English

Is India’s Democracy Dying?

Despite major challenges, India’s multicultural democracy has thrived for more than 70 years. But can it survive Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist agenda?

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Transcript

Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It.


I’m Elmira Bayrasli. When India established its democracy in 1950, the odds were stacked against it. The country had achieved independence just three years earlier, after over a century under British colonial rule.

Archive Recording: On August 15, 1947, the great symbol of the British empire came down for the last time, to be replaced by the banner of a new Indian government.

Archive Recording: Tumultuous crowds filled the streets, celebrating, singing, and laughing. Police were called out many times to restore order where everyone ran wild with joy.

EB: India had a massive and diverse population. Poverty was widespread. Many adults were illiterate. Yet over the last 71 years, the world’s largest democracy has thrived. It has held free election after free election.

Archive Recording: It’s the world’s biggest exercise in democracy.

Archive Recording: The numbers are huge. The challenges considerable. And the issues at stake immense.

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