Volume 17, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article focuses on how Hindu nationalists interpret the term ‘secularism’ in Hindi. I will refer to two Hindi translations of ‘secularism’: and The first one means indifference towards religion and the second indifference towards communities. My main point is that the Hindu nationalists’ strategy of referring to old, Sanskrit meanings of (which means ‘law’ and ‘order’ aside ‘religion’ and other concepts) make it possible for them to criticise and choose instead. Their position is that the state can only be indifferent to communities and not to , as the latter would also mean being indifferent to ‘law’ and ‘order’. Such an approach helps the Hindu nationalists to claim to be in agreement with the idea of secular Indian state on one hand and promote their religion-linked ideology on the other.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. No author 2014 “Shri Narendra Modi Describes His Views on Secularism.” AccessedAugust 8, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEV5KTVhBMI.
  2. Advani, Lal Krishn
    2010 “The Roots of Democracy and Secularism.” AccessedAugust 8, 2014. blog.lkadvani.in/blog-in-english/the-roots-of-democracy-and-secularism.
  3. Baxter, Craig
    1971Jana Sangh. A Biography of an Indian Political Party. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Beteille, Andre
    1994 “Secularism and Intellectuals.” The Economic and Political Weekly29 (10): 559–566.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bharatiya Janata Party
    Bharatiya Janata Party 2009 “Good Governance Development Security. Manifesto. Lok Sabha Election 2009.” AccessedOctober 18, 2015. www.bjp.org/images/pdf/election_manifesto_english.pdf.
  6. Bharatiya Janata Party
    Bharatiya Janata Party 2014 “BJP Election Manifesto 2014. Ek Bharat, Shreshtra Bharat.” AccessedAugust 8, 2014, bjpelectionmanifesto.com/pdf/manifesto2014.pdf.
  7. Bharatiya Janata Party
    Bharatiya Janata Party 2014 “Bhārtīy Jānatā Pārṭī Ghoṣnāpatr 2014 [Bharatiya Janata Party Election Manifesto 2014 in Hindi].” AccessedAugust 8, 2014. www.bjp.org/images/pdf_2014/manifesto_summary_final_12.04.2014.pdf
  8. Bhargava, Rajeev
    2014 “What Is Secularism For?” InSecularism and its Criticsed. byRajeev Bhargava, 486–542. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. 2010The Promise of India’s Secular Democracy. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bhattacharya, D. P.
    2013 “My Definition of Secularism Means India First, Narendra Modi Tells Overseas Indians.” India Today, March10 2013 AccessedAugust 9, 2014. indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-overseas-friends-of-bjp-us-indians-gujarat/1/257242.html.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Bilgrami, Akeel
    2014Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment. Ranikhet: Permanent Black.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Chandhoke, Neera
    2015 “Secularism: The Life and Times of a Difficult Concept.” InSecularism, Religion, and Politics. India and Europe, ed. byPéter Losonczi, Water Van Herck, 19–35. New Delhi: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Chatterjee, Partha
    2014 “Secularism and Tolerance.” InSecularism and its Critics, ed. byRajeev Bhargava, 345–379. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Chitkara, M.
    2004RSS. National Upsurge. New Delhi: A. P.H Publishing Company.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Goel, Sita Ram
    1997Time for Stock Taking. Whither Sangh Parivar?New Delhi: Voice of India.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Golwalkar, Madhav Sadashiv
    2000Bunch of Thoughts. Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Gupta, Abha Khanna
    2014 “Let us Take the Lead, Recognise the Goddess, then Pray.” Organiser, September22 2012 AccessedOctober 13, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2014/9/22/Let-us-take-the-Lead--Recognise-the-Goddess,-then-Pray.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Gurumurthy, Swaminathan
    2013 “Dharma and Religion – Distinct and Different.” Organiser, March16 2013 AccessedAugust 3, 2014. organiser.org//Encyc/2013/3/16/Dharma-and-Religion--distinct-and-different.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Jain, Sandhya
    2014 “Secularism Means Sarv Panth Sambhav: Modi in Lucknow.” Niti Central, March2 2014 AccessedAugust 8, 2014. www.niticentral.com/2014/03/02/secularism-means-sarv-panth-sambhav-modi-in-lucknow-195221.html.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Jois, M. Rama
    2012 “Good Education Leads to Good Samskar.” Organiser, January28 2012, AccessedOctober 12, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2015/1/28/Good-Education-Leads-To-Good-Samskar-%EF%BB%BF.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Kalyanaraman, S.
