To Kill a Democracy
| Book Awards 2022 | English Non-fiction
To Kill a Democracy
‘Searing’ FINANCIAL TIMES ‘Hard-hitting’ KIRKUS ‘Richly sourced’ TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT ‘Important’ HINDU
India is heralded as the world's largest democracy. Yet, there is now growing alarm about its democratic health. To Kill a Democracy gets to the heart of the matter.
Combining poignant life stories with sharp scholarly insight, To Kill a Democracy rejects the belief that India was once a beacon of democracy but is now being ruined by the destructive forces of Modi-style populism. It details the much deeper historical roots of the present-day assaults on civil liberties and democratic institutions. Democracy, the authors also argue, is much more than elections and the separation of powers. It is a whole way of life lived in dignity, and that is why they pay special attention to the decaying social foundations of Indian democracy.
In compelling fashion, the book describes daily struggles for survival and explains how lived social injustices and unfreedoms rob Indian elections of their meaning, while at the same time feeding the decadence and iron-fisted rule of its governing institutions.
It points out that what is happening in the country is globally important, and not just because every third person living in a democracy is an Indian. It shows that when democracies rack and ruin their social foundations, they don’t just kill off the spirit and substance of democracy. They lay the foundations for despotism.
Debasish Roy Chowdhury is a journalist based in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in Calcutta, Sao Paulo, Hua Hin, Bangkok, and Beijing. He is a Jefferson Fellow and a recipient of multiple journalism prizes, including the Human Rights Press Award and the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) award.
John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and the WZB (Berlin). He is renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy, and is the author of a number of distinguished books including The Life and Death of Democracy and The New Despotism.