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October 16, 2005


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Andrew Sullivan

[This comment has been removed. The original was a bit lively even by Chicago standards and seemed more likely to offend than inform. The tone of the comment has prompted us to think about formalizing a policy about comments -- basically, we will likely embrace a Volokh-like request that comments be phrased in ways that are constructive even if intense -- but, for now, those of us who run the blog thought it best to delete the original. The substance of the comment, though, should not be lost amid the fire. The commenter suggested that the BJP has been voted out of power and inquired whether the original post was perhaps out of date. There is now a responsive comment below.]


uh..she doesn't assert either (a) that the BJP is in power, or (b) that they're they are centrist. she asserts (a) that they lost, and (b) that they're right-wing. you really need to read the post!


This article is mostly faulty and suppresses the truth about the riots as well as about Indian politics in general. I have written a brief rebuttal at: http://www.indiblog.com/63/us-professors-faulty-logic-blames-indian-government-for-religious-riots/

I did post a trackback, but wonder why it has not yet been accepted.


We did not receive a trackback ping - this comment is set up to receive them automatically. If you'd like to repost, we'd be happy to have it.


This article is based on some ill informed knowledge and the writer has failed miserably to understand the political climate of the world's largest democracy. While blaming all the unfortunate event on the right wing Hindu party (BJP) the author is trying to portray a dismal picture of Indian democracy but the author him/herself suggests that people voted the govt out. It shows how the people in India hold the real power which is the fundamental tenet of democracy. Just by assuming that the govt was voted out becuase of economic failure and rural unrest doesnt makes logical connection but shows the immature analysis.It also shows how little understanding the author possess about powerful democratic institutions in India.Its easy to switch the blames of Gujarat riots and poor performace of BJP in the elections as difficult it is to connect them. India is truly a "we the people" form of democracy, unlike America where only 2 or 3 people contest the presidential election and just under half of the population opposes the elected president. I vociferously disagree with this author and would request him/her to enlighten her/himself on India. Its easy to blame but its hard to invesitgate the truth. The author is writing about the riots as if s/he was standing there when all that was happening. No one has been convicted under any court of law and not even in the Supreme Court of India, if some people say that local judiciary is influenced.
Before thinking about India's democratic collapse I think the author is nearing an acedemic collapse.


This is indeed a very pertinent topic to write on but I really do hope that you are not sidelined by the BJP issue alone. Rather the focus should be on the growing attacks against religious minorities. Drawing lines around party lines would have been good enough if only one party could be accused of religious intolerance. Remember the Sikh massacre after the Indira Gandhi murder?


You are assuming that democracy exists in India. It doesn't - it never has. What gets practiced as democracy is a total sham! You cannot have democracy in a country where most people are illiterate since democracy needs the people to make an educated decision.


[...]Singh, a Sikh, is India’s first prime minister to come from a religious minority.[...]
This is true but did you fail to see or mention the fact that,
1) Zaqir Hussain(a muslim), was a President of India once.
2) Gyani Zail Singh, was a President once(a Sikh, though only you think its a minority)
3) Abdul Kalam Azad(a muslim) is the President now.
4) George Fernandes was a defence minister.
and plenty-plenty more.


@Anon: I pity you for your damn misinformation and ignorance. One shouldn't talk until one has experienced.

Joy. D

The lawbreakers have become lawmakers in India and democracy has been hijacked for decades now and the people's apathy towards the sorry state of affairs guarantees that democracy in India will be in such pitiful state for years to come. And people with misinformed emotions do more damage and fail to recognize the need for a change. I pity those people who refuse to believe that Indian democracy needs a major surgery.


WOW, just read this article. What a stupid ignormous writer. When you do not know the reality, living in a SELF Applauding world, please do not throw stones at others.

kochuthresiamma P. J.

An honest piece and an earnest effort to present an objective view.

While your anxiety about Indian democracy collapsing is understandable, we, living in india, keep getting reassured by the built in defences of our vibrant democracy. Like you said, the voter is all powerful here - and shows an amazing maturity in the voting booth. Besides, the judiciary and the public are ever vigilant. A week back, the High Court of Kerala, was set aside the election of a Memembr of parliamnt on the grounds that he used his religion to appeal to the voter.
The public's alertness about threats to democracy is reflected growing number of public Interest litigations. A large number of PILs address issues that pose threats to the democratic fabric of the country.


@ Joy.D
i have a fair optimistic answer for every questionable statement of yours
firstly, lawbreakers have become lawmakers in the country but only 'ocassionally with the peoples selection'and only at positions where they seem to be in a better position to serve our country. Secondly, democracy was hijacked in india but after the constitution of india was formed we took some to adjust to our new constitution which we do not take as failures and a 'sorry state' but as an experience which will help us foster our constitution and democracy better.thirdly, practically people of india have apathy for their conditions and never for the government because they 'know' they can overthrow it any time they want and regarding the pitiful state of india let alone for years to come, that is absolutely laughable. i seriously think u should read the papers. and last but not the least we dont much care about others pitying on what u think about india needing a major surgery because now we have become doctors.


The reality seems like its more the Marxist-influenced, leftist, "South Asian" activists in the West that are more concerned about the eventual devolution of the Indian state into "religious terror". Absolute nonsense.

Let me guess, the author is also a member of some such "Students for Justice in Palestine" movement.

Wendy Donniger, where are thou? lol.


though i might be really late in responding to this blog forgive me for my sharp belief in india being a truly democratic country that is nowhere near collapsing and your ignorant comments on a country you clearly know nothing about forces me to do so.first i dont want to deny the riots that took place in gujrat but i do want to completly rubbish your claims of the central government not doing anything about it.second if you did not get all your information from books and were anywhere near the vicinity of india you would from the reactions after the riots know how powerful and an active democracy we are. .im not even going to bother giving you reasons for why your blog just shows your total lack of understanding about anything to do with my country. however i do find it a bit amusing that you talk about the atrocities committed here like america would never allow such a thing to happen when it continues to do the same thing in iraq...but then of course its all for the good of the world right?we would prefer bjp anyday to bush martha coz we learn from the mistakes we make and not blindly give excuses for them!!!

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