Modi's India: The Age of Intolerance
We at Index have been keeping an eye on India under Narendra Modi ever since he was elected to the office of prime minister in 2014. We have written on the law to make standing for the national anthem mandatory in cinemas, for example, and written on women put online for “auction” and on Muslim butchers too afraid to advertise beef. It was not until a tip-off came in November though that we took a much closer look. We were told about a long-time TV presenter who was becoming a lone critical voice. They feared for their job. Did we want to be put in touch? We said yes, only they were too scared to talk on the record. Then they lost their job and didn’t want to talk at all. This whiff of a story was the spark that turned into a flame and from it our special report. We ascertained that on every key marker of a democracy Modi’s India fails. The press, once vibrant, is being strangled; the judiciary is no longer independent; laws have been amended to throw protesters in jail; opposition figures are harassed; minorities live in fear. Statues of Modi go up, ancient mosques come down. A hyper form of ethno-nationalism that we’d more associate with interwar Europe is the doctrine of the land. There is no room for tolerance. Beyond our special report we publish an essay from Nariman Dzhelyal, who is the leader of the Crimean Tatars, written from his prison cell. Celebrated Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov introduces Dzhelyal and explains why he is such a formidable character. The academic and author Kerry Brown wades into the contentious issue of whether we should ban Confucius Institutes, while Jo-Ann Mort talks about the inventive tactics used by US organisations to fight abortion bans. Finally, Martin Bright reminds us of those Afghan journalists still living under Taliban rule. It’s easy for the world to move on to the next disaster, the next big story and that is why Index exists – to not forget.


Salil Tripathi
Journalist, author and editor
Lijia Zhang
Nariman Dzhelal
Leader of the Crimean Tatars


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