Secularism: Definition, Influence of Church & Secularism in India

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Understanding Secularism from its past struggle

The term secularism was coined by British writer Holyoake in 1851. The separation of religion from the state is termed as secularism. The secularism is not about denying and stopping people from their beliefs but allowing them to continue with their belief reasonably.

In Western polity, there has been a strict separation of religion and state. While in India religion comes under fundamental rights but it could be restricted if there is a question of public order.Religion is for all but there if it confines with just few people and not transparent then the people starts questioning its authority.

Let us move back to understand the events.

Influence of Church

 It has begun with the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity after that Church began to enjoy favours provided by the members of royal family landowners and high officials. All showered Church with huge wealth. Then it gets a boost when declared as a state religion.

After the fall of Roman Empire The Church had survived and people looked for its protection   In the time of crisis they became landlord  had sustain the mass.

Earlier the Emperor was the head of both the secular and spiritual world. But over time when the supremacy of religion was established then the church entered into the arena of politics

Father of Church had accumulated huge wealth from the donation of public and also from the money coming from the aristocracy. It became the reason for the conflict between the two. Church on one hand advised people to go for a simple living but on the flip side, they were leading a luxurious and comfortable life.

Pope was interfering in the personal life of King. So when King Horraine decide to divorce his wife and marry his mistress . Pope Nicholas had objected to it.

Excommunication was the trump card that was used by the pope to assert his dominance common people and even the royal members could not escape it. If a member of the royal family is excommunicate then neither he claims for the throne nor he could expect allegiance from people.



As a reaction to the supremacy of the church, a renaissance was born. Humanism was a popular movement in Italy during the 14th century. The purpose of the movement of the is to make people focus on the achievements of the human in education, arts, literature, science.

The invention of the Gutenburg printing press is the revolution itself. With this press, many books were printed. These books helped create new ideas and reach to the masses.

Humanism encouraged Europe to question the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The more people were exposed to the new ideas the more the began to examine and critique religion. The famous name which comes to the mind while speaking of this is Martin Luther who led to the protestant protest.

          Secularism in India.

In order to understand the why India opted for secularism we need to go back to the ages of social reforms.

In the 19th and 20th century India witnessed a lot of social evils such as sati pratha, polygamy, child marriage etc. Brahmins were monopolizing the religion. Those who dared to question their institution they were isolated from the society

So the reformist believed that secular nation would be inclusive and all the suppressed class be it women or Dalit would get their edge. Religion was never liberal in terms of women and Dalit. Many females wrote verse in Vedas.  The famous debate was of Gargi and Yajnavalkya.  In Discovery of India Nehru mentions that the materialism aspect was suppressed intentionally. The materialistic philosophy can be found in the translated Chinese scripts.

Religion was manipulated as per the gains. So the fight of liberals was difficult. Another thing that happened was India was divided on the religion ground. Religion fanatism would make us conservative, and we would hate others who does not come in our bracket.

The past struggle reminds us that fight for equal rights is not easy. There are many sacrifices involved. Now the cry of removal of secularism is going to pay many generations. The word secular was added in the 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976. But it was regarded as the basic structure doctrine. Secularism is the soul of India. As far as Keshava Nanda Bharti case is concerned no one can touch the basic structure doctrine.

Moreover the nation which is progressive they are more open with the scientific temper. Secularism questions the monopoly of religion.,the%20church%20and%20the%20state.&text=Relations%20became%20strained%20and%20the,of%20conflict%20between%20the%20two.

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