The South Asian Studies Council Lecture Series presents
Farrah Ahmed, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne:
“Secularism from a Gandhian Perspective.”
For decades now, there has been a surprisingly wide consensus amongst scholars that we are witnessing ‘crises of secularism’. The secularist demand for cleansing religion from the public sphere has been effectively criticized. Secularism is feared to be unavailable to particular groups and is said to be a tool for the state to discipline religion and oppress religious followers. At the same time, a democratic decline in a number of states ( including India) has been accompanied by an apparent decline in secularism.
Against these scholarly and political crises of secularism, this talk will introduce a new theory of legal secularism based on Gandhian ideas and practices. Indian constitutional secularism, it will argue, is best understood as requiring ‘fraternal piety’ -unconditionally and empathetically sharing in, and responding to, the religious beliefs, feelings, and interests of others.