Siddhartha Deb at The Nation:
But why did India, a success story not so long ago, need to be Modi-fied at all? Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, sliced open by neoliberal knives into a realm of information technology, real estate and conspicuous consumption, the country was widely celebrated, both by its own elites and its Western boosters, as having entered the realm of true democracy. The four previous decades of postcolonial India were consigned to a conceptual darkness that was sometimes called “socialism” and sometimes, in a slightly more accurate reference to the heavy bureaucratic role of the centralized state, the “license-permit Raj.” In contrast to this was the celebration of the present: the new, market-friendly nation, tiger rising and “India Shining” (the latter a slogan coined by the BJP in its failed re-election bid in 2004), and particularly its growth as measured by GDP, averaging 8 to 9 percent throughout the first decade of the new millennium and peaking at 10.3 percent in 2010. Fed largely by flows of foreign capital and inherently weak, the tiger has since shrunk to the size of a goat, with growth having fallen to 4.7 percent in 2014—which goes some way toward explaining why both the Indian oligarchs and sections of the population turned against the Congress Party toward the end of its ten-year rule and began to clamor for Modi to take over.