Secularism In India



1-    what is a secular system?

2-    what dose secular system means?

3-    history of secularism in india

4-    meaning of secular government in india

5-    secularism in india constitution

6-    does secularism practically exists in india?

in the name of god the most compassion and the merciful

i do not expect india of my dreams to develop one religion, i.e., to be wholly hindu or wholly christian or wholly mussulmen, but i want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religions working side by side with one another.”       

"i swear by my religion, i will die for it. but it is my personal affair. the state has nothing to do with it. the state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. that is everybody's personal concern"          mahatma gandhi.


necessity of secularism for a plural and diversified india is as important as lung for a live body.  although indian constitution was sign up on secular lines but india made itself as paradise of different faiths in 1976, by a revision in its constitution and placing the word “secular” in it, and put the republic of india in a new shining paradigm, by choosing secular system that indian faiths were accepted, and indians were expected to tolerate all religions and religious and cultural pluralism were recognised by this act clearly and officially. long and bloodiest civil war among politicised religion’s followers during and after independent and possibility of continuously clash between different cultures in indian territories and diversity that exist there lead wise indian policy-makers to make india as paradise for any believe and any approach of religions by choosing secular system.

what is a secular system?

it is a wrong perspective to know a secular system as non-religion or anti-religion system. india is one of the most religious country in the world and in this political unit, religion and philosophy is descent to the living style level of indian people so secular approach to the governing part (as container of power), is irrespective to society’s religion affairs and considers religion as privet side of any members of its society’s life.

what dose secular system means?

 the encyclopaedia of britannic defines secular as ‘non-spiritual, having no concern with religious or spiritual matters’. so a secular state is neither a godless state nor an irreligious state nor an anti-religious state. dr. bhimrao ramji ambedkar (1891-1956), the architect of the indian constitution said “secularism does not mean that we can abolish religion. it does take into consideration the religious sentiments of the people. all that a secular state means is that this parliament shall not be capable to impose any particular religious upon the people.”

history of secularism in india:

hinduism as faith of indian majority on the whole is in the favour of diversity and pluralism so millions of gods and goddess are accepted and welcomed in it and in somehow secularism is laying in its principals. it also has a strong tradition of freedom of integrity and tolerance of religious in its diversity. india as traditional society contains many traditions remaining their origin in part to the different religions that exist there. upanishads as old hindu scriptures speaks of “sarva dharma samabhava”, which means respect for all belief systems.

secularism in india, in somehow is a confronting with communalism, an anti-secular and minority movement that during and after independent made and prepare a two-polar society, that clashes among them take millions lives. although during the freedom struggle, secularism was emerging as the most dominant principle and the leaders of the “indian national congress party”, like sheri late mahatma gandhi, sheri late maulana abul kalam azad, sheri late jawaher lal nehru and others were deeply announced their believe and commitment to the ideal of secularism and secularism as word of the indian nation, who tired by partition and sectarian riots and above all terrorism that showed its dangerous face by assassination of mahatma gandhi, did not want any more combative talk. thus the secular principles got preserved into the indian constitution. under nehru and later his successors in the congress party, the concept of a secular nation-state was officially adopted as india's path to political modernity and national integration. unlike in the west, where secularism came mainly out of the conflict between the church and the state, secularism in india was conceived as a system that sustained religious and cultural pluralism.

 in the post independent era, the process of secularisation was in very slow speed and although constitution and governing bodies were secular, but the infiltration of communal elements all corner of indian system; even in congress government that had many leaders in important positions that were influenced by a hindu communal ideology. late 70's and the early 80's, communalism got a strong boost and it started attacking secularism in a big way, the bjp and it supporters like vhp (vishwa hindu parishad) and rss began their eruption and even hindu ideological-based militant groups such as the “bajrang dal” and the “shivsena” come to exist to forcefully bring communal movement forward. now communal forces are gathered under an umbrella with the name of “hindutva” and confronting secularism by name it as a new mask of fundamentalism and equating fundamentalism with islam.

meaning of secular government in india:

the word secular suggests equality for all religions and religious tolerance and respect. india does not have an official state religion. every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. the government must not favour or discriminate against any religion. it must treat all religions with equal respect. all citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in front of law. no religious teaching is imparted in government or government-aided schools. nevertheless, general information about all established world religions is imparted as part of the course in sociology, without giving any importance to any one religion or the others.

secularism in india meant equal respect for all religions and cultures and non-interference of religion in the government affairs. also, according to the indian constitution no discrimination will be made on the basis of caste, creed, gender and class. similarly all citizens of india irrespective of one’s religion, caste or gender have right to vote. all will enjoy same rights without any discrimination on any ground. therefore, the chief aspects of indian secularism are:

no state religion, separation of state and religion, peaceful co-existence of all religions, treatment of all religions equally by the state, equality of opportunity in the public field for all irrespective of caste or creed or race or religion ensuring equal citizenship, freedom of religion both individual and corporate

secularism in india constitution:

 article 14: equality in front of law

article 15:  prohibitions of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

article 16:  equality of opportunity in matters of public employment

article 17:  abolition of un-touch ability

article 25:   all those who reside in india are free to confess, practice and propagate religion of one’s choice subject of course to social health and law and order. thus even conversion to any religion of one’s choice is a fundamental right. freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion

article 26:   freedom to mange religious affairs.

article 27:   no person shall be obligated to pay taxes, the process of which is specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.

article 28:   (i) no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds.                  (ii) nothing in clause (1) shall apply to any educational institution which is administered by the state but has been     established under any endowment or trust which required that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution.

 article 29:          (1)            any section of citizens residing in the territory of india having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have a right   to conserve the same.                (2)  no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

article 30:               (1) all minorities, whether based on religion or language shall have the right to establish             and administer educational institutions to            their choice.         (2) the state shall not, in granting, aid to educational institutions, discriminate on the         ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

does secularism practically exists in india:

secular system is exists in india and its law especially is secular and the minority’s right is clearly mentioned and we can say india is perfect in this regard, but the problem is that the process of secularisation in india after independent is not complete tile now and anti-secular elements also active there and the threats to indian secularism are strong, something like politicisation of religion, casteism, communalism are three major enemy of secularism and all of them are strong now. indian secularism has three important characteristics, it is liberal (it not only ensures religious equality and liberty but also protects the rights of        minorities). it is qualified, not absolute (religious freedom is subject to reasonable          restrictions to preserve public order and health of the people). it is dynamic (the government may adopt necessary laws to achieve the goals of welfare state even if they violate the traditional principles).


  politic and governing in india
by: dr. mandana tesheyar

article by:

seyed mostafa mostafavi - m.a student in indian studies

faculty of world studies - universityof tehran 


+ نوشته شده در یکشنبه هجدهم فروردین ۱۳۹۲ ساعت 15:58 شماره پست: 265


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