On Raghuram Rajan's interview with @tylercowen

I think he is all confused in reaction to Tyler's question on Anglo-American liberalism in India

Let me elaborate (Contd..)

He says -

"I would argue the country, as a whole, is still firmly secular, liberal in the Nehruvian idea, which is that we need a country which is open to different religions, to different ethnicities, to different beliefs if we are to stay together"
Now on the question of a country as heterogeneous as India being open to different ethnicities and beliefs -

There is by and large a consensus in India. Including within the BJP or the so-called Hindu Right

There is no voice in the BJP calling for the end of Islam in India
Sure...there may be elements within the Right who may dream of that at night. But it is not a major item on anyone's plate

So yes, India is v much multi-cultural, and has space for the so-called "Abrahamic cultures"

But that does NOT make India Nehruvian by any means
There are two tacit assumptions that underlie Nehruvian "idea of India" which Hindu nationalists reject -

A. That Nehru somehow rendered India multi-cultural
B. That Secularism entails separation of church and state

Let's tackle both
On A -

Nehru was not the person who rendered India multicultural

India has been a multi ethnic and multi-cultural nation for most of the past 3 millennia. And more so over the past 1000 years
And the reason this has been sustained over a long time, without large scale ethnic cleansing or attempts at homogenization is precisely because India is Hindu for the most part!

If India were Muslim, or even Christian, it would not have been a multi-religious nation
This has been the argument of most Hindu nationalists for much of 20th cen

India has to remain Hindu for it to retain its cultural exceptionalism in the globe

Parts of Greater India that are Muslim (say Pakistan or Bdesh) are not multi-religious

While India is
Parallels with "Anglo-American liberalism" is misplaced

Because in the Anglo American tradition, secularism stems from a certain skepticism towards religion (if not downright hostility)

Think Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Mill.
None were devout Christians
However, in India, religious tolerance and freedom is made possible by the nature of Hinduism

Not by forces of Enlightenment or religious skepticism of the kind that rendered Europe secular
Next we get to B - On the separation of religion and state

This is a tenet v central to Anglo American liberalism, as well as to Nehruvians

But the average Indian rejects this totally
Hinduism unlike Christianity envelopes many aspects of secular existence. And so does Islam in India in some ways

So separation of church and state is anathema to most Indians - and not just Hindus
That's because in India religion transcends faith. There are many atheists who may be sticklers for tradition. They are a common specimen in India unlike in the West
For those who may find these points very partisan, I only suggest you look at those parts of India that are not a part of the Indian Union currently.-

Pakistan & Bangladesh

Did either country remain multi-cultural and multi-religious in a meaningful sense? No
So yes there is ample religious freedom in India

But the continued existence of that freedom entails neither a secular Constitution nor an irreligious state!

Mr Rajan is wrong to conflate religious freedom in India with the Nehruvian "idea of India" (that Indians mostly reject)
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