Conway Hall Declaration on Untouchability

We the delegates to the First World Conference on Untouchability, meeting in Conway Hall, London on 9 and 10 June 2009 under the aegis of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, hereby declare as follows

Discrimination based on work or descent is widespread throughout much of Asia and in several countries in Africa. Extreme forms of this discrimination – untouchability – involve restrictions on the employment open to certain groups, prohibition of intermarriage and restrictions on the use of water supplies, places of worship and even public roads. These restrictions are often enforced by violence and even murder.

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Secularism in India

by Ashgar Ali Engineer, Chairman of the Centre for the Study of Secularism in Society, editor of the Indian Journal of Secularism, and director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, Mumbai, India

Secularism in India has unique implications and meaning. In the Indian context the word secularism has never been used in the way in which it is often used in Western countries (i.e. a purely this-worldly approach, rejecting other-worldly beliefs).

Secularism in India

Bibliography of Indian Secularism

– Bhargava, Rajeev . The Distinctiveness of Indian Secularism. University of Delhi.

– Birodkar, Sudheer. Hindu History – Religious Tolerance and Secularism in India.

– Engineer, Asghar Ali. 2006. Secularism in India. The Milli Gazette Online. (

– Ganguly, Sumit. 2003. The Crisis of Indian Secularism. Journal of Democracy, Volume 14, Number 4, October 2003, pp.11-25.

– Kesavan, Mukul. 2003. India’s Embattled Secularism, The Wilson Quarterly 27 no1 Winter 2003. P.61-67.

– Marbaniang, Domenic. 2005, 2009. Secularism in India: A Historical Outline. Online Progressive Version #2.

– Needham, Anuradha Dingwaney (Editor, Contributor) 2007 The Crisis of Secularism in India [Paperback]. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (Editor, Contributor), Shabnum Tejani (Contributor), Paula Richman (Contributor), V. Geetha (Contributor), Sunil Khilnani (Contributor), Ashis Nandy (Contributor), Nivedita Menon (Contributor)

– Pantham, Thomas. 1997. Indian Secularism and Its Critics: Some Reflections. The Review of Politics, Vol. 59, No. 3, Non-Western Political Thought pp. 523-540 Stable URL:

– Shuja, Sharif. 2005. Indian Secularism: Image and Reality. Contemporary Review, 287 Journal 2005.

– Stephens, Robert J. 2007. Sites of Conflict in the Indian Secular State: Secularism, Caste and Religious Conversion. Journal of Church State, 49 no2 Spring 2007.

– Tejani, Shabnum. 2008. Indian Secularism: A Social and Intellectual History, 1890-1950. Indiana: Indiana University Press.

– Upadhyaya, Prakash Chandra. 1992. The Politics of Indian Secularism. Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Oct. 1992), pp. 815-853.

– Warrier, Maya. 2003. Processes of Secularization in Contemporary India: Guru Faith in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission. Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 2003), pp. 213-253

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