Secularism in India has always been a contested terrain at both conceptual and practical levels. With the advent of modernity and democracy preceding the wave of industrialization, unlike in the West, it has largely been understood as a peculiar Indian phenomenon distinct from the western secular models. All the three books under review acknowledge the unfinished nature of the secular project in India. Moreover, the challenges posed by the Hindu Right to the very concept of secularism forms the core of all their arguments.
Madhav Godbole, former Home Secretary and someone who is widely known as an ardent secularist, vows to give the first detailed operationalized account of secularism in India. Being well aware of the gargantuan task at hand, he goes about highlighting all the major issues that have strained the relationship between the state and individual since Independence. The book documents the historical development of all the major complexities including the separation of religion and politics, religious minority rights, right to propagate religion, ban on cow slaughter, communal riots