What is Secularism?
Secularism as a modern political and constitutional principle involves two basic propositions.
The first is that people belonging to different faiths and sections of society are equal before the law, the Constitution and government policy. The second requirement is that there can be no mixing up of religion and politics.
The term "Secularism" was first used by the British writer George Holyoake in 1846.
Secularism as it is understood in the West is synonymous with anti-religion; it is a modern ideology that claims that the world is a self-sufficient entity and therefore it requires no extraneous powers such as the divine power to regulate it. Religion as perceived and practiced in the western world is quite much limited to the individual domain. Any attempt to enforce religion on a community therefore is fraught with extreme resistance; it is at best left to individuals to make their own choices.
Secularism in India, however, is not equivalent to what it means in the western world; if it means anti-religion in the west, in India it is giving equal respect to all religions. In India, secularism does not mean mere separation of religion and state but, the abolition of the practice of untouchability and promotion of castelssness. India has been and still continues to be a cradle of all major religions in the world. The Indian form of secularism is not a negation of religions and their rich heritage but protecting and preserving them in so far as they contribute positively to the integral growth of society.The Indian Constitution has unequivocally defined India as a secular state. It means that the state has no official religion, but is bound to respect and protect the rights of all religions communities to preach and propagate their religious beliefs and practices.
India has had a long tradition of secularism. Gautama Buddha and Mahavira propagated tolerance and non-violence and equal respect to all. Social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy (who opposed the inhuman custom of Sati), championed the secularisation of society and positive interference of the State with a view to curb antisocial acts of religion. Ishwara Chandra Vidya Sagar, an agnost, advocated widow remarriages. Mahadev Govind Ranade, Pandita Ramabai, Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Keshab Chandra Sen, Devendranath Tagore, Ram Vilas Sharda and many others were heretics in their own times who were in favour of liberlization of religion and secularization of institutions. Marhatma Gandhi considered religion a personal matter and he was for the formation of a secular state.
However, In India, secularism receives challenges from many fronts. Mainly from Casteism and Communalism. As for the current scenario, casteism and communalism are getting a new lease of life because of the short-sighted policies of power-hungry politicians and the narrow outlook of the administrators and the leaders. Instead of proceeding on the path enunciated in the Constitution, the leaders fanned the communal and caste passions of the people, with a view to reap the harvest of votes and to achieve their partisan ends. The politicisation of caste and religion and pampering of communal leaders is causing great harm to the body politic of the nation. The rise of communalism, casteism, obscurantism and fundamentalism are warning signals that whip up emotions and cause strife in the name of religion and caste threatening national integration and the very unity of the nation.
Right time has come to strengthen the secular values, institutions and practices in an uncompromising manner and to accelerate the pace of development in India. This is precisely the reason why Youth For Secularism (YFS) been formed.
This blog has been created to counter the ideology of a few people who propogate that Secularism is a dead and failed concept and it's application in Indian society is impossible. In the following posts of this blog you will encounter many valid proofs and logical arguments which can prove this (above mentioned) ideology completely wrong.