Religious Polarization in Karnataka


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By Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Milan Vaishnav. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Over the past two months, the southern Indian state of Karnataka has been the site of significant religious tensions as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government—and Hindu nationalist organizations associated with it—have advanced policies and issued statements that many believe have explicitly targeted Muslims in the state.

From a ban on hijabs in school to calls for boycotting Muslim businesses, we are seeing sharpening religious divisions in the state that is home to India’s biggest technology hub, Bangalore.

To make sense of the latest developments in the state, Milan is joined on the show this week by Sugata Srinivasaraju, a respected political journalist and author who has been covering political developments in Karnataka for decades. Sugata is the author of several books, including Furrows in a Field: The Unexplored Life of H.D. Deve Gowda.

Sugata and Milan discuss the BJP’s rise to prominence in Karnataka—its lone southern stronghold—and the spate of recent controversial developments, from the ban on hijabs in school to calls for boycotting establishments serving halal food. Plus, the two discuss the upcoming 2023 assembly elections, the BJP’s dilemma, and the fractures within the political opposition.

  1. Sugata Srinivasaraju, “Balancing Opinion And Diverting Attention,” New Indian Express, April 7, 2022.
  2. Soutik Biswas, “Bangalore: How polarisation is dividing India's Silicon Valley,” BBC, April 7, 2022.
  3. Pooja Prasanna, “Karnataka’s Hindutva hate politics: Blame it on a weak CM and an edgy Opposition,” The News Minute, April 6, 2022.

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