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What Does Secularism Mean Around The World?

Global Secularism

What Does Secularism Mean Around The World?

Secularism, in modern terms, means mostly the separation between religion and state, but it has been interpreted differently across the world

The French Revolution: An etching from Lyon
The French Revolution: An etching from Lyon Photo: Getty Images

On October 31, Ashok Swain, an Indian-origin professor of peace and conflict at Uppsala University in Sweden, wrote in a tweet, “India is like the Middle East & North Africa—consti­tu­tionally secular but more religious than Islamic countries, Pakistan & Bangladesh.” He then gave a list of most-religious countries, which placed India alongside Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Morocco.

Swain has been regularly criticising the rise of religious intolerance in India and the ‘Hinduisation’ of the Indian polity. This equating of India with Islamic countries dominated by Sharia laws was alternately supported, contested and excoriated by the twitterati, some calling it thought-provoking, others rubbishing it as ‘oversimplification’.

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