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Religion and Politics in India/Nepal

For Indian-Pakistani relations, including Kashmir, see Pakistan.

1. Brief Introduction
2. A Short Introductory Course
3. Other Resource Materials
4. Recent Articles

1. Brief Introduction to Religion and Politics in India and Nepal

India’s population is over 1,205 million, with a 1.31% population growth rate (July 2012 est). Hindi is the preeminent national language and primary language for 41% of the population. There are 14 other official languages, for example, Bengali (8.1%), Telugu (7.2%), Marathi (7.1%), Tamil (5.9%), and Urdu (5%). English has associate status and serves as the major conduit for national politics and commerce. India is comprised by 28 states and 7 union territories. The nation attained independence from Great Britain in 1947 under the leadership of the Congress Party. This party, according to the historian Vohra (see below, pp. 200-1), “was broadly split among the village-oriented Gandhians, the Hindu Conservatives led by Sardar Patel, and Nehru’s progressive left wing.” The first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru led according to his vision of “secularism, socialism, and democracy.” Indeed, with a few short exceptions, Congress had a majority in parliament until 1989 under Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son Rajiv.

The nation's 2010 HDI is #119, pointing to the uneven spread of recent economic growth. Its 2012 CPI is 36 (94th globally). The 2001 Census reported a nation of 80.5% Hindus, 13.4% Muslims, 2.3% Christians, 1.9% Sikhs, 1.8% others, and .1% unspecified. India’s great independence leader, Mohandus K. Gandhi, led in the style of a Hindu “karma yogi” who sought satyagraha [truth force] to encourage the British to release colonial control. Gandhi also stressed peace and understanding between religious traditions. The other strong Hindu political tradition, nationalist Hindutva [“Hinduness”], emphasized the necessity of an Aryan Hinduism as the cultural core of the country. This latter movement brought about “a family of organizations,” but the political leadership was eventually exercised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A BJP coalition, with A.B. Vajpayee as prime minister, won control of the government in 1998. The BJP was so sure of its victory in 2004 that it called elections six months early. The BJP then proposed a slogan of “India Shining,” and used ten million cell phone messages to emphasize its connection to the new middle class. What the campaign missed, however, was the poverty of the countryside. Communal riots in Gujarat (2002), where the BJP held the state government, had also tarnished its record. The Congress coalition won, with Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv’s widow, as party head. Sonia did not seek the prime minister’s position, however, so the Sikh economist Manmohan Singh became prime minister. Until the 2009 election, individual political parties got weaker as the political system fragmented into more parties from more perspectives, e.g., secular dynastic, religious, regional, caste, class, etc. This increased the importance of state elections held every five years. In the most populous (200 million) state of Uttar Pradesh, for example, the 2007 elections were won by a dalit party which ran both untouchable and Bramin candidates. Ex-school teacher and dalit Miyawati then became the Chief Minister of the State. It was replaced in 2012 by the regional Samajwadi Party led by A.S. Yadav, who sought his main support from Muslims and Hindu O.B.C.s (Other Backward Castes). In the April-May 2009 national elections Congress won 206 seats outright, with its coalition, the United Progressive Alliance, winning 262 seats. The BJP won 116 seats, with the coalition National Democratic Alliance winning 157. Singh returned as prime minister, and the business community and the poorer classes both applauded a strengthened government. The election also demonstrated the changing of generations as 147 of the elected members of parliament were 45 or younger, and Congress received strong support from the young. Sonia's son Rahul Gandhi, 38, campaigned vigorously and established himself as the possible successor to Singh. However, despite Rahul's vigorous campaigning in the above 2012 Uttar Pradesh election, Congress came in fourth. In January 2013 Rahul was elevated to Vice-President of the party. Congress had had a rough 2012 over corruption and economic reform, but none of the other parties seemed to have established a strong frontrunner for their parties in the coming state and national parliamentary elections.

The major current social political issue concerns whether and/or how strongly to extend affirmative-action set asides in universities for O.B.C.s, the 27% of the population above the 22.5% lowest castes.  India has moved closer to the United States with a nuclear pact that gives India access to uranium without signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But India also needs Iran’s oil and has pursued friendship with China, and the U.S. needs Pakistan in the war on terror, so it is unlikely that India and the U.S. form a close knit alliance. However, the American values of free markets and democracy are ascendant at present. Indian relations with Pakistan remain difficult, especially after the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Mumbai November 26-29, 2008. Recent disturbances in Kashmir have raised tensions there after a period of relative calm.

