September 10, 2019 7:00 pm Tuesday
IS INDIA A SECULAR COUNTRY? Tue Sep 10, 7:00 PM
Journalist and commentator Kapil Komireddi will discuss his critically acclaimed new book, Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India, with Mohan Guruswamy and Sridala Swami.
Under Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, India has undergone the most total transformation since 1991. The ‘invisible threads’ Nehru said held together an improbable union divided by language, religion and ethnicity have snapped under the burden of Modi’s Hindu-supremacist rule.
In this blistering critique of post-Independence India from Nehru to Modi, Komireddi charts the unsound course of Indian nationalism: its cowardly concessions to the Hindu right, convenient distortions of India’s past and demeaning bribes to India’s minorities. He argues that the missteps of the nation’s founders, the mistakes of Nehru, the betrayals of his daughter and her sons, the anti-democratic fetish for technocracy inaugurated by Narasimha Rao and carried to the extremes by Manmohan Singh—all of them laid down the road on which Hindu nationalists rode to absolute power.
Hindu bigotry, ennobled under Modi as a healthy form of self-assertion, has reopened old fissures that threaten to devour India’s hard-won unity. If secularists fail to reclaim the republic from Hindu nationalists, Komireddi argues, India will become Pakistan by another name. A short history of the modern Indian nation, Malevolent Republic is also an impassioned plea for India’s reclamation.
Kapil will be joined in conversation with Mohan Guruswamy, founder and chairman of the Guruswamy Centre, and poet Sridala Swami.
Praise for Malevolent Republic:
‘In precise and sharp language Malevolent Republic takes readers on a terrifying and yet illuminating journey through the rapidly transforming political, social and religious landscape of Modi’s India.’ — Times Literary Supplement