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Keynote "Is India becoming an ethnic democracy ?"

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JAFFRELOT Christophe

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Keynote "Is India becoming an ethnic democracy ?"

Christophe Jaffrelot, CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS

Recently, in the context of populists’ rise to power, political scientists have tried to qualify emerging brands of hybrid democracy. Hence the notions of “illiberal democracy”, “democrature”, “electoral authoritarianism” etc. While these labels may apply to India today, the new prominence of the Hindu nationalist repertoire is an invitation to test another theory: the ”ethnic democracy” model. 

For Sammy Smooha, who introduced this concept, in an ethnic democracy, rulers are chosen by the voters, political parties compete in elections, free media continue to play their role and the judiciary retains some independence, but the ethnic majority (defined by religion, language or race) is recognised as dominant and minorities are marginalised. In many cases this balance of power is official and the state is de jure associated with a community, as is the case in Israel (Smooha’s country). 

India may be on its way towards a de facto ethnic democracy. Not only have attacks against secularism (and secularists) multiplied, perpetrated in the name of Hindu nationalism and its equation between the Indian nation and the religious majority, but minority representation in key institutions has declined as well. Muslims are a case in point. Certainly, Muslims have always been almost absent from some sectors of the Indian state, such as the army or senior levels of the police. But they are now less and less visible in parliament, in state assemblies and in Union as well as state governments. 

Furthermore, Muslims (and Christians to some extent) have been targeted by campaigns orchestrated recurrently with the aim of conversion (Ghar Wapsi), against “Love Jihad” or cow slaughter. These mobilisations are generally initiated by vigilante groups often operating in conjunction with the police, a development suggesting a certain transformation of the Sangh Parivar, the matrix of Hindutva: while RSS traditionally worked to shape society at the grassroots level, it now prizes the role of the state apparatus, a changing perspective with long-term implications.

    Date de réalisation : 24 Juillet 2018
    Durée du programme : 55 min
    Classification Dewey : Science politique, Asie du Sud. Inde
    Catégorie : Conférences
    Niveau : Tous publics / hors niveau
    Disciplines : Sciences politiques
    Collections : 25th European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS)
    ficheLom : Voir la fiche LOM
    Auteur(s) : JAFFRELOT Christophe
    producteur : Direction de l'Image et de l'Audiovisuel de l'EHESS
    Réalisateur(s) : BLERALD Serge
    Langue : Anglais
    Mots-clés : démocratie, Inde, communautés
    Conditions d’utilisation / Copyright : © Direction de l'image et de l’audiovisuel / EHESS / 2018


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