Essay

Roots of Indian secularism

Print edition : August 08, 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to address the joint session of Parliament on June 9. Modi spoke of "1,200 years of servitude" in his speech. Photo: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP

M.S. Golwalkar, former RSS chief. He, too, spoke of the "1,200" years of foreign rule. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

M.S. Golwalkar's predecessor and RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar said "once upon a time" the Muslims of India were "all Hindus". Photo: aS ADas aS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the birth anniversary of V.D. Savarkar on May 28 in Parliament. Hindu nationalism seems to be the officially recognised brand of nationalism now. Photo: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the birth anniversary of S.P. Mookerjee on July 6 in Parliament. Hindu nationalism seems to be the officially recognised brand of nationalism now. Photo: PTI

1939, New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru with Gandhi. Photo: The Hindu Archives

S. Srinivasa Aiyangar. His was the most comprehensive exposition of secularism by any Congress president before Independence. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Savarkar at the Hindu Mahasabha's 1939 session in Calcutta, where he rejected the notion that the Mahasabha was a reaction to the Muslim League. S.P. Mookerji (extreme left) was also present. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The battle between Indian nationalism and Hindu nationalism must continue to be fought, and not by politicians alone. The roots of Indian secularism lie in the 19th century, as an inseparable part of Indian nationalism.
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