Secularism is a tenet that is fundamental to Indian democracy and enshrined in the Constitution. However, its practice has been severely hampered in recent times largely due to the secular sectarianism pursued by secular, democratic and progressive political formations. This implies the tendency of specific secular political movements to act as if their agenda are exclusively important. Secular sectarianism has gradually polarized communities and advanced a woefully limited political imagination, leading to the proliferation of conflicts between various marginalized groups—Dalits, tribals, OBCs, Muslims, women and the Left. Secular Sectarianism: Limits of Subaltern Politics includes several accounts of such conflicts, opening up a new area of study for further conceptualization.
This book emphasizes that citizenship in practice is expressed through the right to speak for others and not just for oneself. Progress can be made only by opening up dialogues within and across political communities. This is essential for India’s survival as a secular and democratic nation. Progressive politics needs to move towards affinity and an idea of shared spaces.