Representational photos | Hindu priests perform evening prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi | Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg
Representational photo | Hindu priests perform evening prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi | Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg


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August 5, 2020 marked the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. I have noticed that many have been genuinely anguished by this event. Some have been bemoaning it as the death of secularism in India.

I consider myself to be secular, so why do I do not see it that way?

What does the term ‘secular’ mean?

Strictly speaking, secularism means separation in entirety of church and state.

In a secular nation, the government must stay away from anything religious. But isn’t it odd that the word ‘secular’ was not part of the preamble to the Indian constitution when it was originally adopted?

Why was such an important word left out? As I see it, the omission was deliberate. What is even more surprising is that the two people who guided the drafting of the preamble of the Constitution were BR Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru, whose secular credentials were unimpeachable.

To be secular in the truest sense of the word, the Indian state would have to stay out of the religious ambit completely. And this was almost impossible.

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