NCERT Solutions For Class 8 Social and Political life Understanding Secularism
Will the government intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practise infanticide? Give reasons for your answer.
The government will intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practise female infanticide.
In this instance, the State is intervening in religion in order to end a social practice that violates the Fundamental Rights of the female child to live on this earth.
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?
Different types of religious practice:
Yes, this indicates freedom of religious practice.
Will the government intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide? Give reasons for your answer.
The government will surely intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide. Needless to say that the practice of infanticide is a crime. Under this practice the life of a newly-born child is killed. The law does not allow anyone to kill a life.
Complete the following table:
Look up the annual calendar of holidays of your school. How many of them pertain to different’religions? What does this indicate?
Holidays in a school calendar for different religions:
Find out some examples of different views within the same religion.
Different views are followed even within the same religion. As for example, only in the Hindu religion, we have hundreds of deities worshipped by different groups of people. Similarly, in Muslim community, there are Shiyas and Shunnis. In Jainas, there are Shwetambar and Digambar sects. In Buddha Dharma, there are Hinayaans and Mahayaans.
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.
India is a land of complex ideas. It is difficult to understand what it really wants. There are many ideals in the Constitution but practices are quite different from them. In many cases we see laws explain a concept in a different way. But people interpret it differently. Law itself in some cases act differently. As for example, in a secular state law has nothing to say in any of the religions practices but when the dominance of upper castes in religion was brought to question the law took favour of the lower castes. This interference of the State creates confusion.
This poster alongside highlights the need for ‘Peace’. It says, “Peace is aneverending process….. It cannot ignoreour differences or overlook our common interests.” Write in your own words what you think the above sentences are trying to convey? How does it relate to the need for religious tolerance?
This chapter had three drawings on religious tolerance made by students of your age. Design your own poster on religious tolerance for your peers.
This poster conveys a message for the establishment of peace in the society. The message explains that peace is a long-cherished process. But in this process we cannot ignore the differences or overlook our common interests. It means peace can be brought only after establishing a coordination between the common interests. Religious tolerance is the most sensitive issue in this sense. Note: Students are suggested to design their own posters on religious tolerance.
I. Multiple Choice Questions
Choose the correct option:
(i) Which one is a correct statement with regard to Saudi Arabia?
(a) Non-Muslims can gather in a public place for prayer.
(b) They cannot build a temple, church, etc.
(c) They can live in their own way.
(d) None of the above
(ii) The most important aspect of secularism is its …………
(a) separation of religion from State power
(b) separation of politics from religion
(c) separation of one community from another
(d) mixing of religion with State power
(iii) The government cannot force Sikhsto wear a helmet while driving two wheelers because ………..
(a) Sikhs are very powerful
(b) they do not obey government rules
(c) they look handsome in pagri
d) wearing a pagri is a very important part of Sikh religion
(iv) In American secularism, there is a …………
(a) strict separation between religion and the State
(b) loose separation between religion and the State
(c) strict mingling of religion with the State
(d) strict rule that contracts all religions
(i) (b), (ii) (a), (iii) (d), (iv) (a).
II. Fill In The Blanks
Fill in the blanks with appropriate words to complete each sentence.
(i) The intervention of the State can also be in the form of ………….
(ii) In the United States of America, most children in government schools have to begin their school day reciting the ‘Pledge of ……………….
(iii) The most important aspect of secularism is its separation of religion from …………. power.
(iv) Government schools don’t celebrate any ………….. festivals in the school premises.
(v) The Indian State is not ruled by a ……………….. group and nor does it …………… any one religion.
(i) support (ii) Allegiance (iii) state (iv) religious (v) religious, support
State whether each of the followingstatements is True or False.
(i) In Indian secularism the State is not strictly separate from religion.
(ii) Wearing a pagri is central to a Sikh’s religious practice.
(iii) Government schools can promote any one religion.
(iv) The Indian Constitution does not grant religious communities to set up their own schools and colleges.
(v) In Indian secularism, the State cannot intervene in religion.
