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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

India’s Authoritarianism -- in the Time of Modi and Climate Change --


Prof. Dr. Nikita Sud (University of Oxford)

Date and Time

March 24, 2023, 5 - 6:30 pm


University of Zurich, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Room RAA E 27, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich


Like countries across the globe, India today is marked by a cosy alliance between big business and the state. Wider political outreach comes from appeals to religious nationalism and populism. The cult of the strongman rounds off the authoritarian playbook. This paper interrogates India’s authoritarianism across scale. It begins at the national level before turning to the seedbed, sub-national state of Gujarat. Gujarat is home to key players in both politics and business. It is also associated with the in/famous ‘Gujarat model’.

The Gujarat model runs deep, as the paper shows in its journey to a district, and then a village where authoritarianism is reproduced, as also contested in the everyday. As cases, the paper chooses big infrastructure projects that characterise contemporary capitalism. These projects are fast being recalibrated to the needs of the green economy. Ongoing green  transition in India, and beyond, is unfolding in climate critical, politically volatile times.


Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies - Indian Studies