A constellation of Hindu fundamentalist organizations are threatening to shatter the image India has projected of being a secular state. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP, is the political expression of Hindutva, right-wing Hindu nationalist ideology. It is poised to be the dominant party in what is often called the world’s largest democracy. The man likely to be India’s next prime minister is Narendra Modi. As Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, he was in office in 2002 when there was a notorious massacre of Muslims. Modi has denied any responsibility. Washington was not convinced of his innocence and when he attempted to visit the U.S. in 2005 his visa request was turned down. But things may be changing with the political winds. Nancy Powell, the U.S. ambassador to India, recently met with Modi, signaling a shift in Washington’s policy.
About the speakers:
Rahul Mahajan, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of The New Crusade and Full Spectrum Dominance.
Snehal Shingavi is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He won the Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. He has published articles in several journals including International Socialist Review.