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INDIA DOESN’T HAVE AN “OFFICIAL RELIGION” – A REMINDER!

-MUSKAAN SAYED

After the Britishers invaded India, they managed to rule over us even though they were in a very small number. They used the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’, when the people started to demand participation in the governance hence they first pitched the people against each other by creating separate electorates (on the basis of religion) After years of freedom struggle India was finally free from the British Rule.

The nation had to have a Constitution for governance. Hence a Constituent Assembly was formed on 7th December, 1946 with members representing the different States of India. The Assembly had a total 389 members.

Interestingly the assembly took most of the time to discuss the principle of secularism; how it can be inculcated in the preamble or if shouldn’t be!? H.V. Kamath moved a notion to start the Preamble with in the name of God. Pandit Malaviya said it wasn’t anti secular to start the preamble with ‘By the name of the Supreme Lord’. Unima Banerji stated the reference of God should not be in the preamble as it would affect the democratic voting H.V. Kamath’s amendment was defeated as the people in the assembly insisted the religion was individual choice. Brajeshwar Prasad from Bihar moved an amendment that the preamble should start with “We the people of India”. Further he mentioned how the word “SECULAR” was dear to the national leaders. And how its inclusion will tone up the unity of our Nation. The word secular was not included in the Preamble then but the Constitution includes article 25-28 which ensure the ‘FREEDOM OF RELIGION’ as fundamental right of the people of India. The Fundamental Rights guaranteed equality to all citizens irrespective of religion in keeping with a secular belief.

Almost 74 years back the assembly knew how important secularism is, how religion should not come between the fundamental rights of the citizens, how it should not affect the governance. But what we see today is that the government is again implementing the divide and rule policy of course to safeguard their power as well as to divert the mind of the whole nation from the economic downfall and various issues related to the country’s development. The government is much more concerned about citizen’s documents and segregating them into citizens or illegal immigrants. Not to forget the fact how it is a direct target to on religious communities.

Let’s hope we all do not get trapped in the Divide And Rule policy again!

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