NEW DELHI -- Here are the telltale signs of a government in serious trouble: when it sniffs a conspiracy in every criticism aimed at it; when it deploys state power in a ham-handed manner to curb dissent; when it looks the other way as its supporters abuse, intimidate, injure and even murder its ideological and political foes; when it seeks shelter behind a veil of high-decibel nationalism; when it dons the mantle of victimhood; and, not least, when it attracts ridicule more than rage.
NEW DELHI -- Modi is using the nationalism card to deflect political discourse away from his failures. He has lost key state elections, the economy is faltering and there is a palpable sense that he is unable to deliver. And the situation may soon get worse. The next general elections are in 2019. Who knows how many of us are going to be arrested for sedition, called terrorist if we are Muslim or beaten up by lynch mobs before then.
So-called progressives have been quick to criticize the beef ban as an affront to religious freedom, tolerance and personal choice. But it is paradoxical to talk of tolerance while turning a blind eye to the trauma and cruelty that the bovines face in the mostly unlicensed and ill equipped slaughterhouses in India.
In the summer of 1965, India and Pakistan returned to the battlefields of Kashmir in a renewed attempt to establish their respective claims over the disputed, fertile region. On August 5th, more than 25,000 Pakistani soldiers, disguised as Kashmiris, infiltrated the area, mingling with their Muslim coreligionists and encouraging insurgency.
Since independence, Pakistanis have been told that their country is a "citadel of Islam," that its destiny is to be an Islamic state and its army is "the sword of Islam." Advocates of modern, secular values, even pluralism, are denigrated as "enemies of the ideology of Pakistan." Pakistan's establishment, led by its military, also seeks parity with India, not only in the legal sense of sovereign equality between nations but in military and political terms. This ideological milieu has helped religious-political groups exercise greater influence on national discourse than is justified and led to the outgrowth of jihadi groups, one more extreme than the other.