Whichever side emerges victorious in May, the consensus in India is that the Nehruvian construct of secularism is dead—killed by its one-time supporters as much as by its dogged opponents. What will replace it is unclear. In the battle for India’s soul, only one side has shown up ready to fight.
The general sense is that with Modi at the helm of affairs, war and conflict will mark the tone of relations between the two countries. However, this would be beneficial for Pakistan’s nationalist project that gets strengthened with every news of mob lynching of Muslims and other minorities, from India. This is not to argue that the state of minorities in Pakistan is any better: But New Delhi no longer represents a secular ideal. For Islamabad, a non-secular India is easier to contest.
Some believe, or fear, that Modi is so powerful that he is a shoo-in for a second term in 2019. But a year in office has made it apparent that Modi’s mind is too old for the composite mind of India. In 2014, a youth wave voted Modi into power. It does not seem impossible to believe that if a reasonable political alternative takes shape, another youth wave in 2019 will vote him out.
In recent years, Bangladeshis have suffered the brutality of security forces and massive environmental destruction. For months now, the news from the world’s seventh-most-populous country has been dominated by the fractiousness of the country’s main leaders, thetrial of men suspected of war crimes during Bangladesh’s war of liberation in 1971, and the slavery-like conditions of the country’s garment industry.
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