The political trajectory of the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala displays a unique engagement of religion-based political mobilisation of Muslims with secular-democratic politics in India. In the contemporary context of aggressive Hindutva politics, the Muslim League is faced with the dual challenge of resisting majoritarian communalism while simultaneously countering new mobilisations from within the community that are based on a radical Islamic identity, but deploy explicitly secular discourses. A critical appraisal of this situation requires moving beyond the pre-occupation with the formal aspects of secularisation and instead arrive at more substantive conceptions of "being secular" that embrace deeper commitments to secularism, such as plurality and toleration. © 2020 Economic and Political Weekly. All rights reserved.