Short Essay on Secularism – A Dynamic Deal in India

In the midst of bloodshed and communal passion, The founders of the Indian state repudiated the false and basically inhuman doctrine of communalism and made secularism the sheet anchor of India’s unity. It was indeed a great act of humanism, and courage. It was also the evidence of a new out-look an earthly view which aimed at nurturing the new basis of social life. A Secular India, Nehru explained at the outset did not mean a country without religion and a balanced approach to all faiths. He obviously meant that politics should never be allowed to play with religion which is an object of the intimate sentiment of the people and that religion should never be permitted to over­power politics which is an expression of rugged realities of life. Politics and religion are two mutually exclusive aspects of social life. Secularism is not an alternative to religion. But we in India have politicized religion and communalized politics.

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According the Prof. Rashibuddin Rhan secularism on the basis of our society makes a demand for (1) relegation of religious and belief of patterns to private and personal aspects of life (ii) domination of a common civil code as made and modified by the representative of the citizens. (iii) Equality of status and opportunity for men and women irrespective of caste, color and creed (iv) fraternity of the citizens as citizens and not as members of the primordial as ascriptive groups. (v) Inclusion of rationalism in the pursuit of civil life. (vi) Acceptance of scientific temple and injury. Obviously secularism is an instrument of social change and political transformation. It involves a change from a traditional to a modern pattern of human relations. It is both an ideal and reality. It is not negative concept. It is a positive concept and a dynamic ideal. While it is only secularism in its true original spirit that can restore the strength of the social fabric of the Indian Union and foster an atmosphere conducive to a democratic society, secularism in India has now become both state and sertile. The signs of disenchantment with secularism have appeared in some place giving rise to mutual distrust between the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims. The agitation by a section of the Sikhs for Khalistan in the name of the Panth cannot be distinguished from other forms of communalism that have vitiated the political and social atmosphere.

Basic Outlines

Although the word ‘Secular or Secularism was not expressly mentioned anywhere in the Indian constitution, yet the concept of secularism runs through its entire structure. The constitution makers have enshrined its basic outlines in the constitution and the sum total of relevant provisions makes India more secular than even the United States of America. However Art. 25 & 26 constitute the essence of the doctrine of Indian secularism. They guarantee to all religions practiced in India fundamental freedom of conscience and free profession practice and propagation of religion as well as fundamental freedom to manage religious affairs. These articles thus make it absolutely clear that though the Hindus constitute a very large majority in India yet Hinduism is not the religion of the state. The basic philosophy of secularism that religion has no relevance to secular matters is well illustrated by Art-17 which abolishes untouchability. Art 44 of the Indian constitution which requires the state to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India is another shining example of the significance that has been attached to secularism in our country. However, decidedly mere pertinent in this context is the chapter on the Fundamental Rights which cover all the citizens of India achieve irrespective of their religions.

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