ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Secularism in the Constituent Assembly Debates, 1946-1950

Secularism, it has been argued, failed to stem the spread of communalism in India, because its marginalising and contempt of religion bred a backlash on which communalism thrived. This article contends that this 'contempt for religion' was marginalised in the course of the secularism debates in the Constituent Assembly. The dominant position on secularism that a 'democratic' Constitution find place for religion as a way of life for most Indians triumphed over those who wished for the Assembly to grant only a narrow right to religious freedom, or to make the uniform civil code a fundamental right. These early discussions on religious freedom also highlight a paradox - it is precisely some of the advocates of a broad right to religious freedom who were also the most vociferous opponents of any political rights for religious minorities.



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