Amit Shah is the second-most powerful man in India today, second only to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two men met in the 1980s in Gujarat, while working as foot soldiers for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary Hindu supremacist organization that is the ideological parent of the ruling government today.

They rose together, and Shah has remained a trusted aide and confidant of Modi. He is the only person whom Modi trusts in the coterie of sycophants around the prime minister. Shah’s career traces the transformation of India from a constitutional democracy to a Hindu nationalist one.

Atul Dev has been commissioned by The Guardian to report and write a profile of Shah. The story will chart his life from being a low-level organizer of an organization at the fringe of Indian society in the 1980s, to his current perch at the top of Indian democracy, from where he is orchestrating the great machinery of the state to align it with the ideals of a Hindu Rashtra, a regime of exclusion, a century-old dream of the RSS, the organization that he gave his life to.

Photo caption: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Amit Shah celebrate elections results in New Delhi. India, 2019.



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Democracy and Authoritarianism

Democracy and Authoritarianism