The best way to understand secularism is to ensure that social and political order is free from institutionalized religious domination so that there is religious freedom, freedom to exit from religion, inter religious equality and equality between believers and non-believers. Historical evaluation of secularism
In India, when it comes to secularism matters are different. There are religious sensibilities that dominate individual and collective lives. This domination has indeed resulted in creating biasedness amongst the religious groups. Adding on, this biasedness has also resulted in creating frictions among the religious groups which in some form or the other affects the democracy of the country. For instance, when in 1944, congress tried to pass the Hindu code bill providing equal rights to men and women; it encountered a deep rooted opposition from conservative religious groups that viewed secular law as undermining religious and patriarchal authority. Adding on, its secular commitments further declined in the mid 1980’s around the infamous shah Bano case. An elderly woman sought maintenance from her husband under the Indian penal code. When the judge ruled in her favour the orthodox Muslim communities vigorously opposed his decision and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi placated them by passing the so called Muslim women’s protection of rights in divorce act in 1986, which denied the Muslim women right to demand maintenance from their husbands beyond three month period. This biased judgement on the part of Congress created differences between Hindu and Muslims, and also women’s rights were inextricably linked to the secular democratic framework. Another such example can be the demolition of Babri masjid. Thus, this demolition and killings of hundreds of people could have been avoided and could have been treated in fairer manner. Moreover, these incidents clearly depict that these massive killings have clearly violated the fundamental right to...
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