SECULARISM AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Secularism is coming from the word Secular. Secular means which isn’t associated with religion. In India as per the constitution, India is a secular country. As a secular country govt system’s approach should be non-religious. It is a very rare example in the world, where 130+ crores of population composites of different religions, caste, colors, language, lifestyle, and approaches are living under one constitution and one India. Seriously all Indians should be proud of it. In India, with the help of fundamental rights (articles 14 to 22 and articles 25 to 28) different persons, groups, communities, and parties have different opinions on secularism.

What is the meaning of secularism in India?
Secularism is coming from the word Secular. Secular means which isn’t associated with religion. In India as per the constitution, India is a secular country. As a secular country govt system’s approach should be non-religious. It is a very rare example in the world, where 130+ crores of population composites of different religions, caste, colors, language, lifestyle, and approaches are living under one constitution and one India. Seriously all Indians should be proud of it. In India, with the help of fundamental rights (articles 14 to 22 and articles 25 to 28) different persons, groups, communities, and parties have different opinions on secularism.

Meaning of Secularism by INC –

It is good. Nothing wrong in those activities. It is a good sign of a healthy secular environment. As a leader, you should have respect for all religions. But my view changed on INC when I check the following photos.One is Lok Sabha MP and another is Rajya sabha MP from INC tickets. How they can be opposed to the Ram Mandir which is closely associated with Hindus. Is it the real definition of the Secularism of INC?
This is GOOD COP and BAD COP type secularism.

Nothing wrong to be neutral in the religious issues. The Palghar issue wasn’t simple it showed by the Maha Police. It was a tight slap to one religious community by another. It showed as the Mob lynching. The SS party when in opposition shouted in favor of Hindutva, and when in the power, the Same party became a CON party who is not willing to give justice to the victims and protect culprits.
This is opportunist secularism.

Meaning of Secularism by Yogi Ji –

His approach towards religious aspects are very straight forward and clear. He believes that As a Hindu, why should he celebrates id which he doesn’t believe and no idea on the rituals. For photo pose Like WB – CM and Delhi – CM, it is good, but in reality, it is a joke to the sentiment of religious believers. This logic is correct and he is very much strong in his thought & a great expectation from his millions follower gives him boost. But as the political figure, he needs to be a little liberal in his approach.
This is tit for tat Secularism

History of secularism in India:

1984 Sikh Riot: The riots that erupted against the Sikh Community in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two of her bodyguard. The perpetrators were Congress Party members and was started to avenge the death of Smt. Indira Gandhi. The Congress was then in power and right after the death of Indira Ji, The eye-candy of the then congress Sri Rajeev Gandhi became the PM.Then MP of Congress Sajjan Singh was heard saying, “Whoever kills the sons of the snakes, I will reward them. Whoever kills Roshan Singh and Bagh Singh will get 5,000 rupees each and 1,000 rupees each for killing any other Sikhs. You can collect these prizes on November 3 from my personal assistant Jai Chand Jamadar” .The language of the leader in power proves that the party he affiliates to wasn’t secular.

2002 Gujarat Riot: The riots that erupted after the train Sabarmati Exp consisting pilgrims returning after their visit to Ayodhya was set on fire. The Hindu thought of giving it back to the Muslims, and for the misdone of a few handful of Muslims, the whole of community had to suffer across Gujarat.The involvement of the then govt in Gujarat led by Narendra Modi has been under scanner all while till Narendra Modi was given clean chit by the Honorable Supreme Court in 2013. Yet the involvement his/BJP party members cannot be out rightly denied.There are various other riots that have happened across the nation from Assam to Jammu, and in every case the govt at the power was biased towards a community or the other proving that India did never have a secular government.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right that protects the conscience of all people. It allows us to think, express and act upon what we deeply believe. But around the world, and in the United States, this freedom is eroding. Churches, religious organizations and individuals face increasing restrictions as they participate in the public square, express their beliefs or serve in society. But there is much good that Church members and people of goodwill can do to preserve and strengthen religious freedom.

Freedom of religion is important because unless you firmly believe in all the aspects of a religion, you will not be able to follow it even if you are forced to do it. So, every person will surely believe in all the aspects of a religion which was believed by his/her family when he/she was born. As children we blindly believe our parents. But, many people change their religion when they grow up when they find something is wrong in the religion his/her family practiced. This too a person will do out of his/ her own will. And even if a person is forced to follow another religion especially after marriage, the person will still follow his /her original religion because you can’t force a person to believe something unless the person experiences the difference personally. So, every person should be free to follow which ever religion he/she wants or else it will be a mental torture for the person to do something which he/she does not want and will feel like a slave of the people who has made him /her to do so. The person will feel free no longer.

