News & Updates

Is India the New Jim Crow?

Billions of people across more than sixty countries will head to the polls in 2024, making it a record year for global elections. Among the most consequential of these will be India’s national election this spring. Will Narendra Modi and the BJP sail to a third term in power, despite their increasingly heavy-handed, illiberal rule?

In the new issue of the Journal of Democracy, Ashutosh Varshney and Connor Staggs examine the parallels between India today and the American South under Jim Crow, while Rahul Mukherji identifies an opportunity for India’s opposition amid the current oppression—if they can seize it.

To see what other experts have to say about India under the BJP, read more of the Journal of Democracy’s recent coverage:

Why India’s Democracy Is Dying
India’s government maintains the trappings of democracy but increasingly harasses the opposition, attacks minorities, and stifles dissent. It can still reverse course, but the damage is mounting.
By Maya Tudor

The Authoritarian Roots of India’s Democracy
To say that Indian democracy is backsliding misunderstands the country’s history and the challenges it faces: A certain authoritarianism is embedded in India’s constitution and political structures.
By Tripurdaman Singh

Modi’s Undeclared Emergency
Since the beginning of the second Modi government, an emboldened BJP has launched a steady, comprehensive, and unprecedented attack on civil liberties, personal rights, and free speech across India.
By Šumit Ganguly

The Exaggerated Death of Indian Democracy
Politics under the BJP may be a break from the past. But attempts to reduce the country’s present condition to democratic backsliding misunderstands the moment and is an injustice to India’s journey as a democracy.
By Rahul Verma

Why India’s Political Elites Are to Blame
India has a long history of elites acting undemocratically. But the current government’s attacks on the media, arrests of opposition, and discriminatory laws are deeper and more alarming.
By Vineeta Yadav

How India’s Ruling Party Erodes Democracy
The BJP has won two successive national elections, but it refuses to respect the rights of Muslims. Is democracy on a collision course with liberalism?
By Ashutosh Varshney

The Three Faces of the Indian State
The rise of an ethnic, absolute, and opaque state is changing India’s constitutional order in momentous and disturbing ways.
By Madhav Khosla and Milan Vaishnav

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Image credit: Chandradeep Kumar/ The India Today Group via Getty Images