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Title: Constitutional reform, religious freedom and the legitimacy of state power in Indian constitutional law
Authors: John, Mathew
Keywords: Universitas, Essential Practice, Court, Traditional Religion, Rational Religion, Civilizational Religion, Hinduism
Issue Date: 24-Nov-2017
Abstract: Modern constitutional power is organised to secure ever expanding state control over vast swathes of social and cultural life. Though religion is classically thought to be domain that is to be left independent of state power it is in fact deeply structured by contemporary government. Against this background this paper examines the manner in which the Indian constitutional state exercises its power over religion and religious practices to argue that the epistemic forms in which control is exercised over Indian religious practices operate to misunderstand, distort and flatten out local conceptions of religion, spirituality and ethical striving. That is, by following classic decisions on the bounds of religious freedom as decided by the Indian Supreme Court it is argued that religion understood primarily as traditions of continued inter-generational practice are transformed in judicial description as practices founded in an imagined doctrinal foundation. This judicial transformation of religion is presented as being counter-intuitive to the nature of religious experience of almost all religious traditions in the Indian sub-continent. And in turn, this is presented as a challenge to secure the allegiance and consent of the Indian people to the ever-widening reach of state power in contemporary India
Description: Author's manuscript submitted for publication to a Taylor & Francis journal
Appears in Collections:JGU Publications: Popular Articles, Literary items, Opinions, Reviews etc.

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