For two decades, the West has been cheering India’s rise. But the nation’s economic and political changes have caused new cultural conflicts, a dynamic that has become all too obvious after the brutal, and eventually fatal, rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi last month.

It’s easy to blame a retrograde culture that’s hostile to women, but rapid transformation is also part of the story. Flush with the freedoms of the new India, many of its citizens have left traditional village life, but they have not found a new set of ethics in urban areas. As a result, sexual violence is flourishing.

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