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What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism? Explain.

Topic : Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2. What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference: 2019 UPSC CSE GS-2

Why the question:

The question is with the idea to practice the concepts of Indian constitution and its approach to Secularism.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is about the learnings that France can have from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism.


Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:


Briefly discuss the principle of secularism enshrined in the constitution and explain its evolution.


The fundamental difference between Indian and French secularism is that while Indian secularism is non-religious, French secularism is irreligious. The answer can start with the fact that India has a sizeable Muslim population and yet does not face issues related to ISIS or lone-wolf attacks. This is in contrast to France that faced Charlie Hebdo attacks, Nice rampage, etc. The difference is perhaps created by our Constitution’s approach to secularism.

Discuss the features that France can take as learnings from India – Liberty. The profession, practice and propagation of religion is a liberty that people must enjoy.

Protection of minority ‘identity’ and, thus, minority dignity. A community – particularly minority – that is not allowed to wear its symbols may start losing its culture and identity. Protection of minority rights so as to make sure that they are not subsumed by the majority culture. Special provisions for the minorities to flourish. A positive discrimination is necessary in order to allow the minority cultures to flourish. Culture of social reforms, while taking into account concerns of individual communities. This allows for more flexible approach to reforms and does not alienate anyone. Kaleidoscope of cultures. A vibrant and tolerant culture based upon mutual coexistence is created when everyone’s cultural and religious rights are protected. Such diverse communities have more to learn from each-other and higher chances to flourish etc.


Conclude with importance of Secularism in general.