Prime Minister N. Rao opened India’s economy in 1991, and economic growth has averaged a very high 7% since 1997. The 2010 GDP real growth rate was over 10% in 2010, with a per capita of $3,500 and 25% of the population living below the poverty line. India is again being compared to China, and as with China, diplomatic pundits have proposed many optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. See the two 2006 oped pieces below: Prestowicz versus Mishra. For the affirmative, Prestowicz states that China will succeed better in the short and middle run, but he likes Indian prospects in the long run. While its literacy rate is lower than China’s, its technological education is better. It has English, and a, granted cumbersome, democracy to attack corruption. Its saving rate (25%) is not as excessive as China’s (40%), so capital will be better used. Projects are determined by entrepreneurs, not state guidance. And the unrestrained population growth means India will not suffer China’s lack of sufficient population to take care of its aging. Mishra’s negative analysis stresses the great gap between India’s modern urban elite and the poor, for example, India’s low HDI ranking (#119 in 2010) and low per capita gross domestic product. For the poor, nutrition, health care, and education remain a disaster. Between 1993-2003, 100,000 farmers committed suicide, and the countryside has growing Maoist insurgencies. There has also been no labor-intensive manufacturing like China, and corruption has become a major political issue (see recent articles) Current price rises for food and fuel augment India's economic and political difficulties, but the 2009 elections strengthened the Indian case by providing a stronger government.   

Nepal is the world’s second Hindu-majority nation with a population of just about 30 million. The 2001 census reported that the population was divided 80.6% Hindu, 10.7% Buddhist, 4.2% Muslim, 3.6% Kirant, and .9% other. Nepal has a population growth rate of 1.77%, and a 2010 HDI ranking of #138. In 1990 Nepal became a multiparty democracy with a constitutional monarchy. In 1996 Maoists launched a guerrilla insurgency which threatened to overthrow the regime. In 2001, the crown prince assassinated ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then committed suicide. The new king and the parliament then struggled for power, with parliament being allowed to reconvene on April 28, 2006 after three months of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists. The parliament declared the country a federal democratic republic in December 2007, and in April 2008 the country held elections for a 601-seat Constituent Assembly which acted as a parliament for five years and drafted a new Constitution. Of those seats, 240 were elected by direct popular vote, 335 chosen by proportional representation, and 26 appointed by the Cabinet. The three major parties in the new legislature are the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, Nepali Congress, and the liberal leftist Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist. On May 27, 2008 the Constituent Assembly voted to abolish the monarchy.

Hanson (2006) discusses “The Gandhian Vision” (pp. 199-203); “India and Pakistan: Religious and Secular Nationalism After Fifty Years” (pp. 203-8); and “The Bomb and South Asia” (pp. 208-11).

2. A Short Introductory Course to Religion and Politics in India and Nepal

Lelyved has written an extremely thoughtful bibliography of the most important religious-political leader of the first half of the twentieth century. Vohra presents a classic history of the country. Sen highlights the political and cultural values of a vigorous argumentative tradition. Boo offers an engrossing portrait of daily life in a Mumbai slum. Sahu discusses the rise of the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP. Mehta examines the relationship of Hinduism and democracy.

Lelyved, Joseph. Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India (New York: Vintage, 2012).

Vohra, Ranbir. The Making of India: A Historical Survey, 2nd ed. (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2001).

Sen, Amartya. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity (London: Penguin, 2005).

Boo, Katharine. behind the beautiful forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (New York: Random House, 2012). 

Sahu, Sunil K., “Religion and Politics in India: The Emergence of Hindu Nationalism and the Bharatiya Janata Party,” in Jelen, Ted Gerard, and Wilcox, Clyde. Religion in the Comparative Perspective: The One, the Few, and the Many (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 243-68.

Mehta, Pratap Bhanu, “Hinduism and Self-Rule,” in Diamond, Plattner, and Costopoulos, eds. World Religions and Democracy. (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2005).

