Understanding Secularism: How the concept has changed in India?
Ever wondered why belief system of secularism is different in India from its general definition? If you are thinking of a No, then let us understand the topic in detail. If we go by the general definitions of secularism in simple terms, then it is a belief system according to which religion should not take part in the state affairs or public education. A lot of times, this concept comes into light. Election 2019 is around the corner. In that case, let us understand what is Secularism in India?
A secular state can be called as a one which has no official state. It neither encourages nor discourages the people to follow any particular religion. All citizens are free to follow or practice their own religion.
The basic needs of any country to follow secularism are:
1. It is very natural for any person to be protected against the ones who are intolerant with their religious identity.
2. It is a symbol of a civilized society where every citizen has the right to follow the religion of their own choices.
Features of Secularism that is followed by the Indians
The issue of India being secular is debatable and yet has not gained any conclusion. Secularism in India means giving equal rights to all religions. India has no official religion. There are some secular political parties which enjoy the widespread religious support, especially in Kerala, on the other hand, there are few parties which believe in single religion that the whole country should follow. There have always been complaints about the topic being misused by the politicians.
It is very important for any country to separate the state from the religion so that no one religion can dominate others. It is very obvious for any state to have unequal members of different religions and the majority one can easily prevent the minorities from practicing their religion.
What makes the secularism of India Questionable?
1. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians obey different laws. The practice of laws and rules with which the citizens of the country are obliged with would have been the same in a secular country. In India, however, there are different rules and laws for different religions. Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists are covered by Hindu Code Bills, on the other hand, Muslims and Christians have their own personal laws.
2. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act allows the Government to rule and take over the Hindu temples and places of worship. The money generated from the temples can be used by the government for any purpose as no one has its account. While on the other side Mosques and Churches are completely autonomous. The question is, is it really fair? And what business does politics have to do with the place of worship?
3. The Indian state has been discriminating the Hindus from starting. It should be kept in mind that India was ruled by Mughals (Muslims) and after that by Britishers and it is hard to believe that Hindus oppressed the minorities.
4. Political Party and Media’s role
It has been often observed as the politicians and a large section of media is behind winning the favor of minorities. Even a small issue is made big to grab the attention of people.
The straight meaning of secularism is the state and religion are separated from each other and none of them have any business to do with each other. The three main features of it are –
Freedom of religion. Every citizen of the country is allowed to follow the religion of his own choice.
All the citizens are provided with equal citizenship regardless of their religious background.
There should be a mandatory separation of state from religion.
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