KN Hari Kumar has authored a trenchant two-part analysis of the similarities and differences between conditions facing Indira Gandhi in 1974, and those that current Prime Minister Narendra Modi operates in today. Nehru laid out the vision of a united, democratic, secular, developed India. The Congress Party under Indira Gandhi became the embodiment of that vision. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is one of the two major political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress, shares some aspects of Nehru’s vision, especially that of development, but not others; the BJP is religious and separatist, espousing Hindutva (a Hindu-dominated State). Yet while Modi has promoted inclusive development, he has been constrained from imposing the harshest pro-Hindu/anti-Muslim measures. Will economic development proceed fast enough and broadly enough to enable Modi to continue to disappoint the more radical religious elements of his party? Will Modi be able to meld Nehru’s vision for India with the BJP’s? Or are they essentially incompatible? India holds national elections in 2019; the results have implications for India — its development as a society that provides and sustains a secure life for its 1.4 billion people, its place and role in the international community of nations, and for the world, because India’s carbon footprint, largely dependent on how fast India achieves its transition from coal-based energy to low-carbon alternatives, will be determinant in whether the Paris Agreement climate targets are met or instead the Earth descends into ever-deteriorating, ever more catastrophic climactic conditions that imperil the sustainability of human life, indeed all life, on the planet
In the wake of reactionary rulings by the Supreme Court that seized a woman’s right to abortion after the Justices had unleashed potentially lethal freedoms to gun owners, one can only shudder at the prospect of the court’s upcoming decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).