As India commemorates the 70th anniversary of its Republic Day, the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950, on January 26th, we sat down with researcher Hari Prasad and journalist-academic Aman Madan to talk about the recent waves of protests throughout India opposing the ruling BJP’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens which threatens to disenfranchise millions of Indians, particularly Muslims.
What are the CAA and the NRC? Who are Modi and his BJP followers and what is Hindutva? What differentiates these protests from previous ones? What are some of the underlying economic pressures?
This conversation is intended to inform those who only vaguely know about what’s been going on in India since the BJP took power and is the first of hopefully many more to come to discuss the threats and opportunities facing the world’s largest democracy.
After the episode, Hari wanted to add something he didn’t have time to say so we’re pasting it below:
“When I was in India this past fall, I met up with a fellow researcher based in Delhi. As we were talking about the state of India (and also the state of South Asia today), I expressed my frustrations with how we witnessed so many mass movements in democracies and police states, like the large scale protests in the Middle East and elsewhere, but that there hasn’t been a similar response in South Asia. What he replied stuck with me. He said, “Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, South Asians, people underestimate our capacity to suffer through things. Everybody knows how bad the problems here are, how bad things are. We suffered through centuries of horrific British rule, and still it took us so long to organize and get together. Desis would rather suffer through something and wait for someone else to take responsibility (like a strongman) to do it for us, don’t underestimate our capacity to suffer”.
- Hari’s website, including pieces co-written with Aman.
Even more info via “Asia Art Tours” podcast episodes: