The religious co-existence is the basic philosophy of the Indian way of life and it is found in all walks of our life. Equal respect for all faiths and beliefs is the cardinal principles of Indian thought process. There is religious freedom, and freedom of faith and belief in our country. India is secular from the very beginning dating back to four thousand years and it is a fact that word secular and secularism, are the later incorporations to the constitution of India. Indian political thinkers recognized the fact that the Hindu way of life was more secular than the modern secular state. In Hindu state the co-existence was the corner stone of its being and the very Hindu symbolises the co-existence, freedom of religion and belief. The two fundamentals and pronouncements of Sarva Darma Sambhava and Vasudev Kutumbakam, mean equal respect for all faiths and whole world is one family are fundamental to the Hindu thought and way of life. Because of this religious co-existence the Indian thinkers did not felt the need of incorporating the word secular to the constitution. Because of the Hindu thought and belief and the religious traditions the word secular was incorporated in the preamble of the constitution lately as the Hindu way of thought and belief where brimming with religious freedom and co-existence and thus there was no need for the incorporation of the word secular to the constitution. It implies that the India was secular from the very beginning. India was and is secular like a modern secular state from the last five thousand years and this is the greatest contribution of the Hindu way of life, culture and civilization. Any way Indian coexistence is the cardinal principle of its beliefs, traditions and the practices. But one thing is certain that the co-existence is found in the Hindu society and it is the guiding force of our life and belief and as such is followed in the letter and spirit. Inspite of the fact that the religious freedom has now got constitutional backing we Indians were secular even before and this hardly, matters for our society which was more secular even millennium years before. In Indian context two things should be understood that one there is no equivalent in Indian culture to secularism and second dharma is not religion. The term Hindu cannot be conflated with the western concept of religion which is fairly of very recent origin. The fact is that the term Hindu in the Indian context is several millennia old. Hindu essentially meant the society with its beliefs and traditions and way of life and its cultural and civilizational moorings and also includes its practices and prejudices. Unlike the institutionalised parameters of Semitic religions for the basic human rights of freedom of belief the Indian thought process kept the faith, belief and the method of worship outside the purview the state and uncontaminated by outside influence. In spite of this capacity to adjust and assimilate made Hindutva flexible, responsive to modernity and dynamic but yet rooted in tradition. Hindu society is full of religious freedom and belief and co-existence is the guiding force of the society and it finds strength in the Hindu thought and culture and way of living. The first Prime Minister J L Nehru rejected the inclusion of secularism in the constitution but two decades later his daughter Indira Gandhi effected drastic changes to all most all parts of the constitution including the preamble converting the sovereign, democratic republic into sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. Here, the question arises, was India less secular from 1947 to 1976 or are we really more secular now since the constitution says so. The answer to this question is big no. The fact is that Indian secularism has been an integral part of polity through the ages.Omkar Dattatray
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