Understanding Secularism

Table of Contents

Understanding Secularism

Q.1. How India keep up the idea of secularism?

Answer –

Some of the ways by which India keep up the idea of secularism are the followings:

  1. The Indian Constitution contains Fundamental Rights that protect us against State power as well as against the tyranny of the majority.
  2. The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these.
  3. India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State.

Q.2. Why is it important to separate religion from the state?

Answer –

The reasons are the followings:

  1. To protects the minority against the tyranny of the majority.
  2. There may be a violation of the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.
  3. To protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpret religious teachings differently.

Q.3. What is Indian secularism?

Answer –

The Indian Constitution mandates that the Indian State be secular. According to the Constitution, only a secular State can realize the objectives to ensure the followings:

  1. That one religious community does not dominate another.
  2. That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community.
  3. That the State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.

Q.4. How the Indian State maintain the true idea of secularism?

Answer –

There are various ways by which the Indian State maintains the true idea of secularism. They are:

  1. It uses a strategy of distancing itself from religion. The Indian State is not ruled by a religious group and nor does it support any one religion.
  2. In India, government spaces like law courts, police stations, government schools, and offices are not supposed to display or promote any one religion.
  3. In order to respect the sentiments of all religions and not interfere with religious practices, the State makes certain exceptions for particular religious communities.
  4. But sometimes to end the domination within the community, the state intervenes in the religion.

Q.5. Why sometimes the Indian State need to intervene in religious matters?

Answer –

For the following reasons, the Indian State needs to intervene in the religious matter.

  1. The State intervenes in religion in order to end a social practice that it believes discriminates and excludes, and that violates the Fundamental Rights of ‘lower castes’ who are citizens of this country.
  2. The State may have to intervene in the religion-based ‘personal laws’ of communities to ensure that laws relating to equal inheritance rights are respected.
  3. The State can also intervene to support the religious communities like the Indian Constitution grants the right to religious communities to set up their own schools and colleges.

Q.6. In what way is Indian secularism is different from other democratic nations/USA?

Answer –

Unlike the strict separation between religion and the State in American secularism, in Indian secularism, the State can intervene in religious affairs.

In Indian secularism, though the State is not strictly separate from religion it does maintain a principled distance vis-à-vis religion. This means that any interference in religion by the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.

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