The Definitive Guide to Pseudo-Secularism


We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Pseudo-Secular, Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens...

What is Pseudo-Secularism?

If you are from India, and you read the papers or at least watch the news on TV, chances are you are familiar with the term pseudo-secularism. It was perhaps first coined by L. K. Advani while referring to the perverted brand of secularism practised and showcased in India by politicians, celebrities and other self-styled intellectuals, inside and out of the media.

According to Webster's, being secular implies of or relating to the worldly or temporal, and not being overtly or specifically religious. That is, a secular person is equally far away from all religions.

In India, secularism has come to mean being equally close to all religions. Nothing wrong with that, if it were true. In practice, secularism means favouring all religions but Hinduism, and hence the term pseudo-secularism, or, the false secularism.

The list below is an attempt to table the notable pseudo-secularists of today (and also of times bygone) along with a brief summary of their "achievements". So that the next time you come across any of these names, you know what to expect.

Your help in making this list exhaustive will be appreciated. If you come across new pseudo-seculars worthy enough to be included in this hall of fame, drop a mail to:

The List

Pseudo-secular Who's Who
NameClaim to Fame
Anand Patwardhan
  • Documentary filmmaker of War and Peace, Aakrosh, on rise of militant Indian nationalism and the Gujarat riots.
  • Anita Pratap
  • Journalist of Outlook
  • Angana Chatterji
  • Professor of Anthropology in California
  • Anjali Mody
  • Correspondent of The Hindu
  • Arundhati Roy
  • "Social" activist, journalist-cum-fiction writer, anti-Bomb, anti-establishment
  • Ashish Kumar Sen
  • Journalist of Outlook
  • Biju Mathew
  • Founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists
  • Campaign against IDRF
  • Deepa Mehta
  • Director of Fire, Earth, Water
  • Dilip D'Souza
  • Columnist in
  • Father Cedric Prakash 
    Javed Anand 
    Kalpana Sharma 
    Kalpana Wilson 
    Kuldip Nayar
  • Former High Commissioner to the UK
  • Lalu Prasad Yadav 
    Mahesh Bhatt
  • Hindi filmmaker
  • Mani Shankar Aiyar 
    Meera Nanda 
    M. F. Hussain
  • Barefoot painter of unclothed goddesses
  • M. J. Akbar
  • Editor of The Asian Age
  • Mulayam Singh Yadav 
    Nafisa Ali
  • Former Miss India, aspiring politician, activist
  • N. Ram
  • Editor of The Hindu
  • Pamela Philipose
  • Columnist in Indian Express
  • Praful Bidwai
  • Columnist in
  • Rakesh Sharma
  • Documentary filmmaker of Final Solution
  • Ram Vilas Paswan 
    Romila Thapar
  • Eminent historian
  • Sandip Pandey
  • Winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award
  • Seema Mustafa 
    Shabana Azmi
  • Intellectal actress-cum-social activist
  • Shekhar Gupta
  • Editor of Indian Express
  • Swami Agnivesh 
    Teesta Setalvad
  • Best Bakery case
  • Editor of Communalism Combat
  • Vijay Prashad
  • Founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists
  • Campaign against IDRF
  • Vinod Mehta
  • Editor of Outlook
  • Vir Sanghvi
  • Editor of Hindustan Times
  • Yoginder Sikand
  • Columnist in Outlook