The Many Strands of Indian Identity

February 14, 2015 3:16 AM

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The Many Strands of Indian Identity

When President Barack Obama visited India in late January, there was much talk of the liberal values shared by the world’s great democracies. His host, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, spoke of India’s “huge diversity” and “faith in coexistence.” But such platitudes cannot disguise the growing threat to freedom of expression and cultural diversity in India today, in part because of the aggressive nationalist ideology of Mr. Modi’s own Bharatiya Janata Party.

Since Mr. Modi’s election in May, many activists associated with the BJP have rededicated themselves to the party’s long-standing aim to turn India into a “Hindu nation.” In an attempt to end what Mr. Modi has called “1200 years of slavery” under Muslim and British rule, they have converted Muslims ...

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