• Agnieszka Nitza-Makowska Collegium Civitas, Poland


The hierarchical organisation of society and the lack of distinction between the public and private sphere in Islam and Hinduism are cultural features of India and Pakistan that seem inconsistent with democracy. Reservation policy and the recognition of the most popular regional languages both demonstrate the adjustment of India’s democratic framework to the caste system and the arithmetic of ethnic groups respectively. These measures have helped to pave the way for India's smooth political transition. In contrast to the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League refused to introduce similar solutions in Pakistan. The public presence of Hinduism in India and Islam in Pakistan have barely affected the countries overall political trajectories. However, the recent radicalisation, marked by the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India and the emergence of the Islamist political movements, including the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Party in Pakistan, have triggered tendencies towards authoritarianism. This paper concludes by reconsidering the similarities between the impact of the majority religion’s public presence on the post-2014 Indian and Pakistani regime trajectories. By the comparative analysis of the two countries, this study contributes to the contemporary debates in political sciences about the rise of authoritarianism and the demand for identity.

Keywords: India, Pakistan, democracy, Islam, Hinduism, regime trajectory


Adeney Kathryn, To What Degree Is India an Ethnic Democracy?, Paper presented at the 25th European Conference on South Asian Studies of the European Association of South Asian Studies, July 2018, Paris.

Alavi Hamza, Social Forces and Ideology in the Making of Pakistan, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No. 51, 2002.

Ahsan Aziz, “Why Pakistan is Not a Democracy?”, in: Divided by Democracy, Page David (eds.), Roli Books, New Delhi, 2005.

Basu Somdatta, Bengali set to be must in all schools from classes I to VIII, Times of India, May 20, 2017, (accessed 10.08.2019).

Kapur Shekhar (Director), Bandit Queen, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, India 1994.

Census of India of 2011, (accessed 16.052019).

Census of Pakistan, 1951. Manager of Publications, Govt. of Pakistan, Karachi, 1955.

Chatterji Saubhdra, Political Will, Patriarchy: Why The Women’s Reservation Bill Has Still Not Been Passed, Hindustan Times, March 8, 2017, (accessed 15.10.2019).

Constitution of India of 1950 (as amended up to Dec. 1, 2007), (accessed 17.10.2019).

Constitution of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, (accessed 24.10.2019).

Constitution of India (Twenty-first Amendment) Act, 1967), (accessed 07.10.2019).

Constitution (Thirty-first Amendment) Act, 2018, (accessed 25.10.2019).

Constitution of India (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act, 1992, (accessed 20.09.2019).

Constitution of Pakistan of 1973 (as amended up to Feb. 28, 2012), (accessed 17.10.2019)

Constitution of Pakistan (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992,

Dawn Report, Not a Single Woman Cast Vote in Local Government By-Polls in Dir Districts, Dawn, December 26, 2017, (accessed 15.08.2019).

Desai Meghnad, “Why India is a Democracy?”, in: Divided by Democracy, Page David (eds.), Roli Books, New Delhi, 2005.

Diamond Larry, Facing Up to the Democratic recession, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2015.

Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India of 1963, (accessed 24.10.2019).

Freedom House, Country and Territory Ratings and Statuses, 1973-2018 (accessed 24.10.2019).

Freedom House, Freedom in the World, Methodology, (accessed 10.09.2019).

Freedom House, Freedom in the World. Democracy in Crisis, (accessed 10.09.2019).

Fukuyama Francis, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Straus and Giroux, Farrar, 2018.

Glasius Marlies, What authoritarianism is... and is not: a practice perspective, International Affairs, Vol. 94, No. 3, 2018.

Guha Ramachandra, India after Gandhi. The History of the World’s Largest Democracy, Macmillan, London 2008.

Human Rights Watch, Caste Discrimination: A Global Concern, (accessed 10.09.2019).

Jaffrelot Christophe, India and Pakistan: Interpreting the Divergence of Two Political Trajectories, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2002.

Jaffrelot Christophe, India’s Democracy at 70: Toward a Hindu State?, The Journal of Democracy, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2017.

Jevtić Miroljub, 25 Years of Politology of Religion, Journal of the Catholic Social Thought, No. 23, 2019.

Kapur ‎Shekhar (Director), Bandit Queen, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, India 1994.

Khan Ilyas M., Why Was Pakistan General Giving Money to Protesters, BBC News, November 29, 2017, (accessed 15.10.2019).

Tahir Mehdi, Women in politics, Dawn, May 25, 2015, (accessed 24.10.2019).

Ministry of Home Affairs, Lok Sabha Unstarred Question no. 6502 to be Answered on the 7th May, 2013/Vaisakha 17, 1935 (saka), 2013, (accessed 09.10.2019).

Ministry of Home Affairs, Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question no. 521 to be Answered on the 20th December, 2017/ Agrahayana 29, 1939 (SAKA), 2017, (accessed 09.10.2019).

Mitra Subrata, India’s Counterfactual Democracy: Institutional Innovation, Political Capital and the Promise of Resilience, in: India in the Contemporary World. Polity, Economy and International Relations, Zajączkowski Jakub, Schottli Jivanta and Manish Thapa (eds.), Routledge, London, New York, New Delhi 2014.

Monitoring Report, No woman vote in local government by-polls in Dir dis-tricts: report, Pakistan Today, December 26, 2017, (accessed 08.10.2019).

Oldenburg Philip, India, Pakistan and Democracy. Solving the Puzzle of Divergent Paths, Routledge, New York, 2010.

Pew Research Centre, Role of Islam in Politics, 2012, (accessed 17.09.2019).

Polity IV Project, Polity IV Individual Country Regime Trends, 1946-2013, 2014, from (accessed 10.09.2019)

Rasul Bakhsh Rais, “Pakistan”, in: Electoral Processes and Governance in South Asia, Mendis Dushyantha (eds.), SAGE, New Delhi, 2008.

Rajagopal Krishnadas, Mayawati has to repay public money spent on erecting her statues, BSP symbols in parks: SC, The Hindu, February 8, 2019, (accessed 26.10.2019).

Rose Richard, “Democratic and Undemocratic States”, in: Democratization, Haerpfer Christian W., Bernhagen Peter, Ronald F. Inglehart, & Welzel Christian (eds.), Oxford University Press, New York, 2018.

Roy Arundhati, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Knopf, New York, 2017.

Shah Aquil, “The Military and Democracy”, in: Pakistan at the Crossroads. Domestic Dynamics and External Pressures, Christophe Jaffrelot (eds.), Random House India, Haryana.

Shaikh Farzana, Making Sense of Pakistan, Oxford University Press, New York, 2018.

Smooha Sammy, Minority Status in an Ethnic Democracy: The Status of the Arab Minority in Israel, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3, 1990.

Supreme Court of India, Judgement with Civil Appeal no. 2835 of 1989 Bal Thackeray v. Shri Prabhakar Kashinath Kunte & Others, December 1995, 11,

Talbot Ian, Pakistan a Modern History, Foundation Books, London.

Tudor Maya, The Promise of Power. The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2013.

Venugopal, C.N., Polity, Religion and Secularity in India: A study of interrelationships, Politics and Religion Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2013.

Widmalm Sten & Oskarsson Sven, Political Tolerance in India Descriptions and Explanations from the Heartland, Asian Survey, Vol. 53, 2013.

Women's Reservation Bill, 2008, (accessed 13.09.2019).

Ziegfeld Adam, Coalition Government and Party System Change: Explaining the Rise of Regional Political Parties in India, Comparative Politics, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2012.