NCERT / CBSE NOTES | Class 8th (VIII) : Chapter Summary

Understanding Secularism


India is a secular state because it separates religion from state. This means a citizen of India can freely follow his religious beliefs as long as he doesn’t violate the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

The Constitution of India believes:
  • Religious communities should not dominate each other.
  • People within a religious community should not dominate each other
  • The State should not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.
The government implements these secular principles at four levels: Distance, Non-interference, and Intervention.

Distance: the Indian government does not promote any one religion as the state religion. It views citizens as equal regardless of religion.  For instance, government schools don’t celebrate any religious festivals in the school premises.

Non-Interference: the government gives citizens the freedom to interpret their religion the way they deem fit. Citizens are free to switch from one religion to another.

Intervention: stops domination within a religious community.

Support: The government let’s religious communities set up their own schools. It also gives them financial aid on a non-preferential basis.

Secularism supports the fundamental rights that are intrinsic to a democracy.

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CBSE NCERT Class VIII (8th) | Social Studies | Civics

Chapter  :  Understanding Secularism

CBSE NCERT Solved Question Answer

Ques1) What is Secularism?
Ans) Secularism refers to this separation of religion from the State.
·        The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these.
·        In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State.

Ques2) State the importance of separation of religion from state.
·        This is important for a country to function democratically. Almost all countries of the world will have more than one religious group living in them.
·        The tyranny of the majority and the violation of Fundamental Rights that can result is one reason why it is important to separate the State and religion in democratic societies.
·        Another reason that it is important to separate religion from the State in democratic societies is because we also need to protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpretreligious teachings differently.

Ques3)What are the objectives of Indian Constitution towards secularism?
Ans)  The Indian Constitution mandates that the Indian State be secular:
1.  That one religious community does not dominate another.
2.  That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community;
3.  That the State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.

Ques4) How is Indian Secularism different from other democratic countries. Explain with an help of example of U.S.A.

·         The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the legislature from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that “prohibit the free exercise of religion”.
·         In the U.S.A. the separation between State and religion means that neither the State nor religion can interfere in the affairs of one another.

·         In Indian secularism the State can intervene in religious affairs. Indian Constitution intervened in Hindu religious practices in order to abolish untouchability.
·         The Indian State is secular and works in various ways to prevent religious domination. The Indian Constitution guarantees Fundamental Rights that are based on these secular principles

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