3. Other Key Resource Materials for Religion and Politics in India and Nepal

See January-February Asian Survey for annual summaries of politics in India.

For Sikhism and Jainism, see the BBC website.

Adeney, Katherine, and Saez, Lawrence, eds. Coalition Politics and Hindu Nationalism (London: Routledge, 2005).

An-Na'im, Abdullahi Ahmed. Islam and the Secular State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008). Chapter Four treats India.

Bhatt, Chetan. Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies and Modern Myths (Oxford: Berg, 2001).

Brass, Paul R. The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005).

Cady, Linell E.., and Simon, Sheldon, eds. Religion and Conflict in South and Southeast Asia: Disrupting Violence (London: Routledge, 2006).

Chengappa, Raj. Weapons of Peace: The Secret History of India’s Quest to Be a Nuclear Power (New Delhi: Harper Collins India, 2000).

Clooney, Francis X., S.J. Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008).

Clooney, Francis X., S.J. Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions (New York: Oxford, 2001).

Cortright, David, and Mattoo, Amitabh, eds. India and the Bomb: Public Opinion and Nuclear Options (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996).

Economist (November 3, 2007), "a special report on religion and public life," p. 14-16, "Bridging the divide" on India.

Fisher, Louis. Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World. (New York: The New American Library, Inc., 1954).

Griffiths, Bede. The Cosmic Revelation: The Hindu Way to God (Springfield, Il.: Templegate Publishers, 1983).

Griffiths, Bede. River of Compassion: A Christian Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (Springfield, Il.: Templegate Publishers, 1987).

Hansen, Blom Thomas. The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).

Knott, Kim. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Küng, Hans, “Hinduism” in Tracing the Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions (New York: Continuum, 2002), 37-77.

Lobo, Lancy. Globalisation, Hindu Nationalism, and Christians in India (New Delhi: Rawat Publishers, 2002).

MacFarquhar, Larissa, “Letter from India,” The New Yorker (May 26, 2003).

Miller, Barbara Stoler, trans. The Bhagavad-Gita (New York: Bantam, 1986).

Misra, Maria. Vishnu's Crowded Temple: India Since the Great Rebellion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

Pinault, David. Horse of Karbala: Muslim Devotional Life in India (New York: PALGRAVE, 2001).

Rothermund, Dietmar. India: The Rise of the Asian Giant (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

Schmalz, Matthew N., “The Indian Church: Catholicism and Indian Nationalism,” Paul Christopher Manuel, Lawrence C. Reardon, Clyde Wilcox, eds. The Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006), 209-26.

Stein, Burton. A History of India (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998).

Thangaraj, M. Thomas, “Hinduism and Globalization: A Christian Theological Approach,” in Max L. Stackhouse and Diane B. Obenchain, eds., God and Globalization: Christ and the Dominions of Civilization (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity International Press, 2002), 213-38.

4. Recent News Articles on India and Nepal (a. Politics and Economics, b. Religion and Politics, c. Foreign and Military Policy, d. Nepal/Bhutan):

a. Politics and Economics

Compare first two articles for positive versus negative perspectives on India’s future:
Positive: Prestowitz, Clyde, “Bet on India for the Long Term,” San Jose Mercury News, February 26, 2006.
Negative: Pankaj Mishra, oped, “The Myth of the New India,” New York Times, July 6, 2006.

“Grisly Discovery Reopens Old Wounds in Indian Village,” New York Times, March 20, 2006. Bodies of Muslims, killed in 2002 Gujarat riots, found in garbage dump.

“In Villages Across India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen ‘People’s War,’” New York Times, April 13, 2006. Analysis of rural Chattisgarh State: Maoists versus Salwa Judum [Peace Mission] Defense Forces. Maoists in India in general.

“Opposition Leader’s Death Jars Nationalists in India,” New York Times, May 4, 2006. BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan, 56, shot in family dispute. After resignation of Vajpayee, seen as viable candidate for prime minister. Raises profile of Modi of Gujarat.

“Quotas to Aid India’s Poor vs. Push for Meritocracy,” New York Times, May 23, 2006. Politics of debate on extending additional 27% of seats in universities for O.B.C.s.

“Nepal Rebels Edge Out of Jungle and Onto Political Stage,” New York Times, June 2, 2006. King Gyanendra has ceded control to interim government, which abolished king’s control of army. Can Maoist guerrillas be brought into regular government?

