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IN-DEPTH: Is India (the world's largest democracy) turning authoritarian? W/ Mauktik Kulkarni

Since receiving its independence in 1947, India has stood as a bastion of democracy in the Indo-Pacific. However, while India boasts a liberal-democratic constitution and a strong culture of political participation, we have seen shifts away from democracy to arguably more authoritarian systems.

In this In-Depth episode, Rhiannon chats with Mauktik Kulkarni, an entrepreneur, neuroscientist, author, and filmmaker from India who currently lives and works in the United States.

After training in engineering, biophysics and neuroscience at several prestigious universities across India and the United States, Mauktik became involved in multiple health care and tech startups, backpacked across 50 countries and even wrote two books!

Since then he has written articles on US domestic and foreign policies, international news, technology, Indian democracy and politics for places like the Fair Observer and The Wire.

In this episode, Rhiannon and Mauktik discuss:

  • The relationship between democracy, Indian and Hindu nationalism, and authoritarianism

  • India’s long and multifaceted history as a democracy in South Asia

  • Modi’s populist India and how he has influenced Hindu nationalism

  • The rivalry between India and Pakistan in the region of Jammu and Kashmir

  • and whether the decline in democracy in India will influence the region more broadly.

You can catch Mauktik on LinkedIn or see his work on his website -

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CREDITS: This episode is produced by the Young Diplomats Society on the lands of the Wurundjeri/Gadigal people. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we operate and live.

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