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Kerala Plus One Political Science Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 8 Secularism
Secularism Questions and Answers
What do you understand by secularism?
When a country has no official religion and its Constitution grants the individuals and society religious freedom, it will be called a secular nation. The basic tenet secularism is prosperity to all. Some countries in the world have official religions. Such countries are called theocracies. India is a secular State whereas Pakistan is a theocracy.
Which among the following are compatible with the idea of secularism? Give reasons.
i) A religious group does not dominate other religious groups.
ii) Government recognizes one religion as official.
iii) All religions get equal support from the nation.
iv) Making prayers compulsory in schools.
v) Granting minority communities special educational institutions.
vi) Government appointing managing committees for temples.
vii) Interference by the government to let Dalits enter temples.
i) A religious group does not dominate other religious groups.
ii) All religions get equal support from the nation.
iii) Granting minority communities special educational institutions.
iv) Interference by the government to let Dalits enter temples.
All the above 4 things encourage secularism.
Explain the right to freedom of religion.
Freedom of Religion is the basic tenet of secularism. Through the Fundamental Rights, the Indian Constitution has given the right to its citizens to believe in the religion of their choice, to establish places of worship and worship there and to propagate their religion. Articles 25 to 30 deal with secularism. In the Preamble also there is a declaration that India is a secular State.
Give the meaning of a secular state.
India is a secular State. India has no official religion. The Constitution promises freedom of religion to individuals and the society. The Nation does not insist on people following any particular religion and it does not discriminate against any religion. The basic tenet secularism is prosperity to all. Some countries in the world have official religions. Such countries are called theocracies.
In India, the Government is concerned with the social, economic and political wellbeing of the people. Spiritual matters are left to individuals. In its Preamble and the Fundamental Rights, the Constitution proves that India is a secular State. Indian citizens have the freedom to choose the religion of their liking. Article 25 of the Constitution grants religious freedom to people subject to peace and morality. People can follow any religion and also propagate it. The Nation has ensured the necessary conditions for secularism.
Suggest the ways in which communal harmony can be promoted.
a) Encourage humanitarian ideas.
b) Limit religion to your personal life.
c) Encourage marriage between members of different religions.
d) Encourage religious tolerance.
e) Encourage the participation of the members of other religions in your religious celebrations.
f) Ostracise people who tend to spread religious animosity.
g) Include the basic ideas of secularism in the school curriculum.
Some of the characteristics of Western and Indian model of secularism have got mixed up in the following table. Separate them and make a new table.
|Western Secularism||Indian secularism|
|Completely avoid the mutual interference of religion and government.||With the support of the government, religious reforms will be encouraged.|
|Equality among religious groups is very important.||Equality among different sects of a religion is stressed.|
|Care in the affairs of minority rights.||Rights-based on religious communities won’t be given any importance.|
|Individual and his rights are the most crucial.||Rights of individuals and also of religious groups will be protected.|
|Western Secularism||Indian secularism|
|Religion and government strictly keep distance and do not mutually interfere.||Nation makes principle-based interferences in religious affairs.|
|Individual and his rights are given utmost .importance.||Rights of individuals and also of religious groups will be protected.|
|Equality among different religious groups is stressed.||Equality among different religious groups is stressed.|
|Care is not given to rights based on religious communities.||Care is given to minority rights.|
|Religious reforms are not supported by the government.||Nation supports religious reforms.|
|The Nation won’t help religious institutions.||Nation helps religious institutions.|
Do you think a secular state is necessary to establish secularism?
Yes, I do. To establish secularism a secular state is necessary. In Theocracy which is the opposite of secular state, the State has an official religion. The State gives special consideration to develop that religion. Therefore the rights of other religious groups will be ignored. In a secular state, all religions are treated equally and so for having secularism a secular state is essential.
Religious domination is of two types. Identify them.
a) Inter-Religious Domination
b) Intra-Religious Domination
Point out the activities against secularism in our society.
a) Compulsory religious conversion.
b) Persecution of minorities
c) Pleasing the minorities (Minoritism)
d) Casteism and religious chauvinism
e) Vote Bank Politics
f) Demand for Secession.
Is religious freedom a fundamental right?
Yes, it is.
Complete the following chart.
Do you think that vote bank politics is against secularism in India?
Yes, I do. If political parties make promises to religious groups, when they come to power they have to do something for those groups as a matter of showing gratitude. Such actions will be anti¬secular and will be against the common good of the nation.
Secularism does not allow us to have religious identity. Do you agree?
No, I don’t. In a secular state one can believe in the religion of his choice, worship the god he likes and can propagate his religion if he wants. Therefore the concept of secularism is not anti-religious. Secularism ensures equal rights and equal consideration,to all religions. It does not also distinguish between theists and atheists.
“Secularism is against inequality within a religious group or between different religious groups.” Give your opinion.
