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18 Apr, 2013

Our secularisms – Indian Express

Often, secularism is a kind of gesture of reaching out, as Nitish Kumar hinted: recognising that the topi has the same place as the tilak. Faced with the organised violence of rightwing mobs, this is a valuable gesture. But this politics has limitations. It rests on creating coalitions of fear: the topi being swamped by the tilak. It rests on boxing people into identities, which you then protect. It does not recognise that a robust secularism now needs a new institutional language: one founded on individual freedom, dignity, rule of law, building institutional accountability and so forth. This version of secularism also personifies it: the knight with benevolent intentions providing protection.

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