Article 25 to 28 of the constitution of India guarantees the right of Freedom of religion.

Article 25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
Article 26. Freedom to manage religious affairs.
Article 27. Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.
Article 28. Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain education institutions.
Freedom of religion and Secularism in Indian Constitution

Though the Right to freedom of speech and expression (Article 19) envisages the philosophy of freedom of religion in India because despite of the creation of Pakistan, a lot of Muslims were scattered all over India, part from Sikhs, Parsees, Christians and others. Yet the constituent assembly made it explicit by incorporating a separate group of Articles as per a agreement with / recommendation of Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities, Tribal and Excluded Areas (Chairman: Vallabhbhai Patel) and Minorities Sub-Committee (Chairman: H.C. Mookherjee). Before the Constitution 42.amendment Bill added the word “secular” in the constitution of India, the word “secular” appeared only in “Article 25”. India is a secular country and there is no state religion. India also does not patronizes any religion. The Constitution 42.amendment Act made the above thought “explicit” in the constitution.

Is being a Hindu means No secular?

Hindus are in majority in India but secularism means that in India, state shall observe neutrality & impartiality to all religions. Here, all religions are respected and all beliefs & methods of worship are accepted. All minority religions enjoy full freedom and in certain cases protected. This is opposite in some neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh which were part of India but later became Islamic countries. Secularism does not mean that state is hostile to a particular religion. If a person is a Hindu, he / she do not cease to be a secular. The Supreme Court in Pannalal Pitti v/s State of Andhra Pradesh mandated that while Article 25 and 26 grants religious freedom to minority religions such as Islam and Christianity, yet they do NOT intend to DENY the same guarantee to Hindus.

Article 25 mandates that subject to public order, morality and health, all persons enjoy the freedom of conscience and have the right to entertain any religious belief and propagate it.

Meaning of Public order, morality and health

This means that Article 25 & 26 are not absolute. No person can do such religious things which affect the public order, morality and health. For example no one has right to conduct human sacrifice. No one can perform worship on busy highway or other public places which disturb the community.

Is right to performing rituals protected?

Yes, it is protected. But the state by law may regulate the economic, financial, political, or other activity which may not be a direct part of religion. For example management of Temples can be controlled by the state.

Using the loudspeakers for making noise is not guaranteed by the Constitution. The protagonists of this thought took shelter of Article 19(1) freedom of speech and right to expression. However, nobody can claim a fundamental right to create noise by amplifying the sound of his speech with the help of loudspeakers.In this context, cracking of fireworks on Diwali & using loudspeakers for Ajan in the morning had also come under Supreme Court’s scrutiny. The Court restricted the time of bursting the firecrackers, and it does not in any way violate the religious rights of any person as enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution.The festival of Diwali is mainly associated with Pooja performed on the auspicious day and not with firecrackers. In no religious textbook it is written that Diwali has to be celebrated by bursting crackers. Diwali is considered as a festival of lights not of noises.

In this context, the Government of India framed and published Noise Pollution Control and Regulation Rules, 1999. This legislation was amended in 2002 and empowered the State Governments to permit use of loudspeaker or public address system during night hours (between 10 pm and 12 pm mid-night) on or during the cultural or religious occasions for a limited period not exceeding 15 days.The Supreme Court in Church of God in India v. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Assn.,(2000) held that the Court may issue directions in respect of controlling noise pollution even if such noise was a direct result of and was connected with religious activities. The mandate included the following lines:“Undisputedly, no religion prescribes that prayers should be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice amplifiers or beating of drums. In our view, in a civilized society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during daytime or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted”.

Article 26: gives every religious group a right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes, manage its affairs, properties as per the law. This guarantee is available to only Citizens of India and not to aliens.

Article 27: This Article mandates that no citizen would be compelled by the state to pay any taxes for promotion or maintenance of particular religion or religious institutions.

Article 28: This Article mandates that No religious instruction would be imparted in the state funded educational institutions.

Implications of Article 25 & 26 not being absolute

Use of loudspeakers is not an integral part of the religions so the government can restrict on the use of loudspeakers for Ajan and Bhajan Kirtans.
Followers of no religions have right to stop the processions of other religions on the ground that it is a nuisance.
State may abolish “Cow Slaughter” as sacrifice of Cow on Bakrid is not an essential part of the religion.
Possessing a Kirpan is an essential part of professing Sikkism and it is protected right of Sikhs. (Article 25 Explanation I)
The Aligarh Muslim University was established under an act of parliament so Muslims can NOT claim to run this university as per provisions of Article 26 & Article 29.
None of the rights guarantee that a Brahmin only can perform rituals of Hinduism.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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