Although India has gained global recognition for its burgeoning economy and contributions towards various global issues like climate change and geopolitics, its democratic values have been criticized due to the country’s growing disregard for basic freedoms. Lydia Polyreen examines this situation in The New York Times. Here is an excerpt:
When I moved to New Delhi in 2009 to work as a foreign correspondent, there was already a decade’s worth of magazine covers heralding the inevitable, just-around-the-corner but not-quite-yet-here rise of India to the top table of the global order and its role as a democratic counterweight to China. Usually they included an elephant or perhaps a tiger or a woman in a shimmering sari. The messy problems of multiethnic democracy, a tangled bureaucracy shot through with corruption, the great difficulty of dragging hundreds of millions of people out of poverty — these would all be overcome through ingenuity, technology and India’s relentless spirit of progress. The cyclical nature of these magazine covers brought to mind the famous quip about Brazil: India was the country of the future and always would be.
But now it appears that the time has finally arrived: India is indeed the nation of the moment. It is a critical player in just about every major issue facing the planet. Its economy is now bigger than that of the country that colonized it, making it the fifth largest in the world. It is expected to outrank China in population this year, if it hasn’t already. The Ukraine crisis has shown how desperately great powers around the world want to count on it as an ally. There will be no successful solution to climate change without India. It holds the presidency of the Group of 20, and its summit in Delhi this year promises to be a major moment on the global stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apple reportedly plans to make up to a quarter of its iPhones in India — a huge endorsement of the country’s growing technology manufacturing prowess. India was the toast of the Davos World Economic Forum this year; the writer Fareed Zakaria declared that it “might be the most optimistic country in the world right now.”
So it is perhaps unsurprising that a new British documentary that chronicles one of the most violent chapters of India’s post independence history, a chapter in which Modi plays a central role, has been welcomed by India’s government like a skunk at a garden party.
Read the full article here.