27 January, 2021

“These Communal Riots Go On Happening. Have We Addressed That Problem?”

Madhav Godbole, former Union home secretary and a champion of secularism on why religion and politics need to be separated

Photo by Amit Haralkar
“These Communal Riots Go On Happening. Have We Addressed That Problem?”

The B.G. Deshmukh Memorial lecture scheduled to be delivered this month by Madhav Godbole, former Union home secretary, was cancelled at the last minute, presumably because it questions several decisions of the BJP government. The lecture—Is India a Secular Nation?—has now been circulated widely. Godbole, who was pursued by the organisers (led by the Maha­rashtra chief secretary) to deliver the lecture for the third time, was told about the cancellation over a phone call with a terse email the following day confirming it. He remains firm on the need to separate politics and religion through a constitutional process. Prachi Pinglay-Plumber caught up with him at his home in Pune. Excerpts from the interview :

What’s the reaction to your add­ress?

Some people felt that this needed to be said. Unfortunately, few speak out these days. That’s why they were quite pleasantly ­surprised that it was a blunt, open speech.

What is your definition of...



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