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Right Wing Populism and Citizenship Conundrum: Making of Stateless Population in India


· Manish K Jha Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India, India)


07/27 | 12:00-12:20 UTC+2/CEST


We are witnessing unprecedented rise of populism in different parts of the globe. The spectre of populism is transcending boundaries and India is one of the recent but vigorous entries in the league that asserts populism through electoral democracy. The paper situates populist politics in India by specifying the community faultline in South Asia through partition and subsequent developments in the subcontinent. The political economy of people’s mobility across the border has led to contention around legality, demography and electoral outcomes. The paper elucidates how populism and the politics of insecurity have been played out whereby perceived collective threats are framed and acted upon. Traversing from past to present and apprehending the lurking dystopia, the paper shall explain politics of othering ‘illegal’ migrants in the Indian state of Assam that has recently rendered 1.9 million people non-citizen. How are we to understand the economic, political and religious thread of this populism that allowed nationalist regime to go overboard with National Register for Citizenship (NRC) and proposed citizenship Bill? How do we engage with the rhetoric and claims that appeared to have secured populist support for right wing through policy-legislative and juridical decisions? To understand how migration has been framed as a threat to the people, the paper shall engage with politics of insecurity, anxiety and grievance.The paper examines how certain incidents in historical conjunctures produced a convergence between migration, nationness, and stateness and how populist leaders are practicing their politics through interplay of polity,language, region, ethnicity & nationality