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Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist

Mani Shankar Aiyar (Author)
Synopsis Ever since 1986, when the locks on the gates of the makeshift Ram Lalla temple within the precincts of the Babri Masjid were opened, the debate over secularism and communalism has been revived in all its sound and fury. It now occupies center stage in our public discourse. In Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist, Mani Shankar Aiyar, parliamentarian, commentator and crusader for a secular credo, calls for an unambiguous and decisive restoration of secularism to the core of our nationhood. In doing so, he revisits every dimension of our secular ethos and exposes the various myths perpetuated by communal elements of all hues. Putting under the scanner contentious issues like conversions, uniform civil code and Article 370, he nails the falsehoods underlying terms like ‘pseudo-secularism’, ‘appeasement’ and ‘soft Hindutva’. And he places the domestic debate over secularism in India in the wider external dimension by discussing the experiences of countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Israel and erstwhile Yugoslavia. Admitting to wearing his secularism on his sleeve, Aiyar reasons that only a determined and inflexible adherence to secularism, in principle and in practice, can counter religious bigotry and fundamentalism. Clear in his convictions, with history, logic and persuasive argument at his command, this is Mani Shankar Aiyar at his best, on a subject that we can ignore only at our own peril.
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About the author

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Born in Lahore in 1941, Mani Shankar Aiyar received his education at the Doon School, Dehra Dun; St. Stephen's College, Delhi; and the University of Cambridge, UK. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1963 and served in Brussels, Hanoi, Baghdad and as India's first-ever Consul General in Karachi. From 1985 to 1989, he was Joint Secretary to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He made the transition from the civil service to politics in 1989 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Mayiladuturai constituency of Tamil Nadu in 1991, and again in 1999 and 2004. in may 2004, he was named Minister of Petroeum and Natural Gas, and of Panchayati Raj. He is also a well-known author and columnist who, for a decade from 1989 to 1999, penned the popular weekly column 'Mani-Talk' in Sunday magazine, later resumed in the Telegraph of Kolkata. He has also written journals. His books include remembering Rahiv (1992), One year in Parliament (1993), Pakistan Papers (1994) and Knickerwallahas, Silly-Billies and Other Durious Creatures (1995). Mani Shankar Aiyar is the founder president of the Society for Secularism.

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Bibliographic information

Title Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0670058173
length xix+290p., Notes; References; Index; 23cm.