Secularism: India at a Crossroads

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Rupa, 2016 - Secularism - 429 pages
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The first time since Independence, India is at a crossroads of secular and Hindu Rashtra (nation) ideologies. The Constitution of India is ambivalent about secularism, pandering to the demands of both the majority and minority communities. The founding fathers could not even agree on calling the Constitution 'secular'. The word 'secular' became a part of the Preamble only during the 'Emergency'. There is no consensus yet on its definition. In the process, secularism, though declared by the Supreme Court as a part of the 'basic structure' of the Constitution, has lost all credibility. Godbole's thoughtful and comprehensive agenda for strengthening secularism includes setting up a constitutional commission on secularism, the separation of religion from politics, defining the words 'secular' and 'minorities', doing away with the freedom to propagate religion, an amendment of Article 48 by deleting the provision prohibiting cow slaughter and increasing the role and responsibilities of the central government. The implementation of this will require national consensus, statesmanship, maturity and far-sightedness. Secularism should be a must-read for the youth of this country, political parties, legislators, professionals, academia, media, social thinkers and opinion-makers. For, no other issue will decide the future of India as decisively.

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