August 13, 2018

From Nehru’s ‘idea of India’ to Modi’s ‘new India’

Resident Senior Fellow, Vivek Dehejia writes in Mint on why it seems plaubisble that if Modi came back to power next year, he would focus more on the cultural rather than economic dimension of policy. Excerpts below:

 

"On Independence Day, 15 August 2014, Rupa Subramanya and I had written a blog post (India’s Postcolonial Moment) in which we argued that with the advent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s postcolonial moment had arrived. We had in mind both the literal—first prime minister born after independence, leading a political party created after independence—and, more importantly, the metaphorical—a farewell to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “idea of India”, which was both rooted intellectually in the colonial past and whose articulation shaped the elite-driven decades immediately following the emancipation from colonial rule.

 

The Nehruvian conception involved three fundamental ideas in three key issue areas: socialism (economic policy); non-alignment (foreign policy); and secularism (social policy). Of this tripod, the first two elements had been knocked away well before Modi: socialism, by economic liberalization beginning in 1991 under then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and continued by successive governments of various ideological persuasions; and non-alignment, inevitably following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and then more fully after the embrace of the US under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in the late 1990s. Indeed, while the Manmohan Singh government did little, if anything, to further economic reform during its 10-year reign from 2004-14, the India-US civil nuclear accord of 2008 marked the acme of India’s explicit tilt towards the US."

 

Read the full article here.

Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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