Modi’s Actual Gujarat Model

Editorial Board member Nikita Sud has a new article available at JCA. Nikita is with the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford in the UK.

The Actual Gujarat Model: Authoritarianism, Capitalism, Hindu Nationalism and Populism in the Time of Modi” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020. 1846205) comes with this abstract:

Gujarat is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home State and training ground. His Gujarat Model is projected as growth and development oriented. This article shows the actual Gujarat Model as top-down, favouring big business and undergirded by violent Hindu nationalism. The cult of the strongman leader – directly attuned to his people and above the corruption of politics as usual – rounds off Gujarat’s authoritarian populist playbook. While the antecedents of this playbook are found in recent history, natural and political crises entrenched the Gujarat Model. The leader and his New Gujarat have since been popularised across scale, including nationally. Moving in the opposite direction, the article traces aggressively promoted business and violently repressed dissent in a sub-sub-national district of Gujarat. It then turns to the district’s village hinterland, focusing on those who witness and occasionally participate in the Gujarat Model’s politics and economics. Here the article finds capitalist development built on precarious labour and jobless growth. It also observes the much-feted Hindu nation riven by contradictions of caste, class, region and gender. Despite such cracks, deepening state authoritarianism, and the populist connect with a larger-than-life leader endure – for now – in the absence of substantive alternatives.

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