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Who Needs Toilets Anyway?

Narendra Modi’s Clean India Mission, and his focus on sanitation are central to the new prime minister’s push for a more modern looking India. But as these essays from Hardnews make clear, caste attitudes, gender politics and other peculiarities bring their own obstructions:

To pee is to be. That’s what we are, Hoo Ha India, superpower nuclear India, floating on public spectacles of yellow swimming pools of male piss.

A Prime Minister for All of India’s Corporate Lords

If Hindu nationalist politician Narendra Modi wins power in India’s vast parliamentary elections this spring, writes Siddharth Varadarajan in Seminar, it will be a victory for crony capitalism as much as it is for sectarian Hindus. A decade ago, Modi’s name was synonymous with sectarian bloodshed and backwardness.

Who does Narendra Modi represent and what does his rise in Indian politics signify?

The Unholy Godmen

The conviction of four men in New Delhi for a gang rape, and public calls for their hanging leads us to consider here the very different treatment meted out to Asaram Bapu, a prominent Hindu spiritual leader recently accused of raping the daughter of one of his devotees. India’s ‘Godmen’ are vital to right wing politics, with their enormous networks of devotees and their frequently Hindu nationalist views.

As we go to press, it's been almost a week since a minor girl of 15, a child, accused Asaram Bapu of sexual assault in his (un)holy chambers in Jodhpur.