Political Secularism

Rajeev Bhargava

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Political Secularism


This article examines the flaws and criticism on political secularism. It explains that secularism is a beleaguered doctrine and it is also contested in political theory. Critics of secularism claim that it is linked to a flawed modernization, has a mistaken view of rationality and its importance in human life, and fails to appreciate the importance of communities in the life of religious people. This article discusses the conceptual and normative structure of secularism and evaluates what ethical gains or losses might ensue in the movement from a secular state to one that grants more importance to religion. It suggests that the Indian version of secularism is a modern alternative to its mainstream Western counterpart, one from which everyone may benefit in the future.

Keywords: political secularism; political theory; modernization; rationality; religious people; Indian secularism

Article.  7523 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Political Theory

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