Unlike in the West, where secularism came mainly out of the conflict between the Church and the State, secularism in India was conceived as a system that sustained religious and cultural pluralism. In the post Independent scenario the social dynamics was very complex. Even at this stage, though constitution was secular, the state apparatus: The Congress government, though predominantly secular, had many leaders in important positions who were influenced by a Hindu communal ideology.
This resulted in a social development that was mixed; on the one hand secularism thrived and on the other though communalism remained dormant, was never dead. With the social changes of the late 70's and the early 80's, communalism got a strong boost and it started attacking secularism in a big way. The BJP began attacking, what they called "pseudo-secularism", which pampered the minorities at the expense of the majority and demanded that special rights for minorities be taken away.
Supporting the BJP was the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a relatively new outfit with branches all over the world and drawing on support, both moral and financial, from the Hindu diaspora in the West. This period also saw the rise of other militant Hindu organizations such as the BajrangDal and the Shivsena. These groups quickly mushroomed and poisoned the social space with communal rhetoric and the agenda of Hindu Rashtra; and launched an ideological, social and political onslaught on secular ethos, syncretic culture and composite nationalism.
They refused to recognize the contributions of Muslims and other minorities, to India's history and culture. They selectively concentrated on intolerant Muslim rulers, extending their often-brutal conduct to the entire period of Muslim rule and, even to all Muslims.
But such prejudices were not openly aired in public; but now they have not only gained legitimacy, but have also almost become the mainstream opinion. The attack on the Mosque at Ayodhya led to a rash of violence across the country. The events leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid and their aftermath of communal carnage mark a watershed in the history of free India. The traumatic events clearly exposed the chasm that had been created between the two communities by communal forces. The year witnessed one of the most devastating riots in Gujarat where mobs went on a rampage, destroying Muslim homes and businesses, killed Muslims, including men women and children and drove thousands of people away from their homes.
The ostensible reason for this fury was the burning of a train coach that was carrying Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya. Fifty-nine people including women and children died in the fire. This action, sparked off, as the state's Chief Minister put it, in Newtonian terms, a reaction, except that it was grossly disproportionate to the original crime.
A Human Right's Watch report paints a chilling picture of state complicity in the religious violence in Gujarat. This marks the first time when the state has emerged as a major player and actor in violence by mobs, a qualitative change from previous such situations in India.
It is in this backdrop that one has to understand, as to why it is only during the last decade and a half that secularism has come under a cloud and the concept of a Hindu Rashtra is being asserted aggressively. Today, the biggest challenge to the Indian nation is coming from forces claiming to represent the mainstream majority. There is an emergence of extremist voices that claim to speak for Hindus and they are laying down demands that threaten the very idea of a secular India.
The biggest area of concern is that the state has emerged to be complicit, as an actor and player in mounting this challenge to Indian pluralism, which goes under the name of Hindutva. The communal forces are actively propagating the myth that Secularism is a new mask of fundamentalism. They denigrate the secular policies, which are a hindrance to Hindu Right's unobstructed march to subjugate the oppressed in general and minorities in particular.
They are equating fundamentalism with Islam; and the policies of Indian rulers with secularism, and the appeasement of mullahs as being synonymous with secular policies. Further, Hindutva forces accuse that secularism pampers the Muslims as a vote bank. The Muslims are accused of extra-territorial loyalty because they allegedly cheer for Pakistan whenever India and Pakistan play cricket.
Since Muslims are being thought synonymous to fundamentalism; therefore the assertion that the Indian state is appeasing fundamentalists in the name of secularism. It is precisely on this charge that the Father of Indian Nationalism, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated by one of the votaries of Hindutva.
The Christians, who are much lesser in number, are accused of being more loyal to the Vatican, another outside force and of trying to convert poor Hindus with inducements of education and food. Who can forget the brutal burning of Graham Staines and his two minor sons by a member of the Bajrang Dal in the name of religion? Or even the rape of some sisters in Gujarat, their fault being the spreading of the word of their God.
The fact, however, is that the social and the economic conditions of the Muslim community is dismal. If at all the opportunist political policies of various governments have struck compromises, it has been with certain religious leaders of the minorities and the minorities have been kept in abysmal conditions.
In that sense, the govt. Further, the fact that million Muslims decided to stay back in India rather than joining Pakistan, should settle their status as true citizens.
Secularism introduces science, technology and rationalism in the society and forms the basis of a modern secular state. In the process, it has to oppose and struggle against the clergy and vested forces in the society. And as such, the fundamentalist communal onslaughts are the 'other' of secularism and secularization. The oppressed sections join the secular movement to wrest the accompanying liberal space that can be the base for launching the struggles for their rights.
Fundamentalism is the regressive reaction of feudal elements and sections of middle classes in league with the clergy, to crush the aspirations of oppressed class, whose movements for their rights is a big source of tension for them.
The secularization process and the accompanying movements of the oppressed increase the insecurity of fundamentalist forces. We use the word to mean impartiality or non-interference by the Government of the country in matters of religion. Independent India is one of the largest states in the world of today with a population of nearly crores.
This vast population is made up of people professing different religions like Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity etc. India wants her citizens to cling to any religion they like without any government interference. And this noble decision of the Indian Government is unequivocally proclaimed in the amended Preamble to the Constitution of our country.
It reads as follow:. Secularism and Democracy are two remarkable achievements of independent India. These two achievements have stood the test of time and set the goal of the nation on religious and political fronts. The State, remaining free from religious obligations, can take a tolerant attitude towards every religion and can pursue the ideal of achieving the well-being of the people, irrespective of caste, creed, religion etc. Secularism is, no doubt, an ideal principle.
Secularism in India Meaning of Secularism in India: Secularism in India refers to the equal status and treatment of all religions. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘secularism’ is .
Essay on The Rise of European Secularism in the 19th Century Words | 9 Pages. SP History – Final Exam One May 23, The Rise of European Secularism During the Nineteenth Century Word Count: 2, In Europe, the long nineteenth century, () was a tumultuous era of political, economic, and social revolution which created an increasingly secular culture.
Secularism is the separation of state and religion. It is the exclusion or rejection of religion from political or civil affairs of the state. Secularism Essay 3 ( words) Introduction. Secularism is the concept of independence of the state and the religious groups. This is an ideology which is highly important for a democratic country and especially the one where people from various religions reside.
The communal forces are actively propagating the myth that Secularism is a new mask of fundamentalism. They denigrate the secular policies, which are a hindrance to Hindu Right's unobstructed march to subjugate the oppressed in general and minorities in particular. Secularism in society has been a hot issue for decades, if not longer. Some argue that secularism is at fault for a perceived decline in the morality of society, whereas others feel that secularism represents a positive trajectory for society to take in terms of progress/5(12).