ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE DISCUSSIONS ON CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION



ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE DISCUSSIONS ON CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION

         The discussions in chapter one about the direct constitutional provisions that are concerned with freedom of religion, confirm that the spirit of the constitution is to uphold the plural structure of the Indian society. It is also concretely established that freedom of religion is a vital part of the constitution. Even, there are sufficient possibilities to consider the freedom of religion as a human rights issue.

In this chapter, the pertinent issues connected with freedom of religion emerging from the preceding brief discussions on the constitutional provisions can be further analyzed to clarify the position of the constitution in connection with freedom of religion and the attempts of a few parochial interpretations of the constitution. The first such analysis can be on the inclusion of the expression secular in the preamble of the constitution. Then there can be discussions on the expressions secular, secularism, secular state, democracy, freedom of religion, propagation and conversion.

 2.1 Insertion of the Word Secular in the Preamble
Having taken into careful consideration the plural structure of the Indian society in all aspects of life, the preamble of the Indian constitution envisages justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all the citizens of India. P.L. John Panicker has elaborated these principles and puts as, “the constitution of India in its preamble has pledged to give to the people of India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic, committed to secure to all its citizens social, economic, and political justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity and dignity of the individual, fraternity of the people and integrity of the nation.”[1]
The above definite assertion is possible because of the meticulous insertion of the word ‘secular’ in the preamble of the constitution. According to Durga Das Basu “the secular objective of the State has been specifically expressed by inserting the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976. Secularism is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.”[2] Again he writes “the unity and fraternity of the people of India, professing numerous Faiths, has been sought to be achieved by enshrining the ideal of a ‘secular State’, which means that the State protects all religions equally and does not itself uphold any religion as the State religion. The question of Secularism is not one of sentiments, but one of law.”[3] The principles of secular, secularism and secular state are essential in the discussions on freedom of religion.
            Those who are opposed to the secular values of the constitution prudently claim that the very nature of India is secular “why then this inclusion of the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble of the constitution? Was not Art 30 enough assurance to the minority religious communities?”[4] Such a pretentious claim is sugarcoated pill. The notion behind is the denial of rights and privileges to the minorities.
People with such assertion make a false distinction between Indian secularism and other. In connection with the insertion of the word secular in the preamble it is remarked “for whatever was the cause, its inclusion in the constitution remains as a standing insult to the traditional secularism that has been the long standing Indian heritage throughout the centuries.”[5] The truth is had there been real secularism in India the necessity for the inclusion of the word secular in the preamble of the Indian constitution could not have arisen.
In the opinion of anti-secular proponents “first of all, the very notion of ‘secularism’ as it originated in the West has no relevance to our country. Centuries ago, in Europe, the kings revolted and overthrew the theocratic hegemony of Pope over their kingdoms and established their own rule. Thus came about the ‘secular’ states as opposed to the ‘theocratic’ ones.”[6] According to them India never had such a situation. This is, of course, not glorification of the greatness of Indian ethos but a shield to execute the whims and fancies of a particular numerically dominant group. And the group is intolerant towards other religions and hostile to the plain notion of secular state, as envisaged in the Indian constitution.
Here the remark of Ambedkar is fitting. He warned the constitution Assembly on November 25, 1949, “however good a constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it happen to be a bad lot. However bad a constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution.”[7] It is true that the constitution of India is meticulous in guaranteeing freedom of religion to every citizen of this nation but only those who have communal agendas attempt to divert the right direction of the constitution by glorifying intolerance as tolerance and disharmony as harmony.
            In spite of the protests associated with the insertion of the word secular in the preamble, its placing in the preamble has strengthened the fundamental rights of all the citizens of India along the line of human rights, besides the clarion spirit of the constitution. It unambiguously guarantees freedom of religion to every one subject to the sovereignty of the nation.

2.2 Secular
            The insertion of the word secular in the preamble of the Indian constitution is a boon to India where many religions, languages and cultures coexist side by side. But the problem associated with the placing of this word in the constitution is that the word secular is not defined in the constitution. This has thrown open the possibilities of raising several questions as to what is meant by secular, secularism and secular state.
Since judiciary plays vital role in resolving confusions on the basis of constitution, its pronouncement on the use of the term secular is credible. Although the subsequent section of this chapter is devoted to discuss ‘secularism’ we have chosen a passage, which explains secularism and secular to understand the point of view. Here the two terms secular and secularism are relatively explained. Nevertheless, the explanation makes things much clear. With regard to the use of secularism and secular, it is stated “this state of confusion has been set at rest by authoritative pronouncements made by the Supreme Court, in a nine-Judge decision, as follows:
(a) Secularism, in India, does not mean that the State should be hostile to religion but that it should be neutral as between the different religions.
(b) Every individual has the freedom to profess and practise his own religion, and it cannot be considered that “if a person is a devout Hindu or a devout Muslim, he ceases to be secular”.
(c) The use of the vague word ‘secular’ in the Preamble would not override the enacted provisions in Arts.25-30 or Art. 351, so that the preference of Sanskrit in the academic syllabus as an elective subject, while not conceding this status to Arabic or Persian or the like, would not militate against the basic tenets of secularism (para 20).
(d)The neutrality of the state would be violated if religion is used for political purposes and advocated by the political parties for their political ends. An appeal to the electorate on grounds of religion offends secular democracy (para 128). Politics and religion cannot be mixed (para 131). If a State Government does this, it will be a fit case for application of Art. 356 of the Constitution against it (para 365 (10)).
(e) It is in this sense that secularism is to be regarded as a basic feature of the Constitution [para 365 (10)].”[8]
            Although the word secular and its derivative secularism are used in the judgment it clarifies the clear denotation of the term secular as implied in the preamble of the Indian constitution.
The implications are that in a secular state, the state shall be neutral in matters of religion, every individual has freedom of religion, religion should not be used for political ends and politics and religion cannot be mixed. Unfortunately, it is a reality that when certain political parties occupy power they aggressively propound the interest of one religious group, mainly the numerically majority. Religion is used for political propagations and political and religious interests are mixed together. This new context is alarming and hence needs serious consideration and this justifies the reason for undertaking this research. The above judgment affirms the neutrality of the state on religious matters and does not say that the religion of the numerically dominant should be the religion of the nation. Nor it says that the numerically dominant religious body will prescribe the religion that others should follow. A further analysis of the usage secularism can be an additional help in understanding the subject matter.
           

2.3 Secularism

The principle of secularism was well conceived in India much before independence. Neera Chandhoke writes, “Secularism as a creed that the state should treat all religions equally, was adopted by the Indian National congress (hereafter the Congress) as one of its core principles, simply because it was moral, relevant, and appropriate for the needs of our society.”[9]
Even before the insertion of the word secular in the preamble of the Indian constitution the secular implications were implicit. The changing political and communal scenario of India has necessicitated the insertion of the word secular into the preamble of the Indian constitution in 1976.[10] No doubt this was a great step forward in preserving the secular credentials of the Indian constitution.
In spite of the early congress’ efforts to instill secular ideals in India it is worth remembering that “during the course of discussion in the Constituent Assembly on the Fundamental Rights relating to religion, the idea of secularism was extensively pressed into service by the members as the most handy tool to substantiate various viewpoints, often diametrically opposed.”[11] Nonetheless, the relevance of adhering to secular ideals in India is inevitable.  Meera Nanda writes, “the future of secular societies depends upon the cultivation of secular culture.”[12] This is to say that secularism is crucial to India and hence it has to be practiced at all spears of life. Secularism gains unequivocal acceptance as religious bodies are realizing the phenomenon of living together with other religious communities rather than hating the other. Even at this point of time communal forces utilize religious sentiments to persuade one religious community against the other.

 2.3.1 Secularism and Freedom of Religion

The principle of secularism is uniquely understood and practiced in India. In the words of Neera Chandhoke “it is not surprising that secularism in the Indian polity, as a response to our conditions and mode of thought, came to be conceptualized as sarva dharma sambhava, or equality of all religions.”[13] The fact that in the Indian constitution the word secular is used to stress the neutrality of the state in relation to religions is further emphasized as “ironically, it is often forgotten that secularism in India had been devised precisely to negotiate interreligious relationships; to grant the freedom of religious belief; to ensure equality of all the religious groups. And to assure the minorities that their identities would be safe.”[14] However, the Hindu right has ignored the basic thrust of the word secular and attempts to use it according to their own convenience. It is argued that, “the parties of Hindu Right have appropriated the concept of secularism and through various spurious yet ingenious discursive moves, made it very much their own.”[15]
Appealing for the supremacy of Hinduism and ignoring the significant use of the word secular in the constitution M.S. Golwalkar contends, “if by secularism is meant that the State should not be tagged to any particular creed and that all faiths should be equally respected, then this again would be another name for Hindu tradition.”[16] This allegation is praise worthy as it looks. But the underlying assumption is that Hinduism should be in the center stage in a multi religious country like India.
The protection of the rights of minorities, particularly religious minorities, as desired by the spirit of the constitution is unacceptable to the fundamental groups. They say “in India the Bill of Rights for minorities under Art 30 make (sic) mockery of equality of law and equal protection of law and of secularism itself.”[17] The so-called numerically majority does not want to consider the rights of others. Even they do not want the state to protect such rights. Any such necessary attempts are termed as minority appeasement.
The concealed target of such sections of the society is emphatically stated as “whereas the liberal leadership under Nehru designed secularism to assure the minorities of fair play and justice, today hindutva has been substituted for secularism.”[18] Real secularism promises freedom of religion to all the citizens of India and Hindutva attempts Hindu dominance over the other. Since secularism guarantees freedom of religion to every religious community, the corrupt wisdom aims at attacking the founders of the principle.

 2.3.2 Critiquing Nehru

Rather than appreciating the necessity of secular principles in India, communally oriented political ideologies twisted the original connotation of the principle to make false propagations to achieve political ends.  The beginning of such an attempt is to criticize the original introducers of the principle and the process of its acceptance. According to them Nehru introduced secularism for the first time in 1952 General Election de-linking politics from religion. In 1976 during the Emergency it was incorporated into the preamble of the Constitution of India to appease the disgruntled Muslims.[19]
The Hindu rights’ unwillingness to earnestly accept the noble principles and significance of secularism in a religiously plural context is vivid. For instance  “the Jan Sangh hated Jawaharlal Nehru, the most committed and articulate of secularists.”[20] He is disliked just because of holding on to the necessity of secularism in India and also bringing it into practice. The erudite wisdom of Nehru helped the minorities, particularly the religious minorities to be ensured of religious freedom.
The opponents of secularism questioned the secular credentials and foresightedness of Nehru. For them “Nehru broke up the relationship of Hinduism   with politics.”[21] The underlying assumption is that Hinduism alone should enjoy the privilege of state religion and all other faith traditions should be subject to Hinduism. This is an unscientific claim as India is witnessing ever study growth of all her religious products and none of them dwindling.
Being closed to the realities of the world, conservative religious groups are adamantly hesitant to accept and respect people belonging to other traditions. They glory in what is crudely accepted as right and complete. That is why they question the inclusion of the word secular in the preamble of the constitution, the protections given to the religious minorities and the advocates of secularism.
It is appreciable that Hinduism is so accommodative and tolerant as expounded by the religious stalwarts of this land. The problem simmers as the modern politically motivated Hindu leaders explicitly propagate the principle of intolerance towards other religious communities in India. It become worse as the other religious communities are threatened to lose their constitutional rights in India. And hence any one arguing against the insertion of the word secular and its implications in various parts of the governance of the nation and its introducers and proponents has a communal and divisive ideology.

 2.3.3 Connecting Secularism with the West

Another attempt to thwart the principle of secularism and freedom of religion in India is to weaken the roots and logicality of secularism.  One such endeavor is to malign secularism as purely western product and not relevant to India. For example, although it is the age of science and rationality, rather than appreciating the necessity of secularism in a plural society, the very construct of secularism is irrationally refuted as,   “Secularism came to India in the post Independence era as a variant of western rationality.”[22] This statement could have been intelligible had there been an Indian secularism, but not a Hindu religious and intolerant secularism.
The only agenda of such a critique is that the religion of the numerically majority alone can have absolute sway over things and all other religions will have a subordinate place. Thus the critics of secularism argue that “the basic feature of secularism in UK and USA is that there is no distinction between citizens on ground of religion or form of worship, and that everybody is equal before law and is entitled to its equal protection, but that the religion of the majority community functions from the center of all state activities and presides over other religious sub-cultures.”[23] The problem with the communal organizations is that they neither desire to treat other religious communities on par with them nor consider other religions with due respect.
Those who respect the secular values oppose the proposal for a Hindu Rashtra because it is against ‘secularism’. But the Hindu communal organizations maintain that call for Hindu Rashtra is not against secularism. And they also affirm that the very notion of ‘secularism’ as it originated in the West has no relevance to our country. According to them in the west the secular state came in opposition to theocratic state and in India there was never such a situation. Further, the word ‘secular’ is nowhere to be found in our Constitution. In their understanding people are confusing ‘secularism’ with ‘nationalism’.[24]
To undermine the importance of secular state in India, the fundamentalists try to make a false distinction between western and Indian secularism and mix up secularism and nationalism. If it was untainted nationalism every one would venerate but it is Hindu Nationalism. This right perception is unable to be accepted by the initiators of anti-secularism. They say  ‘unfortunately secularism in India has, in practice, meant anti-Hinduism for people at the helm of affairs’.[25] They are not content with opposing secular values alone rather accuse the real proponents and implementers of secularism.
In spite all the advantages, the numerically dominant religious groups have an inferior feeling. They lament “in India thus secularism clothes minorities with rights on ground of religion that are not available to the majority community.”[26] It is nothing more than the presumable difficulty to accept people of other religious persuasion and respect them.
The antagonists of secular principles always look for avenues to establish their position irrespective of its non-feasibility. They never attempt to respect the sentiments of numerically disadvantaged groups. This grievous notion is implicit in the allegation that  “election in Mizoram and Nagaland could be fought by the ruling party at the center on christian card but a Hindu fighting the same on Hindu card in Maharashtra in 1989 had to vacate his seat on ground of breach of secularism.” [27] This shows the vehemence in which anti-secular forces are operative in this nation.
The brutal claim of the communal forces is that they will not follow any standards or values rather they will set controls and limits to every one. Their concealed attempt to promote Hindu religious, intolerant and communal secularism in the place of universally accepted principles is overwhelming in their every utterance. One such expression is that “to justify Art 30 on the ground of apprehension of minorities about the intention of the majority will be in conformity with the concept of western secularism, but it will be doing lip service to Indian traditional secularism based on fellowship of religious faiths.”[28] They fail to realize that the bizarre happenings in India and all over the globe constantly affirm the inevitability of practicing religious neutrality in India. That is why it is stated  “Secularism as a peculiarly modern concept, aligned to the equally modern concepts of equality and freedom, was an integral part of the project of modernity that India began her post-independence life with.”[29] India cannot compromise with secularism as its constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every one. As all attempts against the commonly accepted secular principles suffer setbacks, the communal organizations come with a new form of secularism called ‘positive secularism’.

