Monday, May 19, 2014

Hindu Nationalist Success in India Can Ultimately Strengthen a Democratic, Secular State

I am hopeful about the election of the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, by a landslide in India.
Some worry that the Modi government will be anti-Muslim.  This a legitimate concern.

Nonetheless, I believe that democratically elected power is good for religious parties, in the medium run.  It makes them moderate their more extreme 'us vs. them' positions.  I had the same hopes for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, and lament that they were overthrown in a military coup before they could begin to feel the real effects of democracy.

I also think the Congress Party has been harmed by becoming a family dynasty, and that it has gotten away with deep and wide corruption for decades.  It is time for the Gandhis to retire from politics, and for a chastened new generation of Congress leaders to rise up and make Congress a truly competitive, and more honest, democratic party.  I would particularly like to see Congress make 'India for all' their central theme, which will moderate the majority-tyranny impulses within the BJP.

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