How Should States Deal with Deep Religious Diversity?

Rajeev Bhargava

in Rethinking Religion and World Affairs

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827978
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933020 | DOI:
How Should States Deal with Deep Religious Diversity?

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This chapter begins with a discussion of the crisis of individualistic, diversity-resistant secularism and why both these forms of western secularism have become part of the problem. It then turns to the Indian model of secularism, which meets the needs of deeply religiously diverse societies and also complies with principles of freedom and equality. In India, the existence of deep religious diversity has ensured a response not only to problems within religions but also between religions. Although not available as a doctrine or theory, such a conception was worked out jointly by Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent, and can be found loosely in the best moments of inter-communal practice in India; and in the country's constitution appropriately interpreted. The chapter elaborates on two features of Indian secularism: principled distance and contextual secularism.

Keywords: Western secularism; Indian secularism; freedom; equality; religion; constitution; Hindus; Muslims; principled distance; contextual secularism

Chapter.  5685 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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