I agree with the statement. The basic tenet of secularism is that all members of the same religious group must have equal rights. An example can be seen in the interference of the government against the social evils that were prevalent in Hinduism. There was the Temple Entry Declaration. Through that all Hindus were allowed entry into the temple. In the same way inequalities among different religious groups are not encouraged by the State.
Prepare a seminar paper on “Criticism of Indian Secularism”.
The +1 students of HSS Irinjalakuda organized a seminar on the topic “Criticism of Indian Secularism”. The students were divided into 6 groups. Each group discussed the topic and,the group leaders presented the points in the class.
a) Anti-Religious: Some people argue that secularism is anti-religious. The reason for this belief is the fact that secularism is against the dominance of established powerful religions. But this and anti¬religion are quite different. Some people also argue that secularism is a threat to individual’s religion.
This also is wrong. Secularism nourishes religious freedom. It is not a threat to a person’s religion or his beliefs. But secularism is against certain questionable practices like propagating violence, intolerance and fanaticism. Secularism encourages the good things in religion but opposes the bad things.
b) Western Import: Another criticism is that Indian secularism is related to Christianity. It means secularism is something Western and it is inappropriate with Indian circumstances. This s a strange argument. Don’t we see thousands of things around us which are not Indian?
If people say that when a country is secular it should have its own goal it is good and relevant. Western secularism came as a challtenge to the religious leaders who tried to control the social and political matters of the nation. Then how can it be said that Western secularism is connected to Christianity? Moreover Western secularism asks religion and government to keep their hands off each other. For the idea of separating the state form religion, different societies give different interpretations. A secular government keeps a respectable distance from religion. It is done to maintain peace among different communities. At the same time the government will interfere for the protection of minority rights.
c) Minoritism: This is another criticism that is levelled against Indian secularism. It is true that Indian secularism stands for the rights of minorities. Let’s look at this example: 4 people are traveling in a train. One wants to smoke. Another person objects. The other two are smokers and so they keep quiet. So there is a problem. If a decision is to be taken democratically, and the matter put to vote, the person objecting to smoking will lose. It may look just. But is it just if we look from the angle of the person who objected to smoking? He may be allergic to smoke. Here the voting system does not work. Here the right of minority should be protected.
d) Vote Bank Politics: Another criticism is that Indian secularism encourages vote bank politics. From experience, this criticism is not fully unjustified. It has to be assessed correctly. It is natural that in a democracy politicians seek votes. It is part of their work. They might give some promises to get the votes of certain sections. There is no point in blaming them for that. The real question is why they seek the votes. It is for selfish interests? Is it for getting into power? Or is it because of their desire to do something for the welfare of certain sections? If the politicians win after getting the votes of some sections and if they fail to do something for them, they will accuse the politicians. In fact, if politicians seek the minority votes and win and if they do something for the welfare of the minorities, it should be seen as the success of secularism. One of the goals of secularism is protecting the rights of the minorities.
e) Interventionist: Critics argue that Indian secularism has a controlling nature and it interferes in the religious freedom of various communities. This is a wrong interpretation of Indian secularism. It is true that Indian secularism does not deny the idea that government should not interfere in religious matters. But it does not approve over-interference in religious affairs. Indian secularism keeps a principled-distance from religion. This means government may or may not interfere in religious affairs. This interference is not by the use of force.
f) Impossible Project: Critics say that it is difficult for people with so much of religious differences to live together in peace and therefore secularism is impractical and thus invalid. This is a wrong argument. The history of Indian civilization and that of the Ottoman Empire show that peaceful co¬existence is possible even with different religions. Indian secularism has become a model for other countries to emulate. The effects of globalization have helped here. With increased globalization, there has been an increased migration of people all over the world. From the ex-colonies, people migrated into the Western world. This made religious diversities become strong in Europe, America and some parts of West Asia.
Who used the term secularism for the first time?
George Holyoake, a British writer used the term secularism for the first time, in 1851.
Prepare a note on Vote Bank Politics.
It is natural that in, a democracy politicians seek votes. It is part of their work. They might give some promises to get the votes of certain sections. There is no point in blaming them for that. The real question is why they seek the votes. It is for selfish interests? Is it for getting into power? Or is it because of their desire to do something for the welfare of certain sections? If the politicians win after getting the votes of some sections and if they fail to do something for them, they will accuse the politicians. In fact, if politicians seek the minority votes and win and if they do something for the welfare of the minorities, it should be seen as the success of secularism. One of the goals of secularism is protecting the rights of the minorities.
It is true that if the interests of the majority are sacrificed for the interest of the minorities, there will be another kind of injustice. But in India, we have no proof that such a thing has ever happened. In short, there is nothing wrong in Vote Bank Politics. Only unjust vote bank politics should be criticized.
It was …………. who used the term ‘secularism’ for the first time.
Which among the following can be considered as criticisms against Indian secularism?
c) Western import
d) All of these
d) All of these
………… is opposed to any kind of religious dominance.
Two models of secularism are……….. and ……………
Western and Indian