Seen from afar, India is a land of legends that has fascinated travellers: the land of fakirs, fighting elephants and snake charmers has seen the birth of wisdom and philosophies galore, and the Indian Union is the only country in the world to have preserved the polytheism that once dominated the planet. But religion does not reign supreme here. An acute taste for mathematics, wise management of religious diversity, active policies of positive discrimination, linguistic nationalism: India is constantly drawing on the past to reinvent itself and nurture the soft power it wants to exert in the world.
Here, Anne Viguier explores its long cultural and political history. Since 2014, India has been governed by a strongman, Narendra Modi, who intends to unify a country aiming to become a superpower. Will he be able to?