Removal of the Word 'Secular' from Constitution
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Removal of the Word 'Secular' from Constitution

Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef   01 Sep 2018

Removal of the Word 'Secular' from Constitution

Encrypted in golden letters in the preamble of Indian Constitution are those words that describe India with perfection - SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC nation. Ironically, India has witnessed both dark and bright phases throughout these years. Even though separation on the basis of religion, caste, culture, language and politics do exist, the concepts of secularism and the uniform civil code have always been the forces that unite our country as a whole. on a wider sense, venomous political remarks and hate speeches aren't also new to the people these days.

Lately Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu group, demanded that the Indian Constitution be amended to exclude the word 'Secular' from it. Though the demand was opposed by the Union minister Ramdas Athawale later in the day, the comment infuriated the feelings of many. The right-wing group reasoned that the word 'secular' in the constitution’s preamble put Hindus at a disadvantage under 'the garb' of being secular. The spokesperson of the Sanatan Sanstha also claimed that there is injustice being meted out against Hindus under the garb of being secular. 

On November 15, 1948, when the newly independent dominion of India was in the midst of a heated debate in the Constituent Assembly, on the nature of the Constitution, Prof K T Shah made an intervention demanding the inclusion of the word ‘secular’ in the preamble. “Sir, I beg to move, that in clause (1) of article 1, after the words ‘shall be a’ the words ‘Secular, Federalist, Socialist’ be included. The amended article or clause shall read as follows: ‘India shall be a Secular, Federalist, Socialist, Union of States’,” he said.

In the ensuing discourse, while the members agreed on the nature of the Indian state adhering to secular principles, the word ‘secular’ was dropped from the preamble. It made an appearance though, about three decades later, when the Indira Gandhi led government included it in the document, as part of the 42nd Amendment of the constitution.

Earlier, Ananth Kumar Hegde also invited strong criticism and denunciation when he also demanded to remove the word secular from the constitution. A major pointed that has to be noted at this moment is we, as a country, have reached a phase where netas are no longer afraid to spew venomous remarks in public which disrupt the fundamental notions of democracy. This clearly points out that something is horribly wrong with the way we perceive our basic right: i.e.freedom of speech and expression. And how dare they tear our country apart on bigotry? 

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