The head and heart of secularism

Let institutional efficiency and not essence of religion be our guide

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Dipankar Gupta
Discussions in India on whether a particular religious practice offends the principles of secularism get embroiled, ironically, in the coils of religion. In good faith, Indian law-makers have often given themselves the difficult task of deciding if a certain practice is “essential” to the religion concerned before opening the secular gates to it.

For starters, all religions have sectarian differences, so there are nearly as many texts as there are sects. This is why searching for textual unanimity about the “essence” of any faith is like poking a bear. Second, pressuring religion to tell us what secularism should accept puts a
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First Published: Jun 20 2022 | 11:24 PM IST

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