Secularism refers to the independence of the state’s governance from religion. It means that a state functions as neutral towards all of its citizens without giving unjust precedence to one religion over the other. In a secular state people of different cultures and religions live in harmony and peace, obeying same rule of law. Secularism is very essential for a nation to progress without having internal problems, more so in a religiously and culturally diverse country like India.
Long and Short Essay on Secularism
Essay 1 (250 words)
Secularism can be defined as a philosophy or ideology which focuses on the separation of the government functioning and religious affairs. The sole aim of this is to ensure equal treatment of all religions irrespective of whether religion is a minority or a majority.
What Secularism Brings Along?
- Religious Freedom- Living in a secular state has numerous benefits and religious freedom is one of them. People are free to follow the religion of their choice or not follow any. The right to follow or be entirely free from any religion always rests with the individual residing in a secular state.
- Fair Decision Making- The independence of the state from religious groups ensures fair decision making which is aimed at equal treatment of all the religious and non-religious groups. No religious community can apply pressure to the state to make decisions in their favor.
- Freedom of Speech- The ideology of secularism also enables people to express their opinions and beliefs freely. As in a secular state, no religious group can exert pressure on dominance. This has an enhancing effect on the right to speech. In a democratic secular state, all ideas and beliefs are expressed without fear and hesitation.
Hence, the above stated are the benefits provided by the adoption of the ideology of secularism in a state. It eradicates the possibility of religious privilege sometimes given to religions by the state. Due to all these benefits, more and more democracies across the world have inculcated the concept of secularism and have ensured the fair application of this ideology all across the state by all individuals.
To conclude, it is evident by the above-stated benefits that every country which comprises of various religious groups should ensure the application of secularism in the state to maintain the peaceful functioning of the society.
Essay 2 (400 words)
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. Secularism ensures the freedom of expression of ideas and beliefs of one and all. It also helps in the peaceful functioning of the state.
Importance of Secularism in India
India is a country comprising of various religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. Secularism is one of the most important achievements of independent India as it has ensured equal treatment of people in all aspects regardless of their caste, religion, beliefs, etc. After the colonial struggle and their concept of Divide and Rule, our foundations and unity among different religious groups were shattered. This called for the establishment of a secular state where the government does not formulate policies and makes decisions favoring or loathing a particular religious group or caste.
The inculcation of secularism in the constitution brings along many other fundamental rights of the citizens of the country such as the right to expression and religious freedom. India being home to people of a large number of religions, it is more prone to religious conflicts and other political and social damage. Secularism here ensures the proper and fair functioning of the government meanwhile providing all the religious groups with the right to practice the religion of their choice and express their opinions and beliefs freely without fear or hesitation.
There have been certain instances in history where the majority groups have tried to establish their dominance over various minority groups and sometimes also on the government. The implementation of secularism has kept this issue in check by working independently from the religious groups and giving out equal freedom to all the religions and castes. Secularism also has some threats and barriers but it is the responsibility of the secular state to work tirelessly with the goal of achieving peace and understanding among all the religions prevailing and allow the harmonious working of the governmental organizations meanwhile providing fundamental rights to all the citizens irrespective of their caste, religion, beliefs, etc.
Hence, it can be concluded that for a diverse country like India, the introduction of secularism is indeed a blessing as people can express their opinions freely and can openly profess or practice the religion of their choice or choose not to practice any at all.
Essay 3 (500 Words)
Secularism can be defined as the independent working of the state and religious groups. This suggests that neither can interfere nor influence the functioning of each other. It focuses on treating each religious group equally and ensures that they abide by the law. India being a religiously diverse country this ideology though difficult to implement can serve as the foundation of independent India.
Problems with Secularism
Thought the leaders of independent India have struggled hard to ensure the fair implementation of the ideology of secularism to the state but certain problems still need to be addressed to ensure proper, peaceful and fair functioning.
