Concept of secularism under the constitution of India does not mean complete separation of state from religion. The Indian conception of secularism is different from the western philosophy of secularism. India is a multi-religious country. In India religion plays a dominant role in shaping the behavioral pattern of the members of the society. Therefore, the extent of state intervention in the matter of religion and at the same time making equidistance from all religion, somehow makes Indian concept of secularism unique . Statement of problems   The concept of secularism is not new to Indian society. It has been in existence since time immemorial. The concept gets its substance from Yajur Veda, Rig Veda, Atharva Veda and Akbar Din-e-Ilahi. The tradition of secularism in ancient times reflects with the very use of words Sarva Dharma Sambhav i.e. tolerance for all religions.   Indian secularism is the product of our cultural heritage, personal attitudes, historical circumstances and domestic compulsions. Which is evident from the definition of George Jacob Holyoake, who is regarded as the father of secularism. According to Holyoake, the term secularism means “a form of opinion which concerns itself only with questions, the issues of which can be tested by the experience of this life”. However, according to A.Akbarthere are two models of secularism which need to be conceptualized for the sake of clarity, the first model talks about complete separation of state from religion, that is there exist an impassable wall between the religion and secular spheres, in such a matter there is no state intervention in religious matters and vice versa. In the other model all religions are to be treated equally by the state, this model is generally leveled as non-discriminatory and is particularly relevant for multi-religious societies. In contrast to former model, latter allows for state intervention on grounds of public order and social justice.  The term secular had been added to the Indian Constitution by way of 42nd constitutional Amendment Act, 1976. But this does not mean that India was not a secular country prior to 1976. The omission to incorporate the word secular at the time of drafting of the Indian Constitution was deliberate and calculative. The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution did not expressly incorporate the word secular in the original draft so as to avoid any kind of misconception regarding the adoption of western concept of secularism. Since Indian experience of secularism is unique in itself and different from that of other models.   It is important to mention that under the Indian Constitutional scheme, the articulation and adoption of the concept of secularism can be observed in many parts of the Constitution such as the preamble, fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy, and fundamental duties. Further, the use of religion in election matter has also been prohibited under Indian Constitution. Therefore, in result it can be rightly inferred that under the Constitutional scheme, secularism has always been cherished and celebrated.  Furthermore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Keshavananda Bharti v. State of kerala has held that there are certain features of the constitution of India, which cannot be amended under Article 368 of the constitution, owing to the reason of basic structure doctrine. In identifying such features the court observed that A secular State, that is, a State in which there is no State religion (5(vii)). The same position has been retreated by the apex court in S.R Bommai v. Union of India  in more comprehensive manner.   However ,it may be mentioned that despite all the above constitutional and judicial safeguards, Indian conception of secularism is somewhat problematic. Reasons are manifolds; one of the foremost is the deep rooted religious culture prevalent in the Indian society, which has become an inseparable part of the identity and living of the people of India. This identity has affected the behavioral pattern of the people of India. And on ground of religion, many practices which are superstitious in nature have become the routine practice of the people of India, which in a way affect the development of scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.    The growth of communal forces, and entrenched disregard for other religions are other important factors which affect the building of impeccable secular ideology in the country. The occurrence of communal violence in different parts of the country is the clear manifestation of communal thought process which endangers the country’s social, economic and political stability. Further, in many cases it has been observed that the State itself aids in spreading the venom of communalism which certainly derails the State from discharging its constitutional obligation.   In a strict secular set-up religion and state are considered to be separate identities, religion has nothing to do with state affairs, nor does the state is required to interfere into the religious affairs of the individuals. But surprisingly, in India, politics and religion are inseparable; the role of political parties in promotion of particular religion is an open fact. Further, the appeasement policy of the political parties to grab the votes on religious lines from the particular community is another considerable factor which affects the growth of secular ideology in the country.  