“Death Sentence in Terror Attack Puts India on Trial,” New York Times, October 10, 2006. Kashmiri Muhammad Afzal condemned to death for December 2001 attack on Indian parliament. The debate over whether to execute him.

“Skills Gap Threatens Technology Boom in India,” New York Times, October 17, 2006. Skills gap from narrow availability of high-quality college education.

"Report Shows Muslims Near Bottom of Social Ladder," New York Times, November 29, 2006. Government report shows India's Muslims, 13% of population, are relatively poor, more illiterate, have lower access to education and jobs.

"Razing Farms for Factory Creates Battleground in India," New York Times, December 29, 2006. West Bengal battle over location for Tata Group's factory for low cost cars for rising middle classes. High stakes for Communist Party (Marxist) government.

"Brahmin Vote Helps Party of Low Caste Win in India," New York Times, May 12, 2007. In Uttar Pradesh elections (48% turnout of 113 million voters), Ms. Mayawati leads her Bahujan Samaj Party (dalit) party to triumph with help of upper-caste votes. Poor showing by both Congress and BJP.

"In India, newspapers thriving; even growing," San Jose Mercury News, May 20, 2007. Expanding middle class and falling illiteracy among the poor.

"Economic Boom Fails to Generate Optimism in India," New York Times, August 16, 2007. Summary of Prime Minister Singh's Independence Day Speech. Yes, strong economic growth and foreign policy successes, but also greater inequality. Illiteracy remains high, and problems in converting from agricultural to industrial economy for masses. Congress election defeats in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab this year. Next elections in 2009.

"Jobs Abroad Underwriting 'Model' State," New York Times, September 7, 2007. Analysis of Kerala, long a model of development (high literacy and long life expectancy) among the underdeveloped world. Migration of workers to other states and Gulf plays major role in economy.

"In India, Wariness On Holding Early Vote," New York Times, October 13, 2007. Communists threaten to topple government over India's nuclear pact with the United States. Congress not anxious for an early vote.

"Bloodshed in '02 Shadows Indian Politician in Race That Tests Nationalist Party," New York Times, December 11, 2007. Narenda Modi leads BJP into Gujarati elections, site of one of India's worst outbreak of sectarian violence since 1947 partition. November issue of Tehelka reported that officials explicitedly told Hindu activists that they had three days for rampage. Modi, however, is presenting a moderate pro-business face as he hopes to lead national party. Gujarati society and politics are strongly influenced by very conservative nonresident expatriates. In the end, Modi's party won 117 of the state assembly's 182 seats.

"Push for Eduication Yields Little for India's Poor," New York Times, January 17, 2008. Just-released 2007 Survey of 16,000 villages documents weak rural schooling that is holding back country's economic development. Forty percent of population is under 18.

"Series of Blasts Leave 56 Dead and 84 Wounded in India," New York Times, May 14, 2008. Attack in Jaipur, tourist center and capital of Rajasthan. No claim of responsibility, but appeared aimed at inciting religious violence. Such attacks have not succeeded in inciting such violence in recent years. 

"India's Fiscal Gains Offset by Rising Prices," New York Times, June 11, 2008. India's strong economic growth threatened by inflation, threatening "to undermine over the next six months all the good will the government was in the process of earning." The government has used its new tax revenues to fund an ambitious public works program in the countryside, but food and fuel prices reeking havoc.

"India's Growth Outstrips Crops," New York Times, June 22, 2008. Prime Minister Singh has called for a Second Green Revolution. Groundwater has been depleted at alarming rate, long and inefficient supply chain, etc. In 2007 India had to buy grain on world market, but probably will not in 2008. Long term solutions still needed.

"A Daughter of India's Underclass Rises on Votes That Cross Caste Lines," New York Times, July 18, 2008. The rise of Kumari Mayawati, head of theBahujan Samaj Party (BSP) [Party of the Majority of Society].

"India Grapples With How to Convert Its Farmland Into Factories," New York Times, September 17, 2008. Starting with Tata plant to build Nano in West Bengal, article discusses problems in unemployment and retraining.

