Regional perspective

Gujarat and the contradictory co-existence of economic enterprise and political illiberalism

Authored by: Harald Tambs-Lyche , Nikita Sud

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415738651
eBook ISBN: 9781315682570
Adobe ISBN: 9781317403586


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The state of Gujarat, at the western extreme of the Indian subcontinent, has been in the news throughout the young twenty-first century. Since 2014, the former Chief Minister of the state has been Prime Minister of India, and the election which brought him this victory was the first ever to give an absolute majority to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), often called the ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ or ‘Hindu Nationalist’ party. Ever since that party gained power in Gujarat in 1995, the state has been seen as the ‘showcase’ of the Hindu right. Then, early in 2002, a violent clash between the Hindu and Muslim communities resulted in the death of some 1,500 to 2,000 people, with a majority of Muslims among the killed. Modi’s overwhelming election victory in December of that year was seen as partly a result of this violence, to which the government he led had been at best indifferent.

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