Q1. Fill in the blanks.
In the United States of America, most
children in government schools have to begin their school day reciting the
‘Pledge of Allegiance’.
The most important aspect of secularism is
its separation of religion from State power.
In India, government spaces like law
courts, police stations, government schools and offices are not supposed to
display or promote any one religion.
The Indian State is not ruled by a
religious group and nor does it support any one religion.
Jewish State of Israel treats its own Muslim
and Christian minorities quite badly.
In Indian secularism the State is not strictly
separate from religion. True
Wearing a pugri (turban) is central to a
Sikh’s religious practice. True
Government schools can promote any one
In Indian secularism, the State cannot
intervene in religion. False
History provides us with many examples of
discrimination, exclusion and persecution on the grounds of religion. True
Q3. What does the term ‘secularism’ refer to?
Ans. Secularism refers to this separation of religion
from the State.
Q4. What do you mean by ‘freedom to interpret’?
Ans. ‘Freedom to interpret’ means an individual’s
liberty to develop his own understanding and meaning of the religious
Q5. Explain the concept of ‘principled distance’.
Ans. This means that any interference in religion by
the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.
Q6. How are non-Muslims treated in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not allowed to build a temple, church etc., and
nor can they gather in a public place for prayers.
Q7. What is meant by the word ‘establishment’?
‘establishment’ means that the legislature cannot declare any religion as the
official religion. Nor can they give preference to one religion.
Q8. What is the most important aspect of secularism? State its
Ans. The most important aspect of secularism is its
separation of religion from State power. This is important for a country to
Q9. “The government cannot force Sikhs to wear a helmet while
driving two wheelers.” Give reason.
is because the Indian State recognises that wearing a pugri (turban) is central
to a Sikh’s religious practice and in order not to interfere with this, allows
an exception in the law.
Q10. What provision has been made by the government to follow
religious equality in government spaces, schools and offices?
In India, government spaces like law courts, police stations, government
schools and offices are not supposed to display or promote any one religion.
schools cannot promote any one religion either in their morning prayers or
through religious celebrations.
Q11. When does discrimination occur?
When does the act of discrimination take place?
Ans. Discrimination occurs when members of one
religious community either persecute or discriminate against members of other
religious communities. These acts of discrimination take place more easily when
one religion is given official recognition by the State at the expense of other
Q12. How Indian concept of secularism is different from United States?
There is one significant way in which Indian secularism differs from the
dominant understanding of secularism as practised in the United States of
America. This is because unlike the strict separation between religion and the
State in American secularism, in Indian secularism the State can intervene in
Q13. Why government schools are not allowed to celebrate
Ans. The celebration of the religious festival within
the school would be a violation of the government’s policy of treating all
religions equally. Government schools cannot promote any one religion either in
their morning prayers or through religious celebrations. That’s why government
schools are not allowed to celebrate religious festival.
Q14. What is secularism in Indian context?
The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious
beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of
religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the
power of religion and the power of the State. Secularism refers to this
separation of religion from the State.