Being a secular state India is a multicultural country. Cultural, Religious and Linguistic diversity is the strength of India. Being a pluralistic state, Indian has a great feeling of Nationality and to generate, retain or maintain the same, nature of our constitution is secular. The reason of secularism can be analyze from the pre-independent India. It is well known to us that the policy of British people was ‘divide and rule’ and therefore India was very much divided not only on the basis of religion but caste, creed and so on. To unite Indian and for further growth and development of the nation, concept of secularism and equality was adopted by constitution makers. Now a day’s, for some extent, equality is there but secularism seems to be fail in achieving its objective as a whole. Let’s have a brief look into the concept of secularism.
Secularism is the basic structure of Indian Constitution. Therefore it is constitutional obligation of government to maintain it. But it is, of course, unfortunate part of the India that instead of protecting from the religious crisis, different political parties are trying to divide India in the name of religion, race, caste, reservation, beef, cow slaughter and many more. This is of course not the division rather polarization. And polarization is harmful in toto for India.
In general parlance, secularism means separation between State and religion, i.e., the temporal power should keep its hands off from religious world. Which means being separate from religion, State will go for development and betterment of citizen only.
Prophet Mohammad (PUBH) directed that don’t interfere in the practice of other religion and it is responsibility King to treat equally.
Verse 11 of Chapter IV of Bhagwat Gita says that “In whatsoever way men approach Me, even so do I reward them; for it is My path, O Partha, that men follow in all things”.
Mahatma Gandhi was a big supporter of secularism. The best example of his use of a religious symbol was his interpretation of independence as Ram Rajya. However, Ram Rajya doesn’t mean killing and lynching of human being in the name of God.
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam promoted the concept of nationalism and secularism among Indian.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad mentioned that India is a secular democratic state where every citizen whether he is Hindu, Muslim or Sikh has equal rights and privileges. (Hindustan Times 29 Jan, 1949)
In Kesavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala (AIR 1973 SC 1461) Hon’ble Apex Court of the Nation held that meaning of secularism in India is equal respect to all religions. Besides, they serve to emphasize the secular nature of the Indian democracy which the founding fathers considered to be the very basis of the Constitution.” In Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (Supra) the Supreme Court reiterated that secularism was a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. In S.R. Bommai & Others vs. Union of India & Others (AIR 1994 SC 1918) Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the secular nature of Indian constitution is one of the basic structures of the Constitution.
In the view of Justice Ramaswamy, ‘secularism is not anti-god. In Indian context secularism has a positive content. The Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism and has not accepted the American doctrine of secularism i.e. the concept of erecting “a wall of separation between Religion and State”. The concept of positive secularism separates spiritualism with individual faith.
Thus by the above discussion we can say that secularism is a concept which creates nationalism among the people irrespective of the religion.
Pluralism is a concept consists of multicultural society. South Asia has been hailed as a region of significant diversity and pluralism for a long time. However, over the last decades, it has also been a hotbed of multiple forms of intolerance, such as religious, ethnic, linguistic chauvinisms and intolerance often manifested in sporadic as well as organized forms of violence. The violence in Gujarat in 2002, for instance, has brought home the concerns about the ease with which mobilization could be done for genocidal politics. As we know that there are so many sects, castes and groups of people are living in India and they have different languages with different culture and we’ll have to consider, admit and respect that. If we’ll disturb their customs and culture then it will hurt severely to our constitution which will directly affect our whole political as well as social system. E.g. Babari Mosque demolition case and brutal treatment with Sikhs in Delhi etc. are the question mark over the secularism i.e. basic structure of the Constitution of India.
Secularism is very much connected with pluralism and proportionally affects pluralism. Because secularism separate religion from state and it increase pluralism and it balance the society which will help India to develop.
If we’ll take example of India, we can sight period of 1990s in which on the basis of report of Mandal Commission, V.P. Singh government passed reservation which polarized people in upper and backward class irrespective of their religion. But soon after this instance, political scenario changed and that scenario was called as ‘Politics of Mandal and Kamandal’. In this very instance BJP government raised the issue of ‘Ram Mandir’ in Ayodhya, (U.P.). And later in Dec, 1992 Babari mosque was demolished by Car Sevaks. This was the instance which directly hurt the asset of India i.e. secularism and India moved toward monolithically India from pluralistic India.
By this particular instance I want to make it very clear that plural character of country is the existence of all the religion and culture. Pluralism is of two types: one is Religious pluralism and second one is Cultural pluralism. Religious pluralism means existence of many religions together while Cultural pluralism means existence of many cultures together. In my opinion we must unite India rather polarize because polarization will always imbalance India which will directly and indirectly affect the common people rather than these politicians and capitalists.
We can take another example of Assembly Election of Bihar in 2015 because the voting was done by people for a pluralistic vision of India, for an idea of Bihar i.e. both inclusive and progressive. BJP always seems to be under the compulsion to cater to its core constituency of hard-liner Hindutva elements, although it cannot possibly extend its base without presenting itself as the agent of economic agenda. Sooner or later, the core will have to yield to the pressures from the crust. Else, not only will the Grand Alliance’s success will be replicated by other players in other States but, more crucially, India will suffer severe damage to it its social and democratic fabric. (The Hindu, Nov 09, 2015 P.10)
Professor Krishnamurthi (JNU, New Delhi) criticized the view of Mr. Modi to make India strong, during election campaign and said that if India will be strong then it will become monolith and will lose its real character of pluralism, diversity. This will destroy the purpose of Constitution which is Democracy and other aspects also.
Former President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, during his tenure, said that multiplicity is India’s collective strength which must be preserved at all cost. His remark coincides with protests from writers, scientists and eminent personalities demanding that Narendra Modi government take seriously the threats to the country’s secular fabric. He further said at Vigyan Bhawan on Oct-31, 2015 “India is a country of 1.3 billion people…speaking 122 languages and 1600 dialects and professing seven faiths.” He further said “our pluralistic character has stood the test of time. Our ancient civilization has over the centuries accommodated our diversities.” President has been consistent in raising his concerns over diversities and pluralism. On the Independence Day of 2015, Mr. Mukherjee said “Our democracy is creative because it is plural, but diversity must be nourished with tolerance and patience. Vested interests cheap away at social harmony, in an attempt to erode many centuries of secularism.” (The Hindu, Nov 01, 2015, p.01&12)
Pluralism is one of the essential ingredients of Indian democracy given by the Constitution of India. This covers all the people who live in our country irrespective of their caste, creed, race, higher, lower etc. Constitution consist some social, religious and cultural rights in Art 25 to Art 30 irrespective of any caste creed etc. by special mentioning minorities. So we can say that Constitution itself support pluralism and cultural and linguistic diversity.
It is very important to mention that all the incident of lynching, whether killing of a Muslim person in the name cow vigilantism etc. or killing of a RSS person, is the example of the intolerance towards others religion as well community.
Role of the Pluralism knowledge programme
While the existing interventions to attempt to challenge the forces of intolerance and communal politics, the fact that intolerance is not on decline, and more crucially the faith in the neutral secular state has been dented significantly with the recent failures in adequately responding to riots, makes it imperative to critically reflect on the experiences so far. The Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Programme aims to enhance our understanding in this field and subsequently translate that knowledge into new strategies.
the research will focus on two themes:1. Human Rights, Pluralism and the Rethinking of the State;2. Faith and Diversity
At last we can say that cultural, religious pluralism and linguistic diversities are the strength of India which strengthens the Constitutional ethics also. If this feature will collapse then the base or basic structure of the Constitution will collapse. Polarization of the nation weakens these features and government is also silent with regard to these issues. One side one political leader says that remove police I’ll show you and on the other hand another political leader says that yes- Have you seen what happened when police was removed from Gujrat, Mujaffarnagar and all? And ultimately who bear the loss…..? All the innocent people who work hard to get bread for a single time whereas all those who are responsible for all these things used to be watch dog and do politics on the dead body of innocent people.
Therefore my contention is that all the people must think over it and act accordingly because we the people of India are government of India. Government will have to do whatever we would like to do. So it’s our moral and social responsibility to educate the people and especially youths to unite India rather polarize India. Then only “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikaas” would be possible.
- C.N. Shankararo, Sociology 2
- News Papers (The Hindu & Times of India)
- P.M. Bakshi, Constitution of India (Bare Act), Univershal Law Publications.
- Pandey J.N., Constitutional Law of India, Central Law Agency, 42nd edition, 2005, Allahabad, 293.