India has long been viewed as an unusual, even exceptional, democracy. After the country gained independence from Great Britain in 1947, it was founded as a democratic, federal republic. The country was well known for its robust civil society, competitive elections resulting in frequent alterations of power, and a vibrant media space. In recent years, India’s identity as a pluralistic, secular democracy has been aggressively challenged by the growing political and social might of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. The question of religious accommodation was at the heart of early debates about independent India’s identity and political system. In the 1980s, the discourse of Hindutva coalesced around a single, mobilizing issue. Indian secularism is distinct from that of Western democracies such as the United States (US) or France. In the Indian context, secularism has meant that the state has kept a “principled distance” from religious matters, while treating people of different religions equally.