Rethinking Pluralism, Secularism and Tolerance: Anxieties of Coexistence

Author: Neera Chandhoke
Reviewed by: Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta
Available at: Sage, Rs 895..

‘Rethinking Pluralism, Secularism and Tolerance – Anxieties of Coexistence’ review: The principle of justice (Aug 3, 2019, The Hindu)

How can people with different beliefs and customs live together in a pluralistic society with civility and mutual respect? One can think of few more important questions, not just for the world’s largest democracy but for the world itself, in the 21st century.

Political scientist Neera Chandhoke takes on this fraught question in a thoughtful analysis that reinterprets and powerfully reworks the concepts of pluralism, secularism, tolerance and coexistence in the context of India today.

Secularism in India, says Chandhoke, is not the same as western secularism: for in India, it has acquired a distinctive meaning ever since, in the context of the bitter communal riots, the leaders of the freedom struggle adopted secularism as a basic principle of democratic polity precisely as a response to the atmosphere of strife.…