India is a secular State, Pakistan is an Islamic State; so much is clear. But when we enter into the question deeply, we find some amount of confusion. A secular State has nothing to do with religion, but what exactly this means is vague and confusing. Secularism, properly pursued, can check absolutism, religious bigotry and work as a coming force.

A secular State, in essence, should not discriminate against any special facilities by virtue of a citizen belonging to a particular religious community, nor can he be deprived of any civic or political right, for his faith.

Secularism is a modern idea. Even a hundred years ago in England Jews and even Roman Catholic Christians were discriminated against. In Islamic countries. non-Moslems were re­garded as hostages. It must be said to the credit of ancient India, that there never was any desire, on the part of the State, to impose religious qualifications or disqualifications on any community as such. India has always given an honorable status to principles of all religions.

The persecuted Parsis from Iran were offered shelter in India and freedom to pursue their religion. Some scholars are of opinion that politics and the state have to be scrupulously kept away from religion.


In the modern world, most civilized States are secular in a sense. Today in no country, religion is taken into consideration in political or other spheres of activity. Yet the question remains — is total alienation of the state from religion possible? Even in Britain the P.M. must be a Protestant.

What part should religion play in State functions? Should religious ceremonies be permitted in any function held under the auspices of the state? The Supreme Court of USA has ruled “Government in our democracy, states and nations must be neutral in matters of religious doctrine and practice. The wall of separation, between the church and the state, must be kept high and impreg­nable”—Rosscan, one of the protagonists (main character) of the French Revolution of 1789, and the author of Social Control theory, observed, “never was state founded without religion serving as it basis “

It is clear that, if religious ceremonies are encouraged openly, the State will come to be identified, symbolically at least, with a particular religion. In Britain, the Royal Coronation is accompanied by Anglican rites. In India, though the Hindus are in large majority, no Hindu festival is State organised, nor Hindu religion holds its ceremony here officially.

Secularism in the State has very great importance in our body politic. It has a social value, which has its own significance. In a secular State, society is more well knit and homogeneous.


In a non-secular State, in times of stress, it might find the people divided and disunited, but in a secular State, this is far less possible. It has also an educational and cultural value. The citizens of a secular State have far greater realization of the interests of humanity. Their attitudes to the problems and demands of life are more human.

The citizen of a secular State are more fitted psychologically for their duties and responsibilities. In fact, religious tolerance is the keynote of Indian secularism. On the other hand, in Bangladesh, though professionally an Islamic State, secular values are encouraged.

For a religious people it is difficult to think in the secular way. Therefore, it is necessary that education should be strictly non-religious and non-sectarian. The modern world, under the influence of scientific studies discourages this, has a more or less secular outlook on life.

Religion no more colours our views on political and economic matters, except in backward and reactionary States. But revivalist feeling is being promoted in some countries. We in India have to be especially on our guard against any kind of religious frenzy undermining the basic secularity of our State.


We have had far too many outbreaks of communal passion to be complacent and allow the forces of reaction to take their own course. A positive step in the right direction would be to cultivate scientific and ethical approach to our social problems,—an essential prerequisite for the building up of a secular State on a solid foundation.