Ashis Nandy read warning signs ahead of Dadri, Rohith, Kanhaiya

Re-pluging the interview with the noted public intellectual: “We are in for trouble”

GN Bureau | February 18, 2016


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Are you shocked that police are on the campus, somebody is behind bars without clear evidence and somebody else is not behind bars despite clear evidence? Are you shocked that after intolerance led to a killing and discrimination to a suicide, there is no end in sight for the harvest of hate?

Ashis Nandy, our preeminent critic in the public sphere, did foresee a difficult times when he spoke with Governance Now last year. Some of his remarks will read eerily prescient today:

 “I think it [India] is a lively, colourful democracy, but it is also increasingly getting criminalised.”


“My diagnosis of Indian political culture at the moment is on the whole grim, in the sense that all societies that have gone through or sought a spectacular development have invariably gone through authoritarian phase unless they had colonies. I am afraid we are in for trouble. The attempt to tame NGOs, the media, and the judiciary are the first steps in that direction and the very fact that these attempts were made also under the previous regime and are being continued under this regime doesn’t speak well of the future of Indian democracy. If one thinks that just by removing Narendra Modi or the BJP one could remove the threat of authoritarianism in India, one is living in a fool’s paradise.”


“Fringe elements will always be there. They are only getting more exposure now. The sane do not get publicity; the lunatics and the fools do. It is a symptom of discontent in the society. Also, upper-caste Hindus are losing power because of the democratisation process. There is discontent among them, but they are much comfortable by saying that we are not discriminated as Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Baniyas, but as Hindus.”

Read the full interview here to make sense of the times.

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