Secularism means that no religion has to be assigned a status of being the state religion. The state remains aloof from religion. All religions are to enjoy equal status.
Negatively secularism means absence of a state religion and positively it means equality of all religions, grant of right to freedom of religion to all the people and no discrimination on the basis of religion or any other narrow factor.
Indian Constitution adopts secularism in its all dimensions. The Preamble declares India to be a sovereign secular, socialist, democratic republic. There is no state religion in India. All religions are equally respected. The people have the right to religious freedom.
India has adopted Secularism for assuring the people believing in various religions that:
(i) They enjoy complete freedom of religion;
(ii) All religions enjoy an equal respect;
(iii) There is no state religion; and
(iv) That there is practiced no discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, religion, sex or place of birth.
The Constitution of India not only declares secularism as a cardinal feature of Indian state but also includes several features for ensuring the acceptance and adoption of secularism as the governing principle of our social and political life as a nation.
Presence of religious and cultural pluralism in India made the choice of secularism a natural necessity for pursuing the objective of national integration. The presence of communal riots in the environment, in which India became a sovereign independent state, compelled the makers of the Constitution of India to give a key place to secularism in the Indian political system.
1. The Preamble of the Constitution declares India to be a secular state.
2. In India, no Religion has been given the status of a state religion.
3. Equality of all religions stands accepted.
4. Right to religious freedom has been granted to all the citizens as a fundamental right.
5. The state has been prohibited from interfering in the religious affairs of the people.
6. All the people of India have been granted equal citizenship.
7. Equal fundamental rights have been granted and guaranteed to all the citizens.
8. No Discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, religion, sex and place of birth is the rule. It stands enshrined in the list fundamental rights of the people.
9. Right to Equality of Opportunity has been granted as a fundamental right and merit system of recruitment in public service has been being followed.
10. Special protection has been given to women, children and other weaker and down-trodden sections of society.
11. Single electorate, universal adult franclise and equal political rights are available to all the citizens.
12. Cultural and educational right stand granted and guaranteed to the minorities.
13. The evil of untouchability has been constitutionally eliminated. Untouchability is a crime punishable under law.
14. Social Justice Stands accepted as the goal.
15. Special protections and rights have been given to the people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes of people.
16. The Supreme Court of India has described secularism as an essential part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India.
17. The people of India have full faith that secularism is the best way of life. They fully accept the principle of unity in diversity.
All these features highlight that the Constitution of India accepts and prescribes secularism as the way of social and political life and regards it as a vital means for securing national integration. In a multi-religious society like ours, secularism alone can De and should be practiced as the way of life.
By adopting secularism, the makers of modern India gave a good and much needed inactive and strength to the process of securing national integration. It is our nationality to adopt and practise secularism in our words, actions and deeds. Religious and cultural pluralities should be accepted as the natural feature of Indian social life, and religious toleration and respect for all religions must characteristic our living. Secularism has been helping India to maintain and promote National Integration.