Nehru On Secularism

PANDIT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU (1889-1964) was a freedom fighter and seasoned statesman of modern India. He was the architect of modern India, always yearned to build a secular nation.
Nehru regarded secularism as the basic law of Indian nationhood.
Nehru was an ardent champion of the Indian view of Secularism. In a multi-religious societylike India, Nehru defined a secular state that protects all religions but does not favour anyone at the expense of the other.
It does not adopt any religion as the state religion.
During the Independence movement of India, Nehru drafted the congress Resolution on fundamental Rights stated that the state should observe neutrality regarding all religions.
After the Independence of India when the Indian Constitution(1950) had been in force for over a decade, Nehru observed (1961) in an important speech:-
“ We have laid down in our Constitution that India is a secular state. That does not mean or irreligion. It means equal respect for all faiths and equal opportunities for those who profess any faith”.
Nehru did not conceive secularism as indifference to religion.
Nehru strongly condemned those forms of religion which sow the seeds of hatred between different religious communities.
Nehru used every single opportunity to express the danger of mixing religion and politics.
He visualized a secular state as one in which every individual had the full freedom to function according to his way either culturally or in matters of religion. It was Nehru’ a vision that shaped the Constitution of India in such a manner that it should provide for a secular state.
Nehru emphasized four different aspects of secularism :-
·      In the first place, he insisted that secularism meant grant of equal status to all religions in India and opposed grant of special privileges to any religion.
·      Second, Nehru’s Secularism implied the neutrality of the state in religious matters.
·      Third, Nehru viewed secularism as a mental attitude on the part of various communities which could bring about harmony and feeling of fraternity towards one another.
·      Concluding, Nehru’s concept of secularism implied the existence of a uniform civil code for the people of India.
Nehru was a secularist.  He disapproved both the Hindu communism as well as the Muslim communism.
Today’s the secular ethos for which Nehru strived hard through his life is facing a multi-prolonged challenge from the hydra headed communalism.

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