How can secularism be defined and distinguished from religious tolerance? Why is secularism important in the present day? Will secularism work in a multi-religious country like India? The issues surrounding secularism - state neutrality, freedom of religion, equal citizenship - have been discussed at least since the 18th century. However, the seeds of these ideas were sown in the 15th century, with the invention of the printing press in Europe, and have grown and developed since then. Although the focus of this book is on India, both European (mainly French) and American modes of secularism are discussed as a backdrop to understanding the peculiar nature of secularism in a multi-religious context. With engaging text and visuals, this book presents all the basic materials needed for comprehending the complex notion of secularism, from the 15th century to the present day.
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Nalini Rajan is Dean of Studies and Professor, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, India. She has published four books on political philosophy, three works of fiction, and edited five volumes on the media.
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