Members of one religious group punish or discriminate against members of other religious groups. When one religion is given official approval by the state at the expense of another, these acts of discrimination become more common. All forms of religious supremacy must be abolished. This is what secularism is all about. In Chapter 2 of CBSE Notes Class 8 SST-Civics, you can learn more about what Secularism means in the Indian sense. This blog brings Understanding secularism class 8 notes and important questions.
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Table of contents
What is Secularism?
As per the chapter on Understanding Secularism in Class 8, India pursued a strategy of dividing religious and state power. The division between faith and the state is referred to as secularism. Individuals in India have the right to live and practice their religious values, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
Secularism in Simpler Terms
Secularism is the belief that religion should be kept separate from the social, political, legal, and cultural fields of existence. Religion is available to everyone and is provided as a personal option to a citizen with no preference given to the latter.
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Why is it Important to Separate Religion from the State?
As mentioned in Understanding Secularism Class 8 notes, the separation of the State and religion is important in democratic societies for the following reasons:
- First, it helps a country’s democratic functioning.
- Minority oppression and violations of fundamental rights may be very dangerous to those who belong to the minority. As a result, it prevents citizens from some kind of religious abuse.
- It safeguards individuals’ right to leave their faith and join another. It allows people to understand religious teachings in their own way.
Indian Secularism: An Overview
Secularism in India differs from secularism in other western countries such as the United States of America. The Class 8 chapter on Understanding Secularism notes that in American secularism, faith and the state are strictly apart, while in Indian secularism, as previously said, the state will engage in religious matters.
Though the State is not strictly independent from religion, in Indian secularism, it does maintain a principled detachment from religion. This ensures that all state interference in religion must be based on the ideals enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
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Steps taken by Indian State to Protect Secularism in India
The chapter on Understanding Secularism Class 8 also notes that there are various steps taken by the Indian state to protect secularism in India. Here is how the Indian State incorporates secularism in different ways:
- It uses a technique of separation from faith. Government spaces in India, such as law courts, police stations, government colleges, and offices, are not allowed to view or support any particular religion.
- A strategy of noninterference. This means that, in order to protect the sentiments of all faiths and not interfering with their traditions, the State makes provisions for specific religious sects.
- A strategy of intervention. This means that, in order to ensure that the laws governing equitable inheritance rights are followed, the State can interfere in the religion-based ‘personal laws’ of communities.
- The state’s intervention may also take the form of help. For example, the Indian Constitution grants religious groups the freedom to establish their own schools and colleges. It also provides them with non-preferential financial support.
How Indian Secularism different from that of other countries?
There is one important difference between Indian secularism and the dominant conception of secularism practiced in the United States of America. Religion and the State are strictly separated in American secularism. In India, however, the state has the authority to engage in religious matters.
Here are some important questions and answers on Understanding Secularism Class 8 notes:
The following are the various forms of religious traditions that we can observe in our neighborhood:
A Sikh worships Guru Nanak in a Gurudwara using the Guru Granth Sahib.
A Muslim worships in a mosque, and the Quran is their holy text. Sufi music is Muslim sacred music.
A Christian worships Jesus Christ in a church and reads the Holy Bible as their sacred text.
This shows that the people in India have the freedom to practice the religion of their choice and yet live together in peace and harmony.
Yes, the government can step in if a religious community claims that their faith causes them to commit infanticide. This is because the Indian Constitution expressly declares that the government has the authority to interfere if social order is threatened. Killing a child is still a crime, and the court is the only body that can sentence someone to death; no other religion or individual can commit the crime of killing someone.
Our school’s annual calendar includes holidays such as Eid, which is observed by Muslims. Diwali is a Hindu celebration, Christmas is a Christian holiday, and Guru Nanak Jayanti is a Sikh holiday. This demonstrates that India is a democratic democracy in which everybody has the right to religious freedom.
Some examples of different views within the same religion are as follows:
Hindus worship various Gods and Goddesses as idols.
Muslims are classified as Shia or Sunni.
Jains are followers of Lord Mahavir.
Buddhists are split into two groups: Mahayana and Hinayana.
The Indian state both avoid religion and interferes with religion. If an individual from a dominant religious group gains state control, he will use that power to discriminate against and persecute members of other faiths. The majority can also deny the minority the right to practice their religion. Untouchability, for example, still exists in the Hindu culture. If state power is handed over to an individual from an upper-caste Hindu majority, he can use it as a tool against the society’s or state’s lower-class citizens.
Complete the following table:
|Objective||Why is it important||Example of a violation of this objective|
|One religious community does not dominate another|
|The state does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals|
|That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community|
|Objective||Why is it important||Example of a violation of this objective|
|One religious community does not dominate another||The right to religious freedom is written in the constitution to all citizens, and if it is not granted, there is a risk of protests and a disruption of the country’s peace.||Preventing members with a different faith from celebrating their festival|
|The state does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals||It is critical to ensure that any person in a country has the freedom to practice the religion of their choosing. This is what distinguishes the country as secular.||India is a country where citizens of various castes and religions live.|
|That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community||Religion cannot be split into cultural differences based on wealth or creed. As a result, it is important that no individual controls all practitioners of the same faith. Following their religion is the right of every individual.||Distinguishing between upper-class and lower-class.|
We hope that this blog on Understanding Secularism class 8 notes helped you understand what this chapter is all about! Check out more such study notes on Class 8 here! Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more interesting and informative reads on education!