Balance of Power: A Victory for Women Rattles India

(Bloomberg) -- A victory for India’s women is sparking fears about religious nationalism in one of tomorrow’s economic superpowers.

India’s top court ruled this week that Muslim men can no longer instantly dump their wives by simply saying the word "talaq" -- which means divorce -- three times in a row.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party has long pushed to end the practice, and wants a uniform civil code governing issues like marriage, property and inheritance. Muslims worry that such a change would allow India’s Hindu majority to impose its own values on them.

Hindu nationalism has been on the rise since Modi came to power three years ago and with elections approaching in 2019, his BJP party may be tempted to appeal to its Hindu base in a bid to secure power for decades to come.

But given the often bloody history between both communities in India, much will depend on Modi’s ability to tame those urges within his party. Otherwise his drive to reform the world’s second-most populous economy may well become bogged down by bitterness and division.

Balance of Power: A Victory for Women Rattles India

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Global Headlines

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Balance of Power: A Victory for Women Rattles India

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Balance of Power: A Victory for Women Rattles India

To contact the authors of this story: Ruth Pollard in New Delhi at, Kathleen Hunter in London at