SecularIndia.com is an educational resource meant to inform people about the secular movement in India. We strive to answer your questions about Indian secularism and bring you the latest news on secularism from India.
Frequently Asked Questions on Secularism…
What is secularism?
When a country’s government has a policy of practicing an indifference towards any religion of its people, it’s referred to as secularism. When government groups attempt to keep religious groups or bodies, or even philosophies from influencing the policies put in place by the government, we call that secular politics.
Is India a secular country?
India claims to be a secular country. This declaration of the Preamble to the Constitution of India has legally made India secular. The India Constitution shows favoritism in regards to a sort of secular humanism. The historical development of this train of thought makes it current in today’s time in the sense of India’s religious pluralism.
Does India have an official state religion?
No, the democracy of India is secular, meaning there the state recognizes no religion officially. Every citizen has the right to practice any religion of their choosing. The Indian government does not favor any religion, or show any bias against any religion or religious group.
How long has India been secular?
India has been officially secular since 1976 when the term ‘secular’ was inserted into the preamble by the forty-second amendment.
New Secular Movement in India Aims to Create Welfare State January 17th, 2012
The Welfare Party of India (WPI) promises to become a dependable alternative party seeking to represent the marginalized and deprived percentage of the society. The Welfare Party of India is the newest party in the largest democracy in the world.
General Secretary of WPI, Dr SQR Ilyas believes that corruption is a major part of government in India. In a statement, he reaffirmed this conviction by stating that the WPI is working towards changing the current system, as well as giving power to the underprivileged sections of society.
Reaffirming the party’s ideals, Dr. Illyas stated that his idea is to garner support from honest citizens who genuinely care about India’s future. He further stated that the party has so far attracted thousands of supporters, and believes his support will continue to grow. According to Dr. Illyas, membership to the WPI is open to everyone, as long as he or she promotes the secularism.
In addition to being the General Secretary of the WPI, Ilyas is also General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board. However, he maintains that WPI is a secular party and has no affiliation with the Muslim religion. On the topic, he stated that WPI remains a secular national party, citing the example of a diverse array of members from many different religions and backgrounds. The majority of the members the party has attracted thus far have been non-Muslims. This is consistent with the the party’s ideas of universal values, and the empowerment of society as a whole.
A Sunni/Sufi Muslim Sect says “Vote for Secular Candidates” January 14th, 2012
In an appeal seemingly conflicting the group’s ideology, the All-India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) has called on voters to vote for candidates who are not affiliated with any religion in the upcoming State elections. The AIUMB is a Sunni Sufi group that professes to represent most Muslims living in India.
The national secretary of the AIUMB, Syed Babar Ashraf, stated the necessary promotion of Sufi ideologies. Ashraf asked the Indian government for Dargah Act. This act is meant to aid the Dargahs promotion of Sufi ideologies and practices.
It is not everyday that a religious group makes an appeal of this nature. This newsworthy event marks a new direction for secular politics in India.
Destinies of India and Bangladesh Linked, says Indian Vice President – January 12, 2012
How similar are India and Bangladesh? Very similar, according to the Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari. In a recent address to a major university in Bangladesh, Ansari stated that India and Bangladesh are intertwined, and In more ways than one. In his esteemed address, Ansari stated that the citizens of both countries have a great deal in common, including historical background, cultural heritage, spoken language and tradition. He also stated that the two countries share a number of problems.Furthermore, Ansari said the relationship between the two countries is further linked due to shared values, and their dedications to secularism, the democratic process, social well-being, and basic human freedom.
Ansari commended the Bangladeshi prime minister on his courage in his recent battles with terrorism. He also commended him on his policies of governmental and political pluralism, of tolerance to religion, and his economic policies that his administration has put into effect in the country.
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