It is worthy to mention that article 27 of the Constitution of India specifically prohibits the use of tax payers’ money for the promotion of any particular religion; such provision hadbeen enacted in order to safeguard the secular fabric of the Constitution. But surprisingly, in India, it has been the experience that the state utilizes state funds for the purpose of religious considerations too. For instance: in India Haj subsidy is granted to a particular community by the State so as to enable members of such community to perform their religious obligations. The Supreme Court of India has also expressed its concern, regarding this type of  unnecessary expenditure by the government. Further the observation of Aftab Alam J is worth noticing  “That kumbh mela or the fair of the nectar pot takes place four times every twelve years when millions of Hindu pilgrims congregate to take the holy dip in the river on a single day. During the organization of this festival, Governments spends crores of rupees. Besides the kumbh mela there would be at least a dozen purely religious festivals where direct government spending run into thousands of crores of rupees.”  Thus an important aspect which affects the growth of secular thought process in India is the state recognized religious activities. Participation of the head of state in religious ceremonies in their official capacities. Further, the organization of Bhoomi Poojan at the time of construction of High court building in no manner justifies the secular principle embodied in the constitution of India.   Another major impediment in realizing the freedom of conscience is forced conversion. The issue of forced conversion necessarily affects the choice of freedom of religion of the individuals in the secular set up. The reasons for forced conversions are many such as poverty, illiteracy and state inactions.  Currently six Indian states have anti-conversion laws which are meant to regulate the process of conversion but the same has been criticized on account of use of vague terminology as well as the procedural inadequacy.   Keeping in view all the above aspects and the concernraised by of Tahir Mahmood, that “A quasi-secular ideology remained dominant for much after independence, but concessions were periodically made in favour of particular religion” necessarily raises the doubt about the operational model of secularism  under the Indian social structure. Scope and objectives of study The study shall begin with the concept of secularism and secular state in general; historical and philosophical evolution of the concept of secularism shall also be dealt in details. Further the study shall ordinarily be based on the broad interpretation of the constitutional provisions relating to or in connection with secularism, its philosophy and articulation. The constitutional assembly debates shall be the important area of research. The role of Judiciary particularly the apex court in promoting and protecting the secular ideology shall be analyzed in details. Impediments in achieving secular ideology shall be dealt in details. Comparative study of legal provisions of different countries on the subject matter shall also be taken into consideration.     The objectives of the research shall be the comprehensive analysis of the concept of secularism and secular state in general, historical and philosophical evolution of the concept of secularism. Comprehensive analysis ofConstitutional provisions relating to secularism in order to find out how effectively these provisions are promoting secular ideology in Indian society.  Further, Constitutional assembly debates shall also be taken into consideration in order to find out what made the founding fathers to adopt the unique model of secularism as different from western conception of secularism. The next important objective shall be the critical analysis of the decisions of the higher judiciary so as to find out how the concept of secularism witnesses change with the changing times. Finally, the objective shall be fixed at finding out what are the impediments that exist in building up of the secular ideology, followed by conclusion and suggestions.  Research questions  1. What is the meaning of the term secularism?2. Do the term Secularism and Secular state mean one and the same thing?3. Can secularism be said to be practiced in theocratic country?4. How the concept of secularism is embodied under the Indian constitution?5. How Judiciary has interpreted the concept of secularism?6. How communalism has affected the growth of secularism?7. Does mixing of religion and politics affect the principle of secularism?8. Does Indian constitution allow conversion from one religion to another?9. What is the object and purpose of article 27? And how does it get affected?10. Does the involvement of state in the religious activities of the particular community affect the principle of secularism?Relevance and utility of Research   Constitution is a fundamental legal document through which the government of a country functions. Constitution lays down the broad framework with respect to the governmental structure and the rights and duties of the citizens.  Constitution is the supreme law and therefore deviation from the constitution amounts to the violation of supreme law of the land. Secularism under the scheme of the Indian constitution has been conferred with the status of basic structure. