In democracies, voting patterns and their consequences are quite complicated, because parties are not single-interest groups; they are umbrella coalitions of various interest groups, sometimes conflicting with each other, and moreover one gets exactly one vote to express one’s opinion on a whole range of issues from religion to infrastructure development to education. Being a politician is all about monkey-balancing between these interest groups. This is why I don’t call the ideology of, say Modi, as either nectarine or poisonous: simply put, he (or other politicians) has no ideology, and his focus is how to do actions with high marginal value for the purpose of his votes. If you are strongly committed to an ideology or principle, you cannot become a politician. (In particular, I am not a fan of Modi: of course he is an unprincipled charlatan like anyone else).
Now let us come to the specific case at hand: the division into card-carrying Hindus and secular Hindus I wrote above was a gross oversimplification, for the sake of ease/clarity in presenting my point. Let us specifically look at what an exit poll says about Karnataka vote shares: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DdDJUsHUQAAG5Fx.jpg – as you can see, voting patterns very strongly depend on the caste.
So votes are not divided just along Hindu-Muslim lines, but along many other lines, very prominently along caste lines. Some of this has to do with the presence of people from specific castes inside a political party, some to do with politics of reservation, and some to do with blatant partisanism (e.g., when Akhilesh Yadav Samajwadi Party was ruling Uttar Pradesh, it seems to have been understood that a disproportionate number of appointments in various government services such as the police would be from the Yadav community); and once in a while one hears complaints like this that there are favoritism towards Kashmir and against Jammu/Ladakh in appointments in Jammu and Kashmir.
Card-carrying Hindus like me are spread across castes (which are not represented proportionally, unfortunately so if you ask me). They are part of what may be called the baseof BJP. My best guess would be that they are quite a minority, but not statistically insignificant demographically. However, electorally they are even less significant than their demographic share, because they mostly don’t have anyone but BJP to vote for.
Something similar happened with the Republican establishment taking the Republican base for granted, and the resulting resentment among the Republican base was exploited by Trump with his provocative comments to basically upend the establishment and get himself to be the candidate. This hasn’t happened with the BJP yet.
So a politician from the BJP would have his/her eyes on marginal values of votes. Do you get to increase your voteshare by pleasing people who are anyway constrained to not vote for others, or people may possibly swing to your side with freebies? These involve complicated calculations/risky speculations; politics is a very difficult job that needs a lot of talent and luck.
Even these are only the factors related to the political process. There are actions of the judiciary etc. that the Government cannot do much about. Consider the Rohingyas settled in Jammu (not in Kashmir as Al Jazeera claims: the Kashmiri separatists insisted on settling the Rohingyas in Jammu but not in their state). The BJP Government actually pushed to deport them, only to be stayed by the Supreme court (remember Trump’s travel ban overturned by US courts?) It was the Supreme Court which invited itself into the battle over Diwali and banned fire cracker sale in Delhi just a few days before the 2017 Diwali, pushing a lot of cracker making families into poverty. It was the Supreme court which banned Jallikkattu.
More importantly, it was the Supreme Court (and not the Congress Government which brought it) which made the Right to Education act in India discriminatory, exempting minority-run educational institutions from it.
More generally, I am every democracy has “checks and balances” to ensure that democracy doesn’t go too far, and often the clever way of getting what you wish is not through the democratic process but by tweaking these checks and balances: as a tweet I saw from Razib’s twitter put it:
Epistocratic voting is for noobs, a real class warrior for the new class knows we rule most effectively through the administrative state, judicial activism, and simply narrowing the scope of conceivable policies https://t.co/5teaJ4TVzl— Rogue Works Progress Administration (@GabrielRossman) May 12, 2018
So there you go. You will certainly have a lot to disagree with many of my points above, but for good or for worse, this is a summary of my view on why things are the way they are in India.
froginthewell, if want me to delete this post I will. I wanted to write an article very similar to this and you channeled many of my thoughts, albeit better expressed.
Almost all of India’s academia, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), Indian Railways, Indian Police Service (IPS), Bollywood, and Indian cultural elite are dominated by post modernist philosophy. Most know little to nothing about eastern philosophy; and the majority of what they think they know is a misunderstanding. A majority have a subtle contempt for eastern philosophy and spirituality; but it is not based on studying eastern philosophy or their personal spiritual practice. This is also true for many of the elites in the BJP and Hindutva.
The influence of post modernism has grown greatly in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. To better understand how, please see:
I remember believing this when I was 11 years old. It took me many years to find others who thought as I did. Now I understand that very few nominal Hindus (Buddhists and Sikhs included) have extensively studied and deeply ruminated over their own philosophy and practice; which makes expressing this perspective more challenging.
I have always found India and the US to be remarkably similar; albeit their similarity is expressed through different accents, words and symbols. This is why the intellectual response to post modernism needs to be global to work. Some refer to this response as the “intellectual dark web.” Hope to see many articles at BP on this soon.