by Madhav Godbole

  • Category Politics
  • Format Hardback
  • Imprint Rupa
  • Price 995
  1. ISBN: 978-81-291-3762-3
  2. Pages: 441 pages
  3. Date:


For the first time since Independence, India is at a crossroads of secular and Hindu Rashtra (nation) ideologies. The Constitution of India is ambivalent about secularism, pandering to the demands of both the majority and minority communities. The founding fathers could not even agree on calling the Constitution ‘secular’. The word ‘secular’ became a part of the Preamble only during the ‘Emergency’. There is no consensus yet on its definition. In the process, secularism, though declared by the Supreme Court as a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution, has lost all credibility.

Godbole’s thoughtful and comprehensive agenda for strengthening secularism includes setting up a constitutional commission on secularism, the separation of religion from politics, defining the words ‘secular’ and ‘minorities’, doing away with the freedom to propagate religion, an amendment of Article 48 by deleting the provision prohibiting cow slaughter, and increasing the role and responsibilities of the central government. The implementation of this will require national consensus, statesmanship, maturity and far-sightedness.

Secularism should be a must-read for the youth of this country, political parties, legislators, professionals, academia, media, social thinkers and opinion-makers. For, no other issue will decide the future of India as decisively.


Madhav Godbole (b. 15 August 1936) took voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service in March 1993, when he was union home secretary and secretary, justice. Earlier, he was secretary, petroleum & natural gas, and secretary, urban development, Government of India, and principal finance secretary, Government of Maharashtra. He worked in the Asian Development Bank, Manila, for five years.

Dr Godbole has written nineteen books on public policy issues, of which eleven are in English. His previous two books were: Good Governance: Never on India’s Radar, and The God Who Failed: An Assessment of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Leadership. His essays have been published in several English and Marathi compilations. He has written over 400 articles in English and Marathi in leading newspapers, journals and periodicals. He wrote a weekly column for two years for the Marathi daily Loksatta.

Dr Godbole was the chairman of several government committees including the Enron power project, good governance, and the management of India’s international borders.

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