Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 11 Political Science Chapter 8: Secularism. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.
Secularism, a concept coined by George Jacob Holyoake in the 19th century, is a cornerstone of modern society. It is derived from the Latin word ‘Saeculum’, meaning “the world”, suggesting a separation of worldly affairs from religion. The core values of secularism are justice and equality, and it is an essential feature of a civilised society.
In a secular state, religion is not the basis for governance, and it is not run by the chiefs of any particular religion. It is a state that is detached from religious dogmas, yet respects all religions. A secular state is not anti-religion, but it grants freedom of conscience to all persons. It is neither religious nor irreligious, but wholly detached from religious dogmas.
The need for secularism in modern times is evident. In a secular society, no religious community is permitted to dominate others, ensuring equal respect for all faiths. It prevents the domination of one group of people over others within the same religious community, promoting equality and justice.
However, the secular fabric of society is under threat in many parts of the world due to religious fundamentalism. This has led to mass killings and discrimination against certain religious communities. To combat this, education must aim at developing critical thinking in students, enabling them to rise above religious bigotry. The mass media can play a significant role in promoting secularism, and a close watch should be kept over communally sensitive areas.
Textual questions and answers
A. Long answer questions
1. What is Secularism? Mention the key features of a Secular State.
Answer: Secularism is defined by its core values of justice and equality. The term ‘Secularism’ was coined by George Jacob Holyoake in the middle of the 19th century, derived from the Latin word ‘Saeculum’, meaning “the world”. It suggests a separation of worldly affairs from religion.
The key features of a ‘Secular State’ are as follows:
- It is not a Theocracy: A Secular State is not constructed on the basis of religious principles. It is not run by the Chiefs of any particular religion.
- Separation of Religion from Politics: A truly secular state must be separated not merely from one but from all religions.
- A Secular State is not anti-religion but grants Freedom of Conscience to All Persons: A secular state accords religious liberty to members of every religious community. In fact, “it is neither religious nor irreligious nor anti-religious, but is wholly detached from religious dogmas.” It respects all religions.
2. How Indian Secularism is different from Western Secularism?
Answer: Makers of the Indian Constitution did not try to imitate the Western secularists. They were in favour of bringing about the necessary reforms in Hindu society. Their understanding of Secularism was different from Western view of Secularism in these respects:
No Wall of Separation between State and Religion: Our Constitution does not speak of complete separation between the ‘State’ and ‘Religion’. The State in India is permitted “to regulate economic, financial, political or other activities, even though they are associated with religious practices.” Freedom of religion does not prevent the State from making any law for social reform or “the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions to all sections of Hindus.”
Rights of Religious and Linguistic Minorities: The Constitution protects the rights of religious minorities to enable them to live with dignity. Minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. State may grant financial aid to educational institutions established by the religious communities. In granting such an aid the State shall not discriminate against any institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority.
3. Why do we need a Secular State in modern times?
Answer: We need a secular state in modern times for several key reasons:
- In a secular state, no religious community is permitted to impose its beliefs or practices over others. This reduces the chances of religious discrimination, fundamentalism, and associated violence.
- Secularism promotes equality among all citizens, regardless of their gender, caste, or other social variables within the same religious community. This helps ensure equal rights to life, freedom, opportunity, and education for all.
- A secular state also respects and safeguards the rights of those who choose not to follow any religion, including atheists and agnostics, ensuring they have a rightful place in society.
- In a secular state, religion is considered a personal matter and is separated from public affairs and politics. This minimizes the potential for religious conflicts to spill over into the public sphere, thus contributing to social harmony and peaceful coexistence.
B. Short answer questions
4. Mention any three measures to curb religious fundamentalism and promote Secularism in India.
Answer: To curb religious fundamentalism and promote secularism in India, the following measures can be taken:
- Education must aim at developing in the students a critical faculty. It should enable the students to rise above religious bigotry.
- The mass media, Radio, Television and Social Media can play a significant role in combating communalism and promoting secularism.
- Close watch should be kept over communally sensitive areas. The fight against communalism is ideological as well as administrative. Separatist forces cannot be contained without effective State intervention. Law-enforcing agencies found negligent in their duties should be strictly dealt with.
