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What Is Secularism in India?(GS-1 Exam Synopsis)

Exam Synopsis:

Secularism in India is a doctrine that states religion is kept separate from the social, political, economic, and cultural spheres of life.

Secularism in India
Origin of conceptThe emergence of secularism can be traced to the social and political situation existing in Europe during the 17thand 18thcenturies.
Principle of SecularismThe essential principle of secularism is to seek human improvement by material means alone.
Secularism in the Indian contextGrounded in the notion of equality, equal concern and respect for other religions; seeks neutrality towards all religions.
Secularism and India’s PastSantam Dharma (Hinduism) was basically allowed to develop as a holistic religion; Emperor Ashoka → the state would not prosecute any religious sect; Sufi and Bhakti movements; State under Akbar- Din-i-Ilahi, Sul-i-kul, Ibadat khana; leadership of the national movement was, by and large, in the hands of secularist leaders.
Distinguished features of Indian SecularismSecularism as a National ideology in India’s Freedom Movement; Secularism paves the way for Hindu Renaissance; Secularism as the means to combat Communalism; Secularism is a Multi-value Doctrine; Secularism follows a principle of Principled Distance; Secularism secures the right of the specific community.
Distinguished features of Western SecularismDeclaration of Rights and Religious Freedom; Recognition of Legitimacy; Secular Education; Freedom of Religion.
Difference between Indian and Western modelIn Western Secularism- Principle of rationalism, Principle of autonomy

In Indian Secularism- Dharmanirapeksha, Sarva dharma sambhav.

Indian secularism is concerned much with intra-religious oppression as with inter-religious dominations.

Secularism and Indian ConstitutionPreamble, Articles 14, 15, 16(1), 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 51A
Importance of SecularismSeparation of religion from State; Protects both believers and non-believers; Religious freedom; Secularism is about democracy and fairness; Equal access to public services; Secularism is not Atheism; Protects free speech and expression.
Threat to SecularismMajority-Minority issues; Mingling of religion and politics; Religion and education; Freedom of expression; Personal laws and economic backwardness.
Gandhi and SecularismGandhi suggested peaceful co-existence of all religions; faith-based respect to all religions was the best base for tolerance and peace in India; secularism for him is the separation of religion from state, but not from politics.
Way forwardClear perceptions; Education; Promotion of composite culture; Uniform Civil Code; No biasness; Media.

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