World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pseudo-secularism (India)

Article Id: WHEBN0000303081
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pseudo-secularism (India)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Secularism, Index of philosophy of religion articles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pseudo-secularism (India)

In the Indian context, the term pseudo-secularism is used to describe the policies that involve minority appeasement.[1] The Hindus form the majority religious community in India; the term "pseudo-secular" implies that those who claim to be secular are actually not so, but are anti-Hindu or pro-minority.[2] The Hindu nationalist politicians accused of being "communal" use it as a counter-accusation against their critics.[3]


The first recorded use of the term "pseudo-secualrism" was in the book Philosophy and Action of the R.S.S. for the Hind Swaraj, by Anthony Elenjimittam. In his book, Elenjimittam accused leaders of the Indian National Congress, of pretending to uphold secularism. He singles out then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's refusal to serve on the Congress Working Committee in 1951, which led to the resignation of the Congress Purushottam Das Tandon.[4]

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was accused of representing the Hindu communalism in Indian politics, it started using the counter-charge of "pseudo-secularism" against the Congress and other parties.[5] The BJP leader LK Advani characterizes pseudosecular politicians as those for whom "secularism is only a euphemism for vote-bank politics". According to him, these politicians are not concerned with the welfare of the minorities, but only interested in their vote.[6]

The Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has criticised the term as propaganda by Hindu nationalists.[7]

Alleged examples

The state policies of independent India accorded special rights to Muslims in matters of personal law. For example, in the Shah Bano case, a Muslim woman was denied alimony even after winning a court case, because the Indian Parliament reversed the court judgement under pressure of Islamic orthodoxy. This is often presented as proof of the Congress's practice of pseudo-secularism by many Indians.[8][9] Other special laws for Muslims, such as those allowing triple talaq and polygamy, are also considered as pseudo-secular.[10]

The religion-based reservations in civil and educational institutions are also seen as evidence of pseudo-secularism.[9]

Makarand Paranjape sees the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the demolition of Babri Masjid as examples of the Indian National Congress practicing pseudo-secularism.[11]

The BJP has also been criticized as to playing along with pseudo-secular parties by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for compromising on issues like Article 370, Ram temple and Uniform civil code of India.[12]


  1. ^ John Anderson (2006). Religion, Democracy And Democratization. Routledge. p. 134.  
  2. ^ Mani Shankar Aiyar (1 May 2006). Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist. Penguin Books India. pp. 25–.  
  3. ^ Deepa S. Reddy, ed. (2006). Religious Identity and Political Destiny: Hindutva in the Culture of Ethnicism. Rowman Altamira. pp. 171–173.  
  4. ^ Elenjimittam, Anthony (1951). Philosophy and Action of the R. S. S. for the Hind Swaraj. Laxmi Publications. pp. 188–189. 
  5. ^ Deepa S. Reddy (2006). Religious Identity and Political Destiny: Hindutva in the Culture of Ethnicism. Rowman Altamira. p. 173.  
  6. ^ Mary Ann Tétreault; Robert Allen Denemark (2004). Gods, Guns, and Globalization: Religious Radicalism and International Political Economy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. 115–.  
  7. ^ Mani Shankar Aiyer (1 May 2006). Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist. Penguin Books India. p. 25.  
  8. ^ Rafiq Dossani; Henry S. Rowen (2005). Prospects for Peace in South Asia. Stanford University Press. pp. 195–.  
  9. ^ a b Shabnum Tejani (2008). Indian secularism: a social and intellectual history, 1890-1950. Indiana University Press. p. 9.  
  10. ^ Kanaiyalalu Manghandasu Talreja (1996). Pseudo Secularism in India. Rashtriya Chetana Prakashan. p. 46. 
  11. ^ Makarand R Paranjape (2009). Altered Destinations: Self, Society, and Nation in India. Anthem Press. p. 50.  
  12. ^ M. G. Chitkara (2003). Hindutva Parivar. APH Publishing. p. 84.  

See also

Further reading

  • The Hindu - Sins in the name of secularismHasan Suroor (30 April 2014)
  • IBN Live - Skewed secularism?Dr S.K. Srivastava (16 May 2014)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.