This study delineates a ‘secular’ Indian canon in English. This canon comprises a number of contemporary South Asian novels in English that engage with secularism as an ideology for the Indian nation-state. Through an analysis of fi ctions of the 1980s and 1990s, I examine different aspects of postcolonial identity within the secular framework of the Anglophone novel. These different aspects include the question of secularism in the South Asian context; the issue of minority identity vis-à-vis the state; the different narratological models used to structure a narrative of India; the relationship to historical writing; the interaction between English and the vernacular (bhasha) languages. Finally, I focus on the relationship between cosmopolitanism and secularism, as two complementary concepts in South Asian writing in English.