Indian Politics: End of Secularism?

By Seema Sirohi. Seema Sirohi is Washington correspondent . | The Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1990 | Go to article overview

Indian Politics: End of Secularism?


Seema Sirohi. Seema Sirohi is Washington correspondent ., The Christian Science Monitor


MAHATMA GANDHI used populism to fight for Indian independence. He embodied a formidable mix of inner strength, moral stature, and political acumen that often left the British rulers confounded. He rallied the masses and fought against religious divisions. But somewhere along the past four decades of independence, his legacy got lost.

Today in India, a generation of opportunists plays with divisions of caste and religion. Indians face a serious crisis. The 11-month National Front government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh has collapsed. His rival, Chandra Shekhar, split the National Front and maneuvered to become the next prime minister with the support of Rajiv Gandhi's Congress (I) Party.

Mr. Shekhar, with even less mass support than Mr. Singh, will have to tackle the same problems that undid Singh's coalition. In northern India, Hindus and Muslims clash over a religious site claimed by both communities. Hindus want to demolish the 16th century Babria Masjid mosque and build a temple to their god, Ram. Supporting this dubious venture is the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a former partner in Singh's government. BJP and other parties have threatened to demolish thousands of mosques across India if the temple is not built.

The temple-mosque controversy tests Indian secularism. Singh refused to let Hindu fundamentalists demolish the mosque and arrested the BJP leadership. In Parliament he asked, "What kind of India do most of us want?" Many politicians have exploited but not answered this question, especially the new prime minister. More than 300 people have died in recent weeks defending "religion." For their part, the BJP whips up sentiments, telling Hindus that their identity is at stake.

It is a primitive time in Indian politics. BJP leaders went through sensitive northern India in a truck made to resemble a religious Hindu chariot. Hindu-Muslim riots flared alongside the chariot's path. This generation of Indian politicians has never shied from pitting Hindus against Muslims, or lower castes against upper castes. Singh himself played the caste card after his government began to drift. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Indian Politics: End of Secularism?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.