    2012 “The Country is One Integral Whole.”, Organiser, March25 2012 AccessedOctober 12, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2012/3/25/The-country-is-one-integral-whole%EF%BB%BF.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Mahajan, Gurpreet
    2015 “Contextualizing Secularism: The Relationship between State and Religion in India.” InSecularism, Religion, and Politics. India and Europe, ed. byPéter Losonczi, Water Van Herck, 36–56. New Delhi: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Madan, Triloki Nath
    2008Images of the World. Essays on Religion, Secularism, and Culture. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Madhok, Balraj
    2013 “Why Hindu Rashtra?” InWhy Hindu Rashtra?, ed. byH. V. Seshadri et al., 39–50. New Delhi: Suruchi Prakashan.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Mathur, Shubh
    2008The Everyday Life of Hindu Nationalism. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Monier-Williams, Monier
    2009Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, AccessedMarch 19, 2016. www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/monier/.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Nandy, Ashis
    1995 “An Anti-secularist Manifesto.” India International Centre Quaterly22 (1): 35–64.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. National Democratic Alliance
    National Democratic Alliance n.d. National Democratic AllianceAccessedAugust 8, 2014. www.bjp.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4916&catid=68:press-releases&Itemid=494.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Pandya, Anandshankar
    2015 “Why Hindus are Truly Secular”, Organiser, 20August20 2015 AccessedOctober 13, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2012/8/20/-b-Why-Hindus-are-truly-secular---b-.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Padgaonkar, Dileep
    2001 “Udder complexity.” InCommunalisation of Education – Delhi Historians’ Group. New Delhi: SAHMAT.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Rawat, Rājpāl [Google Scholar]
  32. Sarasvati, Dayanand
    2004 “Agenda. Hindu Dharma and Religious Theologies.” The Organiser, May9 2004 AccessedOctober 13, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2004/5/9/Agenda---br--br-Hindu-dharma-and-religious-theologies.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar
    2005Hindutva. Who is a Hindu?Delhi: Hindi Sahitya Sadan.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. . n.d.Hindu Rashtra Darshan. Poona: Maharashtra Pranti Hindusabha. AccessedAugust 7, 2014. www.savarkar.org/content/pdfs/en/hindu-rashtra-darshan-en-v002.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Sen, Ronojoy
    2010 “The Indian Supreme Court and the Quest for a ‘Rational’ Hinduism.” South Asian History and Culture1 (1): 86–104.10.1080/19472490903387258
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19472490903387258 [Google Scholar]
  36. Seshadri, Hongasandra Venkataramaiah
    2013 „Welcome: Debate on Hindu Rashtra”, InWhy Hindu Rashtra?, ed. byH. V. Seshadri et al.32–38. New Delhi: Suruchi Prakashan.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Seṭhī, Tejpāl. Negī, Jñānsimh, Sinh, Rājbahādur, Sinh, Dineś Kumār
    2008Gauravśālī Bhārat bhāg 2 [Glorious India, part 2. In Hindi]. Mathurā: saraswati śiśu mandir prakāśan.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Singh, Rajnath
    2008 “Stop the Use of the Word Dharmanirpeksh.” Outlook, June2 2008, AccessedAugust 8, 2014. www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?237550.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Smith, Donald E.
    1963India as a Secular State. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.10.1515/9781400877782
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400877782 [Google Scholar]
  40. Sudarshan, Kuppalli Sitaramayya
    2013 “Why Hindu Rashtra?” In Why Hindu Rashtra?, ed. byH. V. Seshadri et al.5–20. New Delhi: Suruchi Prakashan.
  41. Swamy, Subramania
    2012 “Ban on Induced Religious Conversion is Constitutional.” The Organiser, September11 2012 AccessedOctober 18, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2012/9/11/-b-Ban-on-Induced-Religious-Conversion-is-Constitutional--b-.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Tejani, Shabnum
    2011Indian Secularism. A Social and Intellectual History. 1890–1950. New Delhi: Permanent Black.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Upadhyaya, Deendayal
    1992Integral Humanism. Noida: Jagriti Prakashan.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Vaidya, M. G.
    2007 “Relationship between Rashtra and Dharma II. The Concept of Dharma.” The Organiser, September16 2007 AccessedOctober 13, 2015. organiser.org//Encyc/2007/9/16/Agenda-br--br-Relationship-between-rashtra-and-dharma-II-br-The-concept-of-dharma.aspx?NB=&lang=3&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Vajpayee, Atal Bihari
    2007 “Secularism, the Indian Concept.” InHindu Nationalism: A Reader, ed. byChristophe Jaffrelot, 318–341. Woodstock: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Vyās, Sītārām [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Hindu nationalism; Indian politics; secularism
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error