The Pegasus revelations cast doubt on the health of Indian democracy
The inclusion of prominent critics on a list of hacking targets embarrasses the government
In ancient hindu lore a winged horse emerges from the milky churn of primeval oceans to become the trusted mount of Indra, king of the heavens. A later tradition says it was instead Mahabali, lord of the demons, who rode the fabulous stallion. Both versions picture a creature strikingly like Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek myth, except that the Indian model is fancier. It sports not one but seven heads.
Contemporary India’s most powerful men could have used those extra heads. Relying on Pegasus—not the mythical horse but a very modern brand of electronic spyware—they seem to have ridden recklessly into danger. A global investigation by a clutch of newspapers and ngos, triggered by the leak of some 50,000 phone numbers in ten countries, casts the government of Narendra Modi in an ugly light as a presumed client of Pegasus’s Israeli creator, the nso Group.