Indian Secularism (Paperback)

A Social and Intellectual History, 1890-1950

By Shabnum Tejani

Indiana University Press, 9780253220448, 302pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2008

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Many of the central issues in modern Indian politics have long been understood in terms of an opposition between ideologies of secularism and communalism. Observers have argued that recent Hindu nationalism is the symptom of a crisis of Indian secularism and have blamed this on a resurgence of religion or communalism. Shabnum Tejani unpacks prevailing assumptions about the meaning of secularism in contemporary politics, focusing on India but with many points of comparison elsewhere in the world. She questions the simple dichotomy between secularism and communalism that has been used in scholarly study and political discourse. Tracing the social, political, and intellectual genealogies of the concepts of secularism and communalism from the late nineteenth century until the ratification of the Indian constitution in 1950, she shows how secularism came to be bound up with ideas about nationalism and national identity.

About the Author

Shabnum Tejani is Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.