"Terrorism's Impact Grows As Indian Election Nears," New York Times, September 24, 2008. Summary of terrorist attacks in New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, many by Indian Mujahedeen, and their effect on next spring's election. Also Hindu and Maoist terrorism.

"In World's Largest Democracy, Tolerance Is a Weak Pillar," New York Times, October 29, 2009. Analysis of intolerance toward minorities in Indian system. Connections to psyche, coming elections, fragmented party system, and weak criminal justice system.

"India's Enron Moment," New York Times, January 9, 2009. Report on accounting scandal at Satyam Computer Services, outsourcing giant.

"U.S. Media See A Path to India in China's Snub," New York Times, May 4, 2009. America media giants move into India after reverses in China.

"India's Path to Economic Reform Reaches a Fork in the Road," New York Times, May 14, 2009. Congress, the BJP, and economic reform.

"Wounded by Defeat, Politicians in India Turn Against One Another," New York Times, October 7, 2009. Struggle for succession in BJP after defeat. Jaswant Singh thrown out for book praising Pakistan founder Jinnah.

"India's Malnutrition Dilemma," by David Rieff, New York Times Magazine, October 11, 2009. 43 percent of children under five are underweight compared with China's seven percent.

"Rebels Widen Deadly Reach Across India," New York Times, November 1, 2009. Report on Maoist (Naxalite) insurgency acroos central and eastern India, with report focused on state of Chattisgarh.  Began as support for tribal groups, adivasis. In 2004 the movement radicalized when its two dominant wings joined with the more violent Communist Party of India (Maoist). Government has begun Operation Green Hunt and peasants caught in the middle.

"Turnaround of India State could Serve As a Model," New York Times, April 11, 2010. Recent progress in Bihar, but land issues and casteism. Tough election later this year.

"Right-to-Know Law Gives India's Poor a Lever," New York Times, June 29, 2010. Five-year-old law gives poor right to demand information from bureaucrats. It seems to empower individuals, who get their complaints attended to, but not major impact on system's endemic corruption.

"India Asks, Should Food Be a Right?" New York Times, August 9, 2010. Problem of widespread malnutrition (more people in poverty than Africa), despite government subsidized food and cooking fuel. Corruption in distribution of ration booklets, used as collateral by moneylenders, etc. Proposal to extend program and separate call for vouchers that would bypass current system to use market.  

"Defusing India's Population Time Bomb," New York Times, August 22, 2010. Dealing with young marriage and birth customs, after political backlash against coercion in 1970s. Poorest and most populous states, e.g. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, average almost four children per family and have low rates of female literacy. Where births limited, problem of abortion of female fetuses.

"New Business Class Rises in Ashes of South India's Caste System," New York Times, September 11, 2010. Spectacular rise of laborer case of Nadars.

"India Finds Corruption in Fast-Growing Aviation Industry," New York Times, April 24, 2011.

"India's Voters Send Communists to Defeat in West Bengal," New York Times, May 14, 2011. The end of the Marxist dynasty in West Bengal at the hands of Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Party.

"Indian Leader's Illness Prompts Questions, but Also Restraint," New York Times, August 15, 2011. Sonia Gandhi has left the country for surgery, but privacy generally respected.

"Thousands Back Antigraft Hunger Strike in New Delhi," New York Times, August 22, 2011. Anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare appeals to long apathetic middle class.

"Political Bickering and Government Inaction," New York Times, January 2, 2012. Defeat of anti-corruption bill with Banerjee pulling her votes on the Lokpal bill, pension reform, and foreign investment in retail. Hazare and Team Anna also overplayed its hand.

"India's Governing Party Loses Vote in Key State," New York Times, March 7, 2012. Congress comes in fourth, as A.S. Yadav and his regional caste-based Samajwadi Party win.

"Breaking the Silence," by Jo McGowan, Commonweal, February 22, 2013. Analysis of great outpouring of protest over brutal gang rape in New Delhi in December 2012.

"Big Decisions for India Amid Slowing Economy," New York Times, February 28, 2012. India's growth rate slowing to five percent amid lack of confidence by foreign investors. Tension between necessity of economic reform versus political consideration of national elections at least by spring 2014. Gross social stratification makes problem worse. Report by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram.

b. Religion and Politics

“India’s Harried Elite Now Turns, and Twists, to Yoga Lite,” New York Times, February 1, 2005. Swami Ramdev who appeals to the new urban middle class by joining breathing exercises to improvement in health.

