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Essay on “Secularism Vs Religion in Indian Politics” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Secularism Vs Religion in Indian Politics

 

Secularism implies equal respect for all religions in the same measure as we have for our own. In our country, the liberty of “belief, faith and worship”, as enshrined in the Constitution, has been implemented by incorporating the Fundamental Rights of all citizens to “freedom of religion” vide Articles 25-29. Secularism, as any theologian would tell us, lies at the very root of all religions and faiths in this world.

It is true that the earliest force of civilisation was religion. In the West, it was religion, whether pagan or Christian, that consolidated the idea of political sovereignty. In the East, it was religion again that provided the foundation of the State. The glorious structure of the ideal Hindu State or ‘Ram Rajya’ was religious to the backbone. The idea of the Islamic State in the imperialistic history of Islam, as distinguished from the domestic history of a few ideal Muslim rulers, is nothing but the conquering sword of Islam dripping with the blood of the victims of the religion of Islam. For a time, religion was a necessity and a boon to keep peoples together within the organisation of a State. But as fanaticism increased, the force of reason declined. Faith became corrupt, and religion became a source of discord and bloodshed. Some of the greatest wars of the world and the bloodiest massacres have been perpetrated in the name of religion. The history of the middle Ages in Europe is a record of the havoc which religion played in the national and the international fields. It was, therefore, found necessary that the States should tear themselves away from the world-devouring force of religion.

India is a land of multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual people with a plethora of castes and sub-castes. All the major religions in the country, viz., Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikkhism, Buddhism and Jainism teach their followers to imbibe the love of truth, faith in God and love for all human beings. Yet our people have developed ethno-centric attitudes and peculiar spiritual attitudes regarding their own religion. Today, religion, the opiate of the masses, disintegrates people through communal violence and riots at the behest of political parties and their unscrupulous leaders. Religion as an ally of politics is fraught with danger.

Thus, we cannot do without religion but something has to be done regarding the cancerous spread of communalism in the country. The 42nd Constitution Amendment has proclaimed India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic. In the Indian context, secularism means equal respect for all religions. India does not have any Official Religion like Nepal (Hinduism) or the Islamic nations. The State does not interfere in any religious affairs. According to Article 25 of the Constitution, people have the freedom of conscience and are free to profess, practise and propagate religion. The Constitution thus upholds the unity of all religions, based on their moral precepts and humanistic teachings with the sole objective of building unity in diversity. This shows that India as a Secular State is neither religious nor anti-religious; it is completely detached from all religious dogmas. The irony, however, is that we are far from realisation of this noble ideal of secularism both in thought and in our deeds.

Secularism aims at promoting mutual tolerance and respect among the multi-religious Indians. Religion, on the other hand, encourages communalism, fundamentalism, secessionism, ruthless violence and rank casteism in a society that has assimilated several religions and strains of thought over the millennia. The British created an incurable rift between Hindus and Muslims that led to the partition of the sub-continent in 1947. The rift has widened since then. Today, Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid are there to spark of communal violence, the latest being the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. Further, the desecration of statues of leaders like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, persecution of Christian missionaries and the exploitation of minorities, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes—all these point to the sad fact that we are all drifting away from the ideal of secularism which aims at binding together the multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic social fabric of India.

This is not, however, to say that the working of secularism in India has always been flawless and smooth. There is a growing feeling in the country that the functioning of secularism has suffered some setbacks. The factors and forces that have been working against the smooth working of secularism can be counted very easily. The Constitution itself has failed secularism because although Article 48 is couched in secular phrases, it has sanctioned a ban on cow-slaughter, which is a religious sentiment. The unchecked growth of fundamentalism among both, the Hindus and the Muslims, is posing a serious threat to the secular character of our polity. Our political parties, including the national parties aid and abet communalism. They do not allow secularism to take precedence over their political interests. Some political parties have a vested interest in communalism and communal violence to gain power. Some others tolerate communalism to retain power. Thus all are guilty to some extent or other. Top-ranking leaders of the most secular political party of the country had openly led in 1984 anti-Sikh violence, killing thousands of innocent Sikhs by burning them alive in broad day-light and before the eyes of thousands of onlookers. And yet the party continues to claim that it is the standard-bearer of Gandhian values of ahimsa and non-violence. The main reason for the collapse of the National Front Government in Oct. 1990 was the Ramjanma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. Religious zeal on the part of the leadership of another national party had almost rocked the V.P. Singh Government.

There are several overt and covert ways through which secularism is being diluted. Performance of religious rights and rituals at official functions, misuse of media including official media for propagation of anti-secular material are undermining the very foundations of a secular polity.

Secularism is the dire need of the hour for uplifting the nation from the abyss of religious myths and beliefs, and waging a united war of all the people as well as political parties against the cancer of communalism and other social evils hindering our country’s development and progress. Even though the task appears daunting, the present generation must strive towards moulding the mass opinion and evolve a truly secular and democratic India. Our ultimate aim should be to prove to the world that secularism has nothing to do with religion.

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