Public Administration Mains 2017 : Model Question and Answer - 38

Public Administration Mains 2017 : Model Question and Answer

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Philosophical and Constitutional Framework of Government)

(Important) Question : How Party- Political Secularism Corrupted Constitutional Secularism ? (20 Marks/250 Words)

Model Answer :

Indian secularism was unfairly charged by its opponents as a pro-minority doctrine. In India, the situation till at least the 20th century was completely different because, there has been no attempt to liquidate religious diversity. The state has always found ways of dealing with all religious groups. Under modern conditions, this practice developed into a defence of religious pluralism. The state had to respect all religions, treat them non-preferentially. India’s constitutional secularism requires that the Indian state be neither wholly respectful nor disrespectful to religions. Critical respect for all religions is the hallmark of Indian secularism.

To understand India’s constitutional secularism, it is best to contrast it with European conceptions. Each European state closely aligned itself with one or the other dominant church in society. Thus, England became Anglican, Scandinavia became Lutheran, Spain and Italy became Catholic, Denmark became Calvinist, and so on. Over time, however, the church was seen to become too politically meddlesome and socially oppressive. A movement for ‘un-churching’, or curtailing the power of the church, separated themselves from the dominant church. Thus, the separation of state and church became the defining feature of European and later American secularisms.

But in the last 40 years or so, we have developed another secularism, called ‘party-political secularism’, an odd, nefarious ‘doctrine’ practised by political parties, particularly the so-called “secular forces”. This secularism has dispelled principles from the core idea and replaced them with opportunism; opportunistic distance from all religious communities is its slogan. Thus political parties keep off religion or intervene as and when it best suits their party or electoral interests. Electoral politics has sidelined or corrupted our constitutional secularism and breeds opportunism. (Total Words- 278)

With inputs from the Article of Rajeev Bhargava Published in The Hindu dated 06th August 2017 titled ‘ Constitutional or Party Political Secularism?’

(Linkages : India and Constitutional Secularism, India’s Constitutional Secularism and European Secularism, Constitutional Secularism and Party Political Secularism, Electoral Politics and Ideological Opportunism)

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