ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Tendentious Critique of India’s ‘Liberal–Secular Model’

Europe, India, and the Limits of Secularism by Jakob De Roover, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp 296, 995.

Jakob De Roover in Europe, India and the Limits of Secularism seeks to critique what he calls the “liberal model of secularism and toleration” as practised by the Indian state and in turn, blames it for the increase in conflicts between Hindus and Muslims since Indian independence.1 One might have expected a substantiation of this claim to consist of a detailed study of cases of communal violence and their relationship to the state or more specifically, to the state’s policy of liberal–secularism. However, the book argues for a different approach by providing a genealogy of the liberal–secular “model” through Christianity in the West. This genealogy, as cultural contextualisation, is meant to prove the inadequacy of secularism in India through three interrelated claims: (i) The basis of the liberal–secular model and its distinction between the religious and the secular is Christian; (ii) the contemporary West lacks a sufficient grasp of this basis and is, therefore, unclear about the liberal–secular model that it professes; and (iii) if even the contemporary West is insufficiently clear about the basis of its own models, the model cannot, with any seriousness, be considered applicable in India.2

Secular–Religious Distinction

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Updated On : 3rd May, 2017

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