Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Indian exceptionalism? A discussion on India's experiment with constitutional secularism

John, Matthew (2006) Indian exceptionalism? A discussion on India's experiment with constitutional secularism. Working Paper (17). Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Download (163kB) | Preview


The secular state is the most important of contemporary institutional forms available to deal with the problem of sectarian violence in liberal democracies. Despite this, the commitment to constitutional secularism seems to be in crisis, constituting deep fault lines in democratic politics across the world. Within the Euro-American context the secular state seems to have run into trouble with immigrants, especially Islamic communities. Beyond its founding context, welldirected postcolonial polemic in countries like India has seriously questioned the very usefulness of the secular state for non-Western polities. As an avowedly secular state it therefore seems crucial for a profoundly diverse country like India to able to think through the extent to which the secular state can be defended against some of the challenges being mounted against it. This paper contributes to this contemporary debate on secularism by discussing the claims to an ‘exceptional’ model of Indian secularism made by the Indian Supreme Court. In doing so it argues with the court on the routes by which such an exceptional model can be (if at all) elaborated and defended.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Matthew John
Divisions: Asia Centre
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2009 15:02
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 00:05

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics