Q 1. What examples does history provide us on the grounds of religion?
History provides us with several examples of discrimination, exclusion, and persecution on the grounds of religion.Discrimination on the grounds of Religion
Q 2. What happened in the Jewish state of Israel?
Muslim and Christian minorities were treated badly in the Jewish state of Israel.
Q 3. How are non-Muslims treated in Saudi Arabia? [V. Imp.]
In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not allowed to build a temple, church, etc. They also cannot gather in a public place for prayers.
Q 4. What does the term ‘secularism’ refer to?
The term ‘secularism’ refers to the separation of the power of religion from the power of the State.
Q 5. What do you mean by ‘freedom to interpret’? [Imp.]
‘Freedom to interpret’ means an individual’s liberty to develop his own understanding and meaning of the religion that one practices.
Q 6. Why cannot government schools celebrate religious festivals?
Government schools cannot celebrate religious festivals because it will be a violation of the government’s policy of treating all religions equally.
Q 7. Why is Paramjit allowed to drive in pagri?
Paramjit is a Sikh youth and for him wearing a pagri is a very important part of his religion.
Q 8. How is Indian secularism different from that of American secularism?
Unlike Indian secularism, there is a strict separation between religion and the State in American secularism.
Q 9. What is meant by ‘principled distance’? [V. Imp.]
This means that any interference in religion by the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.
Q 1. Why is it important to separate religion from the State? Explain with examples.
There are two main reasons why the separation of religion from the state is important:
- The first is to prevent the domination of one religion over another.
Example: Almost all countries of the world will have more than one religious group living in them. Within these religious groups, there will most likely be one group that is in the majority. If this majority religious group has access to State power, then it could quite easily use this power and financial resources to discriminate against and persecute persons of other religions. This would violate Fundamental Rights.
- The second is to protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpret religious teachings differently.
Example: We can give an example of untouchability in Hindu religious practice. If state power were in the hands of those Hindus who support untouchability, then it would be a difficult task for anyone to abolish this practice.
Q 2. What are the three objectives of a secular State? [V. Imp.]
The three objectives of a secular State are:
- One religious community does not dominate another.
- Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community.
- The State does not enforce any particular religion, nor does it take away the religious freedom of individuals.
Q 3. Explain with an example that in Indian secularism, the State can intervene in religious affairs.
An important aspect of India's secularism is that the State can intervene in religious affairs.
- Untouchability was a practice in which the members of the same religion, i.e. upper-caste Hindus, dominated other members, i.e. lower caste people, within it.
- In order to prevent this religion-based exclusion and discrimination of lower castes, the Indian Constitution banned untouchability.
- In this instance, the State intervened in religion in order to end a social practice that it believed discriminated and excluded and that violated the Fundamental Rights of Lower castes.
Q 4. What is secularism? [Imp.]
- The Indian Constitution contains Fundamental Rights. These rights are very important because they protect us against State power as well as against the tyranny of the majority.
- The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. Thus, our Constitution gives religious freedom to all, and to maintain it, India adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State.
- Secularism is, in fact, the separation of religion from the State.
Q 1. In what different ways does the Indian State work to prevent religious domination? [V. Imp.]
Indian secularism works in various ways to prevent religious domination:
- It uses a strategy of distancing itself from religion. The Indian State is not ruled by a religious group. It also does not support any one religion. In our country, government places like law courts, police stations, government schools, and offices are not supposed to demonstrate or promote any one religion.
- The second way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the domination of religion is through a strategy of non-interference. This means that in order to respect the sentiments of all religions and not interfere with religious practices, the State makes certain exceptions for particular religious communities. Just take the example of the Sikh community. For Sikhs, wearing a pagri is a very important part of their religion. The government cannot force them to wear a helmet while driving a two-wheeler.
- The third way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the domination of religion is through a strategy of intervention. Untouchability presents a good example where members of the same religion, i.e. upper-caste Hindus, dominate other members, i.e. lower castes within it. In order to prevent this religion-based discrimination of lower castes, our Constitution banned untouchability. Here, the State intervened in religion in order to uproot a social practice that it believed discriminated and excluded, and that violated the Fundamental Rights of the people belonging to the lower caste.