Streams

Fighting Corruption in India's Unruly Democracy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A supporter takes a picture of a map of India made of flowers with a picture of BJP leader Narendra Modi on it at the party's headquarters on May 16, 2014 in Ahmedabad, India. A supporter takes a picture of a map of India made of flowers with a picture of BJP leader Narendra Modi on it at the party's headquarters on May 16, 2014 in Ahmedabad, India. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Simon Denyer, former Indian bureau chief for the Washington Post, looks at the characters that are agitating for change in India. He discusses the country's most troublesome issues—from corruption to populist politics, from gender relations to education, analyzes the India's economic malaise, its growing middle class, and its politics. In Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India's Unruly Democracy Denyer explores the battle between the deep-rooted system of graft and patronage and the forces demanding change and supporting democracy.

Rogue Elephant by Simon Denyer
Rogue Elephant by Simon Denyer

 

Guests:

Simon Denyer

Comments [3]

MV from Long Island, NY

I am compelled to correct the inaccuracies of Lalit Bagai. It's clear from Bagai's post that this person is unaware of Kerala's actual history. This person stated thus : "For information of readers most Christians and Muslims are former lower class Hindus who converted in order to better their lives." Bagai might want to do some research. Even a simple glance at Wikipedia could help Bagai understand that Kerala has had shipping and maritime trade links with Africa and the Mediterranean that stretch back over a millennium. Coins with the faces of Roman emperors have been dug up in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. With trade also came migration, including the immigration of groups fleeing religious persecution. This is why Kerala has provided haven for both Christian and Jewish groups throughout the centuries. There is strong archeological evidence that shows that Kerala's Christian community consists of several waves of migrants who settled on the Malabar Coast and brought their Middle Eastern Christianity with them. These groups were welcomed by the kings of the time, who gave them official sanction as their own distinct caste with property and commercial trading rights. Of course, over the centuries, the Christians and Muslims who reached Kerala's shores did intermarry with the local population. But intermarriage is not the same thing as the situation which Bagai describes, where the Syrian Catholic and Syriac Orthodox churches of modern Kerala consist of low-caste Hindus who simply converted to avoid discrimination and poverty. If anything, the reason that the Syriac Christian community has thrived in Kerala while all but disappearing in other regions, is because Kerala was and still is a place of unusual religious tolerance.

Jul. 25 2014 08:08 AM
lalit bagai from kalundborg,danmark

Assumeing ist genaration Indian comes from the state of Kerala, I have following comments. Kerala has two poltical parties controlled by bigoted
Christians and Muslims. They have joined up with Congress a corrupt party run by the Gandhi family to form the government. I can understand that he is worried about the new nationalist government under PM Modi- For information of readers most Christians and Muslims are former lower class Hindus who converted in order to better their lives. No one can blame them for this- However as happens in case of converts they start to hate their former community,and become very bigoted.This has happened with muslims across the world,who converted from their former religion to islam.

Foreign governments are now haveing a rethink about PM Mr Modi- Your readers can get an idea by reading American newspapers.Some Economists now forecast that he will bring forth many reforms, cut down on red tape and corruption.Most Indian nationalists- support him- Most Muslims and Christians oppose him- They have allways supported corrupt parties who made policies ostensibely to give them special favours. None of these helped Muslims, who remain the most backward community in all respects .

Hindu Indians are doing well in USA- They are open minded and get along with fellow Americans. Most of them are strong supporters of Mr Modi.

Jul. 24 2014 04:19 PM
Deen from Brooklyn, NY

I'm first generation Indian-American.

There are already reports from Kerala that criticism of Modi by university students has met with arrest, or in some cases, strong-armed pressure to remove those criticisms from sites like FB. If these reports bear out, that's fascism.

From what I understand, this is a man who champions the "economy" -- but the stratification of wealth, not someone who will help the growing poor. And he is dangerous to the many non-Hindus in India.

Jul. 24 2014 12:29 PM

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