At 75, India’s democracy is under pressure like never before


              Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, speaks with the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. Gupta said India’s democracy appears to be “on the downswing” due to the court’s inability to uphold people's civil liberties in some cases by denying them bail and the misuse of sedition and anti-terror laws by police, tactics that have been used by earlier governments as well. (AP Photo/Bhumika Saraswati)
            
              Indian national flags flutter over a residential area in front of a garbage dump in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. Experts and critics partly blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi's populist government for this backsliding, accusing him of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, speaks with the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. Gupta said India’s democracy appears to be “on the downswing” due to the court’s inability to uphold people's civil liberties in some cases by denying them bail and the misuse of sedition and anti-terror laws by police, tactics that have been used by earlier governments as well. (AP Photo/Bhumika Saraswati)
            
              Indian national flags flutter over a residential area in front of a garbage dump in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. Experts and critics partly blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi's populist government for this backsliding, accusing him of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, speaks with the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. Gupta said India’s democracy appears to be “on the downswing” due to the court’s inability to uphold people's civil liberties in some cases by denying them bail and the misuse of sedition and anti-terror laws by police, tactics that have been used by earlier governments as well. (AP Photo/Bhumika Saraswati)
            
              Indian national flags flutter over a residential area in front of a garbage dump in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. Experts and critics partly blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi's populist government for this backsliding, accusing him of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, speaks with the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. Gupta said India’s democracy appears to be “on the downswing” due to the court’s inability to uphold people's civil liberties in some cases by denying them bail and the misuse of sedition and anti-terror laws by police, tactics that have been used by earlier governments as well. (AP Photo/Bhumika Saraswati)
            
              Indian national flags flutter over a residential area in front of a garbage dump in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. Experts and critics partly blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi's populist government for this backsliding, accusing him of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              Deepak Gupta, a former Supreme Court judge, speaks with the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. Gupta said India’s democracy appears to be “on the downswing” due to the court’s inability to uphold people's civil liberties in some cases by denying them bail and the misuse of sedition and anti-terror laws by police, tactics that have been used by earlier governments as well. (AP Photo/Bhumika Saraswati)
            
              A schoolgirl walks past a screen on which visitors can write their vision for India 2047 inside "Pradhamantri Museum," or Prime Minister Museum, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 3, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              A visitor walks past a display that exhibits India's only period of emergency under Congress party's Indira Gandhi rule in 1975, inside "Pradhamantri Museum," or Prime Minister Museum, in New Delhi, India Aug. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              FILE - Authorities demolish the residence of activist Javed Ahmad they say has been constructed illegally in Prayagraj, India June 12, 2022. Protests have been erupting in many Indian cities to condemn the demolition of homes and businesses belonging to Muslims, in what critics call a growing pattern of "bulldozer justice" aimed at punishing activists from the minority group. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File)
            
              FILE - A trident is seen on car vandalized during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB),  a controversial citizenship review process that has already left nearly two million people in Assam state potentially stateless, in Gauhati, India Dec. 12, 2019. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, 2022, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File)
            
              FILE - Writer and activist Arundhati Roy, right, talks to a student during a march to the Indian parliament house in New Delhi, India March 15, 2016. “Most former colonies have struggled to put a lasting democratic process in place. India was more successful than most in doing that,” said the Booker Prize-winning novelist and activist. “And now, 75 years on, to witness it being dismantled systematically and in shockingly violent ways is traumatic.” (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
            
              FILE - An opposition Congress party worker, wearing a mask of Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, looks through a scope during a protest accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of using military-grade spyware to monitor political opponents, journalists and activists, in New Delhi, India Feb. 2, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)
            
              FILE - An Indian paramilitary soldier orders a Kashmiri to open his jacket before frisking him during curfew, days after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Aug. 8, 2019. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, 2022, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)
            
              Coomi Kapoor, journalist and author of the book “The Emergency: A Personal History,” which chronicles India’s only period of emergency, speaks to the Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. “One has only to look around to see that the media has certainly shriveled up during Mr. Modi’s regime,” said Kapoor. “What happened in the emergency was upfront and there was no pretense. What is happening now is more gradual and sinister,” she said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              A copy of the Constitution of India is seen on display as a visitor speaks on his mobile phone inside "Pradhamantri Museum," or Prime Minister Museum, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain, putting its democracy under pressure. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              School children walk in a queue inside the corridor of "Pradhanmantri Museum," or Prime Minister Museum, featuring photographs of India's present and past prime ministers in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Seen on left is India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and on right is current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              FILE - Jawaharlal Nehru salutes the flag as he becomes independent India's first prime minister on Aug. 15, 1947 during the Independence Day ceremony at Red Fort, New Delhi, India. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom," Nehru famously spoke, words that were heard over live radio by millions of Indians. Then he promised: “To the nations and peoples of the world, we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.” (AP Photo/File)
            
              FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during an election campaign rally of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Hyderabad, India on April 1, 2019. As India, the world’s largest democracy, celebrates 75 years of independence on Aug. 15, 2022, its independent judiciary, diverse media and minorities are buckling under the strain. Experts and critics partly blame Modi's populist government for this backsliding, accusing him of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms and preoccupying itself with pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A., File)
            
              Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard at a barricade to prevent lawmakers from India's opposition Congress party from moving ahead during a protest in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
            
              Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, center in blue mask, and other lawmakers participate in a protest in New Delhi, India, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. “Democracy is a memory (in India),” Gandhi later tweeted, describing the dramatic photographs that showed him and his party men being briefly detained by police. Gandhi’s statement resonated amid a growing sentiment in the country that India’s democracy, the world’s largest with nearly 1.4 billion people, is in retreat and its democratic foundations are floundering. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
At 75, India’s democracy is under pressure like never before