Secular Democracy And India
Original Article: Protecting India: Nation must stay with vision of founding fathers to fight threat to secular democracy (Indian Express; March 20)
- Article 14 of India’s Constitution clearly states that all citizens are equal before the law.
- Pitting one religious group against another will not help India overcome its developmental challenges
- CAA and other legislative measures have the potential to create divide in India along the religious line.
- cow slaughter, beef consumption and inter-communal personal relationships are the forms vigilante punishment, which has a harmful impact on social cohesion as well as the democratic fabric of society.
- It is only through free, unified and collective mobilisation that India can achieve lasting peace, justice and prosperity.
Secular Democracy And India: Walls between state and religion are now collapsing in India
Original Article: Minorities, too, are fed up with this facade of secularism (Indian Express, March 21)
- Majority of Indian population have lost patience with Nehruvian secularism.
- Tendency to invoke religious symbols in public discourse by those who hold constitutional posts has increased.
- All state institutions have been tilting towards one religion, the religion of the majority
- India has already added religious criterion for granting citizenship, something that even Pakistan does not.
Importance of Secularism for democracy
- Secularism demonstrates modernity and remains the best option for any progressive nation. Thanks to secularism, India has emerged as a global power and lack of it makes what Pakistan is today.
- Until recently, Nepal was a Hindu state. But, it saw merit in secularism and has become a secular state.
Should India become a Hindu Rashtra?
- It is an important question to answer, also because even minorities are fed up with this facade of secularism.
- India has several models from modern democracies to choose from, such as the Christian states of England, Ireland, and Greece, the Jewish state of Israel, Muslim states like Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Buddhist state of Sri Lanka.
- This model will make a Hindu nation which does not deny the existence of Muslims and give them constitutional rights and freedom.
- Hindu rashtra will not be the one demanded by the Hindu hardliners.
- Secularism has become a much-maligned word.
- India is a deeply religious society; hence many people consider it as against religion. People are mobilized against the concept of secularism. They see it as threat to their culture, tradition and Faith
- Since India had never seen Church-state like conflict of Europe, it should get rid of secularism altogether.
Two Models of Secularism
There are two models of secularism — the non-establishment or the separation of the church and state model (USA, France) that India adopted and the jurisdiction model of England, Ireland and Greece.
India should adopt jurisdiction model of England, Ireland and Greece.
The Anglican Church is the official Church of England and the queen is the defender of faith. We, too, may declare Hinduism to be the official religion of the state and, like England, give equal rights to all citizens ensuring freedom of religion and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion.