The public discourse in India resounds with triumph on the one hand and a nihilistic lament, on the other, over the defeat or near demise of secularism. The former group denigrates the virtues of secularism by calling it a pernicious product of Nehru– Gandhi–Ambedkar thought. This attack on secularism and democracy has sharply increased, the secular people being termed as ‘pseudo-seculars’, ‘sickularists’ and lately, ‘urban Naxals’ and ‘anti-nationals’.
The political dominance of the Hindutva brand of right-wing nationalism since the 2014 elections has put into question the viability of the nation’s secular tradition and its commitment to diversity. Not only does this crisis disfigure the moral and socio-cultural fabric of the nation but it πalso undermines constitutional governance. In fact, the state’s engagement with religion can be said to have been one of the long-standing themes of conflict in India’s democratic experiment.