5. What did Mahatma Gandhi say about religious toleration?
Answer: Mahatma Gandhi said, “No school of thought can claim a monopoly of right judgement. We are all liable to err and are often obliged to revise our judgements. In a vast country like this, there must be room for all schools of honest thought… I do not expect India of my dream to develop one religion, i.e., to be wholly Hindu, or wholly Christian, or wholly Musalman, but I want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religions working side by side with one another.”
C. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer.
6. The word ‘Secularism’ was coined by:
Answer: (b) George Jacob Holyoake
7. Secularism is a system of political organisation where:
Answer: (c) All people are equally entitled to profess and preach their religion.
8. Secularism and liberal culture are in crisis because:
Answer: (d) Religious fundamentalism has been a growing political force in many parts of Asia and north Africa.
Additional/extra questions and answers
1. Who coined the term ‘Secularism’ and what is its origin?
Answer: The term ‘Secularism’ was coined by George Jacob Holyoake in the middle of the 19th century. It is derived from the Latin word ‘Saeculum’, meaning “the world”.
2. What are the core values of Secularism?
Answer: The core values of Secularism are justice and equality. It suggests a separation of worldly affairs from religion, emphasising the idea that religious liberty is an important feature of a civilised society and that religion should be kept in the private domain of life, away from the public sphere or politics.
3. What does a Secular State imply and what are some of its most important features?
Answer: A Secular State implies a state that is not constructed on the basis of religious principles and is not run by the chiefs of any particular religion. The most important features of a Secular State include:
- It is not a Theocracy: The state is not run by religious leaders and is not based on religious principles. Examples of theocracies are ancient Israel, the Papal States of Europe, Taliban led Afghanistan and Iran under Ayatollah Khomeni.
- Separation of Religion from Politics: The state must be separate not merely from one but from all religions. For instance, France and the United States are considered secular states.
- Freedom of Conscience for All Persons: A secular state grants religious liberty to members of every religious community. It is neither religious nor irreligious nor anti-religious, but is wholly detached from religious dogmas and respects all religions.
4. Why is England not technically regarded as a secular state?
Answer: England is not technically regarded as a secular state because it has an officially established Church, the Church of England. Some of the bishops are members of the British House of Lords, and the Queen is the Head of the Church of England. Thus, there is not a clear separation of religion from politics in England.
5. Can you elaborate on instances of religious intolerance and communal violence in India during recent years?
Answer: In recent years, India has seen a rise in religious intolerance and communal violence. The caste wars in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh have claimed numerous lives, as have communal conflicts in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. Additionally, there have been reports of separatist elements active in the Kashmir Valley, purportedly inspired by Pakistan. One of the most distressing consequences of this unrest has been the displacement of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to leave the Valley due to violence, plundering, and arson targeting their communities. These instances underscore the importance of maintaining secularism and religious tolerance within the nation.
23. How can different members of society contribute in preserving and protecting the secular fabric of our polity?
Answer: Government alone cannot combat communalism. It requires a collective effort from various sectors of society. The writers, artists, and leaders can play a key role by creating works and policies that promote unity and understanding. Moreover, every individual should strive to cultivate and promote interfaith harmony in their own sphere of influence. This can be done through interfaith dialogues, cultural exchange, and through everyday interactions that respect and celebrate diversity. Since hatred arises in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that interfaith harmony needs to be created. This collective responsibility creates a society-wide atmosphere that is conducive to secularism.
1. Who coined the term ‘Secularism’?
A. George Jacob Holyoake B. Salman Rushdie C. Ayatollah Khomeni D. Queen Elizabeth II
Answer: A. George Jacob Holyoake
2. What is the Latin word from which ‘Secularism’ is derived?
A. Religio B. Saeculum C. Mundus D. Tempus
Answer: B. Saeculum
3. Which two countries are mentioned as examples of a secular state?
A. England and Iran B. Afghanistan and Israel C. United States and France D. India and Pakistan
Answer: C. United States and France
4. What is a state called that is run by religious leaders?
A. Democracy B. Monarchy C. Theocracy D. Oligarchy
Answer: C. Theocracy
5. Who issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie?
A. George Jacob Holyoake B. Taliban C. Ayatollah Khomeni D. Queen Elizabeth II
Answer: C. Ayatollah Khomeni
40. Where does hatred arise?
A. In society B. In the minds of men C. In religious disagreements D. In communally sensitive areas
Answer: B. In the minds of men
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