Perils of ideological maximalism
This chapter examines the relationship between ideological stridency and national security in the context of India. Conceptualizing national security as encompassing both the state and individuals and human groups, the chapter argues that the more ideological India’s political mainstream becomes, the less secure become the state as well as society. The goal of securing India necessitates the inclusion of all its social groups within the political mainstream, an immensely difficult task given the country’s multiple fault lines. Since ideologies exclude some social groups and privilege others, they either widen existing fault lines or create new fissures even as they close pre-existing ones. These fissures produce insecurity. The chapter draws upon elements of modern Indian history to substantiate this argument. It shows how ideological minimalism emerged as one of the central features of the polity. It also discusses the principal ideological forces of postcolonial India and concludes with an analysis of the impact of an ideological domestic and regional policy on India’s internal and external (regional) security in the contemporary period.