Europe, India, and the Limits of Secularism

For several decades now, commentators have sounded the alarm about the 'crisis of secularism'. According to them, saving the secular state from political religion is a matter of survival for societies characterized by religious diversity. In this narrative, instances of intolerance and violence are conveniently attributed to a failure in adhering to secular norms. Jakob De Roover argues against this search for an external factor to explain the increasing pressures on the model of liberal secularism. Delving deep into its history—which is closely intertwined with the Western cultural context—he brings to light the major flaws internal to this model. Focusing on Asian societies which have historically accommodated a higher degree of religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity than Europe, this book questions the validity of imposing the liberal-secular model outside the West. Taking the constraints of the liberal model of religious toleration and the secular state as its focal point of inquiry, this book examines how the normative model of liberal secularism crystallized in modern Europe and how it determined the European understanding of Indian culture. This book will be of considerable interest to scholars and students of religion, history, comparative politics, political thought and comparative law.


Jakob De Roover


Oxford University Press



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