Politics of India

overview of the politics of the country of India

The Politics of India works within the framework of the country's constitution. India is a parliamentary secular democratic republic in which the President of India is the head of state and the Prime Minister of India is the head of government.


  • If your vote becomes a cause of your death or property destruction, if it leads to arson, then that signals the end of democracy.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar,May 10, 2021 [1]
  • The physical danger in writing against the temple is imaginary; by contrast, it is dangerous to uphold rather than oppose Hindu activist positions. It is a fact that throughout the 1990s, many office-bearers of the RSS, the BJP and their Tamil affiliate Hindu Munnani have been murdered; but that was more because of the demolition and other political matters than because of any statements on the historical background of the Hindu claims on Ayodhya. At one point, the publishinghouse Voice of India, which has published the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s statement and several other writings on the Ayodhya evidence, has had to seek police protection for a few days, but the threats had to do with “insults to the Prophet” and not with the Ayodhya evidence.
    • K. Elst, Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)
  • During the Khalistani separatist struggle in Punjab (1981–93), hundreds of RSS and BJP men were killed by the Khalistanis, yet this did not provoke a single act of retaliation, neither against the actual perpetrators nor against the Sikh community in general. On the contrary, when Congress secularists allegedly killed thousands of Sikhs in 1984, it was the Hindutva activists who went out of their way to save the Sikhs. When in the 1980s, and again from 1996 till the time of this writing, Communist militants started killing RSS men in Kerala, the RSS was very slow to react in kind. The bomb attacks on Hindutva centres in Chennai, the murders of BJP politicians in UP and Mumbai and elsewhere, have not provoked any counter-attacks. Anti-Hindu governments in Bihar and West Bengal have achieved some success in preventing the growth of sizable RSS chapters by means of ruthless intimidation and violence, all without having to fear any RSS retaliation. [...] The creation of Sindh and the NWFP as separate provinces meant that the small Hindu minorities there were left at the mercy of the Muslims. This had been a Muslim demand, and while Gandhi agreed to it, no one can tell what the Hindus got in return for it. Gandhi never claimed to represent the Hindus as such anyway: while the Muslims could press demands as Muslims, both through the Muslim League and through the intra-Congress Muslim lobby, the Hindus were only heard as nationalists. The only expressly Hindu lobby group, the HMS, was treated with indifference or hostility by the Congress leadership, much in contrast with the deferential treatment which the Muslim lobby and the Muslim League received... The grand finale of this trail of concessions was Partition amid bloodshed.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • So let's get back to the more eventful Hindu-Muslim relationship. Having discussed the phenomena of street riots and mass terrorism sufficiently for now, let us focus on a third form of communal violence: targeted killings of specified individuals. Like with terrorism, the vast majority of victims in this category of violence have been Hindus. In the months and years after the Mumbai riots of January 1993, a number of Maharashtrian politicians belonging to the BJP and the Shiv Sena have been murdered, mostly by assailants who were never apprehended. In Kerala in the 1990s, dozens of ordinary Hindutva activists have been murdered by the Communists, the dominant party in that state. When I visited the Hindu Munnani office in Chennai in 1996, the building was really impressive, having just been rebuilt and redesigned after a bomb blast. Shortly after, it was destroyed once more in another bomb blast. In this series of attacks on the Hindu Munnani leadership, several activists were killed. And after the Gujarat carnage, the Gujarat Home Minister, Haren Pandya, was murdered by Muslims.
    • Koenraad Elst: The Struggle for India's Soul A reply to Mira KAMDAR by Dr. Koenraad ELST, in : The Problem with Secularism (2007) by K. Elst
  • Historical powerful forces have attempted to restrict democracy to a set of strictly procedural routines for governance and legislation, but once in motion, democratic procedures have over time tended to remold the very form in which a society represents and imagines itself, its institutions and its history. It is my contention that the history of Indian democracy may be fruitfully interpreted in these terms as a gradual and circumscribed questioning of hierarchies and authority, spreading from the political field to other realms in society. As the political field acquired even more prominence due to the weight of the developmental state in all spheres of society in the 1970s, a new political culture marked by "political entrepreneurship" emerged. This gave rise to a new