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Religions 2017, 8(10), 216;

Neo-Hindu Fundamentalism Challenging the Secular and Pluralistic Indian State

Writer and essayist, independent researcher; Clarence Terrace, Penzance TR18 2PZ, Cornwall, UK
This article benefited from the assistance of George Kuscow who reviewed the text with great care and sympathy.
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 13 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 3 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society)
Full-Text   |   PDF [257 KB, uploaded 16 October 2017]


Secularism seems to require separation between religion and State. Regarding India, it would be better to speak of ‘equidistance’ between State and religious denominations. Nonetheless a ‘balanced treatment’ towards the religions leaves the question open as to what form that equidistance should take. This is the reason of some contradictions in today’s Indian social and political life. It is likely that without the Moghul and British domination Hinduism would not have acquired a militant identity. It was the ‘epiphany’ of well-armed, powerful ‘Others’ (Muslim, Christian or secular) which generated frustration and fear to such an extent that a religious nationalism (Hindutva) was born. Nehru and the Left of the Congress Party leadership thought that modernity would overcome religion, which is a remnant of the past. They were confident that a political culture based on pluralism and tolerance would become the foundations of the new society. This is exactly what Hindu Nationalism takes issue with: the ‘pseudo-seculars’ project of building the national identity without Hinduism or against Hinduism. Hindutva asserts that Hinduism is the basis of the Indian civilization. The Hindu ethos is the soul of the nation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hindu Nationalism; Hinduism; Hindutva; India; Fundamentalism; secularism; religion and violence; State and religion Hindu Nationalism; Hinduism; Hindutva; India; Fundamentalism; secularism; religion and violence; State and religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Battaglia, G. Neo-Hindu Fundamentalism Challenging the Secular and Pluralistic Indian State. Religions 2017, 8, 216.

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