In the Indian context, the term pseudo-secularism is used to pejoratively describe policies considered to involve minority appeasement. Mridula Mukherjee has described it as "a term propounded by the ideologues of Hindu nationalism to delegitimise and deny the genuineness of secularism. The subtext is that secularism is only a veneer put on to hide alleged policies of minority appeasement. The proponents of the term allege the secularists of being pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu." The very foundations of the accusations of minority appeasement are debated, as they are used to polarize the majority Hindu votes. 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-secularism" 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.
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 characterises pseudo-secular 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.
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.
The BJP has also been criticised as to playing along with pseudo-secular parties by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for compromising on issues like Article 370, Ram temple and Uniform civil code of India.
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