NCERT Class 8 Political Science Chapter 2: Understanding Secularism YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 8 Political Science Chapter 2: Understanding Secularism

Response to Discrimination

  • In form of retaliation – feeling of revenge
  • No discrimination should exist

World Examples

  • Discrimination: Non-Muslims not allowed to build temples and churches in Saudi Arabia
  • Exclusion: Jewish state of Israel treats its own Muslim and Christian minorities quite badly
  • Persecution: Jews persecuted in Hitler՚s Germany

Discrimination strengthens at expense state (as one religion is given official recognition)

India – Secular State

  • Individuals have freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these
  • Separate power of religion and power of state
  • Separation is important in order to protect minorities
  • Tyranny of majority may lead to discrimination, coercion and even killing of religious minorities
  • Protect freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have freedom to interpret religious teachings differently
  • Dominant religions might face resistance from community members

Indian Secularism

  • One religious community does not dominate another
  • Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community
  • State does not enforce any religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals
  • Indian State distance itself from religion
  • Government spaces are not allowed to promote any one religion
  • Government schools cannot promote any one religion either in their morning prayers or through religious celebrations (private schools exempted)
  • Follow policy of non-interference - in order to respect sentiments of all religions and not interfere with religious practices, State makes certain exceptions for religious communities (Sikh wearing pugri not fined for helmet)
  • Follow strategy of intervention – state intervenes for preventing untouchability & in case fundamental rights of lower caste are violated.
  • Intervention can be in form of support – right to set up own schools and give financial aid

USA - Secularism

  • First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution prohibits the legislature from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that “prohibit the free exercise of religion.”
  • Establishment: legislature cannot declare any religion as the official religion & nor can they give preference to one religion
  • US government schools recite “Pledge of Allegiance” which includes word “Under God” – not recite if it conflicts with religious beliefs
  • Neither the State nor religion can interfere in the affairs of one another in USA (In India, state can intervene)


  • February 2004: Law passed that banned students from wearing any conspicuous religious or political signs or symbols such as the Islamic headscarf, the Jewish skullcap, or large Christian crosses.
  • Resistance came from immigrants mainly from former French colonies of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.
  • In 1960s: France faced shortage of workers

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