Radical Islam and International Terrorism

Indian Democracy as a Moderating Factor

Edited by Dipankar Banerjee and D. Suba Chandran

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is privileged to present with this booklet the results of a project to study the issues of Radical Islam and International Terrorism - Indian Democracy as a Moderating Factor carried out by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (ICPS) and commissioned by KAS. With this publication both institutions would like to contribute to the understanding of a contemporary issue of significance.

The idea for this project originated in several dialogues of prominent Members of the European Parliament with high-ranking Indian officials when they visited India in 2005 on the invitation of the KAS. During these exchanges their attention was drawn to the phenomenon that by and large, India does not experience such kind of domestic Islamic terrorism with which some other countries with Muslim minorities in the region and beyond are confronted and, equally important, that Indian Muslims did not join the various global jihads.

A similar issue came up during the discussion of a lecture of Mr. Jörg Wolff, Resident Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to India, he delivered in Germany some months later and a German businessman asked what the lessons of the Indian multicultural and multi-religious model might be for the rest of the world in dealing with Muslim minorities. Last year, during a visit to China, the question was raised as to why India with all its many serious problems and unsolved challenges, including its vast Muslim minority, remains stable.

These observations and questions were interesting. They give evidence that India with its successfully functioning multicultural, multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious democracy is widely perceived as an experiment of an overall peaceful confluence of civilizations and religions at atime when many countries are plagued by internal conflicts, international terrorism and disturbances between their religious groups. The relevant question remains why this is so, what makes India different and what lessons might be drawn from the Indian model by and for the rest of the world.

I. Indian Democracy as a Moderating Influcence

Legacy of the Indian National Movement

Indian Constitution: Secular Provisions

Functioning of Indian Democracy

Role of Judiciary

Communal Riots: State Actions and Popular Responses

Civil Society Initiatives

Civil-Military Relations

II. The Nature of Islam in India

History of Sufi Islam

Nature of Islamic Revivalist / Reform Movements

III. Composite Culture of India

Essentials of Multiculturalism: No National Culture

Identity Formation in India: Contingent on Time and Space

Bollywood and Cricket: Expression of Indian Multiculturalism

Defending Multiculturalism

IV. India's Foreign Policy

India's Foreign Policy Towards West Asia: Driven by National Interest

Compulsions from the Domestic Milieu

The Moderating Effect of India's Foreign Policy

V. Challenges Ahead

VI. Summary