The Difficulties of Religious Pluralism in India: Analysing the Place of Worship as a Legal Category in the Ayodhya and Bababudangiri Disputes
ARI Working Paper No. 187, July 2012
21 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2013
Date Written: July 1, 2012
The desirability of religious pluralism is widely accepted in most modern societies, being considered the hallmark of a stable and progressive state. Such pluralism is based on the framework that the protection of religious freedom is essential to the survival of these societies, and that a neutral secular state is required to legally enforce such pluralism. This study argues that there are conceptual problems with this framework in the Indian context, particularly in relation to the distinction between the religious and the secular in constitutional theory and the principle of equal treatment. It demonstrates these conceptual problems by analysing the legal category of the place of worship through an analysis of two disputes i.e. a mosque being claimed as a temple at Ayodhya and claims over a Sufi dargah at Bababudangiri. It concludes that there must be an alternative model of pluralism that is not based on the model of religious freedom embodied in constitutional theory.
Keywords: law and religion, secularism, law of endowments, wakfs and trusts
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