India

The world’s largest democracy comprising over 1 billion people, India is home to adherents of some of the world’s most prominent faiths, which have left an indelible mark on its cultural and political history. Though its has a Hindu majority, India has sizeable religious minorities, most notably its Muslim population of over 170 million, a Christian population of 28 million, and over 20 million Sikhs. Furthermore, India is also divided along linguistic and caste lines, all of which impact the social and cultural life of the country and its politics. Throughout its history, India has witnessed outbreaks of inter-communal violence, primarily between the four main religious groups. The Hindu nationalist BJP party emerged as a serious contender in Indian politics in the latter half of the 20th Century, and it now stands as the dominant political force in India. The BJP’s commitment to promoting a form of cultural nationalism (Hindutva) is seen by its opponents fomenting a purely Hindu-defined conception of Indian national identity, which has potentially negative ramifications for its minority populations.