Explaining the concept of secularism, discuss how Indian secularism differs from the West.

Secularism is the concept that demarcates the separation of state and public matters from religion is a personal affair of citizens.

Western model of secularism and religion:

  • Rigid state-religion separation.
  • No scope of state led to religious reform.
  • Addresses only intra-community domination.
  • Focus on individual freedom of religion.
  • No state aid to religious institutions.
  • Opposing public display of religious symbols.

Indian concept of religion:

  • “Principled distance” between state and religion – Scope of state reforms.
  • Equal protection, respect and treatment to all religions.
  • Balancing personal and community religious rights (article 25-28).
  • Freedom to profess and practice religion with its symbols, e.g. Sikh kirpans.
  • State aid to religious institutions (article 30).
  • Preventing intra and inter-community domination.
  • Acceptance of plurality of religions.


  • Social sense of inclusivity.
  • Religious freedom.
  • No curbs on display of faith.
  • Social harmony.
  • Scope for social reforms.

India’s broader religious concept is a mark of its ethos of tolerance and inclusivity


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