Monday, December 21, 2009

Secularism and its Inter-Relationship with Social Institutions – An Analysis in Context of India

Secularism and its Inter-Relationship with Social Institutions – An Analysis in Context of India-Dr. Preeti Misra, Asstt. Prof., Dept. of Human Rights, School For Legal Studies, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Universitry, Lucknow, E mail:
- Dr. Alok Chantia, Asstt. Prof., (Anthropology), Sri Jai Narain Post Graduate (KKC) College, Lucknow, U.P., E mail:

Key words: Religion, Fundamentalism, Tolerance, Freedom, Unity, Fraternity

It is a well-known fact that members of the Indian society, irrespective of the creed to which they belong, are highly religious in their outlook. Historically too, India has been a land with powerful religious sects. So, religious tolerance has been one of the traditional social values in the coun­try, since without it any ordered society in the country was not possible. One of the fundamental changes which the Indian society has undergone is to pass out from a "sacred society" to a "secular society".
It is secular outlook which has been respon­sible for many fundamental changes in Indian society like the abolition of untouchability, the breaking down of the barriers between the various castes, and the promotion of equality among the sexes, would have been impossible.
A secular State deals with the individual as a citizen, irrespective of his religion, is not connected to a particular religion nor does it seek to promote or interfere with religion. Secular State has nothing to do with religious affairs except when their management involves crime, fraud or becomes a threat to unity and integrity of the State.
It has been observed that Indian State is not purely secular since it does not clearly demarcate between the State and the Church in the manner in which, for example, the United States of America does. Indian State, in spite of the constitutional guarantee for the liberty of the individual and the liberty of the corporate religious bodies, intervenes in religious matters. There is no doubt that some provisions of the Constitution and some of the laws passed do interfere with the religious customs and practices of the Hindus. Similarly, the various laws of social reform passed before independence and after independence are specific illustrations of state intervention. Similarly, the laws enabling the State Governments to set up departments of religious endowments to administer the temples also illustrate the State intervention in religious matters. Most of the Hindu legislations are simply measures of social reform motivated by humani­tarian considerations and concern for social justice. The characteristic feature of Indian secularism is its determination to adopt a rational approach to the solution of socio-economic problems. Thus, the intervention of the State in the realm of personal law is not an encroachment on religion, but is rather an indication of the secularization of law. Despite the well intentioned incorporation of the idea of secularism, it has become most confusing, contradictory and misused expression today. Political parties are propagating their own models of secularism ranging from Muslim appeasement to the propagation of Hinduism in the name of a way of life. The politicisation of caste and religion and pampering of communal leaders is causing great harm to the body politic of the nation. The time has come to strengthen the secular values, institutions and practices in an uncompromising manner and to accelerate the pace of change in India so as to ensure socio-economic development. Secularism is the only solution of the problems of multi-religious Indian Society to guarantee universal tolerance, peaceful co existence and adjustment.
Present paper discusses historical background of secularism in India along with meaning of secularism. It also analyses inter-relationship of secularism with social institutions of India so as to do away with social malaise and to ensure common brotherhood which will ultimately strengthen unity and integrity of the Nation.

No comments: