Past Event

POSTPONED: A talk by Christophe Jaffrelot

November 16, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
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The November 16 event with Christophe Jaffrelot has been postponed at the request of the organizers and participants, in solidarity with the Student Workers of Columbia (SWC) strike at Columbia University. We hope to schedule and announce a new date in the coming weeks.

A talk by Christophe Jaffrelot

"Modi's India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy"

This event is jointly presented by the Alliance Program and the South Asia Institute.

Christophe Jaffrelot will be discussing India’s descent into authoritarianism under the Modi regime and prospects for the future with Manan Ahmed, Associate Professor, History Department; Katherine Ewing, Professor of Religion; Director of the South Asia Institute; and Karuna Mantena, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University.

In his recently published book, Modi's India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy, Professor Christophe Jaffrelot offers a riveting account of how a popularly elected leader has steered the world's largest democracy toward authoritarianism and intolerance.

Over the past two decades, thanks to Narendra Modi, Hindu nationalism has been coupled with a form of national-populism that has ensured its success at the polls, first in Gujarat and then in India at large. Modi managed to seduce a substantial number of citizens by promising them development and polarizing the electorate along ethno-religious lines. Drawing on original interviews conducted across India, Christophe Jaffrelot shows how Modi’s government has moved India toward a new form of democracy, an ethnic democracy that equates the majoritarian community with the nation and relegates Muslims and Christians to second-class citizens who are harassed by vigilante groups. He discusses how the promotion of Hindu nationalism has resulted in attacks against secularists, intellectuals, universities, and NGOs.

Modi’s India is a sobering account of how a once-vibrant democracy can go wrong when a government backed by popular consent suppresses dissent while growing increasingly intolerant of ethnic and religious minorities.

Christophe Jaffrelot is a senior research fellow at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI) at Sciences Po in Paris and a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His core research focuses on theories of nationalism and democracy, mobilization of the lower castes and Dalits (ex-untouchables) in India, the Hindu nationalist movement, and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan. He teaches at Sciences Po and part-time in the United States (Columbia, Princeton, John Hopkins, and Yale). He is also professor of Indian politics and sociology at the King’s India Institute and King’s College, London.

Previously, Jaffrelot served as director (2000–2008) and deputy director (1997–2000) of CERI. He is also former editor in chief (1998-2003) and director (2003–2008) of the quarterly journal Critique Internationale. Jaffrelot joined the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 1991 and was awarded the CNRS bronze medal in 1993. He became a CNRS senior research fellow of second class in 2002 and senior research fellow of first class in 2008. He was awarded the 2014 Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism in commentary/interpretive writing.

Jaffrelot is the author of six books including, Religion, Caste and Politics in India (Columbia University Press, 2011), and has edited seventeen volumes, including Pakistan: Nationalism Without a Nation? (Manohar and Zed Books, 2002).