“Braids of Faith at Baba’s Temple: A Hindu-Muslim Idyll,” New York Times, March 17, 2006. Two days after Varanasi bombing, activities at this Sufi Bahadur Shahid (“Baba”) Shrine by both religions in Hinduism’s most sacred city. Two religious communities integrated, so no further violence.

“Razing of Muslim Shrine in India Brings Violence and a Court Ban,” New York Times, May 5, 2006. Riots following demolition of Muslim shrine in Gujarat. Supreme Court orders state government to cease.

“Kerala Christians campaign to protect Church-run schools,” Asia Focus, July 28, 2006. Leaders of Catholic, Protestant, Jacobite, Marthoma and Orthodox Churches joined to protest Communist state government’s move to increase control of private schools. Religious minorities like Christians and Muslims run most of the self-financed professional colleges in the state, but make up only 41% of the state’s 31.8 million people. Christians are 19%. The southern coastal state Kerala has traditionally been disproportionately Christian and Communist, but not the same people.

“India Fears Some of Its Muslims Are Joining in Terrorism,” New York Times, August 9, 2006. Following the July 11 train attacks in Mumbai which killed over 200 people, some fear sleeper cells of young, often educated, Muslims tied to Pakistan.

"Debate in India: Is Rule on Yoga Constitutional?" New York Times, January 26, 2007. Should public school students be required to make the sun salutation at the beginning of the school day?

"In India,'Untouchables' Convert To Christianity--and Face Extra Bias," Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2007. India does not extend dalit affirmative action to Christian and Islamic convert from Hinduism. U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racism recommended change in policy.

"Indian state seeks to ban conversions anew," Asia Focus, April 11, 2008. BJP government of Rajasthan passes legislation to prohibit "conversion from one religion to antoehr by the use of force or allurement or by fraudulent means." Minority groups oppose because such laws because they see them as open to abuse. The BJP first passed such a law in 2006, but the then governor, Pratibha Patil, refused to sign it and sent it to the then President of India, Muslim A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, for consideration. Patil succeeded Kalam as President in 2007, a victory for Congress. Other states, Arunachal Pradesh, Chyattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa, have such anti-conversion bills.

"Violence in India Is Fueled by Religious and Economic Divide," New York Times, September 4, 2008. Anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal district of Orissa.

"In World's Largest Democracy, Tolerance Is a Weak Pillar," New York Times, October 29, 2008. Summary of religious and refugee tensions thoughout  the country. Prime Minister Singh called the violence "an assault on our composite culture." Amartya Sen states that while democracy has been able to prevent famine, it is less successful in preventing sectarian strife.

"Muslims in India Put Aside Grievances to Repudiate Terrorism," New York Times, December 8, 2008. Following November 26-29 Mumbai attacks, Muslims demonstrate against terrorists.

"Indian Who Built Yoga Empire Starts Work on the Body Politic," New York Times, April 19, 2010. Swami Ramdev, yoga adapt and business leader in Haridwar, by the Ganges in Uttaranchal, announces plans for national political party stressing Indian religious nationalism.

"Indian Justice Inches Closer to Chapters Of Violence," New York Times, April 26, 2010. Justice system moving closer to punishing Congress leaders for 1984 riot against Sikhs and BJP leaders for 2002 riots against Muslims. These types of actions have rarely been punished.

"Tradition vs. Modern Education, and a Mullah Who Is Caught in the Middle," New York Times, March 21, 2011. Reformist Mullah Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi seeks to bridge traditional and modern education, and opposition. He was dismissed in July 20011 for comments suggesting that Muslims in Gujarat needed to move beyond the 2002 riots. Other Muslims saw these comments as too friendly to Narendra Modi, who has been blamed for the riots.

"A God Is Dead, but It's Business That May Suffer Most," New York Times, May 25, 2011. Death of Sri Sathya Sai Baba affects charitable activities and whole city of Puttaparthi.

