While doing some research on both the current & historical instances of secularism in the Indian subcontinent, I found the following Wikipedia articles:
Secularism in India: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism_in_India
From the article:
"The history of Indian secularism the protest movements in the 5th century B.C. The three main protest movements were by the Charvakas (a secularistic and materialistic philosophical movement), Buddhism, and Jainism. All three of them rejected the authority of the Vedas and any importance of belief in a deity.
However, it was in the 18th century, when the British East India Company began to gain total control over India that ideas of secularism began to have impact on the Indian mind. Until then, religion was considered to be inseparable from political and social life. On the other hand, the British codified laws pertaining to practices within religions on the sub-continents. To this effect they instituted separate laws for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and others as part of their divide-and-rule policy. In doing so they laid the foundation for a nonuniform civil code which remains largely unchanged to date. This is a major grouse for Hindu right wing politicians who insist that there should be a uniform civil code for all citizens. For example, believers of all faiths other than Islam are legally bound to be monogamous while those who practice or convert to Islam are permitted up to four marriages."
From the article:
"The Hindu nationalist movement claim that the Indian National Congress and the associated Communist Party of India are pseudo-secularist. Their claim is that leftists in India are not truly secular since they appease minority communities (such as Indian Muslims or Indian Christians) at the expense of the interests of the Hindu community, and often at odds with western ideas of secularism .
A major issue raised by the Hindu nationalist movement is the implementation of a uniform civil code of India and their opposition to separate legal codes for religious communities, such as the Shariat bill, and the Indian Government's subsidy of the travel of Indian Muslims to Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca (Hajj subsidy) or Kumbh Melas for Hindus and many religious holidays. In India, courts have ruled that Sharia or Muslim law, holds precedence for Muslims over Indian civil law, which caused considerable anguish among Hindus and fueled allegations of pseudo-secularism against the judiciary as well."
Very interesting, I think I'll need to read more about secularism & India.
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