Having just posted bad news about democracy, specifically the loss of Hong Kong to Xi Jinping’s autocracy, I read some good news. In India’s recent election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hlndu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expected to increase their majority in India’s Parliament, were instead reduced to a minority.

Modi was yet another leader of the right-wing populist persuasion. Like others of his illiberal ilk, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán or Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan, he was shifting away from democracy toward more authoritarian governance.

He has captured or subverted most of the major institutions that democracy depends on. He has seriously undermined the independence of India’s once vigorous press. He has jailed critics and political opponents, seriously harming freedom of speech. He has inflamed religious passions in violation of the country’s long history of tolerance, referring to Moslems as “infiltrators” and accusing them of seeking to steal wealth and power from the Hindu majority.

Like Trump with the U.S. Republican Party, Modi has turned his party into a personality cult. In his mind, he is the party, declaring that he has been sent by God, his birth not a “biological” event.

Modi will still lead the country., but with a highly modified agenda and tone. He will now have to seek a coalition with smaller parties in order to form a government. Fortunately, the most obvious candidates are secular, and have no interest in Modi’s nationalist project of Hindu supremacy.

The opposition’s success in reducing the BJP to minority status was particularly impressive considering that Modi’s party, aside from dominating the media, is one of the richest in the world. Its fund-raising mechanism—exploiting anonymous donations—has been hugely successful. And declared unconstitutional by India’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

One of the reasons for the opposition’s success was emphasizing bread and butter issues. India under Modi has been in important ways an economic success, lifting millions out of poverty and currently having the world’s fastest growing economy. But there are also deep economic problems. Unemployment is high, as is inflation, particularly for food, and as is the case elsewhere much of the new wealth has gone to the very rich. Inequality has soared.

The back-to-basics approach worked. Tribal identity may feed the soul but it doesn’t do anything for bellies. The answer to Modi’s request for even more power was met with a resounding no thanks.

For all its faults, and they were many, the British Empire did at least one very great thing. Wherever it went, it left democracy behind. And leaving democracy behind in what is now the world’s most populous nation was singularly impressive. Seeing it being transformed into an autocracy under Modi has been depressing.

But obviously it is more resilient than it may have appeared. The opposition reinvigorated, it has bounded back with a stinging rebuke to a leader who had become a victim of his own hubris. A mature electorate has got their democracy back on track.

Later the year we will look south to see how mature the American electorate is. They too face a politician who assaults their country’s founding values, its institutions and its basic decency. If they prefer democracy, their choice is clear.

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