When Narendra Modi was elected prime minister of India in May 2014, a former aide to the outgoing premier Manmohan Singh described the moment as the birth of a ‘second republic’. He meant that the secular-socialist republic founded by India’s English-speaking elite had run its course. After 25 years of coalition governments, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party had won a parliamentary majority. David Cameron was one of the first foreign leaders to reach out to him, congratulating the prime minister elect for getting ‘more votes than any other politician anywhere in the universe’. This marked the end of Britain’s costly diplomatic boycott of Modi in retaliation for the massacre of more than a thousand Muslims, including British citizens, by Hindu mobs in Gujarat when he was the state’s chief minister in 2002. An investigative team appointed by India’s Supreme Court cleared Modi of criminal responsibility – but, as the anti-Modi protests in London this week demonstrate, not everyone is convinced. It hasn’t helped that, over the last year, religious minorities in India have endured vicious persecution.