ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Kashmir as Frontier in Narendra Modi’s Ethno-Nationalist Idea of India


Mangiarotti Emanuela - University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Pavia, Italy


22 – The present democratic crisis in South Asia: causes, distinctive elements and historical precedents


 The political issue of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status within the Indian Union has been a focal point of Hindu nationalist mobilization ever since the Partition of the Subcontinent in 1947. With the progressive mainstreaming of Hindutva ideology in India’s cultural, economic and socio-political life, and especially under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kashmir has increasingly turned into a symbolic and territorial frontier, where exceptional government measures are normalized in the name of progress, women’s rights and national integrity. In Modi’s discourse, such values are projected as universal and become thus instrumental to suppress critical voices while projecting his government’s actions as inherently good. In that sense, Modi’s discursive and performative politics contribute to define the boundaries of today’s national collectivity and trivialize the violent actions undertaken to affirm, reclaim or defend them. Modi’s Kashmir policy is part of a broader project of ethno-nationalist state-crafting and authoritarian political leadership, aiming at excising minorities and expressions of minority identity from public life, curbing dissent and establishing a Hindu India, in antithesis to its Muslim-majority neighbouring countries.