State and religious diversity : can something be learnt from the Indian model of secularism?
Title: State and religious diversity : can something be learnt from the Indian model of secularism?
Author: BHARGAVA, Rajeev
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS PP; 2014/03; Global Governance Programme; Cultural Pluralism
Over the last three decades, secular states, virtually everywhere, have come under severe strain. It is hardly surprising then that Political secularism, the doctrine that defends them, has also been subjected to severe criticism. Some scholars have concluded that this critique is ethically and morally so profound and justified that it is time to abandon political secularism. This paper rejects this conclusion. It argues that the criticism of secularism looks indefeasible only because critics have focused on mainstream conceptions developed in largely religiously homogenous societies. It claims that our focus must be shifted away from doctrines underpinning some western secular states towards the normative practices of a wide variety of states, including the best practices of non-western states such as India. Once we do this we will begin to see secularism differently, as a critical ethical and moral perspective not against religion but against religious homogenization and institutionalized (inter- and intra-religious) domination. This helps to throw different light on religion-related issues in society and might generate different perspectives on the kinds of policies to be forged.
Subject: Political secularism; Inter- and intra-religious domination; Principled distance; Critical respect; Contextualism
Type of Access: openAccess