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Secularism and Indian Politics


With the 42nd amendment of the  Constitution enacted  in 1976, word 'Secular' was added in  the preamble to the Constitution of India asserting that India is a secular nation. As per western thought secularism is separation of government institution and persons representing state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. This manifest freedom from religeous rules and teachings on one hand and political and public activities are uninfluenced by religeous beliefs and practice.

However, secularism in India has been interpreted by different political parties differently. Since independence the party that ruled major period of time interpreted it as equal treatment to all religions by state, acceptance of religious law as binding on state and equal participation of state in different religion. However, other parties have divergent views.

The major role of government is to fulfill the aspirations of its citizen through their economic and social well being. When it comes to social well being religion can not be excluded. So , the action of government should be in such a way that without influencing any religion or without influenced by any religion, it should fulfill the aspirations of its citizens by  pursuiing the economic, social, cultural and scientific development. However, this does not happen and many of the political parties use religion in their policies some way or other to get the favour of a particular religious group for their electoral benefits which is unsecular. Even some of the political parties appease some of the religious groups and they claim their action highly secular. Those political parties who talks of equal treatment to each religious group are often termed as unsecular parties by these psudosecular parties. This requires a debate to define secularism that suits a religiously plural country like India and its limits of separation from politics and public policies. 

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