What is Secularization and its Concept

What is Secularization and its Concept

Last updated: November 19, 2019

What is Secularization and its Concept:

  • Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions.
  • The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance.
  • Secularization refers to the historical process in which religion loses social and cultural significance.
  • As a result of secularization, the role of religion in modern societies becomes restricted.
  • In secularized societies faith lacks cultural authority, and religious organizations have little social power.
  • Secularization has many levels of meaning, both as a theory and a historical process.
  • Social theorists such as Karl Marx, max weber, Sigmund Freud and Emile Durkheim postulated that the modernization of society would include a decline in levels of religiosity.
  • The study of this process seeks to determine the manner in which, or the extent to which religious creeds, practices, and institutions are losing social significance.
  • Some theorists argue that the secularization of modern civilization partly results from our inability to adapt to the broad ethical and spiritual needs of mankind to the increasingly fast advance of the physical sciences.

Meaning of Secularization:

  • A religious school that’s ending its affiliation with a church is undergoing secularization.
  • An institution, government, or society that has no connection to religion is secular, and the process of moving toward being secular is secularization.
  • If a country’s population has become less religious or spiritual over time, it’s evidence of the secularization of the entire society.
  • Many colleges, including Harvard University, for example, were religious institutions until they underwent secularization.

Characteristics of Secularization:

  • Removal of Religion
  • Separation of religion from the state
  • Rationalism and Scientific outlook
  • Emphasis on this world as opposed to another world
  • Religious Neutrality
  • It promotes Humanitarian Values
  • Anti-thesis of Communalism

Principles of Secularization:

  • Conforms to workly matters
  • Involves separation of state from religious affairs
  • Make distances society from religion
  • It personalizes or individualizes religious affair
  • It considers all rituals purely artificial & man-made

Causes of Secularization: What is Secularization and its Concept

Modern Education:

  • The foremost cause of secularization in India is western education which brought in western culture and diminished the influence of Indian culture.
  • It may be said that the process of secularization in India started with the advent c f Britishers in the country.
  • The modern education encouraged scientific attitude towards human problems.
  • The educated youth tried to find out scientific explanations of the numerous traditional beliefs regarding women’s role in society.
  • A secular attitude was adopted towards marriage, occupations and other human activities.

Development of the Means of Transport and Communication:

  • The changes in the modes of transport and communication have increased physical mobility.
  • The inter-mixing of people belonging to different parts of the country led to the removal of much of the misunderstanding and growth of liberal ideas.
  • The caste system got a blow and the views in regard to caste-based untouchability also underwent a change.
  • The growth of the means of transport has greatly helped in the secularization of the rural community.

Social and Religious Reform Movements:

  • The various social and religious reform movements started by Indian leaders like: –
    • Raja Ram Mohan Roy
    • Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
    • Keshav Chandra Sen
    • Swami Dayanand
    • Devenaranath Tagore
    • Mahatma Gandhi
    • It also encouraged the process of secularization in India


  • Secularization is more prominent in urban life than in rural life.
  • All these Factors have secularised the urban outlook: –
    • The housing shortage,
    • The multiplicity of the means of transport and communication,
    • The economic problems,
    • Fashion,
    • Education,
    • Urban,
    • Political and social structure,
    • Influence of western culture on urban life


  • The Britishers enacted various laws like: –
    • The Widow Remarriage Act, 1856,
    • Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850,
    • Special Marriage Act, 1872
    • Which attacked the orthodox beliefs of the Indian people.
  • In modern times: –
    • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,
    • Hindu Succession Act, 1956,
    • The Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1956,
    • The Maintenance Act,
    • The Adoption of Children Act
    • They have led to the secularization of the Hindu institutions of marriage and family.

The Indian Constitution:

  • The constitution of India has accelerated the process of secularization.
  • The amended Preamble declares India to be a secular republic.
  • All the citizens have been guaranteed equal rights without any discrimination on the bases of caste, sex or creed.
  • Public wells and places of entertainment have been thrown open to all the castes.
  • The citizens are free to adopt any profession and move to any part of the country.
  • Untouchability has been declared to be an offense.
  • Articles 27-30 dealing with the right to freedom of religion make India a secular state.
  • The Indian Constitution has made a notable contribution to the secularization of Indian life.

Western culture:

  • The influence of western culture has secularized Indian life.
  • The western culture lays emphasis on materialism, individualism, sensualism, non-religionism, and license.
  • It has influenced the outlook and family relations of the people in India.
  • Religion does not now solely determine their economic pursuits or matters regarding marriage, education, sex and family life.
  • The Indian culture under the influence of western culture has assimilated new ideas.
  • The religious interpretation of cultural activities has given place to secular interpretation.
  • The influence of secularization can also be seen in the spheres of literature and art whose themes now depict secular, scientific, rational and democratic ideas.
  • India is a secular state; hence all the publicity media of the state propagate secularism.
  • Every political leader and every political party speaks the vocabulary of secularism.

