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 Thesis Research 

Title: Far-right Populists' Rhetoric and Policies Towards Muslims in India

Welcome to my research presentation on the far-right populist rhetoric in India and its policy outcomes. This study explores the implications of far-rights' (normalised) hateful rhetoric, languages and gestures against Muslim citizens on policy-making and societal impacts.

Explore the Research Data


My study examines the rhetoric employed by far-right populists in India and its consequential impact on policy outcomes. Through a comprehensive mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative content analysis with quantitative data analysis, the research uncovers significant correlations between hate speech, anti-Muslim discourse and hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities including Dalits, and Christians. The findings reveal how such hate speech and rhetoric not only shape policy decisions but also influence societal dynamics, contributing to polarization and other profound effects on minority communities. I provide a nuanced understanding of the mechanisms, language, gestures, and outcomes of far-right populist rhetoric. This research offers valuable insights for policymakers, scholars, and the public, highlighting the urgent need for strategies to address and mitigate the polarizing effects of populism in modern politics.

Key Findings

The thesis establishes a causal relationship between far-right populist rhetoric targeting Muslims and the increase in hate crimes against them.

It finds that Muslims were overwhelmingly the victims of hate speech and hate crimes, with Hindus being the primary perpetrators in most cases of hate crimes and cow-related vigilantism. 


This study combines qualitative and quantitative methods to examine far-right populist rhetoric and its impact on hate crimes against Muslims in India from 2009 to 2018. Data were collected from NDTV, including 146 incidents of hate speech by 59 lawmakers, and analyzed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Social Identity Theory (SIT). The analysis covers the periods of the Indian National Congress (2009-2013) and Bharatiya Janata Party (2014-2018) governments, revealing the discursive strategies and psychological mechanisms influencing social dynamics.

Theoretical Framework

The thesis employs Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to dissect the linguistic strategies employed by the BJP to marginalize minorities, revealing how rhetoric constructs narratives of exclusion. Simultaneously, Social Identity Theory (SIT) illuminates the psychological mechanisms underlying the resonance of this rhetoric within the Hindu majority, elucidating how it strengthens group identities and perpetuates societal polarization. Integrating these frameworks enriches the analysis by providing a holistic perspective on how political discourse shapes social perceptions and exacerbates divisions, essential for understanding the broader implications of populist rhetoric in contemporary Indian politics.

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 Key Findings 

Key findings reveal that a significant majority of hate speech incidents were attributed to BJP lawmakers, predominantly observed in North Indian states under BJP rule. This concentration highlights a concerning trend within BJP-governed regions regarding hate speech prevalence and political discourse.

Causal Link: Hate Crimes

Far-right — BJP's populist rhetoric correlates significantly with increased hate crimes against Muslims, particularly during its governance from 2014 to 2018.

Psychological Impact

Social Identity Theory elucidates how BJP's rhetoric reinforces Hindu identity, contributing to polarization and marginalization of Muslims.

Discourse Strategies

The BJP employs divisive rhetoric, demonizing Muslims as enemies of Hindu Rashtra, escalating communal tensions through language, imagery, and discourse.

Policy Implications

Effective policies are crucial to mitigate the polarizing effects of populist rhetoric, promoting social cohesion and protecting minority rights.

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