Indian concept of secularism requires that there shall be no state religion and the state shall treat all religion equally. In the word of great Mahatma Ghandhi, “My veneration for other faiths is the same as for any one faith”. We believe in Sarvadharma samabhavana, equal place for all faith and creeds.
Concept of Secularism:
The word secularism did not occur in the Indian constitution as enacted on 26 November 1949. However subsequently it was incorporated in the pre amble with the 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976. Dr.B.R.Ambedkar the principal architect of our constitution explains secularism in the following words;
“secular states does not mean that it shall not take in to consideration the religious sentiments of the people. All that secular state means is that the parliament shall not be competent to impose any particular religion upon the rest of the people. This is the only limitation that the constitution recognizes. (Parliamentary Debates 1951, Vol 3rd, part 2nd ).
Dr.Rajendra Prasad, first president of India has very clearly observed that becoming secular, India has not been anti religion or religious. He stated, “There are some who thinks that because we are a secular state we do not believe in religion or spiritual values. Far from being so, it really means that in this country all free to profess or preach the faith of their liking and that we wish well of all religions and want them to develop in their own way without any hindrance”
Jawahar Lal Nehru, explained the secular nature of our state. “it means while religions are completely free, the state including in its wide fold various religions and culture, gives protections and opportunities to all and thus brings about an atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation.
India as a Secular State:
Ours is a secular state. It means that state shall not discriminate against the followers of a particular religion. All Indian-Hindus,Muslims,Sikhs, Christians and others have the freedom to preach their religions. Secularism has been made one of the basic element of the structure of the constitution of India. According to the fundamental right to practice religion was conferred on all person by article 25 and 26,protection against levy of tax for promotion of any religion was conferred under article 27.
The characteristics of secular states are,
• The state as such as no religion of its own
• It does not award preferential treatment to the followers of any faith
• It does not discriminate against any person on account of his faith
• All citizens are eligible to enter government service irrespective of the faith
Characteristics of secular education:
Secular education is identified with the following characteristics,
• Moral out look
• Development of wider vision
• Pluralistic out look
• Democratic values
• Cultural development
• Synthesis of spiritual and material
Education for Secularism in India:
Indian present educational system promotes secular attitudes and values through its broad based aims, curriculum, enlightened teachers and appropriate activities, progressivism, rationality, freedom from bigotry and equal respect for all religion. The following traits characterize education for secularism in India.
• Secular aims
• Democratic organization of educational institutions
• Multiple curriculum
• Science teaching
• Enlightened teachers
The present Indian educational system is trying to create a social climate in the country, in which secular values are sought to be promoted effectively and enthusiastically.
Indian concept of Secularism:
• Sarva-dharma-samantva or sarva-dharma-samabhavana-equal regard for all faiths and creeds
• Ekam Brahma Vipra Bahuda vadanti- god is one, wise man call him by different names
Constitutional provisions regarding imparting of religious and secular education:
1. Article 28(1) states that no religious instructions shall be provided in any educational institutions wholly maintained out of state fiunds.
2. No persons attending any educational institutions recognized by the state or receiving aid out of state fund shall be required to take part in any religious instructions without his consent . in the case of a minor, consent of his guardian is needed
Reason for imparting secular education:
1. Secular education develops a moral out look
2. Secular education helps in the development liberal attitudes and values
3. It develops wider vision
4. It develops an attitude of appreciation and understanding of others point of view
5. It develops democratic values and humanistic outlook
6. Secular education synthesis materialism and spiritualism
7. Secular education serves as an antidote to religious fanaticism and hatred
In a multi religious country like India, the spirit of secularism is to be developed in order to maintain the unity and integrity of the nation. Education should play a positive role in preparing people for a secular society and a purposeful life. We hope secularism will develop in to a stronger force leading to the social unity of India when institutionalized religions gradually lose their coercive hold on the young generations.
Many positive steps have been taken to promote secularism in the country. It is laid down in the constitution that religious minorities are free to establish their educational institutions from grant.
Secularism is a philosophy of moral education. Secular behavior springs in the school from the influence of school through the conduct and behavior of teachers themselves and life in the school community as a whole.
All the activities and programs of school must strive for the inculcation of values of love, truth and tolerance.