The basic definition of the philosophy of secularism includes the separation of the state and religious groups. Both should work independently and abide by the law at the same time. After several decades of independence still, political parties continue to use the agenda of religious diversity and caste basis to gain power at the time of elections. Religious groups and politics seem deeply embedded sometimes due to certain politicians who refuse to accept the sole motive of creating a secular state for their own personal gains. This act of many politicians undermines the sole objective of the introduction of the ideology of secularism for the tranquil functioning of the government.
The educational curriculum sometimes fails in inculcating secular values in children which reflects in their opinions as they grow up.
At times people often are mistaken or refer India as a Hindu state due to the majority of the population being Hindu which degrades our constitution which announces India as a solely secular country where no religions are or should be prioritized and decisions should not be taken while keeping in mind religious or caste-based aspects.
In many parts of the world, secularism is often misinterpreted with atheism. These words create a great deal of confusion all around the world. Secularism does not mean the absence or invalidity of any religion or religious relics. It refers to the independence of government and religious groups where none can exert pressure or dominance over the other. Secularism refers to the freedom of people to practice any religion of their choice or to not practice any at all. No religion is to be forced on people residing in a truly secular state.
Atheism refers to no belief in God or anything related such as religions whereas secularism refers to the equal treatment of all religions along with the atheists and the separation of religion and state religious matters. Hence, these are both widely different terms and should not be mistaken as one as it undermines the sole motive of the establishment of a secular state.
The conclusion which can be drawn is that still, people have confusion relating to the ideology of secularism and its motives. The government along with the scholars on the subject should work together to ensure that the message of secularism is delivered loud and clear to one and all and maintain the peace of the state.
Essay 4 (600 words)
Secularism is the separation of state and religious groups. This separation means that the state shall not interfere and influence the religious groups and vice-versa. Secularism is one of the foundations of independent India. It ensures the citizens with the right to expression along with religious freedom that is they are free to follow any religion of their choice. No entity can force a certain religion on a citizen of a truly secular state.
History of Secularism in India
The history of secularism in India dates back to 1976 when it was declared a secular state during the 42nd amendment of the Indian Constitution. The leaders of Independent India had dreamt of a country where religion is no bound for people and the state does not favor or accept any religion as the state religion. They’ve worked for equal protection of all religions regardless of their population, status, caste, influence, etc. The inclusion of the ideology of secularism in India promotes the co-existence of all the religious groups. The implementation of the ideology of secularism in a diverse country like India which comprises a dozen religions was a difficult task and still, there are certain drawbacks that are yet to be addressed.
Western and Indian Secularism
The philosophy of secularism in the west stands on the principle of separation of state and religion and solely focuses on the rights of a citizen to follow the religion of their choice whereas in India secularism is attributed to the fair and equal treatment of all religions and treat them all as one under the law.
The Indian government has not exactly been separated from religions as its finances and maintains many religious monuments and places meanwhile making sure that no religion is favored in a way unfair to the other groups.
Secularism in the West believes that every citizen has the right to follow any religion of their taste. It accepts the fact that different people have different ideologies and opinions and the law is considered above all whereas Indian secularism is a bit different than that of the west. It implies that each religion should be equally protected by the state and given equal respect. But the existence of Shariat (Indian Muslims Law) and HCC (Hindu Civil Code) undermines the sole objective and focus of the philosophy of secularism in India.
Education and Secularism
One of the major challenges to modern-day secularism is the lack of education. When proper education is not provided to the young minds about the importance and sole objective of this ideology, then they tend to follow traditions and reach out to people based on their caste and religion. Proper education and clarity among the future generation will lead to unbiased and clear decisions in the future as far as religion and the state are concerned. Students have to be taught that following or not following a religion is an individual action based on the taste and ideology of that particular individual.
It needs to be understood that any state cannot be truly secular with secularism just written in its books. The entire ideology has to be accepted with grace and implemented equally to all the people meanwhile keeping a check on the governmental bodies for any unfair use of religious groups to gain power. Each individual should be considered subject to law, regardless of gender, religion, majority or minority status, etc. The young generation should be taught about the ideology and the struggles of people in the past for the establishment of the principle of secularism in the constitution.