Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-l4dq5 Total loading time: 0.213 Render date: 2022-06-28T01:19:54.040Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Secularism in the Indian Context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Abstract

Indian constitutional framers sought to tie their new state to ideas of modernity and liberalism by creating a government that would ensure citizens' rights while also creating the conditions for democratic citizenship. Balancing these two goals has been particularly challenging with regard to religion, as exemplified by the emergence of a peculiarly Indian understanding of secularism which requires the nonestablishment of religion but not the separation of religion and state. Supporters argue that this brand of secularism is best suited to the particular social and historical circumstances of independent India. This article suggests that the desire to separate religion and state is integral to any understanding of secularism and that, consequently, the Indian state neither is nor was meant to be secular. However, Indian secularists correctly identify the Indian state's distinctive approach to religion-state relations as appropriate to the Indian context and in keeping with India's constitutional goals.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Amar, Akhil Reed. 1998. The Bill of Rights. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Appadurai, Arjun. 2008. Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule: A South Indian Case. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (orig. pub. 1981).Google Scholar
Asad, Talal. 2003. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Austin, Granville. 2008. The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation. New Delhi: Oxford India Paperbacks (orig. pub. 1966).Google Scholar
Baird, Robert D. 2005. Introduction. In Religion and Law in Independent India, 2d ed., ed. Baird, Robert D., 16. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
Bajpai, Rochona. 2002. Minority Rights in the Indian Constituent Assembly Debates, 1946–1949. Queen Elizabeth House Working Paper Series, Number 30. Wolfson College, Oxford and Queen Elizabeth House. http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/qehwp/qehwps30.pdf (accessed October 15, 2010).Google Scholar
Barry, Brian. 2001. Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Bhagwati, P. N. 2005. Religion and Secularism Under the Indian Constitution. In Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed., ed. Baird, Robert D., 3550. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
Bhargava, Rajeev. 2005. India's Secular Constitution. In India's Living Constitution: Ideas, Practices, Controversies, ed. Hasan, Zoya, Sridharan, E., and Sudarshan, R., 105–33. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
Chatterjee, Partha. 1993. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Chatterjee, Partha. 1995. Religious Minorities and the Secular State: Reflections on an Indian Impasse. Public Culture 8:1139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coward, Harold G. 2005. India's Constitution and Traditional Presuppositions Regarding Human Nature. In Religion and Law in Independent India, 2d ed., ed. Baird, Robert D., 5168. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
Dalmia, Vasudha. 2005. The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bharatendu Harischandra and Nineteenth‐century Banaras. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
De Roover, Jakob. 2002. The Vacuity of Secularism: On the Indian Debate and its Western Origins. Economic and Political Weekly 37 (39): 4047–53.Google Scholar
Derrett, J. Duncan, M. 1968. Religion, Law and the State in India. London: Faber.Google Scholar
Desai, I. P. 1984. Should “Caste” Be the Basis for Recognising Backwardness? Economic and Political Weekly 19 (28): 1106–16.Google Scholar
Dhavan, Rajeev. 1987. Religious Freedom in India. American Journal of Comparative Law 35 (1): 209–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dhavan, Rajeev. 2001. The Road to Xanadu: India's Quest for Secularism. In Religion and Personal Law in Secular India, ed. Larson, Gerald, 301–29. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Dumont, Louis. 1980. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications, 2d ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Frankel, Francine R. 2002. Introduction. In Transforming India: Social and Political Dynamics of Democracy, ed. Frankel, Francine R., Hasan, Zoya, Bhargava, Rajeev, and Arora, Balveer, 125. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Frykenberg, Robert Eric. 2000. The Construction of Hinduism as a “Public” Religion: Looking Again at the Religious Roots of Company Raj in South India. In Religion and Public Culture: Encounters and Identities in Modern South India, ed. Yandell, Keith E. and Paul, John J., 326. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon.Google Scholar
Fuller, C. J. 1988. Hinduism and Scriptural Authority in Modern Indian Law. Comparative Studies in Society and History 30:225–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fuller, C. J. 2003. The Renewal of the Priesthood: Modernity and Traditionalism in a South Indian Temple. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Galanter, Marc. 1965. Secularism East and West. Comparative Studies in Society and History 7:133–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galanter, Marc. 1971. Hinduism, Secularism, and the Indian Judiciary. Philosophy East and West 21 (4): 467–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galanter, Marc. 1984. Competing Equalities: Law and the Backward Classes in India. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Good, Anthony. 2004. Worship and the Ceremonial Economy of a Royal South Indian Temple. Lewiston, ME: Edwin Mellen Press.Google Scholar
Gordon, Sarah Barringer. 2010. The Spirit of the Law: Religious Voices and the Constitution in Modern America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Gupta, Dipankar. 1995. Secularisation and Minoritisation: Limits of Heroic Thought. Economic and Political Weekly 30 (35): 2203–7.Google Scholar
Jacobsohn, Gary Jeffrey. 2008. Bommai and the Judicial Power: A View from the United States. Indian Journal of Constitutional Law 2:3866.Google Scholar
Jacobsohn, Gary Jeffrey. 2009. Chapter Seven: The Sounds of Silence: Militant and Acquiescent Constitutionalism. In The Supreme Court and the Idea of Constitutionalism, ed. Kautz, Steven, Melzer, Arthur, Weinberger, Jerry, and Zinman, M. Richard, 131–61. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
Kaviraj, Sudipta. 2002. Democracy and Social Inequality. In Transforming India: Social and Political Dynamics of Democracy, ed. Frankel, Francine R. Hasan, Zoya, Bhargava, Rajeev, and Arora, Balveer, 89119. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Khory, Kavita R. 2005. The Shah Bano Case: Some Political Implications. In Religion and Law in Independent India, 2d ed., ed. Baird, Robert D., 149–66. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
Lingat, Robert. 1973. The Classical Law of India, trans. J. D. M. Derrett. New Delhi: Thomson Press.Google Scholar
Madan, T. N. 1987. Secularism in Its Place. Journal of Asian Studies 46 (4): 747–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Madan, T. N. 2006. Religion in the Modern World. In Images of the World: Essays on Religion, Secularism, and Culture. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Mahajan, Gurpreet. 2008. Religion and the Indian Constitution: Questions of Separation and Equality. In Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution, ed. Bhargava, Rajeev, 297310. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Mani, Lata. 1998. Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Mehta, Pratap Bhanu. 2005. Reason, Tradition, Authority, Religion and the Indian State. In Men's Laws, Women's Lives: A Constitutional Perspective on Religion, Common Law and Culture in South Asia, ed. Jaising, Indira, 5686. New Delhi: Women Unlimited.Google Scholar
Menski, Werner M. 2001. Modern Indian Family Law. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon.Google Scholar
Mitra, Subrata Kumar. 1991. Desecularising the State: Religion and Politics in India after Independence. Comparative Studies in Society and History 33 (4): 755–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nandy, Ashis. 2002. Unclaimed Baggage. Little Magazine 3:2. http://www.littlemag.com/faith/ashis.html (accessed April 18, 2011).Google Scholar
Nandy, Ashis. 2004. A Billion Gandhis. Outlook India, June 21. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?224252 (accessed April 17, 2011).Google Scholar
Narrain, Vrinda. 2001. Gender and Community: Muslim Women's Rights in India. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Nigam, Aditya. 1996. India after the 1996 Elections: Nation, Locality, and Representation. Asian Survey 36 (12): 1157–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nigam, Aditya. 2008. A Text Without Author: Locating the Constituent Assembly as Event. In Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution, ed. Bhargava, Rajeev, 119–42. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Presler, Franklin A. 1987. Religion Under Bureaucracy: Policy and Administration for Hindu Temples in South India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sen, Ronojoy. 2007. Legalizing Religion: The Indian Supreme Court and Secularism. Washington, DC: East‐West Center.Google Scholar
Sen, Ronojoy. 2010. Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sharma, Dharam Veer. 2010. Issues for Briefing. Decision of the Honourable Special Full Bench Regarding Ayodhya Matters, September 30. http://elegalix.allahabadhighcourt.in/elegalix/DisplayAyodhyaBenchLandingPage.do (accessed October 5, 2010).Google Scholar
Shourie, Arun. 1997. How Things Change! Voice of Dharma, December 12. http://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/19971229.htm (accessed April 21, 2011).Google Scholar
Singh, Pritam. 2005. Hindu Bias in India's “Secular” Constitution: Probing Flaws in the Instruments of Governance. Third World Quarterly 26 (6): 909–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Donald E. 1963. India as a Secular State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stephens, Robert J. 2005. Conflict in the Courts: Caste and Religious Conversion in the Indian Secular State. In Religion and Law in Independent India, 2d ed., ed. Baird, Robert D., 401–24. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
Sullivan, Winnifred Fallers. 2005. The Impossibility of Religious Freedom. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Taylor, Charles. 1989. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Taylor, Charles. 1994. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Taylor, Charles. 2008. Modes of Secularism. In Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Bhargava, Rajeev, 3153. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Yildirim, Seval. 2004. “Expanding Secularism's Scope: An Indian Case Study. American Journal of Comparative Law 52 (4): 901–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abington Twp. Sch. Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).Google Scholar
County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989).Google Scholar
Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).Google Scholar
Everson v. Board of Educ., 330 U.S. 1 (1947).Google Scholar
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).Google Scholar
Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCollum v. Board of Educ., 333 U.S. 203 (1948).Google Scholar
Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952).Google Scholar
Commissioner of Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar, Shirur (AIR 1954 SC 282).Google Scholar
In re M. Thomas (AIR 1953 Mad 21).Google Scholar
Kalyan Dass v. State of Tamil Nadu (AIR 1973 Mad 264).Google Scholar
Michael v. Venkateswaran (AIR 1952 Mad 474).Google Scholar
Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum & Others (AIR 1985 SC 945).Google Scholar
Mohd. Hanif Quareshi v. State of Bihar (AIR 1958 SC 731).Google Scholar
S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (AIR 1994 SC 1918).Google Scholar
Shastri Yagnapurushdasji v. Muldas Bhundardas Vaishya (AIR 1966 SC 1119).Google Scholar
Sri Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore (1958 AIR 255).Google Scholar
Hindu Succession Act (1956).Google Scholar
Jogini Abolition Act (1988).Google Scholar
Kerala (Hindu Joint Family System Abolition) Act (1975).Google Scholar
Sati Regulation XVII (1829).Google Scholar
10
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Secularism in the Indian Context
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Secularism in the Indian Context
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Secularism in the Indian Context
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *