Indian Journal of Secularism (IJS)

(Reg. No.66034/97 with Registrar of News Papers)

ISSN 2277 – 5501

journal devoted to addressing problems faced especially by Indian society in the context of growing communalism, ethnic conflicts, fundamentalism, regionalism and related issues.

Indian Journal of Secularism (IJS)

COMMUNALISM has emerged as a major threat to democracy in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society like India. Realising this, the architects of our Constitution made secular principles an integral part.

IJS cover page-October-December 2014

The last two decades have witnessed increasing communalisation of society. Though the principles of secularism are ingrained in our Constitution, communal forces are becoming increasingly powerful in diverting the social goals of society, and are also posing a threat to the human rights of the more vulnerable sections, especially women.

We need to understand the deeper dynamics of this problem in order to face its threat and to restore the democratic values.

Today, the increasing confidence of Hindu obscurantism, aggressive communalism, intolerance, Muslim fundamentalism and criminalisation of politics pose a serious challenge to our democratic polity especially in the context of the globalised and globalising paradigm of development.

The Indian Journal of Secularism (IJS) attempts to examine and deepen understanding by analysing problems faced by people and society in the context of growing communalism, intolerance, patriarchal mindsets, casteism, ethnic conflicts, regionalism, marginalisation, etc.

The IJS has now completed 18 years of uninterrupted publication and has continued to maintain high standards and regularity.

Besides conducting debates and discussions at the academic level, the IJS also seeks to serve as a forum for activists in the field to initiate debates and air their views.

THE IJS is published by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), a pioneer organization working for the promotion of communal harmony and the cause of secularism. The setting up of CSSS is the result of the growing concern of academics, social activists and prominent citizens and the affirmation of their efforts to strengthen the secular fabric of society.

First Journal in its Field

 The IJS is a pioneering journal which has exclusively focussed attention on secular and communal problems from the historical, political, economic, cultural and sociological perspectives. It publishes original research material, book reviews, deliberations and debates of a high academic standard. We are seriously committed to make the IJS a distinctive and exclusive journal on this subject not only in India, but also South Asia.

What does IJS Cover?

 Each issue contains a wide range of topical, well researched articles and papers on themes that include

  • History of religious movements
  • Evolution of the concept of secularism
  • Racial and ethnic conflicts
  • Secularism in the post-modern era
  • Religion, politics and the State
  • Media and communalism
  • Gender and secularism
  • Human rights and communal violence
  • Judiciary and secularism
  • Marginalisation
  • Case studies of communal riots

In addition, each issue carries book reviews, appraisal of events, rejoinders from readers etc.

Our Contributors

 Eminent scholars and activists like Bipin Chandra, Rasheeduddin Khan, T.K. Oommen, Romila Thapar, Kuldip Nayar, D.R. Goyal, Soli.J.Sorabjee, Paul Brass, Steven Wilkinson, Christophe Jafferlot,  Gabrielle Dietrich and others contribute to the IJS from time to time.

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 The journal is a valuable source of information and ideas for

  • Students
  • Scholars
  • NGOs
  • Libraries
  • College and Universities
  • Activists
The IJS Team

 Founder Editor: Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer

Managing Editor: Adv. Irfan Engineer

  • Executive Editor: Prof. P.K. Nair
  • Associate Editor: Ms. Neha Dabhade 

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Justice Sachar
  • K.N. Panikkar
  • M.S. Agwani
  • Ram Puniyani
  • Uday Mehta
  • Ritu Dewan
  • Ranu Jain
  • Imtiaz Ahmed
  • Bhikhu Parekh (UK)
Call for Articles

 The Editor welcomes articles, research papers and book reviews relevant to the main theme of the journal. Contributions should be typed in double space and addressed to:

The Editor

Indian Journal of Secularism

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Current Issue

Volume 21                           No.1                   April – June  2017




I. Articles

Dialectics of Indian Secularism: Reflective Inquiry

– Thummapudi Bharathi

 Abstract:  India is an amalgamation of multi castes and diverse religions. It is the reality that India enjoys only political democracy and not social democracy. Secularism acquires a particular meaning with the ‘majoritarian Hinduism’ in India. Secularism in a democratic country needs to separate the state from religion. With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. In this context secularism is explained that the state should maintain equal distance from all religions in the country or equal treatment to all religions. Else it should not have any relation with any religion. Democracy is the dominant and meaningful mode of governance in modern times and India claims itself as the largest democracy in the world.

This paper tries to expose how the present government has become a threat to the secularism in the country.


