INDIAN SECULARISM AND RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY The Introduction Is India a secular state and society, and can it be? What are the forces, secular and non-secular, curently operating in the Indian polity? Can our Constitution and governments live up to the large secular claim made by our national leadership! Do religion and para-religion infiltrate into neighbouring areas of labour, education and social servies corrosively? A geo-secular glance reveals that Pakistan is openly Islamic in politis while Bangladesh is secular by constitutional assertion. People’s China and the Soviet Union possess a flavour of anti-godism. Britain has an established religion coexisting with with a democratic set-up and America has built a wall of separation between God and Caesor. India that is Bharat is a Curious hybrid secular in text but sacerdotal in attire, with a leaning wall of State-Church separation and suffering from a constitutional solicitude for religious minorites.The paradox of liberal religious thought and communal belligerncy, of constitutional commitment to a social revolution and the polities of relgion which even revlulutionary parties play, and the phenomenon of two ‘total’ religions that regulate worldly and other-worldly affairs-can this vast Indian mosaic fulfil a secular promise or should we so cndition the genetic code of the nation aas to ensure an Indian humanity not blotted by deities and divided by Gods but spurred on by science and socialoism and informedd by cosmic spoiritualism? The Aim What do we mean be a secular state and a secular society in the indian context? The former implies a national policy and the latter a social philosophy. The Church-state controversy of the West is absent here and so the role of the state vis-àvis the majority and minority religions is more pertinent for us. Secularism is not an end in itself, nor another ‘religion’ but a specific defensive plus-offensive mechanism at the service of India’s million in their march towards the great future which modern science, socio-enconomic justice and ancient superational thought promise.
Pragmatic thinkers take a secular state to mean one where the demarcation of jurisdictions between political authority and religious hold is well laid out and religion excluded from matters temporal and confined to the limited, may be deeper, sphere of private conscience, belif and practice in realation to the Superme Being. The classic exposition of this dichotomy is containe in the reprooof of the pharises by Jesus: “ Render unto Caesar what is due to him and unto God what is His. “ A secular view of life holds that morality is based on the well-being of mankind in the present life to the exclusion of considerations drawn from belif in God and the other world and accepts a scientic explanation of the comic working in contrast to the crudely religious. The pressure of the secular process for the indian people arises from the unhappy facts of communal history, religious demography, unfortunate ‘Iswar verus Allah’ allergy caused by agent provocateurs read in the light of the urgent need to end mass poverty and to build a just social order. A View. A study of our historical and cultural heritage, contemporary conditions and political leadership helps identify the secular and non-secular forces at work and to prepare a project report for national secularisation. The broad Indian spectrum, from the Marxian war on all religious to the Gandhian veneration for all faiths, is represented by outstanding men like M.N. Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Radhakrishan, Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Mahatma Gandhi, Roy sponsored the materialist view of life. Dr. Radhakrishaman, speaking as president, stated that seculsrism did not mean did not mean irreligion, and implied respect for all faith, the state itself not identifying with any, H.V. Kamath, Intervening in the Constituent Assembly debates, adopted similar language, Nehru, the humanist and agonostic, was nearer...
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