IV. Matching Skills
Match the items given in Column A correctly with those given in Column B.
(i) (d), (ii) (e), (iii) (a), (iv) (b), (v) (c).
Class 8 Social Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism Very Short Answer Type Questions
What examples does history provide us on the grounds of religion?
History provides us with several examples of discrimination, exclusion and persecution on the grounds of religion.
What happened in the Jewish state of Israel?
Muslim and Christian minorities were treated badly in the Jewish state of Israel.
How are non-Muslims treated in Saudi Arabia?
In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not allowed to build a temple, church etc. They also cannot gather in a public place for prayers.
What does the term ‘secularism’ refer to?
The term ‘secularism’ refers to the separation of the power of religion from the power of the State.
What do you mean by freedom to interpret’?
‘Freedom to interpret’ means an individual’s liberty to develop his own understanding and meaning of the religion that one practises.
Why cannot government schools celebrate religious festivals?
Government schools cannot celebrate religious festivals because it will be a violation of government’s policy of treating all religions equally.
Why is Paramjit allowed to drive in pagri?
Paramjit is a Sikh youth and for him wearing a pagri is a very important part of his religion.
How is Indian secularism different from that of American secularism?
Unlike Indian secularism, there is strict separation between religion and the State in American secularism.
What is meant by ‘principled distance’?
This means that any interference in religion by the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.
Class 8 Social Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism Short Answer Type Questions
Why is it important to separate religion from the State? Explain with examples.
There are two main reasons why the separation of religion from the State is important:
- The first is to prevent the domination of one religion over another. Example:Almost all countries of the world will have more than one religious groups living in them. Within these religious groups, there will most likely be one group that is in a majority. If this majority religious group has access to State power, then it could quite easily use this power and financial resources to discriminate against and persecute persons of other religions. This would violate Fundamental Rights.
- The second is to protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpret religious teachings differently. Example:We can give example of untouchability in Hindu religious practice. If state power were in the hands of those Hindus who support untouchability, then it would be a difficult task for anyone to abolish this practice.
What are the three objectives of a secular State?
The three objectives of a secular State are:
- One religious community does not dominate another.
- Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community.
- The State does not enforce any particular religion nor does it take away the religious freedom of individuals.
Explain with an example that in Indian secularism the State can intervene in religious affairs.
An important aspect of India secularism is that the State can intervene in religious affairs. We can prove this fact with an example of untouchability. It was a practice in which the members of the same religion, i.e. upper caste Hindus, dominated other members, i.e. lower caste people, within it. In order to prevent this religion-based exclusion and discrimination of lower castes, the Indian Constitution banned untouchability. In this instance, the State intervened in religion in order to end a social practice that it believed discriminated and excluded and that violated the Fundamental Rights of Lower castes.
What is secularism?
The Indian Constitution contains Fundamental Rights. These rights are very important because they protect us against State power as well as against the tyranny of the majority. The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. Thus, our Constitution gives religious freedom to all and to maintain it India adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State. Secularism is, in fact, the separation of religion from the State.
Class 8 Social Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism Long Answer Type Questions
In what different ways does the Indian State work to prevent religious domination?
Indian secularism works in various ways to prevent religious domination:
(a) It uses a strategy of distancing itself from religion. The Indian State is not ruled by a religious group. It also does not support any one religion. In our country, government places like law courts,police stations, government schools and offices are not supposed to demonstrate or promote any one religion.
(b) The second way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the domination of religion is through 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. Just take the example of the Sikh community. For Sikhs, wearing a pagriis a very important part of their religion. The government cannot force them to wear a helmet while driving a two-wheeler.
(c) The third way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the domination of religion is through a strategy of intervention. Untouchability presents a good example where members of the same religion, e.upper caste Hindus, dominate other members, lower castes within it. In order to prevent this religion-based discrimination of lower castes, our Constitution banned untouchability. Here, the State intervened in religion in order to uproot a social practice that it believed discriminated and excluded, and that violated the Fundamental Rights of the people belonging to lower caste.