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The Problem of Religious DiversityEuropean Challenges, Asian Approaches$
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Anna Triandafyllidou and Tariq Modood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474419086

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419086.001.0001

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Secularism and Multiculturalism in India: Some Reflections

Secularism and Multiculturalism in India: Some Reflections

(p.204) 9 Secularism and Multiculturalism in India: Some Reflections
The Problem of Religious Diversity

Rochana Bajpai

Edinburgh University Press

What role does secularism have in the governance of religious diversity in an age marked by the assertion of religio-cultural identities across the world? India, with its long history of religious pluralism, a state ideology of secularism, and the ascendancy of Hindu nationalism, is a key site for examining the disposition of secularism towards religious identities and diversity. Secularism and multiculturalism are often seen as opposed in political debates involving religious minorities, notably the well-known French headscarf case. Several scholars have suggested that religious traditions offer better resources for toleration than modern secularism (for India, see, for example, Madan 1998: 316; Nandy 1998:336–7). Others, more sympathetic to secularism, have also suggested that it may be deficient in the normative resources required for the accommodation of religious practices, particularly in the case of minorities (Mahajan, this volume; Modood 2010).

Keywords:   Secularism, Multiculturalism, India

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