January 27, 2017
“The most fundamental difference between Indian conservatism and American conservatism is their subscription to the idea of a modern state.”
The most fundamental difference between Indian conservatism and American conservatism is their subscription to the idea of a modern state.
In a way, this is similar to Chinese conservatism as well. Both India and China are ancient civilizations which are channeled through modern states, whereas America is a state that has slowly built up its civilization and ethos.
While American conservatives view the American state as one of the great creations of history, Indian conservatives view the modern state of India as a manifestation of “Bharat” or the Indian Civilization.
Through this prism, the state is just a means to achieve the glory of the ancient Indian civilization which they feel have been eroded by countless Islamic invasions and British rule.
All liberals are alike, but every conservative is conservative in his own way.
Where all conservatives are the same is in their longing for a time when their nation was supposedly at the zenith of its greatness. This is why you end up with slogans such as “acche din aane wale” (good days will come again) and “Make America Great again”.
Understandably, this causes enormous friction with minority groups who weren’t a part of this civilization. Most commonly, for India with it’s Muslim/Christian minorities and it’s tribal populations.
Fiscally, both Indian conservatives and liberals are FAR to the left of anything Americans or Europeans would be accustomed to. Since the economic reforms towards free markets began in 1991 however, there exists a solid middle class which favors free-market economics and increasing deregulation.
The current Modi administration belongs to this school of thought as seen in its implementation of the Goods & Services Tax(GST) and demonetization.
Given the low salience of foreign policy in the minds of the Indian electorate, it doesn’t play a massive role with the exception of Pakistan which is essentially an extension of its internal problems.
The conservative establishment in India has a long-term view that Indian subcontinent will eventually have to unite or crumble, with the current setup being untenable in the long run.