Topic – Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
1) Secularism in the Indian setting calls for the maintenance of a “principled distance” between state and religion. Examine the above statement in light of constitutional provisions related to secularism and the practice of secularism by state.(250 words)
Why this question
Indian definition of secularism has a lot of controversies associated with it. This question examines one of the key confusion in the definition of secularism in India – Sarva dharma sambhava vs dharma nirpekhshta.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to highlight what is meant by principled distance in Indian context of secularism, how this principle manifests itself in the constitution and the practice of secularism by state and the impact of it.
Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain what is meant by principled distance – means that the state is not equidistant from all religions, but the definition of state’s secularism changes with context.
Body – Examine why is it that the assertion has been made. Highlight the instances when the state involves itself in the affairs of one religion and doesn’t do so for other religions. For eg. Art 25(2) in the case of constitution and the earlier practice of providing subsidy for haj Yatra. Post explaining what this means, the focus should shift on explaining the impact and the controversies associated due to not maintaining equal distance from all religions. Finally, bring out the problems associated with this model of secularism.
Conclusion – Conclude by mentioning whether there is a need to change the meaning of secularism in India and how should it be modified.