 2.3.4 Positive Secularism

Those who decry the existing constitutional secularism in India and desirous of promoting Hindu religious and communal secularism are of the view that, “in the name of perverted secularism, which has become another name for policy of Muslim appeasement, India is steadily becoming a perverted Muslim state.”[30] This is the continuation of their fear psychosis that in spite of their numerical strengths some others might become more powerful. In other words this is a direct approval of inequality to the citizens of India on the grounds of religion. Rather than constructively strengthening the integrity of the nation here is a conscious attempt to divide the nation on flimsy grounds.
In contrast to the prevailing form of secularism the anti-secular forces argue, “Gandhiji’s Ram Rajya is based on that concept of toleration and universality which form the bed-rock of positive secularism that BJP advocates. In this positive secularism there is no appeasement of minorities.”[31] It looks Gandhi is used as a scapegoat but not with good intentions as it was obvious that a Hindu fundamentalist assassinated Gandhi. The single adverse thought dominant in the ideology of the communally characterized political groups is that a Hindu religious and communal secularism should be operative in India.
Their ugly design is vivid in the following proposal that “Nehruvian nationalism was based on minority appeasement to the exclusion of the majority community whereas positive secularism of the BJP envisages welfare of the minorities on the good will of the majority community, the Hindus, in much the same way as the minority welfare has functioned under the majority christian rule in christian countries or under the majority muslim rule in Islamic countries.”[32] One thing needs appreciation is that the fundamental way of thinking often starkly reveals the hidden plans.
The anti-secularists did not stop with proposing this strange form of secularism but they claim that it was in practice from the days of yore. It is said “this assimilation and co-existence in Hindu India could be possible because of the positive secularism practiced in those times in India.”[33] The fact that the assimilative and absorbing characteristics of Hinduism which have become weapons in the hands of the advocates of communalism is a threat to other religious communities is not yet realistically accepted.
The aims of the Hindu fundamentals are rightly portrayed, as “at the heart of the Hindu Right’s approach to secularism is a policy of assimilation. It is a policy that aims at denying, and ultimately, obliterating cultural and religious minorities.”[34] This serious threat can be challenged only by the constitutional secularism. Hence it is said “the effort to defend secularism from the onslaught of the Hindu Right will thus require a direct confrontation over the issue of minority rights.”[35] Among the minority rights most essential one is the freedom of religion as guaranteed in the constitution of India. The proposed positive secularism keeps afar the scope of religious freedom to the minorities.
It is un-understandable that in spite of the constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion in particular and minority rights in general we are forced to think that the fundamentalists are really threatening the mere existence of the minorities as a whole. Having observed the crafty ways that the fundamental groups use to frustrate the notion and implications of secularism, now a brief view at the concept ‘secular state’ is not out of context.

2.4 Secular State
Another concern raised along with the definition of the term secular is that “nowhere in the Constitution of India has the term “secular” been used to signify the character of the State. Nevertheless it embodies the idea of a secular State.”[36] There is a seeming ambiguity and at the same time confirmation that the idea of secular state is both implicit and explicit in the constitution, depending upon the perceptions.
The interconnectedness of freedom of religion and secular state is important to note while observing the definition of the expression ‘secular state’. For instance it is maintained, “the state, we can say, is secular inasmuch as it both banishes religious reasons from public policy, and maintains an equidistance from all religious groups, intervening on the side of neither.”[37] This is in line with the constitutional implications to consider India as a secular state. E. C. Bhatty has brought out in nutshell the meaning of secular state as vogue in India as “the State has no official religion, nor can it establish or endow any.”[38] In other words the state is neutral to all religions. It shall not discriminate any person on religious ground.
A clear demarcation point for a nation to be secular pertains to its attitude to religions. For example “a secular State is neither religious nor anti-religious.  It is neutral in religious matters.  Not that it is indifferent to the religious welfare of its citizens.”[39] In other words the state is only neutral to all religions but it regards ethical values as high. For example P.N. Sapru writes, “a secular state is not an unethical state.  The basic ethical ideas are much the same in all religions.”[40]
 The credibility of India being a secular state is that our secular State has no religion of its own. Still further ”it cannot discriminate between individuals on the basis of religion.  No particular religion is entitled to any special patronage from it.  It is not open to it to make laws which compel the acceptance or abandonment of any creed or belief.”[41] Insisting that the minority should follow the wishes of the majority often dilutes such an integral and harmonious nature.
            Rather than accepting the reality people find variance and excuses to Indian secularism. Fearing that secularism might shake the communal claims of the Hindu fundamentalists it is adversely portrayed, as “it has no positive quality like tolerance and universality of Hinduism with which it could enrich human existence with higher and nobler expressions of life conducive to unity in diversity.”[42] The irony is that the majoritarian attitude of the Hindu communalists has necessitated the introduction and insistence of secularism in Indian polity.
Cunningness and crafty nature are the fundamental trademarks of the communalists and fundamentalists. They twist everything so as to create unrest to the peaceful existence of the people. We always maintained that India is a secular state and it is neutral to all religions but the venom is injected to the uncritical minds, as “India’s new secularism does not separate state actions from religion.”[43] To support such monstrously evil designs flawed arguments are hatched, as “Secularism in USA or in UK does not mean that they have ceased to be Christian states.”[44] The problem of the present era is to see the state as state and religion as religion but not to mix both.
            In order to avoid the fact new proposals are liberally brought forward. For example it is demanded, “in this country, the ‘state’ was never tagged on to any particular faith.”[45] The simple logical question is if so why do people ask for a higher position to Hinduism in all affairs of the nation. And why is the demand for Hindu Rastra.
One thing is sure that the secular nature of the constitution cannot be diluted at any cost. It needs to be preserved without any modification. It is suggested, “the struggles for the rights of exploited sections are the ‘core’ around which struggles for secular society (anti- Fascist –anti fundamentalist) can be built up.”[46] Secularism as understood in the Indian polity alone can help the just claims of the religious minority in India.
The conception that India is a secular state is not accidental but well cognized. That is why “the dominant theme of secularism- freedom of religious belief and conscience, equality of all religions, and equidistance of the state from all religion-were backed up by special provision for minority rights.”[47] The wisdom and good will of the framers of the constitution cannot be taken lightly and should not be misused at any count. Or, more clearly the constitutional provisions related to the freedom of religion cannot be altered at all. This fact is well stated, as  “no sanctum sanatorium can be more sacred, at least in a Secular state, than the national interest and security. Anything that undermines the secular concept must be considered irreligious and deserves condemnation.”[48] It is repeatedly reminded that the freedom of religion enjoined under the provisions of the secular state can never be utilized for anti national activities. Hence, the call is for freedom of religion subject to the interests of the nation.

