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The Lawfare Podcast: India’s Democracy Under Modi

Saraphin Dhanani, Jen Patja, Debasish Roy Chowdhury
Monday, April 10, 2023, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
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On March 23, 2023, an Indian court found Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, guilty of defaming the Prime Minister and the Modi surname. He was sentenced to two years in prison and expelled from Parliament in what journalists and pro-democracy groups view as yet another inflection point of democratic decline under Modi’s leadership. 


To understand the challenges facing Indian society and the current deterioration of India’s democracy, Lawfare Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani sat down with Debasish Roy Chowdhury, an Indian journalist based in Hong Kong and Calcutta, who has written extensively on Indian politics, society, and geopolitics. He co-authored a book titled “To Kill a Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism,” which paints a chilling history and reality of the state of Indian democracy. They discussed the Rahul Gandhi case, the spillover of Hindu nationalism into mainstream politics under Modi’s leadership, and the future of India’s democracy. 



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Saraphin Dhanani is the Legal Fellow at the Lawfare Institute. She previously worked at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Ambassador for Human Rights and in the Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College, where she was a Fellow and Ambassador at the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was the Senior Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Debasish Roy Chowdhury is an Indian journalist based in Hong Kong and Calcutta, who has written extensively on Indian politics, society, and geopolitics.

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