gandhis-idea-of-secularism

Young protesters across India have brought Gandhi’s idea of secularism into the public discourse.

About various Secularism ideologies.

  • The political secularism 

  • Widely prevalent in Western Europe and North America.
  • It upholds the principle of separation between church and state.
  • It  is required to defend equality and individual liberty 
  • It has no room for the idea of fraternity or community, crucial in deeply diverse societies.
  • Constitutional secularism of India

  • It is legal and philosophical.
  • It is immensely complex, nuanced and comprehensive, cognisant of deep diversity as well as oppression within communities.
  • The state is required to maintain a principled distance from all religious communities
  • This is concerned with preventing inter-religious domination as much as fighting religiously grounded hierarchies and fanaticism within religions.
  • Party-political secularism

  • Practised by political parties in india .
  • It is unprincipled and opportunistic, 
  • It sometimes upholds the most orthodox, bigoted and regressive elements of all religions. 
  • Solely for the purpose of seeking and maintaining power.
  • Willing to engineer riots or capitalize on inter-communal estrangement.

Gandhi's idea of Secularism 

  • All religious communities inhabiting a particular territory must live with continuing ease and comfort with one another
  • This is a people-dependent notion, one that Gandhi believed was already part of popular Indian consciousness but jeopardized in modern times by communal politics.
  • Support from the state is a must to showcase that is not partial to any one particular religion. 
  • The state must help restore communal harmony any estrangement or hostility ensued
  • States should perform its primary duty of maintaining fraternity, to prevent political alienation, the state must distance itself equally from all religions.

The relevance of Gandhi’s Idea of Secularism in current times

  • It is against discriminatory laws
  • The passage of the recent Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) fundamental injustice of policies with unambiguous discriminatory intent.
  • It upholds the constitutional ideals
  • Article 14 provides for equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Vouches for organic Composite culture

It recognizes the Societal norms of public etiquette, civility, and refinements in culture have been shaped in India by multiple religious traditions in which Muslims have played a prominent role.

Gandhi’s idea of secularism broke the Britisher's “Divide and Rule” policies then and in recent times it aspires to protect India’s diverse cultural heritage, defend India’s Constitution and wish every Indian to have a better standard of living.

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