Failure of Secularization:

  • The secularism of India has come under threat on various occasions, and communal violence has made its way to mainstream politics.
  • Incidents such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid are among the many examples where the validity of India as a secular state was questioned.
  • The destruction of the Babri Masjid on December 6 was a violent humiliation of India’s Muslim minority.
  • The task carried out by a government and party officials were followed by a number of riots, giving a blow to the secular nature of the Indian state.
  • The Shah Bano case of the mid-1980s brought forward the incident of a Muslim woman asking for maintenance from her divorced husband, where the court ruled in favor of Shah Bano.
  • But her husband moved to the supreme court claiming he was not required to pay maintenance after oi iddat.
  • The Supreme Court rejected his claim, in the purview of the secularism of India.
  • But the Muslim community, especially the ulama opposed the judgment and there was nationwide uproar.
  • Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in, and the Muslim Women Bill was passed, ensuring that the Muslim men do not have to pay maintenance to their divorced wives after the iddat.
  • Thus the state stepped back from its secular nature by showing its favor for s particular religious group.
  • Many other events of communal violence have come about, not only shaking the ground of secular harmony in the Indian civil society but also making the state show its affinity towards some particular religious group or the state is directly involved in religion-centric activities.
  • Thus, it’s high time we step up in preserving the secular nature of the Indian state.
  • All parties must come together to oppose any rising communal power.
  • The government should not fear the risk of unpopularity and take strict action to counter any incidents that have the potential to shake  India’s secular base.
  • The secular actors should be more active than ever before and work to ensure peace in a strictly secular sense.
  • Only then can India’s secular legacy be preserved and the land of multiple religions can continue to live in harmony like it always has.

Importance of Secularization in India:

  • India has the second-highest population in the world.
  • When it comes to geographical volume, this country stands at number seven.
  • And this aspect has led to consistent peace and harmony amongst all.
  • But there are certain factors that determine the need for secularism in countries like India.
  • Human race always seeks peace and harmony to lead a happier life.
  • An individualistic approach to secularism opens the door for communal harmony as well as permanent peace among the different varieties of religious and caste groups.
  • Have you ever thought deeply as to why the mutual misunderstanding happens? If you have not, then look at the following points one by one: –

High population and low GDP

  • With the growing population of India, the communities expand their families.
  • Consequently, it leads to exposing illegal possession of land, money, and others by using many unfair means which are opposed by the honest people of other groups of communities.
  • The lower average production of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) has led to the scarcity of basic needs like food, fuel, clothing, etc.
  • This phenomenon creates unwanted havoc in a society that grabs the whole country in the course of time.
  • As a consequence, it further results in continuous war, terror and many other disturbances that cannot be controlled by any other means.
  • The best way to solve these types of issues is to bring respect for each others’ sects of religion, culture, and community and be mutually cooperative.

Mutual harmony

  • When we talk of Mutual harmony, the first idea to focus is to bring all the cultures together and celebrate the spirit of unity.
  • This unity is possible when a secular approach to all religions and communities is maintained by the citizens of India.
  • Hence secularism plays a vital role in bringing peace and harmony amongst all.

Non-flexible economy

  • The most important cause for the need for a secular India is its non-flexibility in economical standards of the people.
  • The people, in general, have different financial standards although India is regarded as a reputed country for its stability in the financial sector.
  • During the world crisis of financial deficit, it is India that has saved the world from a certain downfall.
  • But inside India, people suffer due to factors like the black economy.
  • All the wealth of India lye deposited in one corner and the people suffer from its scarcity at the other.

Predominant history for peace

  • Again, whatever the situation, a nationwide peace is also of similar importance.
  • India has a matchless history of making peace and avoiding wars.
  • All our fore leaders, starting from the exalted personality of Mr. M.K. Gandhi, our respected father of the nation to the evergreen humility of Dr. APJ Kalam, our respected former president, have tried their best level to ensure an everlasting peace in a national aspect.
  • The Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Jainists, etc. have been living here by developing a universal brotherhood, a feeling of oneness and the feeling of living in one family.
  • This has been only possible due to the non-sectarian and secular approach of India to its citizens.

The strongest weapon for terrorism

  • In modern days, the volume of international rivalry, war, and terrorism is increasing at a fast rate.
  • Then except for the international war, an internal fight for existence amongst the people will be inevitable.
  • The whole country will be involved in warfare for a prolonged period and the peace seekers can easily be sidelined.
  • Then it would be very easy to counterattack any rival nation and continue our stability in culture and status.

Problems of Secularism in India: What is Secularization and its Concept

  • The problem of uniform civil code
  • Politics and Religion
  • Failure of the Government in Evolving a Just Economic Order
  • Cultural Symbols and Secularism
  • Minority Group Perceptions
  • The Defective Educational System

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *