13 April, 2021

India's Roots Politics

Battered, bruised by the BJP, secularism is finding its feet and its voice again

Sandeep Adhwaryu
India's Roots Politics
We’re witnessing a Mahabharata of sorts. The warriors of secularism are pitted against the warriors of Hindutva. For two decades, the Hindutva brigade has been criss-crossing the country, accusing, lampooning and attacking their adversaries. Now the secular warriors have come out into the battle arena. This is not a bad development. At last, secularism is getting back its spine.

For too long and far too unfairly, secularism had become a dirty word in Indian politics. It’s been ridiculed, scorned, mocked and maligned. It became an open sport from the 1980s, when the newly energised Hindutvawadis kicked around the football of secularism so aggressively that it became battered, bruised and misshapen. As a concept, secularism lay in tatters. As an ideal, dead.

Secularism as an ideal symbolises not just tolerance and equal treatment of all religions, but for the clear separation of church and state. It’s an ideal modern, progressive nations like France champion steadfastly. Citizens are entirely Catholic or Protestant, but Jesus and Bible, rituals and sermons are...

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