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ARE WE LIVING IN A TRUE SECULAR STATE?

Author: Priya Kushwaha, pursuing B.A.,LL.B. from Trinity Institute of Professional Studies Dwarka


INTRODUCTION

The 42nd amendment in the Constitution of India added the word secularism to the Preamble of India in 1975. But is India a secular state? India has 28 states and 9 union territories and all states are diversifying in the context of people, their cultures, their customs etc. that’s why there is a need for secularism to separate the state from religion so that government can’t intervene on matters of religion but not the separation of religion from religion.


DEFINITION OF SECULARISM

In Hindi secularism meansdharma nirpekshata” The term “secular” means ‘separation’. Secularism refers to a belief that religion should not influence the organization of education, security, government, etc. Secularism stands for no discrimination and no partiality on the ground of religion and equal opportunities.


WHY WAS THE WORD SECULARISM ADDED TO THE PREAMBLE?

On 15th November 1948, when India got its independence from the dominion of Britishers and was engaged in the making of the constitution for India, professor KT Shah demanded the addition of the termssecular, federalist and socialist in article 1 of the constitution. But after the deliberation, the members of the constituent assembly decided that the nature of the Indian states should be secular but they dropped the word secular as there were many reasons:

  • The foreign origin of the word secularism disallowed the state to make any kind of intervention in religious matters which included the reservation systems, Muslim laws, and the protection of cows.

  • The term secularism was added in the 42nd amendment 1976, one year after the emergency. So, it is shown that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi introduced the secular to show that she stood with the poor. There were some political reasons to introduce these word

  • “secularism” and “socialist”. The word secular was meant for minor sections of Indian society in the context of birth control programmes and many more.

  • It was not that secularism was not followed before the introduction of the word secular. The constitution of India has provided fundamental rights in part III of the constitution. Articles (14-30 and article 51A) have provided all the provisions of secularism. And article 25 of the constitution of India fully describes the idea of secularism. So, it could be said that it was all done for political reasons, to get support from minor sections of societies, etc.


INCIDENTS THAT STAIN ON THE CONCEPT OF SECULARISM

There is no gain from adding the word secular in the preamble as there are so many INCIDENTS and protests that are suffered by the whole country.


GENOCIDE IN KASHMIR (1990)

What can we call the incident that happened on January 19, 1990GENOCIDE or EXODUSmore than 300 Kashmiri pandits were murdered, women were gang-raped and killed and forcefully converted into Muslimsneither police nor administration took any action against this horrifying occurrence. Slogans were raised from mosque loudspeakers- “KAAFIRO KO MAARO” (kill the Indians). Kashmiri pandits were left with three options- convert to Islam, leave the place or perish, they said “we want Kashmir with Pandit women, not Pandit men”. Even the government couldn’t do anything to rescue Kashmiri Hindus. The people were left with no other option but to migrate from Kashmir to other cities as refugees. Millions of Kashmiri pandits moved to Jammu, New Delhi and other cities. 300 Kashmiri pandits were killed between 1989-90 but that was not enough. On January 26, 1998, 23 Kashmiri pandits were killed in the Wandhama area of Ganderbal district. Even homes of Hindus were allegedly [1]


robbed, and houses were fired. But police took no action against this. Even a single FIR was not registered. Kashmiri political leaders never talked about atrocities. Even the central government didn’t take any action. 1

MY QUESTION IS “IS THAT THE SECULARISM INDIRA GANDHI IMPLEMENTED IN THE PREAMBLE IN 1976?


CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT AND NRC PROTEST

Religion has been made a citizenship requirement in India’s history as the criteria of eligibility for citizenship for India’s Islamic neighbours’ migrants but if they belong to Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Christians but no Muslims.


What makes it controversial is our current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s promise to establish a National Register of Citizens(NRC) which was mandatory for everyone to submit documents to prove their citizenship. It is reasonable to be concerned that the combination of CAA and NRC would largely deprive Muslims of their citizenship because other religious groups will benefit from the new citizenship legislation even if they are unable to provide the documentation required by the NRC exercise.


It is obvious that the CAA and NRC have impacted the word secularism and reflected the question of a fundamental right (article 25) of the Indian Constitution. The protest started in Assam and later spread to the national capital of India, Delhi where some rallies become violent, police used excessive force and vast destruction of petrol pumps, offices, public buses, and massive killings. Everything just because of an amendment. 2

Is that the reason we needed secularism?


AYODHYA MOVEMENT

Ram-Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid dispute is historical communal violence putting the nation its law and justice and constitution at risk. Why it happened:

A major section of Hindus claims that the land where Babri Masjid was situated in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh is the site of Lord Rama’s birthplace. The mosque had its history, it was constructed during 1528-29 by demolishing the Hindu shrine by Mir Baqi, a commander of the Mughal emperor Babur. There was a continuous political, historical and socio-religious heated debate over the history and its consequences, and it is known as Ayodhya Dispute. In 1992, there was an attempt to demolish the Babri Masjid by Hindunationalismwhich resulted in widespread violence all over the country, which came to be known as Hindu Muslim violence. Even the archaeological excavations have indicated the presence of a temple beneath the mosque but it was not at all clear that the structure was particularly a Rama shrine or just a temple, these things have created dispute among the people. The incident of 1990 is unforgettable. On February 1, 1986, a local court ordered that the Lord Rama temple should be opened god Hindu worshipers. This order gave a push to big destruction. The BJP other provoked the people to march on the disputed site. There wasa ‘shilanayas’ procession and as well a gathering of Kar Sevak was going on. Soon there was anadversarial intrusion on an extremely barricaded Ayodhya Town. As result police started firing on “Kar Sevaks”. There was a Rath yatra conducted by BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani which also sparked the rage of communal violence. Inevitably, this aggressive agitation led to the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, and this resulted in the closure of land and the entire disputed area. However after 70-year-long litigation, on November 9, 2019,a five-judge bench allowed the construction of a temple in the disputed area.


Now my question is: Is that the reason we needed the word secularism? Like, if we think practically the entire Ayodhya city was pretended to be Ram Nagari. So, why do the political parties provoke people to protest, even when they know the importance of our constitution and every single word included in it.

[2]


CONCLUSION

In the whole blog that we studied everything was related to one single wordand that is “secularism”, which came to be noted afterthe 42ndamendment 1976 by our Honourable and late prime minister Srimati Indira Gandhi for her political reasons. Nothing was improved by the introduction of secularism. Just, she got the support of minor sections of society in elections. But their rights never reformed. The protests didn’t stop. Even the Ayodhya case was a historical case that started before the amendment, so after the introduction of secularism, both the religion Hindu-Muslim should compromise but the political system of India doesn’t want any settlement peacefully. Even if we talk about the genocide in Kashmir neither the administration nor police took any action against that because of their reasons. So we can say that the public is more of a puppet for political parties to play and run them according to their plans, and the word secularism is their key.

[1]https://kreately.in/holocaust-of-kashmiri-pandits-black-spot-on-the-secularism-viability-of-india/ 2 https://theprint.in/opinion/liberal-secular-opposition-to-caa-must-not-allow-room-for-islamic-and-left-radicals/337472/ 3https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/when-did-the-dispute-over-ram-janmabhoomi-start-and-why-did-it-take-so-long-for-a-resolution/article29933375.ece