New article: “India at 70”

In a new article for Foreign Affairs, Madhav Khosla and I look at India’s seven decades of experience as a functioning democracy. While India has mastered democracy during elections, it is the state of democracy between elections that is a more concerning. Here’s a snippet:

But the Indian democratic experiment is marred by a central flaw. Indian democracy has worked well during elections. But—as the historian Ramachandra Guha has noted—democracy between elections is much less robust. It is commonplace to observe that democracy is not just about voting, and it is in this respect that modern India is coming up short. The Indian democratic project is held back, in short, by ineffectual governance and a patchy record on civil liberties.

You can read the full piece here.

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New piece: India’s Opposition Heads for the Hills

I have a new piece, published online by Foreign Affairs, that looks at the state of Indian politics in the aftermath of the dramatic political events in Bihar. Here’s a snippet:

The upheaval is only the latest signal that the BJP is the new center of political gravity in a country long controlled by the storied Nehru-Gandhi dynasty of the Congress Party. The BJP not only occupies prime position for the country’s next general election—scheduled for 2019—but it is also moving at breakneck speed to cement its hold over powerful state governments. Although the BJP government’s gathering strength signals policy stability and political consolidation, it simultaneously raises concerns about the health of India’s democratic checks and balances.

You can read the entire article here.