Chapter 8: Secularism
- Constitution of India declares that every Indian citizen has a right to live with freedom and dignity in any part of the country.
- When a community are targeted and victimised on account of their religious identity, basic freedoms of a set of citizens are denied.
- Secularism is first and foremost a doctrine that opposes all forms of inter-religious domination…
- It is a normative doctrine which seeks to realise a secular society
- it promotes freedom within religions, and equality between, as well as within, religions
- secularism opposes all forms of institutionalised religious domination, it challenges not merely interreligious but also intra-religious domination
- Democratic state :- a state must not be run by the heads of any particular religion. No official religion of state.
- A state governed directly by a priestly order is called theocratic.. Theocratic states lack separation between religious and political institutions
- Separation of state and religion is not sufficient for the existence of a secular state.
- The separation of religion-state is, a necessary but not a sufficient ingredient of a secular state.
- To be truly secular, a state must not only refuse to be theocratic but also have no formal, legal alliance with any religion
- A secular state must be committed to principles and goals which are at least partly derived from non-religious sources.
- These ends should include peace, religious freedom, freedom from religiously grounded oppression, discrimination and exclusion, as also inter-religious and intra-religious equality.
- To promote these ends the state must be separated from organised religion and its institutions for the sake of some of these values
|THE WESTERN MODEL OF SECULARISM|
· All secular states have one thing in common: they are neither theocratic nor do they establish a religion
· state will not intervene in the affairs of religion and
· religion will not interfere in the affairs of the state
· Each Organ (Judiciary, executive & Legislature) have a separate sphere of its own with independent jurisdiction
§ Strict separation of power exist
· State cannot aid any religious institution.
§ It cannot give financial support to educational institutions run by religious communities.
§ Nor can it hinder the activities of religious communities, as long as they are within the broad limits set by the law of the land
· Religion is a private matter, not a matter of state policy or law.
· This common conception interprets freedom and equality in an individualist manner.
§ Liberty is the liberty of individuals.
§ Equality is equality between individuals
· There is little scope for community-based rights or minority rights.
|THE INDIAN MODEL OF SECULARISM|
· Indian secularism is different from Western secularism.
· Indian secularism does not focus only on religion-state separation and the idea of inter-religious equality is crucial to the Indian conception.
· It also ushered ideas of inter-community equality to replace the notion of hierarchy.
· It equally focuses on intra-religious and inter-religious domination.
· Indian secularism opposes the oppression of marginalized section such as women, Dalit, SC ST etc
· Indian secularism deals not only with religious freedom of individuals but also with religious freedom of minority communities.
· An individual has the right to profess the religion of his or her choice.
· Article 29-30 :Religious minorities also have a right to exist and to maintain their own culture and educational institutions.
· Indian secularism has made room for and is compatible with the idea of state-supported religious reform.
§ Indian constitution bans untouchability, abolishing child marriage etc
· Indian model of secularism does not follow strict separation of power…
§ A state initiate or even support religious reforms.
§ Indian secularism allows for principled state intervention in all religions.
· The Indian state may engage with religion negatively to oppose religious tyranny.
§ Abolition of Sati practice, ban on Triple Talaq, women entry in Sabrimala temple etc
· Indian Constitution grants all religious minorities the right to establish and maintain their own educational institutions which may receive assistance from the state.
|NEHRU ON SECULARISM|
· Nehru wanted a secular state to be one that “protects all religions, but does not favour one at the expense of others and does not itself adopt any religion as the state religion”.
· Nehru was not in favour of a complete separation between religion and state.
· A secular state can interfere in matters of religion to bring about social reform.