India’s Wounded State

Weeks of anti-corruption protests launched by Anna Harare, and supported by the country’s rising middle class, brought India’s government to a virtual standstill this summer. Which side one supports, the consequences are disturbing: Indian society, the core of Indian nationhood, is now questioning the very legitimacy of the Indian state.

NEW DELHI – The September 7 bomb blast at the entrance to the High Court in New Delhi was a macabre finale to a summer of crisis. Previously, weeks of anti-corruption protests launched by Anna Harare, and supported by the country’s rising middle class, had brought India’s government to a virtual standstill. This was followed by an embarrassing surrender to the demand of protestors that a powerful new anti-corruption agency be established.

For some people, the protests that paralyzed large swathes of the capital were akin to a festival. Others, following the government’s retreat, grandiosely thought the events amounted to a revolution. To be sure, a large part of urban “middle India” has revolted against the tyranny of daily corruption. But will the Harare-led protests deliver real change or merely media hyperbole?

Whichever side one takes, the consequences are disturbing: Indian society, the core of Indian nationhood, is now questioning the very legitimacy of the Indian state. 

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