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

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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 particular 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 particular 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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