September 25, 2022

Great Indian Mutiny

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India, 75 years after independence | Comment

On August 15, India celebrated its 75th year of independence from the British Empire. A phenomenon that has gone relatively unnoticed in Europe – apart from the United Kingdom, for obvious reasons – but it vividly illustrates the moment in which the ancient South Asian nation finds itself. For several weeks, citizens prepared for the celebration and increased advertising and commercial offers linked to this date. Government of Narendra Modi Seizing the opportunity to launch a campaign of national interest, the focus shifted Tiranga – Tricolor flag with orange, white and green wheel Dharma Among-. All Indian citizens were invited to display it in their homes, shops and vehicles with the aim of flying at least 200 million flags across the country. A few days after the anniversary, the Tiranga It is ubiquitous on the streets of the Indian capital. Beyond this exercise of symbolic patriotism, many observe, the current political climate is very different from that of 1947, even after Jawaharlal Nehru left the country for the British. Until 1997, 50 years of independence were celebrated.

This is not the first time he has ruled Bharatiya Janata Party (People’s Party of India). However, critics argue that because it is a right-wing Hindu party He won the 2014 elections with Modi. Respect for religious and ethnic pluralism, the founding blueprint of a democratic and secular India, is increasingly being questioned. The country has consistently fallen in recent years on international indicators of democratic quality, and many global observers have condemned the progressive erosion of civil liberties. and increasing marginalization of Muslim and Christian minorities. As well as Dalits (traditionally, untouchables) and adivasis (tribal people). Salman Rushdie, a few days ago Attacked in New York PEN joined 101 other signatories on behalf of America in a letter to India’s new president, Drupadi Murmu, published on August 15.

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According to French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, in recent years, India has moved towards a new type of governance. ethnic democracy, In which all citizens retain the right to vote, but institutions are modified to favor the Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. For India analyst Parsa Ventakteshwar Rao Jr., Modi’s party has embraced patriotism as part of its ideology; “This patriotism is not said to be a Hindu patriotism.” The desire for a racially and culturally homogenous society and the perception of minorities as a threat goes back to the Hindutva ideology conceived at the same time as European fascism. If the BJP has been exploiting the religious tensions in the country for some time, many analysts say Modi is exceptionally good at channeling. The frustration of millions of Indians who were let down by the educated elite In Western values ​​that have largely ruled the country since independence. Despite its socialist roots, corruption and a neoliberal push by the historic Congress Party in the 1990s are on the list of grievances. But even among enlightened elites with supposedly liberal views, there is a deep-rooted contempt for the humbler strata. Generations of progressive Indian politicians have been conspicuous by their lack of genuine political will to tackle the brutal material and social inequality that has plagued the country. As journalist Anil Padmanabhan points out, 75 years after the country’s independence, “some of the socio-economic challenges inherited from the British are still outstanding; To mention a few: severe malnutrition among children under the age of five, open defecation, inadequate schools and a non-existent hospital system.”

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Perhaps not surprising in a process similar to what we see in other countries. Modi’s National Populist Speech A commitment to prove its own essence beyond past and present foreign impositions and to make India a developed nation by the centenary of independence in 2047 has penetrated wide sections of the population. Beyond the concrete results of their principles For the same majority.

In a country of 1,380 million people, where 10% hold 77% of the wealth, according to Oxfam, the challenge of making it a more egalitarian developed society is enormous. But if the past has taught us anything, it is that the great social developments of a nation enable all citizens, without distinction, to participate fully in its public and economic life.

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