SECULARISM

The constitution implies that India is a secular state. This means that the state and religion are separate, and the state does not discriminate among citizens on grounds of religion.

What is Secularism?

The Indian constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the state.

Secularism refers to this separation of religion from the state.

Importance of separating religion from the state:

–           Important aspect of secularism is its separation of religion from state power.

–          Important for a country to function democratically

–          Any form of domination based on religion is in violation of the rights that a democratic society guarantees to each and every citizen irrespective of their religion. Therefore, the tyranny of the majority and the violation of fundamental rights that can result is one reason why it is important to separate the state and religion in democratic societies.

–          To protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpret religious teachings differently.

Indian Secularism:

According to the constitution, only a secular state can realize its objectives to ensure the following:

–          One religious community shouldn’t dominate another

–          Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community

–          The state does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals

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

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