Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting a strident form of Hindu nativism in India that is challenging women’s rights and marginalizing many of the country’s minorities.

Levinson fellow Astha Rajvanshi spent two years observing the effects across India, mostly during the Covid pandemic. At George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington DC on Friday, November 18, she reported on her fellowship and took part in a discussion with UC Santa Barbara professor Amit Ahuja and George Washington professor Rollie Lal, moderated by Georgetown professor and Atlantic Council fellow Irfan Nooruddin. The event was organized by ICWA, the Atlantic Council, Onero Institute and George Washington University’s Elliott School.


A video of the event to follow soon


Astha Rajvanshi spent two years as an Institute of Current World Affairs Levinson fellow traveling across India examining the lives of women and marginalized communities. A graduate of Columbia University’s Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting, she previously worked for The New York Times Magazine. Since wrapping up her fellowship earlier this year, Astha has written freelance from Mumbai, and won New York University’s Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award and a Tiny Foundation Fellowship for Investigative Journalism. She is starting a news writing job with TIME magazine in London this month.


Irfan Nooruddin is the Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Indian Politics in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He works with Lokniti: Programme for Comparative Democracy in New Delhi, India; Samhita Social Ventures in Bombay; and with the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. He studies problems of economic development and globalization, democracy and democratization, and civil conflict and has written several books, including Elections in Hard Times (2016, with T.E. Flores) and The Everyday Crusade (2022, with E.L. McDaniel and A.F. Shortle) published by Cambridge University Press.


Amit Ahuja is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, spending the 2022-23 academic year in Washington, DC as a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His first book book, Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements, published by Oxford University Press, was the winner of the 2020 New India Foundation Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize.


Rollie Lal is an Associate Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, where she teaches graduate courses on transnational security, foreign policy and international political economy. She is also co-chair of the Global Affairs and Religion Network (GARNET). She is the author of several books, including Terrorist Criminal Enterprises, Understanding China and India, and Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors.