Sacralising—and smirching—the tricolour

In one stroke, the prime minister succeeded not only in breeding resentment for the flag, but also in converting the revered standard of our nation into a symbol of oppression.

When the United States sneezes, it used to be said, the world catches a cold. In the past eight years, Indians have been exposed to a homegrown variant of that international truism: When Narendra Modi has a brainwave, countless native lives and livelihoods are washed away. In 2021, just over five years after abolishing the Five-Year Plans, Modi announced a 25-year programme to make India great. If demonetization was, in M. Venkaiah Naidu’s disturbingly unselfconscious phrase, India’s own “Cultural Revolution”, Amrit Kaal must qualify as our own Great Leap Forward.

In the next quarter century, Modi wants India to scale …


Kapil Komireddi

Kapil is a journalist, book critic and author. His first book, Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India (2019), was published to critical and commercial acclaim in India, the UK and the US. He has written from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East—including Syria, Pakistan and Palestine—and his work appears, among other publications, in The New York Times, The Critic, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Economist, TIME, CNN, The Guardian and Le Monde diplomatique. He is a frequent contributor to The Spectator and an international affairs panellist on Monocle24 radio.