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The Clash Between Nehruvian Secularism And Hindu Nationalism

2926 words - 12 pages

India has a long and very complex history due to its massive diversity of different cultures, traditional, religions and due to the period of British rule. This has collaborated in forming India today. In the birth of India as a nation, Nehruvian secularism and Hindu nationalism were the main ideals of how India should be formed. The following essay shall discuss how these two ideals clash, taking into context of the history and social character of India.
For most of the 19th century India was ruled by the British. Under British rule India was a disorganised feudal system system characterized by a lack of centralization and state. Indians themselves had no say in central government and even at a local level, their influence on policies and decision making were limited. India’s industry serve the needs of Britain which impacted on the Indian people due to the free trade policy and having no tariff protection, this saw the collapse of handicrafts and artisanal industries in 19th century. The British rule aided the endless complicated alliances between and across religious groups, kingdoms and states, as in the case of the Zamindar System where aristocratic landowners collected revenues from peasants on behalf of dominant group being the Mughuls and British and the way in which Britain drew the borders on India. India Independence happen in1947 it was this new found freedom that sparked the many clash between Nehruvian secularism and Hindu nationalism.

India’s freedom from its colonial rule started the question of how would India constructed itself. Would India become a victim and fall for communism or would it take on the more popular democratic system seen in Britain and USA. India now had the power to shape its own statehood. Under the leadership Jawaharlal Nehru, he created India’s democracy based on equality and freedom of rights to all citizens of India. With the vast number of religions and crises seen due to religious tension seen in the violence among Hindus and Muslims in the 1940s, when Muslim separatism was increasing in popularity and saw the Indian Territory being partitioned in June 1947 to create a Muslim nation. This saw the establishing of Pakistan on the 14 August 1947 during this period communal violence resulted in 3.5 million people being displaced and a million people killed. This highlighted the major problems that faced India. Nehru took on secular ideals making India a secular state. This meant that India would not have a state religion but would maintain formal neutrality towards all religions and keep religion away from political decisions. Being a democratic country, Nehru had to instill democratic principles that would emphasize equality to all. On 26 January 1950 India proclaimed itself a independent Republic with its own Constitution, Nehru promoted his ideals as Indian constitution deliberately ambiguous on religious and many equality articles such as article 44 were passed which stated that the State “shall...

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