"A Mantra, Stop Graft, Resounds in New Delhi," New York Times, June 3, 2011. Swami Ramdev calls for nationwide yoga protest against corruption with Anna Hazare, one of the leading figures in anti-corruption movement. Rally was held, but Swami was detained less than fourteen hours later. Hazare arrested and released for fast after jail. See New York Times, June 6, August 19, 20. Public dissatisfied with political elites for many reasons. With Sonia away for surgery, Congress outmaneuvered by Hazare and his Team Anna. 

"After Lifting Lowest Hindus, India Eyes the Muslims Left Behind," New York Times. Socio-economic divide.

c. Foreign and Military Policy

“Bush and India Reach Pact That Allows Nuclear Sales,” New York Times, March 3, 2006.

“A Test of Friendship for India’s Leader,” New York Times, July 24, 2006. Singh’s problems with terrorism, liberalization, and nuclear bargain with U.S.

"India and China Become Friendlier Rivals," New York Times,  November 21, 2006. General state of relations upon visit of Hu Jintao.

"Putin in India: Visit Is Sign of Durability Of Old Ties," New York Times, January 25, 2007. Russia continues to provide energy and arms without blocking India's better relationship with the U.S.

"U.S.-India Nuclear Pact Runs Into (Surprise!) Politics," New York Times, October 19, 2007. Communists threaten to topple coalition if government proceeds with pact which guarantees India fuel and technology for its civilian program, despite not be a signator of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Pact has opponents in both India and the United States, but is the linchpin of new more positive relations between the two governments.

"Indian Leader Struggles to Complete Nuclear Deal," New York Times, July 1, 2008. With Communist factions threatening to leave coalition over issue which they say ties India too closely to the United States, Singh seeks to bring back in Samajwadi Party from Uttar Pradesh. G-8 Meeting in Tokyo in early July.

"Leadership in India Survives Major Vote," New York Times, July 23, 2008. Government wins no confidence vote, 275-256, with 11 abstentions, over nuclear pact.

"Afghan Bombing Sends Stark Message to India: With Power Come Risks," New York Times, July 9, 2008. Suicide bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul. India has spent more than $750 million builing a strategic road across the country's southwest, and on training teachers and civil servants.

"Land of Gandhi Asserts Itself as Global Military Power," New York Times, September 22, 2008. India prepares for era in which it can project power to protect oil lanes; to protect Indians abroad, especially in the Middle East; and to counter Chinese moves in the region. Of course, Pakistan remains a concern. 

"Growing, Yes, but India Has Reasons to Worry," New York Times, November 29, 2009. Summary analysis of foreign policy and domestic order challenges, all located in regional system.

d. Nepal/Bhutan

"Bhutan prepares for democracy," San Jose Mercury News, April 22, 2007. Bhutan has mock election in preparation for next year's first parliamentary elections.

"Nepal Peace Pact Signed; Maoists to Take Part in Elections," New York Times, November 22, 2006. End to more than ten years of war. Army toNepal return to barracks and guerrillas sequester in cantonment sites.

"New Conflicts Accompany Nepal's Efforts at Democracy," New York Times, April 29, 2007. Problems in carrying out plans for elections.

"In Nepal, Long-Lived Monarchy Fades From View," New York Times, April 3, 2008. The national debate over whether the king should play a role in Nepal's future. Public dissatisfaction with King Gyanendra, who succeeded the respected King Birendra when he and most of the royal family were assassinated in 2001.

"Election, and Maoists, Could Transform Nepal," New York Times, April 9, 2008. Background and tensions within Maoist movement, led by Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal). Former members of paramilitary squads, now the Young Communist League, have most problematic reputation. Voters will select both a representative for their district and a party.To ensure women and caste representation, parties will have to abide by certain quotas.

"Nepal's Perilous Ascent," New York Times op-ed by Manjushree Thapa. Fine discussion of background to popular election for Constituent Assembly and hopes that the country can navigate between Maoist extremism and monarchical control.

"Christians elated over declaration of new republic," Asia Focus, June 6, 2008. Jesuit Bishop Anthony Sharma, Nepal Apostolic Vicar's support for decision to remove monarchy. There are 7,500 Catholics in the country.

"Nepal's Christians upbeat about new prime minister," Asia Focus, August 29, 2008. Apostolic Vicar Bishop Anthony Sharma offers good wishes and prayers that "the prime minister may meet the challenges ahead."

List of all Countries

February 27, 2013.