Republic of Religion: The Rise and Fall of Colonial Secularism in India
How did India aspire to become a secular country? Given our colonial past, we derive many of our laws and institutions from England. We have a parliamentary democracy with a Westminster model of government. Our courts routinely use catchphrases like ‘rule of law’ or ‘natural justice’, which have their roots in London. However, during the period of colonial rule in India, and even thereafter, England was not a ‘secular’ country. The king or queen of England must mandatorily be a Protestant. The archbishop of Canterbury is still appointed by the government. Senior bishops still sit, by virtue of their office, in the House of Lords.
Thought-provoking and impeccably argued, Republic of Religion reasons that the secular structure of the colonial state in India was imposed by a colonial power on a conquered people. It was an unnatural foreign imposition, perhaps one that was bound, in some measure, to come apart once colonialism ended, given colonial secularism’s dubious origins.