Understanding Secularism - Solutions

CBSE Class–VIII Social Science
NCERT Ssolution
Political Science Chapter 2
Understanding Secularism

1. List the different types of religious practice that you find in your neighbourhood. This could be different forms of prayer, worship of different gods, sacred sites, different kinds of religious music and singing etc. Does this indicate freedom of religious practice?
  1. The different types of religious practices found in my neighbourhood strongly indicate freedom of religious practice.
  2. The various forms of prayer, worship of different gods, sacred sites and different kinds of religious music found in my locality are of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahais and Jews.
  3. The Christians sing hymns, the Hindus bhajans, while the Muslims offers namaaz five times a day. The Jews visit synagogues and the Bahai's believe in the world's unity and peace.
  4. There are churches, temples, mosques, and gurudwaras in my locality. This indicates that all citizens are able to practise their religion with freedom in a secular environment.
  5. Different types of religious practice:(i) Jagran (ii) Kirtan  (iii) Namaj  (iv) Mass  (v) Havan
Yes, this indicates freedom of religious practice.

2. Will the government intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practise infanticide? Give reasons for your answer.
  1. The government in any democratic nation would intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide because this tradition goes against the Fundamental Right to Life.
  2. It involves the killing of an innocent and hence it is unacceptable. In this case, the government interferes by coercion or via support.
  3. The government should intervene in religion to end a social practice that discriminates and violates the "Fundamental Rights" of citizens. Ending such practices ensures that there are freedom and equality in our society.
  4. Hence to conclude, the government will definitely intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide. This is a criminal act and it is strictly prohibited in India.

3. Complete the following table:
ObjectiveWhy is this important?Example of a violation of this objective
One religious community does not dominate another.  
The State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.  
That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community.  
Why is this important
Example of a violation of this objective
One religious community does not dominate another.
It is important for maintaining harmony in society. This is also important to protect the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion.
1. A Muslim family living among Hindu people in a locality is forbidden to offer namaz.
2. A Hindu religious procession is not allowed to cross along the road passing through a mosque.
The State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals
This is important to uphold the ideals of a democratic nation which allows its citizens freedom to choose whichever religion they wish to follow. It is essential in order to enforce the ideals of the Indian Constitution.
In February 2004, the French government banned headscarves and turbans in public places, thereby hurting the sentiments of Muslim and Sikh minorities.
That some members do not dominate other members of the same religions
It is important in order to establish equality in society. This is necessary to uphold individual freedom to practise religion in the light of pressure from the group or religious community that one belongs to.
1. Dalits are discouraged to enter a temple.
2. The Christian community is divided into Protestants and Catholics; Irish Catholics are looked down upon and troubled by the officials of the Church of England who are pre-dominantly Protestants.

4. Look up the annual calendar of holidays of your school. How many of them pertain to different religions? What does this indicate?
  • Many holidays on a school's annual calendar pertain to different religions.
  • For example,
    Religious Holidays such as : Hindu-Holi, Dussehra, Deepawali, Muslim-Id-ul-zoha, Id-ul-fitr, Muharram, Sikh-Lohri, Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Guru Parv, Christian-Christmas, Good Friday.
  • This indicates that India is a secular country where religious freedom is granted to its citizens and all religions are equally respected.

5. Find out some examples of different views within the same religion.
Ans: Different views are followed even within the same religion.
  1. In the Hindu religion we have hundreds of deities worshipped by different people. Some Hindus keep fasts on certain festivals, others do not.
  2. Similarly, in Muslim community there are Shiyas and Sunnis. Among Muslims, many people believe in ‘Parda system’, whereas many do not approve of it and see it as interference in the freedom of women
  3. In Jainas, there are Shwetambar and Digambar sects.
  4. In Bauddha Dharma, there are Hinayaans and Mahayaans.

6. The Indian State both keeps away from religion as well as intervenes in religion. This idea can be quite confusing. Discuss this once again in class using examples from the chapter as well as those that you might have come up with.
  1. The Indian State distances itself from the religion and it is not ruled by a religious group nor does it support any one religion. At the same time, the Indian Constitution grants the right to religious communities to set up their own schools and colleges. It also gives them financial aid on a nonpreferential basis. The intervention of the State can also be in the form of support.
  2. Equal respect is given to all the religions. In order to prevent domination by one particular community, the state may interfere in the religion via coercion or support.
  3. The State may interfere in religion to ensure that all religions are treated equally.
  4. Sometimes, the State may have to intervene in religion based on ‘personal laws’ of the communities to ensure that laws relating to equal inheritance are protected. Similarly, the State also intervenes in case of unwanted religious practices such as infanticide by banning such practices. Indian Constitution intervened in Hindu religious practices in order to abolish untouchability.
  5. The State also uses a strategy of non-interference. This means that in order to respect the sentiments of all religions and not interfere with religious practices, the State makes certain exceptions for particular religious communities. For example, Sikh motorists are allowed to not wear helmets while riding a two-wheeler.