Secularism — a viable concept in India?

JULY 2018 TOPIC: Is secularism still a viable concept in India?

India is known all over the world for its vast culture and traditions, due to the variety of religions in the country. The Preamble to the Constitution asserts that India is a secular nation. But in practice it is not seen that way. Although we are in 21st century today religious intolerance is rampant all over the country. It has its impact on every field from politics to the education system. If ‘secularism’ means treating all religions equally, then why can’t we treat people belonging to all religions equally — in education and politics, too? Why are there concessions and reservations on the basis of religion and castes? India is secular in the Constitution, but not in reality.
Sejal Shingne (16)
Fatima Convent School, Achalpur

 

We say that India is a secular country. Being secular means that no particular religion, sect, etc, has a special place in the country. But if we look at our national scenario, even though we have the right to elect our leaders, very often it is done on the basis of religion and caste. We still have fights in our country saying India is for Hindus while others don’t have a right to say anything. Secularism can be a viable concept if only we come together and think about our problems collectively rather than imposing our faith and traditions on others. Only when we will rise together and work together can we have a secular country.
Senjuti Saibal Bhattacharya (17)
Kamothe, Navi Mumbai

Secularism implies the complete separation of the State and the religion. Conservatives of all religions have to learn the principles of tolerance, acceptance, open-mindedness and rationality. There is nothing wrong with secularism in India. It is politics which makes it look like that. In my opinion, simply respect everyone and maintain peace. Not because they’re Hindus or Christians, rich or poor, teachers or actors, men or women. Simply respect them because they’re human beings!
Sukanya Basu Mallik
Techno India College, Hooghly

 

Secularism as envisaged in our Indian Constitution means that all religions in our country have the same status and support from the government and the judiciary. Also all the citizens have a right to the freedom of religion. So we can make out that we have imbibed a positive concept of secularism. Though there have been some incidents of communal violence and vandalism of places of worship in the country, such cases aren’t big enough to spoil the secularism inherent in our Constitution. Therefore, I strongly believe in secularism being a viable concept in India today.
Gurleen Kaur Chona (20)
Mount Abu, Rajasthan

 

As a student I expect that it to be mandatory in public/government educational institutions to admit a certain percentage of children from different religious and castes. But is it necessary to give extra advantages to people who belong to “lower” castes for admission in educational institutes or preference in government jobs? Another example is the separation of religion and state and keeping religion out of the public school system. It is not merely about how religious groups are treated by the state but about how to forge positive solidarity between religious groups in everyday social and cultural life.
Sonali Garg (18)
New Delhi

 

I believe that, very unfortunately, secularism is the most misused word in Indian politics. On the one hand we have a judiciary system to give justice; on the other hand, we have religious institutes that have “their own courts”. I wonder why is it not right to have a Uniform Civil Code in India if we call our country “secular”? Is appeasing Hindus in a Hindu majority area, Muslims in a Muslim majority area and Christians or any other religion in their majority areas, secularism? Will minorities always be marginalized? I believe the most secular word in India is ‘Indianism’. As our soldiers guard our nation with a feeling of unity and brotherhood despite their diverse religious backgrounds, and live together under the same rule, such should be the model of secularism. Let’s understand it in another way; when the price of essentials goes up or down, doesn’t it happen so to people of all religions equally? So why compromise with the Uniform Civil Code? It is the key to locking the doors of ‘divide and rule’ politics in the name of secularism. One Nation, Equal Rules.
Shivam Uniyal
HNBGU Srinagar

Since ancient times, India has been home to many religions which still flourish in our country. It has been visited by many thinkers, philosophers and saints from all over the world. New ideas and new cultures have intermingled in Indian society. No doubt, many religions emerged in India during the medieval period. People who belong to different religions have been living together with harmony as the main ideology of our country. Secularism was adopted in 1976 as part of the 42nd amendment to our Constitution. In spite of some incidents of religious tension, the root of secularism is still seen in every sphere of life in India. So, we can proudly say that secularism is still a viable concept in India.
Sweta Raj Singh (19)
Patna, Bihar

 

Divisive politics played by narrow-minded politicians and their followers is a bad example of secular India. Despite this, secularism is still a viable concept in India and it is a fact that religious beliefs do not influence public and government decisions. We, Indians, in general, are broadminded, educated and most importantly, stand united against wrong and promote what is right. We live peacefully, enjoy a wide culture and tradition as one nation and respect the decision-making process of our Constitution which safeguards our fundamental rights.
Areefa Ali (19)
D.A.V. College, Ajmer

 

Yes, indeed secularism is still a viable concept as India is democratic and has always been a secular country. But all we need to do is to be conscious about it and about the people around us. We need to understand that each one of us is different and all may not have the same point of view. We have to respect this concept because “difference is beautiful”.
Adhyaru Vrutti M (22)
Patdi, Gujarat

 

To me secularism means being free from mere religious rules and teachings and being neutral in all matters of belief. All religions must be given adequate respect to develop a peaceful abode for the people. With the 42nd amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the preamble of the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. India is still a secular country where all religions are recognised and accepted and are given opportunities for peaceful growth and development of modern India.
Aishwarya Chakraborty (18)
Gokhale Memorial Girls College