Mahbub ul Haq Distinguished Lecture

The Rise of Populism in South Asia

Panelists: Pradeep Chhibber (Berkeley), Shandana Khan Mohmand (IDS) and Hassan Javid (LUMS)
9:30 PM PKT

India has long held an exceptional status as the most consolidated democracy in the developing world. However, this status is now seen as at risk by the government of Narendra Modi. Modi was elected in 2014 on a wave of genuine dissatisfaction with the status quo, expressed through the electoral support among the middle classes for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, his governing projects are associated with intolerance toward minorities and dissenters and exhibit centralizing authoritarian tendencies. To understand the rise of right populism in India, the panelists reflect on an earlier period of the 1960s and early 1970s when Indira Gandhi launched a populist campaign of the left against the entrenched power structures of the Congress party in India. Indira achieved resounding electoral victories and led India to its first authoritarian phase. In this talk, the panelists explore the relationship between the left populists in the 1970s and the right populists in the 2010s whether there are differences in the authoritarian practices of left and right populists.