Politics and International Relations
Although trust in institutions has long been a concern of scholars in democracies, there is a dearth of research on this subject in India. The case of India is more interesting and critical because of its ethnic diversity and the history of ethnic conflict between Hindus and Muslims. Political trust is important for the functioning of a democracy. Without political trust government might find it difficult to implement their programmes and policies, which could affect the process of governance. Since there is a lack of empirical studies on political trust in India, the paper first analyzes overall trust in government and different institutions followed by a comparison of trust by ethnic communities – Hindu and Muslim, in various institutions. Delhi voters in 2014 had higher mean levels of trust in the Supreme Court, the military, and television news, than in any level of government (central, state, local), and voters trusted least the police and religious authorities in the nation’s capital city, a National Territory. Importantly, a significant difference was found between the means of two communities when it comes to trust in local government, Supreme Court, military, police, newspapers, television news and internet/social media. The average level of trust of Muslims in above mentioned institutions and media was significantly lower than Hindus. The paper explains the findings looking at the contextual factors and its implications for Indian democracy.