September 10, 2009

Expectations of a Secular State


India, under the constitution, is a "Secular State," i.e, a state which observes neutrality and impartiality towards all religions. A secular state has its own set of tenets to be adhered to.  But, quite unfortunate to say, we are secular only in the documents, and our State only in preamble.

A synonym of secular in the oxford lexicon is "not pertaining to religion or spiritualism."  I've thus found people, going by the unconvoluted literal sense of its meaning, argue that none who is religious, is secular. Here, we need to understand that religion at a personal level has nothing to do with the philosophies of a Secular State.  A Secular State is founded on the idea that the state is concerned with the relation between man & man, and not with the relation between man & God , which is a matter of individual conscience.

There are many such provisions in our constitution which try to institutionalise the exclusion of religion from politics,but to no avail. To make it clearer, an authoritative pronouncement was made by a nine- judge Supreme court bench, as follows:
-"The neutrality of the State would be violated if religion is used for political purposes. An appeal to the electorate on grounds of religion offends secular democracy. If a State government does this, it will be a fit case for application of Art 356.
-It is in this sense that Secularism is to be regarded as the basic feature of the constitution [para 124,231,365(10)]."

Friends, its for You to decide now. Whenever a target group for electoral gains is a religious minority, the parties in question label themselves "secular".  Isn't it untenable?

Think it over, and name me a secular political party!

2 comments:

  1. very truly said Anupam ji...aap apne lekh ke sahaare jo jan-jaagran ka karya kar rahe hain woh sarahniye hai..aaj ke yug mein "dharmnirpekshta" virodhabhaas se bhara shabd ban gaya hai,aur khaas kar ke bhaarat mein.
    aage aise hi aur lekhon ki aankanksha rakhta hu aapse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the interesting information

    ReplyDelete

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