Teen Point of View

Is secularism taking a backseat?

THIS MONTH’S TOPIC: Is secularism, one of the key principles of Indian democracy, taking a backseat, judging from the recent happenings in the country?

In political terms, secularism is the principle of separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.
The principles of secularism which protects and underpin many of the freedoms we enjoy are:
SEPARATION of religious institutions from state institutions and public sphere where religion may participate but not dominate.
FREEDOM to practise one’s faith or belief without harming others, or to change it or not have one according to one’s own conscience.
EQUALITY so that our religious beliefs or lack of them doesn’t put any of us in any advantageous or disadvantageous position.
Joseph Praveen Kumar (18)
Sri Chaitanya Jr College, Narasaraopeta, Guntur

India has been and is a country fundamentally united, and the aim of the government has been to develop this great country as a democratic secular state where all citizens enjoy full rights irrespective of the religion to which they belong. All is not well in India. Democracy and secularism are in doldrums. Fall of secularism is very much possible in this situation. So, it is necessary to hold hands together and preserve the secularism of India.
Sneh Taneja (15)
St Francis de Sales School, New Delhi

Secularism is a controversial topic and it has never-ending debates in our country. Looking at the current scenario of constant communal riots in various cities/towns of our country, even though secularism is the key principle of Indian Democracy, I feel people need to coexist with each other accepting each other’s faith instead of competing with one another for supremacy.
Senjuti Saibal Bhattacharya
A C Patil College of Engineering, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

Secularism means the state shall not officially promote any one religion, but rightfully accept the co-existence of all others. A recent event caught the eye of the entire nation, it was more than a wait of decades for conclusion; a trepidation that result in favour of either parties might mean riots all over the nation. Sad but the unassailable truth is that despite being secular, our country hasn’t succeeded in breaching this gap from its citizens’ hearts. Only when that is accomplished can we be truly called secular nation.
Diya Vinod Surjuse (16)

Secularism means religion should not be involved in civic matters. Our constitution directly follows the key principle of secularism. People belonging to different religions live without fear, with full satisfaction. All the festivals of different religions are celebrated happily in our country. The decision to revoke Article 370 in J&K gives a message to the whole world that the Indian society protects the rights of all citizens. Another case is that of the Ayodhya Temple issue. Both the communities involved in Ayodhya issue agreed with the decision of the honourable Court, proving that secularism is still vibrant in the Indian society.
Anamika Singh (15)
St Joseph’s Convent High School, Jethuli, Patna

Today, the constitutional secularism is swallowed up by the party-political secularism. It respects only the majority religion; never criticise it but recklessly demonise others. The political dominance of Hindu nationalism has called into question the future viability of the country’s secular traditions.
Rashmo Mehta (14)
St Joseph’s Convent High School, Jethuli, Patna

Secularism is one of the most important factors of the Indian democracy. India is a country where people of different religions, caste, colour and race live together in harmony. Secularism is the very essence of our democracy. Involvement of religion in the “States” affairs will ruin the very crux of democracy.
Dhwani K. Thacker (19)
KDM College, Nagpur

India does partially separate state from religion. Secularism as practiced in India, with its marked differences with Western practice of secularism, is a controversial subject in India. Overlapping of religion and State, has given rise to state supporting religious schools and personal laws. Secularism in India, does not mean the separation of religion from state. Instead, secularism in India means a state that supports or participates in a neutral manner in the affairs of all religious groups.
Shweta Pranay Mhatre
Joshi Bedekar College, Thane

Indian philosophy of secularism is related to “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” which means equal respect to all religions. Yes, I do believe that secularism is taking a backseat in our country. All religions are not being treated equally and not given equal rights. There is widespread anger due to which riots are taking place among people of different religions and communities. We see politicians gaining their votes in the name of religion. India can become a superpower only if we follow the path of secularism. Atal Bihari Vajpayee rightly said, “If India is not a secular nation, then India is not India at all.”
Samarth Chawla (15)
St Francis De Sales Sr. Sec. School, Janakpuri, New Delhi

Secularism means keeping an attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religions. India doesn’t have its state religion because law requires the State to enforce parliamentary laws instead of religious laws. Secularism safeguards democracy, providing full rights to people belonging to minority communities, too.
Simrat Kaur (13)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

India’s secular fabric faces a major crisis, these days. In India, religious nationalism is a potent force. The right wing in India is trying to change the social fabric of the nation. There has been a tremendous rise in violence against the Muslims, Dalits and Christians in India. There is a need to save secularism in India so that no religion is at risk in our country.
Guneev Kaur (11)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

Secularism is put to great danger, when the leaders of a nation wedded to secularism, plays a major role at the religious ceremony of a particular religion, to please the majority community and safeguard their vote bank, sending wrong signals to people belonging to other communities.
Sargun Kaur
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

Secularism means separation of religion from political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life. It provides freedom of speech, and the freedom to practise any religion of one’s choice, as explicitly mentioned in our Constitution. However, a country cannot become a secular country, just by writing this in bold letters in the Constitution.
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar