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When a New York Times columnist feels the need to tell his readers, “Don’t get me wrong—I am hardly advocating totalitarian government,” something has probably gone badly awry in his analysis.

“Paradoxical” is how many describe the complexity of India. Astronomical growth coupled with extreme poverty, a vibrant citizenry coexisting with intense corruption, and modernity juxtaposed with antiquity confound and confuse observers.

Paradoxical also describes two simultaneous trends in India’s democracy. As suggested over the last few years, and reinforced in 2012, India is transitioning away from identity-based politics, yet also returning power to identity-based parties.


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