This assessment is gravely flawed, especially if the authors take the Indian polity to form a part of the 'liberal and free world'. (What is it, by the way?) Throughout the essay, the issues of capitalism and colonial-era 'liberalism' are treated either as irrelevant, or at most a tangential matter. Social theorising does itself a disservice if it misses out glaring aspects of history. DS
Modern democratic governments are founded on liberal principles meant to create the basis of a fair and just society. Liberalism emerged as a reaction against absolute power, in favour of individual autonomy protected by freedom of conscience and the rule of law. As the political theorist Judith Shklar put it in Political Thought and Political Thinkers(1998): ‘Liberalism’s deepest grounding is … in the conviction of the earliest defenders of toleration, born in horror, that cruelty is an absolute evil, an offence against God or humanity.’ That is why liberal principles include, among others, limited government under the rule of law, with individual rights enforceable against the government.
Why is liberalism failing? Supriya Nair