chapter  6
17 Pages

The Rise of Hindu Nationalism and the Marginalisation of Muslims in India Today

India, the 'largest democracy of the world' has also been known after 1947 for its attempts at establishing a secular regime and its success - quite exceptional - in maintaining it for decades despite ups and downs. Even though Indira Gandhi had the notion of secularism inserted in the Indian Constitution in 1976, almost twenty years after independence, the political system set up during the reign of her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was already designed along those lines. Secularism has been understood in India not as a synonym for the French word lai"cite, which implies separation between church and state; rather, it designates the equidistance of the state vis-a-vis all religions and an equally positive attitude towards them all. For instance, Article 25 of the constitution emphasizes that 'all persons are equally free to profess, practice and propagate religion', and Article 30 states that 'All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions', which can also receive subsidies from the state.