The New India

Modi, Nationalism, and the Unmaking of the World’s Largest Democracy

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By Rahul Bhatia

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A sweeping journey through twenty-first century India's violent lurch towards autocracy. 

Since Narendra Modi’s election in May 2014, India has become more dysfunctional and dangerous than ever. The "world's largest democracy" has seen a cascade of events ushered in by a nationalistic and religious government that have threatened the freedoms and identities of its citizens. If you support Modi, you are a bhakt, among the devoted. If you do not, you are an urban naxal, an unpatriotic traitor, and enemy of the Hindu faith. There is, increasingly, no room in between.

In The New India, journalist Rahul Bhatia investigates this slow burn of democracy in India, connecting past and present to offer the first thorough account of how the country is sliding towards autocracy. He describes the religious, societal, and technological changes that have brought India to a point at which a nationalist mindset that despises democracy and human rights is spreading fast, all in an effort to bind the multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural country into a single identity.

Through a character-driven narrative informed by on the ground reporting, he investigates the disinformation machine at the heart of the Modi government, the corrupt lawmakers whose work targets religious minorities, the police force bent on raiding every public newsroom, and the CEO behind the largest data collecting agency in the world whose invention has forever altered Indian elections. At the same time, Bhatia shows us the consequences of these efforts on everyday citizens—from Muslims attempting to hold on to their property to students protesting the government's overreach of their education to journalists being threatened for uttering a single word against the BJP party. What emerges is a timely, urgent and at times shocking portrait of a country that has turned on itself. 
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On Sale
Nov 12, 2024
Page Count
448 pages

Rahul Bhatia

About the Author

Rahul Bhatia is an independent writer whose profiles of power brokers and investigations of technology adoption highlight themes of accountability and access in India. His reportage has been published by the Caravan, the Guardian Long Read, the New Yorker, and Reuters.  

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