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In the Indian context, the term pseudo-secularism is used to describe the policies that involve minority appeasement. The Hindus form the majority religious community in India; the term "pseudo-secular" implies that those who claim to be secular are actually not so, but are anti-Hindu or pro-minority. The Hindu nationalist politicians accused of being "communal" use it as a counter-accusation against their critics.
The first recorded use of the term "pseudo-secualrism" was in the book Philosophy and Action of the R.S.S. for the Hind Swaraj, by Anthony Elenjimittam. In his book, Elenjimittam accused leaders of the Indian National Congress, of pretending to uphold secularism. He singles out then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's refusal to serve on the Congress Working Committee in 1951, which led to the resignation of the Congress Purushottam Das Tandon.
After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was accused of representing the Hindu communalism in Indian politics, it started using the counter-charge of "pseudo-secularism" against the Congress and other parties. The BJP leader LK Advani characterizes pseudosecular politicians as those for whom "secularism is only a euphemism for vote-bank politics". According to him, these politicians are not concerned with the welfare of the minorities, but only interested in their vote.
Examples of alleged pseudo-secularism
The state policies of independent India accorded special rights to Muslims in matters of personal law. For example, in the Shah Bano case, a Muslim woman was denied alimony even after winning a court case, because the Indian Parliament reversed the court judgement under pressure of Islamic orthodoxy. This is often presented as proof of the Congress's practice of pseudo-secularism by many Indians. Other special laws for Muslims, such as those allowing triple talaq and polygamy, are also considered as pseudo-secular.
Makarand Paranjape sees the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the demolition of Babri Masjid as examples of the party practicing pseudo-secularism (both the incidents happened when the Congress was in power).
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