Skip to content
Opinion
Pankaj Mishra

Could India Fall Under the Same Spell as Russia?

While the comparison may seem extreme, some very similar cracks are beginning to appear in the world’s largest democracy. 

Participatory demagoguery. 

Participatory demagoguery. 

Photographer: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images

Three months into Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, he faces no effective opposition in Russia or damaging defections from his regime. Indeed, rising public support for the Russian leader points to a society that has gone rogue together with its state. It shows how a nation wounded by the denial of its superpower status can find solace in an aggressive chauvinism.

An insecure Chinese regime has for years engaged in similar demagoguery, stoking hyper-nationalism among its citizens. Now this geopolitical trend is more insidiously and with much less attention entrenching itself in India, another aspiring and frustrated superpower.