democratic—and anti-consociational—ideals. The BJP must rally behind the platform of development that brought it to power, or else acknowledge its defeat.
Adam Willems (’17) is a junior in Pierson College.
Aradhak, Purusharth. “Dadri Lynching: Meat in Akhlaq’s Fridge Was Mutton, Not Beef” The Times of India. Times Group, 9 Oct. 2015.
Banerjee, Abhijit, and Lakshmi Iyer. “History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India.”American Economic Review 95.4 (2005): 1190-213.
“BJP Reaches India’s Minority Voters as the Party’s Popularity Soars.” The Daily Mail India. May 17, 2014.
“Fact-finding Mission: Dadri Lynching Was Not Spontaneous, Says NCM Member.” The Indian Express. The Express Group, 21 Oct. 2015.
Gupta, Monobina. “Narendra Modi’s Unsettling Silence on the Disturbing Events of the past Month.” The Caravan. Delhi Press, 30 June 2014.
“In Salvo Against Modi, BJP Veterans Demand Accountability for Bihar Defeat.” The Wire. Delhi Press, 10 Nov. 2015.
Jaffrelot, Christophe. “Communal Riots in Gujarat: The State at Risk?” Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics (2003): 16.
Jaffrelot, Christophe. “Gujarat Elections: The Sub-Text of Modi’s ‘Hattrick’–High Tech Populism and the ‘Neo-middle Class'” Studies in Indian Politics, 2013, 79-95.
Jain, Bharti. “Government Releases Data of Riot Victims Identifying Religion.”The Times of India. Times Group, 24 Sept. 2013.
Katyal, Anita. “BJP Old Guard Fix Spotlight on Party’s New Autocratic Culture but Can They Force Real Change?” Scroll.inrsident of Dadi, Uttar Pradesh, o consolidation of power a. theage of Dadri in ere “uch as thepart of a coalition at the centre . 11 Nov. 2015.
Khare, Harish. “The Modi Presidency Is Over.” The Wire. 9 Nov. 2015.
Kumar, Sanjay. “India’s Shame: Women’s Rights.” The Diplomat. 6 June 2014.
Lijphart, Arend. “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation.” The American Political Science Review 90, no. 2 (1996): 258. Accessed February 15, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2082883, 264.
Mishra, Pankaj. “Narendra Modi: The Divisive Manipulator Who Charmed the World.” The Guardian. 9 Nov. 2015.
Mukherji, Anahita. “Report by Minority Rights Group Paints BJP Black.” The Times of India. Times Group, 3 July 2013.
Naqvi, Saba. “Among the Modi Government’s Main Challenges – a Deficit of Both Trust and Talent.” Scroll.in. 11 Nov. 2015.
“Now, BJP Regrets Raking up Love Jihad.” The Hindu. August 27, 2014.
Roy, Indirajit. “Why Development in Bihar Is About Social Justice.” The Wire. Delhi Press, 9 Nov. 2015.
“Rural Population (% of Total Population).” The World Bank.
Singh Bal, Hartosh. “Radical Shift: The Sangh’s Loosening Grip on Its Fringe Elements.” The Caravan. Delhi Press, 1 Nov. 2015.
“Smriti Says Sanskrit Will Be Optional, but KV Schools Have Nothing Else to Offer.” FirstPost India. 24 Nov. 2014.
Tatke, Sukhada. “Salman Rushdie on the Bihar Results, Twitter Trolls and India as a Hindu Nation.” Scroll.in. 11 Nov. 2015.
“Union Council of Ministers.” National Portal of India. February 4, 2015.
Venu, MK. “Modi Is Fighting Not Just to Win Bihar But to Retain Full Control of the BJP.” The Wire. 28 Oct. 2015.
Weiner, Myron. The Indian Paradox: Essays in Indian Politics. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1989, 32.
 “BJP Reaches India’s Minority Voters as the Party’s Popularity Soars.” The Daily Mail India. May 17, 2014.
 Lijphart, Arend. “The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Consociational Interpretation.” The American Political Science Review 90, no. 2 (1996): 258. Accessed February 15, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2082883, 264.
 Singh Bal, Hartosh. “Radical Shift: The Sangh’s Loosening Grip on Its Fringe Elements.” The Caravan. Delhi Press, 1 Nov. 2015.
