‘Defenders of secularism need to make a course correction’

Plain speak: Rajeev Bhargava delivering the P.V. Raju Memorial Lecture on secularism in Vijayawada on Sunday.  

Political theorist with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) Rajeev Bhargava stressed the need for the defenders of secularism to make a course correction to rescue it from the internal threat.

Prof. Rajeev was delivering the P.V. Raju 18th Memorial Lecture on ‘Secularism’ organised to commemorate the bank employees union leader P.V. Raju in the city on Sunday by the P.V. Raju Memorial Foundation.

Though secularism had been largely facing external threat what could be done immediately was to address the issue of internal flaws in understanding and defending secularism by intellectuals and other groups which were chipping away at the secular edifice, he said.

“Defenders of secularism need to do three things simultaneously and consistently. Their defence of minority rights must always be accompanied by a robust critique of minority extremism and all forms of communalism. Both of these must always reflect a deeper understanding and defence of the best of religious tradition. Our critiques of minority extremism and majoritarianism must reflect that we know minority and majority religious traditions from the inside,” he said.

‘Original idea’

Prof. Rajeev Bhargava further said that discrimination, intimidation and humiliation on grounds of religion were within most religions and were referred as intra-religious domination and more or less the same existed between different religions which was referred to as inter-religious domination.

“Unlike French or Turkish secularism, Indian secularism is distinctive and an original idea. It opposes institutionalised inter-religious and intra-religious domination and it is not against religion. We are undermining our invention,” he said.

Foundation president Narasimha Rao said that it was important for banking staff to understand the need for secularism in the country, where the society was forced by the current political scenario to look back at it since independence. Foundation convener G. Krishnamurthy and others were present.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 2:59:31 PM |

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