Secularism in India

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Secularism as practiced in India, with its marked differences with Western practice of secularism, is a controversial topic in India. Supporters of the Indian concept of secularism claim it respects "minorities and pluralism". Critics claim the Indian form of secularism as "pseudo-secularism". Supporters state that any attempt to introduce a uniform civil code, that is equal laws for every citizen irrespective of his or her religion, would impose majoritarian Hindu sensibilities and ideals. Critics state that India's acceptance of Sharia and religious laws violates the principle of Equality before the law.


  • Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava
    • All religions should be treated equally.
    • Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (1930), as translated in Peter Losonczi; Walter Van Herck, Secularism, Religion, and Politics: India and Europe (Routledge, 2017), p. 33
  • If ... the misuse of this word 'secularism' continues; ... if every time there is an inter-communal conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the questions; if our holy places of pilgrimage like Banaras, Mathura and Rishikesh continue to be converted into industrial slums, ... the springs of traditional tolerance will dry up.
    • Kanhaiya Lal Munshi in a letter to Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, quoted (partially) in Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. p.210, with quote from K.M. Munshi, Indian Constitutional Documents: Pilgrimage to Freedom, 1902-1950. and Pilgrimage to Freedom by K.M. Munshi, p. 312) (also in Gujarat Riots: the True Story: The Truth of the 2002 Riots, also in Hindutva For The Changing Times, also in Profiles in Deception: Ayodhya and the Dead Sea Scrolls , also in BJP's White Paper on Ayodhya & the Rama Temple Movement, also in Politics in India, 1992-93, etc.)
    • Relating to the Somnath temple.
  • Hindu India, Secular India.
    • Vishva Hindu Parishad slogan (199), quoted in Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.

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