The Indian subcontinent had had a chequered history of communal conflicts and inter-religious dissensions have characterised its socio-political landscape. In pre-partition era, the British policy of 'divide and rule' was in large measure considered to be responsible for interfaith divide. After the partition India emerged as a heterogeneous society with strong divisive influences. The Indian government dealt with divisive internal pulls and urges in different ways. In response to the demands of linguistic minorities, the whole political map was redrawn and reorganisation of states on linguistic basis was undertaken following an inquiry by States Reorganisation Commission. Indubitably despite its sinister dimensions, no serious effort has been made to quell religious fundamentalism and the orthodox Hindu politicians have often advanced their Hindutva agenda in order to gain electoral victory. The founding fathers were cognisant of the maze of socio-religious framework of India and so they envisioned India as a secular polity. Jawaharlal Nehru, referring to secularism, stated, "What exactly does it mean? It means free play of religions, subject only to their not interfering with each other or with the basic conception of our state." Dr B R Ambedker was of the view that a secular state meant "that this Parliament shall not be competent to impose any particular religion on the rest of the people." But the Hindu chauvinistic factions and parties-BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party), Shev Sina , RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh), VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) - have missed no opportunity to communalise national politics aimed at capitalising on Hindu votes. The RSS was established in early 20th Century by Dr Keshave Baliram which coincided with Hindu-Muslim riots at Malabar in 1921.After Vajpayee was elected the President of BJP, he unhesitatingly declared, "We are very proud of our association with RSS." The Congress party remained committed to secular values till Nehru's premiership lasted and his successors did not shy away from pandering to communal differences. The Ramjanambhoomi controversy and the subsequent demolition of Babri Mosque fuelled the militant sentiments in the community. This controversy dates back to late 18th Century but the English rulers did not let the dispute escalate into street brawls and resorted to freezing the status quo in so far as the possession of the mosque was concerned. Two years after independence a fanatic additional district magistrate unlocked the gates and allowed the installation of makeshift idols in the disputed part of structure. Later Rajiv Gandhi's government went a step further and performed a foundation-laying ceremony of Ram Temple at the disputed site. The demolition of Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992 could not have been the outcome of a spontaneous outburst of Hindu anger against assumed desecration of sacred site. Rather it was a methodical build-up to the climax involving Rath-yatras, provocative rhetoric, circulation of fundamentalist literature and the intrigues of obscurantist politicians. Both the Congress government in Delhi and the BJP government in UP did not take note of the fast pace of developments in the run-up to the incident entailing communal violence and overlooked the meticulous preparations by the Hindu fundamentalist group in Ayodhya. The Coimbatore riots of 1997 were the first major clash between Hindus and Muslims in Southern India which had remained generally free from such conflicts in the past. In 2002 the western Indian State of Gujarat witnessed a deadly carnage. A train was attacked in Godhra allegedly by Muslims in which a large number of Hindus lost their lives. The Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, an RSS ideologue termed the incident as pre-planned, violent act of terrorism and justified the retaliatory violence in Ahmadabad by quoting Newton's 'third law of motion'. The policy personnel clumsily handled the orgy of killings, lootings, rape and other atrocious acts against Muslims by Hindu mobs, reportedly led by the ruling party leaders and legislators. The bloody battle in Gujarat presented how large parts of rural areas got seriously affected by the communal poison, hitherto an essentially urban occurrence. Likewise the states of Orissa, Assam, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have remained vulnerable to eruption of Hindu-Christian conflicts. According to one estimate, the number of cases involving violence against Christians between 1964 and 1996, a period of 32 years, was only 38 but this number touched a high of 136 in just one year in 1998.The violent incidents included disruption of prayer meetings and gospel readings, damage to Bibles, holy crosses and church buildings. Nowadays the Christians in India have once again become victims of provocative Hindus' aggressive feelings against other communities inhabiting the country. The recent clashes have been triggered by the issue of religious conversions in Orissa's poor tribal region that is home to a number of Christian missionary groups. Hundreds of Christians in the Indian State of Orissa have been forced to renounce their religion and become Hindus. The lynch mobs offer the innocent hapless Christians a stark ultimatum: convert or die. During the conversion ceremony they are given cow dung to eat exhibiting their loyalty towards Hinduism. The state of Karnataka too has come under siege and its secular and progressive fabric is tearing apart under demonic activities of Hindu fundamentalists. The latter sanction the violence by extending arguments of 'cultural protection' against conversions to Christianity. But such arguments are nave as no case of forced conversion by Christians has come into limelight. The noteworthy fact is that the Hindu right wing groups have long been stirring up religious resentment as a way to shore up its voter base. All these incidents depict a gloomy picture of future of 'secular India' unless immediate efforts are undertaken to staunch the rising tide of Hindu fundamentalism and purge Indian politics of its vicious influence. There is a dire need to revitalise Nehru's secular ideals and Gandhi's satyagarha. The powers that be in Delhi must remove all blinkers and confront the danger to India's democratic pluralism. The writer is a law student