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Pseudo-secularism is the state of implicit non-secular trends in the face of pledged secularism. The term is used by groups who perceive a double standard exhibited within the established secular governing policy towards culturally different groups.

The first recorded use of the term was in the book Philosophy and Action of the R. S. S. for the Hind Swaraj[1] , by Anthony Elenjimittam. In his book, Elenjimittam accused leaders of the Indian National Congress, of pretending to uphold secularism. He singles out then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's refusal to serve on the Congress Working Committee in 1951, which led to the resignation of the Congress Purushottam Das Tandon.

In India

Since an amendment in 1976, the constitution of India describes the country as 'secular', and generally most mainstream political forces describe themselves as 'secular'. Its important to note that in the Indian context the term is mainly used as an opposite of 'communal', rather than describing the role of state-religion relations.

One of the most comprehensive studies of Indian secularism has been done by Donald Eugene Smith in his book India: As a Secular State. It succinctly sums the differences between Gandhi and Nehru on the issue of secularism, and describes how this divergence sometimes created problems for the government in the early years of Independence.

The Hindu nationalist movement claim that the Indian National Congress and the associated Communist Party of India are pseudo-secularist. Their claim is that leftists in India are not truly secular since they appease minority communities (such as Indian Muslims or Indian Christians) at the expense of the interests of the Hindu community, and often at odds with western ideas of secularism .

A major issue raised by the Hindu nationalist movement is the implementation of a uniform civil code of India and their opposition to separate legal codes for religious communities, such as the Shariat bill, and the Indian Government's subsidy of the travel of Indian Muslims to Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca (Hajj subsidy) or Kumbh Melas for Hindus and many religious holidays.

See also


  1. Elenjimittam, Anthony (1951). Philosophy and Action of the R. S. S. for the Hind Swaraj. Laxmi Publications. pp. 188–189. 

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