 Lijphart, 261.
 Weiner, Myron. The Indian Paradox: Essays in Indian Politics. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1989, 32.
 Lijphart., 264.
 “Union Council of Ministers.” National Portal of India. February 4, 2015.
 Of these four ministers, one belongs to the controversial Shiv Sena, another to the far-right Shiromani Akali Dal
 “BJP Minority Voters.”
 Jaffrelot, Christophe. “Gujarat Elections: The Sub-Text of Modi’s ‘Hattrick’–High Tech Populism and the ‘Neo-middle Class'” Studies in Indian Politics, 2013, 79-95.
 Naqvi, Saba. “Among the Modi Government’s Main Challenges – a Deficit of Both Trust and Talent.” Scroll.in. 11 Nov. 2015.
 Khare, Harish. “The Modi Presidency Is Over.” The Wire. 9 Nov. 2015.
 Katyal, Anita. “BJP Old Guard Fix Spotlight on Party’s New Autocratic Culture but Can They Force Real Change?” Scroll.inrsident of Dadi, Uttar Pradesh, o consolidation of power a. theage of Dadri in ere “uch as thepart of a coalition at the centre . 11 Nov. 2015.rsident of Dadi, Uttar Pradesh, o consolidation of power a. theage of Dadri in ere “uch as thepart of a coalition at the centre
 “Modi Main Challenges.”
 Venu, MK. “Modi Is Fighting Not Just to Win Bihar But to Retain Full Control of the BJP.” The Wire. 28 Oct. 2015.
 Banerjee, Abhijit, and Lakshmi Iyer. “History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India.”American Economic Review 95.4 (2005): 1190-213.
 “Radical Shift.”
 “Modi Is Fighting.”
 “Radical Shift.”
 Aradhak, Purusharth. “Dadri Lynching: Meat in Akhlaq’s Fridge Was Mutton, Not Beef” The Times of India. Times Group, 9 Oct. 2015.
 Though most Hindus do not consume beef, many practicing Hindus, for instance in Kerala, do consume beef.
 “Radical Shift.”
 “Fact-finding Mission: Dadri Lynching Was Not Spontaneous, Says NCM Member.” The Indian Express. The Express Group, 21 Oct. 2015.
 Jaffrelot, Christophe. “Communal Riots in Gujarat: The State at Risk?” Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics (2003): 16.
 Mishra, Pankaj. “Narendra Modi: The Divisive Manipulator Who Charmed the World.” The Guardian. 9 Nov. 2015.
 Jain, Bharti. “Government Releases Data of Riot Victims Identifying Religion.”The Times of India. Times Group, 24 Sept. 2013.
 Mukherji, Anahita. “Report by Minority Rights Group Paints BJP Black.” The Times of India. Times Group, 3 July 2013.
 “Now, BJP Regrets Raking up Love Jihad.” The Hindu. August 27, 2014.
 Roy, Indirajit. “Why Development in Bihar Is About Social Justice.” The Wire. Delhi Press, 9 Nov. 2015.
 “Smriti Says Sanskrit Will Be Optional, but KV Schools Have Nothing Else to Offer.” FirstPost India. 24 Nov. 2014.
 Kumar, Sanjay. “India’s Shame: Women’s Rights.” The Diplomat. 6 June 2014.
 Gupta, Monobina. “Narendra Modi’s Unsettling Silence on the Disturbing Events of the past Month.” The Caravan. Delhi Press, 30 June 2014.
 “Union Council of Ministers.” National Portal of India.
 “The Divisive Manipulator.”
 “Rural Population (% of Total Population).” The World Bank.
 Lijphart, 260.
 Weiner, 33.
 Ibid., 22.
 “Modi Presidency Over.”
 Tatke, Sukhada. “Salman Rushdie on the Bihar Results, Twitter Trolls and India as a Hindu Nation.” Scroll.in. 11 Nov. 2015.
 Weiner, 33.
 “The Divisive Manipulator.”
 “Modi Presidency Over.”
 “In Salvo Against Modi, BJP Veterans Demand Accountability for Bihar Defeat.” The Wire. Delhi Press, 10 Nov. 2015.
 “BJP Old Guard.”
 “Modi Presidency Over.”