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South Asia

Narendra Modi’s Dark Vision of a New India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a “New India” poses a danger to Muslims and other minorities, free speech, and academic inquiry in India.

Narendra Modi Hindutva BJP

As India’s election results are set to be announced, host Arif Rafiq speaks with Rana Ayyub, an investigative journalist, and Audrey Truschke, a professor of South Asian history, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a “New India” and the danger it poses to Muslims and other minorities, free speech, and academic inquiry in India.

This episode takes a deep dive into the question of who runs India today. Ayyub provides insights into the ideas, people, and networks that propelled Modi to power—including his right-hand man Amit Shah and the shadowy extremist group, the RSS. Truschke addresses the RSS’s war against history—both in producing an imaginary view of the past featuring “Muslim” villains and “Hindu” victims as well in suppressing scholarship on India’s history.

Ayyub and Truschke also assess how five years of BJP rule have impacted India and what another five years of it mean for India. And both guests detail the personal threats they’ve faced as a result of speaking out against India’s growing intolerance.

Guests:

Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub), investigative journalist and author of “The Gujarat Files”

Audrey Truschke (@AudreyTruschke), assistant professor of South Asian history, Rutgers University

Listen:

Google Play Music | iTunes | Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Resources:

Arif Rafiq, “Modi’s Sacred Cows,” Foreign Policy, October 9, 2015

Arif Rafiq, “Beware the emerging ‘New India,'” TRT World, July 19, 2017

Arif Rafiq, “India’s secularism under threat,” TRT World, January 9, 2018

Rana Ayyub, “You know India’s democracy is broken when millions wait for election results in fear.” Washington Post, May 15, 2019

Siobhan O’Grady, “An Indian journalist has been trolled for years. Now U.N. experts say her life could be at risk.” Washington Post, May 26, 2018

Arif Rafiq is the editor of Globely News and host of The Pivot podcast. He's contributed to publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, and has appeared on broadcast outlets such as Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Rafiq is also a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

Mohan Bhagwat is the leader of the Hindutva extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organization. (Image Credit: Vishal Dutta/Flickr) Mohan Bhagwat is the leader of the Hindutva extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organization. (Image Credit: Vishal Dutta/Flickr)

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