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Republic of Religion

Republic of Religion

The Rise and Fall of Colonial Secularism in India

Abhinav Chandrachud
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How did India aspire to become a secular country? Given our colonial past, we derive many of our laws and institutions from England. We have a parliamentary democracy with a Westminster model of government. Our courts routinely use catchphrases like ‘rule of law’ or ‘natural justice’, which have their roots in London. However, during the period of colonial rule in India, and even thereafter, England was not a ‘secular’ country. The king or queen of England must mandatorily be a Protestant. The archbishop of Canterbury is still appointed by the government. Senior bishops still sit, by virtue of their office, in the House of Lords.

Thought-provoking and impeccably argued, Republic of Religion reasons that the secular structure of the colonial state in India was imposed by a colonial power on a conquered people. It was an unnatural foreign imposition, perhaps one that was bound, in some measure, to come apart once colonialism ended, given colonial secularism’s dubious origins.

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Jan/2020

ISBN: 9780670092451

Length : 320 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

Republic of Religion

The Rise and Fall of Colonial Secularism in India

Abhinav Chandrachud

How did India aspire to become a secular country? Given our colonial past, we derive many of our laws and institutions from England. We have a parliamentary democracy with a Westminster model of government. Our courts routinely use catchphrases like ‘rule of law’ or ‘natural justice’, which have their roots in London. However, during the period of colonial rule in India, and even thereafter, England was not a ‘secular’ country. The king or queen of England must mandatorily be a Protestant. The archbishop of Canterbury is still appointed by the government. Senior bishops still sit, by virtue of their office, in the House of Lords.

Thought-provoking and impeccably argued, Republic of Religion reasons that the secular structure of the colonial state in India was imposed by a colonial power on a conquered people. It was an unnatural foreign imposition, perhaps one that was bound, in some measure, to come apart once colonialism ended, given colonial secularism’s dubious origins.

Select Preferred Format

Abhinav Chandrachud

Abhinav Chandrachud is an advocate who practises at the Bombay High Court. He graduated from the LL.M. program at Harvard Law School where he was a Dana Scholar, and from the JSM and JSD programs at Stanford Law School where he was a Franklin Family Scholar. He has worked as an associate attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a global law firm. He is the author of Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India (2017) and Supreme Whispers: Conversations with Judges of the Supreme Court of India 1980-1989 (2018). He has also written for several leading newspapers in India including The Hindu, Indian Express and Times of India, and taught at Cornell Law School and NALSAR University of Law.

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