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India: ON SECULARISM AND SPACE FOR RELIGION IN POLITICS IN SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ASIA

Book Review

Wednesday 4 April 2012, by siawi3

by Ajay K. Mehra

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article3312.html

The Politics of Religion in South and Southeast Asia, edited by Ishtiaq Ahmed; London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group; pp. 268.

Mahatma Gandhi, who by no stretch of imagination could be called communal in his views or practice of politics, strongly believed that religion in politics had a space to guide practioners of politics towards truth and God. Obviously, the Mahtma was not referring to the mobilisational aspect of religion used by most parties and politicians, neither was he alluding to the use of religion as statecraft or state policy. He was emphasising the moral aspect of religion in politics, which is rarely, if ever, talked about or practised. The book under review too brings out that the Gandhian view of religion in politics that does not appear to exist in any of the countries discussed, including in India.