Politics of Secularism

Politics of Secularism …! Secularism in India is primarily a political concept, whereas, in the West, it is an intellectual concept. In India secularization process has been more in the nature of a harsh necessity imposed on a backward society, marked by deep religious divisions in its attempt to nurture a nation state. Because of this grafting of secularism on Indian society which is deeply religious it has often been questioned whether India can be both democratic and secular. Indian politics has been organized around religion since the days of Nationalistic Movement and unfortunately continues to be the same since political elite accepts secularism as a political necessity and because religion importantly influences politics. Secularism cannot therefore become anti-religious in India.

Politics of Secularism
Politics of Secularism

Secularism in India carries a different connotation when compared to west, where secularism emerged as a result of decline of religious beliefs, institutions and growth in scientific temper and rationality preceded the introduction of the society.


Because religion and caste issues assume greater importance, Indians are increasing their population to outnumber the Power caste- Hindus. The feeling is that this is being done to out number the Hindus and thus occupy political and economic power.

Hindu – Muslim Relationship: –

Hindu – Muslim communism developed, because in the history of National Movement the common economic problems of Hindu and Muslim masses were not used to inculcate a common class consciousness. Indian politics has been organized around religion since the days of Nationalist Movement and in many ways it continues to be so. Whereas culture unites Hindus and Muslims it is the politics that divides them. Therefore, Hindu – Muslim relationship has been characterized by a unique sense of mutual ambivalence.

Hindu – Sikh Relationship: –

Hindu–Sikh relationship became bitter especially after the spread of terrorism in Punjab. Though Sikhism is the offshoot of Hinduism, the problem is that Sikhs are extremely conscious of their separate identity which was exploited by various people with vested interests to fuel terrorism in India. The relative prosperity of Sikhs vis–a–vis Hindus is also an important factor in Hindu–Sikh relationship.

Hindu – Christian Relationship: –

Politico–Religious factors due to which conversions gave a political hue became a very big factor in Hindus anti-Christian dynamics.

Politics of Secularism
Politics of Secularism


The twice born or Dvijas were models for the lower castes, M. N. Srinivas came up with the concept of “Sanskritization”, a process by which lower caste emulate customs, traditions and rituals of high caste. It was an avenue for upward mobility in ancient India. But in contemporary India with new legislations, it has been provided the facility of reservation, and sensitization has lost its appeal.

Reservation: –

It has had only a mixed impact. In fact, it has created an elite among lower caste. It has only served to promote caste consciousness and has created a sense of relative deprivation in  upper caste groups.

Politics of Secularism : the great indian reservation system
Politics of Secularism : the great indian reservation system

Politicisation of Caste: –

The caste based politics has not only created caste consciousness but has also served to divide people along caste lines. It has created distrust among the members of different caste groups and has been responsible for various caste conflicts.

Also Read: Insensitive people and Corrupt system


Despite all our efforts to create caste less society, caste continues to exist. Though some adaptive changes in the caste system has taken place. These changes are however only in non – essential and peripheral areas.

There is continuous reinforcement of old in forms. Or to put things differently, there is the substitution of modern for ancient. New dimensions of stratification viz. class, power and status along with caste are in the process of emerging.

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