Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely the most popular elected leader in the world. No other politician has won so many votes in history. Few other incumbent leaders around the world have such consistently high polling numbers.
And yet a growing number of scholars believe that in the world’s largest democracy, Modi may be dismantling democracy itself. As historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in “The Cult of Modi,” India’s leader has systematically eroded key democratic pillars such as the press, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the cabinet.
How exactly has Modi corralled so much power? Why have India’s opposition parties crumbled? What does a changing India mean for the world order? Watch FP’s editor in chief, Ravi Agrawal, for a rare in-depth interview with Guha.
Watch Ramachandra Guha, a historian of modern India, answer whether the opposition has a role to play in fighting democratic backsliding in the country.
Ramachandra Guha breaks down the global ramifications of India’s democratic decline.
Ramachandra Guha, biographer of former activist Mahatma Gandhi, explains why India’s democracy is on a downward spiral despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi being widely popular and winning two elections.
Historian and biographer
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer and the author of books including Environmentalism: A Global History and India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. He lives in Bengaluru.
Editor in chief, Foreign Policy
Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of the podcast Global Reboot, and a frequent commentator on world affairs on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC. Before joining FP, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. Agrawal has shared a Peabody Award and three Emmy nominations for his work as a TV producer, and his writing for FP was part of a series nominated for a 2020 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. Agrawal is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy. He is a graduate of Harvard University.