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Secularism- A testimony

Secularism- Is India adapting its constitution or trying to force its own action.

A triumph indeed for the right-wing Hindutva! Decades’ long quest and thirst have been fulfilled. The favoured judgment to construct the Ram Mandir was seen happening in ground reality. This August 5, 2020, marked a historic day indeed.

Landmark-events have happened, but what other byproducts grew in the society, were never pictured in near times. History is filled with many such significant events whose periodic culminations and practices have contributed towards the development of some unwanted marks too. Be it any revolution or the world wars; our independence struggle was also no different.

From one point of view, the groundbreaking ceremony was celebrated joyously. At the same time, there was a section where the announcement of its portrayal in the Times Square billboard saw it as against human rights, the rule of law and plurality.

Several organizations have termed it as “Islamophobic billboard” and had come to protest against the advertising of images of the Hindu deity. Eventually, some ad agencies denied displaying the image of Ram on the occasion day. Amongst all other points of debate, in this article, we are going to talk briefly about Secularism.

Nehru addressing Constituent Assembly

The Indian constitution incorporated the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble in the Forty-Second Constitution Amendment Act of 1976 under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. Although its founding fathers did not formally write it down, they embodied it in the constitutional philosophy by various articles, thereby acknowledging the nature of Indian states to follow the principles of Secularism.

Indian Secularism vs Western Secularism

Secularism is accepted as the separation of the State and religion. The government has to have no affairs nor mandate nor any connections to the working/maintaining of any religion. But in India, this is not how we define ourselves to be secular.

The strict sense of separation between the State and the religion followed in the western model can be seen absent in that which the Indian state follows. In India, the legislation hasn’t been done to keep any separation between the State and the religion.

Many conflicts have raised to the bench of our independent judiciary to decide the fate of the matter- recent one – the Ayodhya case. Wasn’t it an act of hastiness to choose the path of self-justice, when the only thing that upholds is the Supreme Court’s decision?

No wonder, many lives would have been saved, if the judicial intervention had been at first hand only. It only represents the impulsive and impatient nature of the particular section of the citizens. It merely describes that we haven’t imbibed the true secular philosophy that was taken for granted within the original constitution.

Neither the Preamble defines nor there is any direct explanation in the constitution itself on Secularism. Secularism was practised in the real sense because the founding fathers lived itself in their principles.

The generation next to them has been unfortunate to witness live memories of the Indian circumstances. Instead, they have come across through texts or preaches or rally about the concept of Secularism. Hence, a proper definition is the need for the present generation.

The vote bank politics is a truth that cannot be denied, and it works well enough for the society until the promise of development is neglected. The marginalization of benefits has only divided the community. It has strengthened communalism in the long run. Frequent riots are proof of it.

Celebration of victory is a welcome thing. But, how far is it justiciable that when the numerous poor people are affected negatively by the global pandemic, certain groups want to spend a considerable amount to display ads (Times Square billboard display of Lord Ram) of their rituals?

Are they playing fool that this won’t give rise to a protest and more communal instigation in the society? Will they be responsible for any more hatred feelings that will grow among the people?

Reports may not be available in public, but, it’s well-known that how some sections have come forwards and celebrated with crackers and loud music only to show their domination and superiority.

The Bhoomi Pujan was indeed a joyful moment, but some people have only come forward to humiliate their counterparts. How can we call ourselves a secular nation when we can’t even respect the people who live beside us?

Indian constitution guarantees the right to safeguard people of their identity, provide a dignified life and all other principles where it visions of a unified and strong nation. The Indian model of Secularism is different, but it’s a positive engagement that we need to understand correctly.

That India cannot be kept aloof from religion bias, perhaps, therefore, many leaders refrained from openly speaking about Secularism. This debate on whether we are adopting our constitution or forcing our thoughts and actions upon it shall remain open.

The might and triumph will have the upper hand, and hence it’s their responsibility that how the biased religion activity can be limited so that our constitution is alive brightly.

To build our nation as a pluralistic society, it has to be them. They have to nurture Secularism to increase religious freedom; it can be them who can share sets of values to the present and coming generation.

Article written by Nimai Ranjan Bibhar

Image source: Google


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