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Monday, May 23, 2022

Ashutosh Varshney

The writer is Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences at Brown University, where he also directs the Center for Contemporary South Asia at the Watson Institute. He is a contributing editor for The Indian Express.

Communal violence is not new to India. But something is different now
Sun, Apr 24, 2022

Ashutosh Varshney writes: Processions rarely connected to riots are now being used for creating them. The religious neutrality of the government in several states is rapidly eroding

Electoral democracy vs constitutional democracy: Post-poll lessons
Sat, Mar 12, 2022

Ashutosh Varshney writes: Though minority rights are enshrined in India’s Constitution, election victories can now be used to create laws, or government policies that begin to attack precisely those rights.

In pursuing his imperial ambition, Putin underestimated Ukrainian nationalism
Sat, Mar 05, 2022

Ashutosh Varshney writes: What we are witnessing today is a full-blown national rebellion against a mighty neighbour bent upon bullying and subjugating

‘Pakistan has not improved, but India has deteriorated’: writer Salman Rushdie
Sun, Dec 05, 2021

Writer Salman Rushdie on locating himself through his novels, Pakistan’s strategic importance to the Taliban and why the religious imagination is unappealing to him

Jim Crow Hindutva
Wed, Oct 20, 2021

Ashutosh Varshney writes: The politics of Hindu nationalists is threatening to create a Jim Crow India in BJP-ruled territories. What race was to the American South, ethnicised religion is to Hindu nationalists

Understanding the foreign policy doctrine of the Biden era
Tue, Sep 07, 2021

Ashutosh Varshney writes: Democracy and human rights will continue to be key drivers, but economic tools and diplomacy will be the main methods for achieving these goals, not military power.

What does it mean to be Indian?
Mon, Jul 26, 2021

Ashutosh Varshney writes: A definition centred on being Hindu and Hindi-speaking threatens to override a superordinate civic identity underlined by the Constitution.

Will the electorate hold the BJP government responsible for the suffering during the pandemic?
Thu, Jun 24, 2021

Ashutosh Varshney, Amit Ahuja write: Whether or not a democratic government can bring joy and happiness, one of its key responsibilities is to prevent mass suffering, or alleviate its severity.

The link between great power and great suffering — from Mao’s China to Modi’s India
Thu, May 06, 2021

Mao was unmoved by the mass suffering caused by The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution because, for him, it was superseded by national glory. Something similar is playing out in India

India’s democratic exceptionalism is now withering away. The impact is also external
Tue, Feb 23, 2021

A democracy which speaks with one voice, which elevates citizen duties over citizen rights, which privileges obedience over freedom, which uses fear to instil ideological uniformity, which weakens checks on executive power, is a contradiction in terms.

When history is written, US courts may be singled out for protecting nation’s election integrity
Sat, Jan 09, 2021

Ashutosh Varshney writes: When the history of this period is written, America’s courts might be singled out as the institution that protected the nation’s election integrity.

Govt needs to ready solutions that will facilitate agrarian transition without hurting farmers
Wed, Dec 16, 2020

While the economics of the three reforms is not faultless, let us note that some of the proposed steps go in the right direction.

US Election 2020 shows a deeply divided nation
Fri, Nov 06, 2020

Ashutosh Varshney writes: Donald Trump's rise was a negation of egalitarian trends of five decades. He has 48 per cent of popular vote.

Unless Joe Biden wins big, America stares at a constitutional crisis
Fri, Oct 30, 2020

If Trump is ahead on November 3, legal and political manoeuvres are quite possible. Only a Biden victory that night, not one after the full count, can preempt such possibilities.

Institutional oddities of US polity mean Trump could win an election he lost
Mon, Oct 05, 2020

In Trump’s America, dog whistles have become bull horns. Those groups that wish to preempt a dystopia have a huge task ahead of them. How Trump’s illness will affect the emerging lines of the political battle is unpredictable at this stage.

The black part of Kamala Harris’s identity is bound to be bigger, but the Indian part will not be suppressed
Thu, Aug 20, 2020

The logic of demography and identity, an inescapable part of democratic politics, shows why the Kamala Harris candidacy is generating excitement. It is aimed at a multiracial America. It is a 21st century American reality Trump is trying to suppress.

Hindu nationalism, White supremacism threaten to morally impoverish the two democracies
Mon, Jul 06, 2020

After the mid 20th century, a democracy is not a proper democracy unless it safeguards minorities. And if the minorities are also poor, the protection becomes even more necessary.

It is not simply the death of a black man, but yet another moment of truth for America
Wed, Jun 03, 2020

In a country claiming to be the first in the world to be founded on equality, why have black lives been so cheap? Can black Americans ever be treated with equality and dignity, instead of being brutalised?

The new capitalism: In the foreseeable future, politics will drive economic policies, not market-based rationality
Mon, May 04, 2020

We should not only expect that labour flows will now be more strictly regulated than before. But also more than ever before in recent decades, Western investors will also have to factor in political risks in their investment decision-making.

How we define and categorise the Delhi violence matters
Mon, Mar 02, 2020

India’s citizenry is well and truly into a battle for constitutional values, which must be fought, most of all, with non-violent determination and vigour.

If Modi government violently cracks down, anti-CAA protests will engulf more of India
Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Centre faces classic dilemma civil disobedience unfailingly poses: Whether or not it cracks down, protests will grow

Recent exclusionary steps can only bring India’s international image down
Mon, Dec 16, 2019

A fusion of law and exclusivist ideology is in the making. Brute arithmetic is being used for majoritarian ends.

If Shiv Sena wishes to remain in power, it can’t return to full-blooded Hindutva
Mon, Dec 09, 2019

Political power is bringing about an ideological re-orientation in the players which may or may not endure

A temple on contested site of mosque’s destruction departs from judicial counter-majoritarianism
Thu, Nov 14, 2019

If Hindu consolidation goes further, Muslims will become electorally even more irrelevant. We can’t still be sure this would happen. But even if Hindu electoral consolidation remains at the current level, India’s Muslims would need the judiciary’s counter-majoritarianism to safeguard their interests.

For Modi, Houston guaranteed a huge turnout of Indian Americans. Trump may need them to win Texas in 2020
Sat, Oct 05, 2019

Indian Americans are perhaps not more than 4,00,000 in number, but if Texas becomes a “swing” or “battleground” state, ready for a political flip, even such small numbers might ultimately matter.