construction of politics as an "amoral vocation," a construction that reflected a widespread discomfort with the proliferating populist techniques of political mobilization and governance, and a disapproval of the new breed of public figures from modest social backgrounds who used their language, manners, and social background to consolidate mass followings. In the face of this "plebeianization" of the political field, sections of the educated urban middle classes and upper-caste groups began to denounce the political vocation, question the legitimacy of the state and discard the principles of democracy and secularism. For decades democracy and secularism meant protection and extension of social privileges to the educated Hindu middle classes, and condescending paternalism vis-à-vis lower-caste groups and minorities. However, as it became clear that political democracy was slowly giving birth to this new and unfamiliar form of society, the "softness" of the secular state became the target of the Hindu nationalist critique of a "pseudo secularism" that was "pampering minorities." Anti-democratic attitudes are today widespread in the same urban middle class in India that for years was regarded as the bedrock of political democracy in the country, and the backbone of the nation. Hindu nationalism emerged successfully in the political field in the 1980s as a kind of "conservative populism" that mainly attracted more privileged groups who feared encroachment on their dominant positions, but also "plebeian" and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a majoritarian rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength.
  • The BJP seeks to link up internationally with the democratic, non-racist Right. [...] the invention of a category of Third World mass identiarianism would be more pertinent than the never-ending references to fascism. [...] The communists ... reject 'Congress dictatorship' but would welcome a strong state which would crush the communalists, esp the Hindu ones... In the present configuration, the drift to authoritarianism can only come from the Congress apparatus.
    • Gerard Heuze, Ou va l'Inde moderne. p 58ff, 123. in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 713-4
  • When I heard Aung San Suu Kyi's address to both houses of Britian's Parliament in Westminster hall last week, what impressed me was the clarity with which she spelt out her vision for her country. But, throughout her speech, something kept bothering me and by the time she finished, I discovered what it was. What bothered me was that I could not think of a single Indian leader who could make such a speech. The Indian political landscape today has become a desert in which only the stunted progeny of stunted political leaders bloom. We need our political parties to throw up real leaders and we need a political discourse in which real political problems are discussed.
  • We, the Indians, as Guru of the Nations: yes, I believe in that. We can be—or once more become— the hope of mankind. But that requires efforts and courage to be ourselves culturally. Unfortunately, we live in an age of political dwarfs, political managers without vision or courage. But their time is running out.
    • Prime Minister Vajpayee interviewed by Erich Follath and Tiziano Terzani: “Guru der Nationen”, Der Spiegel, 1996/19, p. 163. quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.168
  • The political atmosphere in Bengal has been vitiated. Every death is unfortunate. But no one talks about the 140 plus BJP workers killed in Bengal. Not a day goes when our workers are not attacked. I am a star in Bengali films. But as a BJP worker, I fear for my life. I overcome that fear every day and step out to meet people as I want to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Sonar Bangla... They [artists and intellectuals] will not have to live in fear as they do currently under Mamata Banerjee’s reign.
  • The Hindus are so divided and so foolishly selfish that their majority does not count in actual politics. The atmosphere can clear only after a thunderstorm— after showers of blood.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, quoted in Letter on 14 August 1931 to Padam Bhushan Dr. G. S. Sardesai [3] [4]
  • In some states, hundreds of our workers have been killed because of their political views. Political untouchability is gaining ground by the day. In some places, just the name of BJP is enough to create an atmosphere of untouchability.... Why are our workers killed or attacked in Kashmir, Kerala or Bengal? It is shameful and anti-democratic.
    • Narendra Modi quoted in BJP Lives And Breathes Democracy Despite Facing Political Untouchability And Violence’: PM Modi In Varanasi [5] NDTV
  • "Take the cases of Kerala or Kashmir, Bengal or Tripura, it will not come in the media. Some people have selective sensitivity. Hundreds of workers have been killed only for political ideology. In Tripura, workers were hanged. In Bengal, murders are still on. In Kerala too ... perhaps, in India only one political party has faced such killings. Violence has been given legitimacy. This is a danger before us."
Wikipedia has an article about: