The Indian debate on secularism

The role of religion in society and the question of securalism has been fiercely debated for well over a decade in many societies.  The recent election in the US and the rise of Islamism have drawn most of the attention.  It seems to me that one of the most sustained debates on the question is found in India. More than a decade after the saffron tide led by BJP emerged as a national, anti-secular force to be reckoned with in India, the country still grapples with the issue.  Here’s an old but thoughtful piece from The Hindu on the crisis of secularism in India.

“WE NEED to ask some hard questions to understand why the current form of secularism has apparently failed. There have been two forms of Congress secularism — the Gandhian version, which believed Hinduism was tolerant, and the Nehruvian version which added that whatever the characteristics of the various religions may have been, it did not matter because economic development and scientific culture would provide a sufficient basis for secular tolerance. The Gandhian faith in Hinduism’s tolerance is shared by almost all intellectuals today; the Nehruvian faith is still held by the Left. Both are wrong.”