Towards an Eco-Spirituality

– Isaac Parackal OIC

 Abstract: The modern age of science and technology opens before humankind tremendous possibilities of progress. However, this progress in a way blinds human race to recognize the intrinsic value of nature and try to exploit her in all possible ways. This egoistic mentality makes humans to forget their ultimate role in the universe. The radical interconnectedness in the universe urges us to think in terms of an environmental spirituality that integrates all beings in a single thread of harmony and love. This paper is an analysis of the environmental ethics in five major religions, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity. This effort I hope, would help us develop an environmental consciousness that contributes to the welfare of the whole cosmic family.


 Empowerment and Inclusion of Muslims in Indian Democratic governance structures and Processes: Strategies, Approaches and Models

– Suraiya Tabassum

 Abstract: Inclusion of minorities in any governance system is a much debated issue and needs to be deliberated upon to ensure corrective policy steps to ensure inclusive development, responsiveness, accountability and democratic legitimacy. In Indian context, which is multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic, the issue of placement of minorities within the complex system of exclusion and inclusive development is no less than a challenge. If corrective steps are being taken it remains no longer a challenge. To quote Article 2.2 of the UN Declaration of Minority Rights which states, “Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life”. It further says in Article 4.5 that “states should consider appropriate measures so that persons belonging to minorities may participate fully in the economic progress and development in their country”. We have great Indian Constitution and a comprehensive list of fundamental rights promising all citizens’ safeguards and inclusion; still many groups remain excluded and titled as “marginalized groups”. The need is to monitor proper implementation of minority safeguards, find out the reasons why inequality exists in spite of big promises made and work towards solutions for ensuring equitable and inclusive development. This paper injects empirical insights into the debate to suggest action framework for inclusion of minorities, a democratic entitlement for inclusive development.


The strange case of Piyush Manush

Gabriele Dietrich

 Abstract: While cases of gaurakshaks harassing Dalits and Muslims in Gujarat and UP are very much out in the open, the South Indian scenario appears different, as Kerala is under the Left and Tamil Nadu under the Dravidian parties. However, the case of well known environmentalist Piyush Manush, who together with Salem Citizens Forum has intervened in rehabilitation of water bodies and forest lands, stands out on its own.

The article analyses the events of arrest and severe police brutality in jail and pieces together the evidence that the wrath against the environmentalist is connected with his provocative questioning of caste, communalism and patriarchy. He is depicted as having burned the national flag, a blatant lie. He needs to be shown as anti-national. The case filed by Human Rights Defenders against Prison Superintendent Senthil Kumar and thirty wardens is going on. The work of Piyush Manush is also going on, against all odds.


 Exploring Religious Discrimination toward Women in Public Health Facilities in Mumbai

– Zamrooda Khanday

 Abstract: The rise in communally driven identity politics in India during the past two decades has led to an increasing number of communal flare-ups in the country, State institutions have been found to be complicit in many cases, raising questions on the secular nature of the state. In the two major instances of communal violence in the past two decades – the 1992-1993 Mumbai riots following the Babri Masjid demolition and the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat – the involvement of the police force has been explicitly noted by Judicial Enquiry Commissions as well as fact-finding reports. As with the police system, the health system too has displayed biases towards minority communities during communal riots. This departure from a neutral role in times of communal riots points to the extent to which communal elements have seeped into even the health machinery. In addition to this, active bias and discrimination perpetrated during communal riots. We at CEHAT hypothesize that discriminatory treatment by health facilities operates in times of peace as well, and women belonging to the minority community face such discrimination on a regular basis. CEHAT’s own work with health care providers in the MCGM[1] has shown that the health care providers do harbour communal biases and stereotypes related to the Muslim community. The Sachar Committee report, based on discussions with representatives from the Muslim community, has reported that Muslim women prefer not to access health facilities due to the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ that they encounter. (Rajinder Sachar Committee, 2005)

India is signatory to several human rights treaties that explicitly forbid prejudice and bias in the provision of services. By virtue of being a signatory to these human rights treaties, the Indian State is committed to provide health services and end all forms of discrimination in the health facilities. It therefore becomes important to understand the overt and covert functioning of religious based discrimination in the area of health. It is a serious health and human rights issue that warrants exploration so that interventions can be put in place to address it.

This paper is an attempt to explore religion based discrimination in health facilities based on perceptions of women from different communities. My study, “Exploring Religious Discrimination in Health Facilities in Mumbai” on which the paper is based reports that women accessing public health facilities in Mumbai are discriminated on the basis of class, caste, language, region and religion. Health professionals and health systems need to recognize that women face multiple forms of discrimination based on caste, class and community and therefore take additional steps to ensure unbiased delivery of services.



 The international seminar on “Secular Humanism, Religion and Dialogue: Search for Transcendence and Transparency for the Common Good”.

– Dr. Varghese Manimala


III. Document

Communal Riots After Independence A Comprehensive Account