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to say that the principle of secularism occupies special place in Indian polity and its disregard would amount to violation constitutional principle.     Further, the apex court in its landmark judgments have emphasized the importance of secularism many times. But, surprisingly, being a secular state, India as a country failed to protect its constitutional principle of secularism on many occasions. The reasons for failure are many, but the consequences always affect the ideology of national integration and fraternity.   India, as country, has many religious ideologies. In India religion has become the identity of the people of India. Which certainly affect their behavioral pattern.  In India people and religion are inseparable. Therefore, the very incorporation of religious freedoms under the chapter of fundamental rights demands deep and detailed study of the subject matter.    Therefore, the present study is undertaken in order to find out what are the major reasons which affect the development of secular ideology in the country. Further, the researcher shall be making suggestions in building up of secular ideology. Research Methodology     The study is doctrinal in nature and is be based on Constitutional assembly debates, Constitutional texts, statutory texts, and writings of the scholars. Authoritative texts of the Supreme Court judgment, web sources etc.  Review of literature    R.L choudhary in his book Concept of secularism in Indian Constitution has elaborated upon the concept of secularism and how does it differ from the concept of secular state. Further, he has written on the historical development of the concept of secularism. His ideas and understanding has been taken into consideration by the researcher.    V.M Bachal, through his work on “Freedom of Religion” and Indian Judiciary, has put forward the detailed analysis of the concept of secularism and philosophy behind it. Further, he has also mentioned how Indian judiciary has played a critical role in interpreting the concept of secularism. Therefore his ideas are also incorporated.     Donald E Smith in his book India as a secular State has analyzed the concept of secular state in details and how the concept. Therefore his work has been cited in details as well.    Further, Gary Jeffery Jacosbhon, through his work on The Wheel of Law India’s Secularism in Comparative Constitutional Context, presented a detailed picture of the comparative study of secularism in there differentcountries. The same has been also duly taken into consideration.     In interpreting the concept of secularism, constituent assembly debates are also important. The same have been  analyzed in details.   The major Judgments of the Supreme Court of India on the Concept of secularism have been analyzed in details. Such as S.R Bommai v Union of India.   On threats and challenges to secularism the articles of M.A Hussain and Kammaluddin Khan are important to note. They have put forward in details the effect of communalism on secularism. Plan of the Study  The entire study is divided into six chapters.   The first chapter deals with introduction. The introduction has highlighted the scope and objectives of the study and problems associated with the concept of secularism. The problems have been formulated in form of specific research questions. Further, this chapter signifies the relevance and utility of the research work. The research methodology and literature review have also been mentioned in this chapter.    The second chapter gives detailed account of the concept of secularism and its relationship with the secular state. Historical and philosophical development of the concept of secularism has also been mentioned in details.    The third chapter relates to understanding the concept of secularism under the constitution of India. Further, the significance of 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 has been taken into consideration. The chapter incorporates the discussion on constituent assembly debates and unique model of Indian secularism. Finally in details chapters reflects the constitutional arrangement of secular provisions.    The fourth chapter relates to judicial discourses on secularism. How judiciary has interpreted the concept of religion under the scheme of Indian constitution is worth to notice. Further, the permissible limit of state intervention in the matter of religion has also been analyzed by the Indian courts. Secularism as a basic structure and its importance in politics and minority rights has been duly articulated by the higher judiciary. Therefore, the findings of the court over the concept are the subject matter of discussion in this chapter.    The fifth chapter relates to threats and challenges to secularism in India. Five major key areas have been identified in this chapter. which poses real threat to the concept of secularism in India. The areas are communalism, mixing of religion and politics, forced conversion, taxation to promote religion and state recognized religious activities. All these areas have been studied in details with scholarly views and writings.      The sixth chapter relates to conclusion and suggestions. This chapter gives brief account of the discussions which took place in above forgoing chapters. Further, based on discussions, the researcher has provided some suggestions in this chapter. 7 | Page


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