2.4.1 Essentials of Secular State

One of the basic aspects in a secular state is the separation of religion and state or religion and politics. Mixing these two results into communal flare-ups. The essential basis of a modern secular State is the institutional separation of State and religion. State limits itself to the promotion of the secular welfare of the people. Religious life is considered as intimately personal. It is also expected that the State will not regulate religious matters so long as it does not express itself against public morality and welfare.[49] The fact that needs special attention is that according to the constitution if religion embarks on nonreligious undertakings the state will intervene.
According to E.C. Bhatty the following are some aspects of a secular state:
“1. The basis of citizenship in a secular State is the bond of territorial unity. As long as a citizen is loyal to the State in which he lives, he enjoys the same rights as other citizens, whatever be his religion.  Loyalty to the Constitution is the basic bond between the citizens; they must abide by and act within its ambit.
2. The secular State is not involved in religious propaganda and promotion of religious activities. Its Constitution however safeguards as a fundamental right the freedom of every citizen to choose any religion and to practice it according to his belief; this freedom involves also the right of a citizen to reject any religion or all religions.
3. The secular State is concerned with the promotion of the widest and best possible education among the people; but it is education of a general and liberal type, aimed at the promotion of science, morality and culture as distinct from religious dogmas of one or other or all religions.
4. The secular State has social justice as its objective; it aims at the establishment of equality of opportunity for individual growth and the equitable distribution of resources of wealth. In this it is concerned with individuals as well as social and economic groups and classes irrespective of their religious persuasion.
5. The secular State will have a National Army recruited on the basis of national patriotism from the people without consideration of their religious communal affiliations.
6. A secular State develops a sound impartial incorruptible contented and efficient system of public service, inspired by patriotic traditions and lofty ideals; it will be recruited on the basis of merit and character without consideration of religious affiliations.
7. The Rule of Law is the very essence of a secular State.  Citizens are equal before the law irrespective of whether they belong to one religion or another or none.”[50]
            Whether all the above seven aspects are found in India is a difficult question. The core theme running through these seven aspects is no one will be discriminated or nothing will be deprived of on the basis of religion in a secular state. A cursory knowledge of incidents in India reveals that steady efforts are on to use religion as a dividing force in all matters. It is ruthlessly sought that “in secular countries the majority norms therefore form the national stream.”[51] What some of the communal agencies asks is nothing but the majority rule over the minority not on the basis of law but on the basis of majority religious sentiments at the cost of minority religious sentiments.

 2.4.2 Challenges to Secularism/Secular State
Politicization of religion is the major challenge a secular state has to face. It is very painful to notice “intolerance has manifested itself in the activities of communal political parties which are clearly antagonistic to the entire spirit of the secular State.”[52]
The constitution envisages a secular state to that effect the word secular has been inserted in the preamble of the Indian constitution. Further the Supreme Court of India identified the basic features of secularism as solutions to certain confusions. Nevertheless, communally oriented organizations disrupt the free flow of secularism in India. M.P. Raju states “the dreams for a secular India soon started to vanish with the growth of a kind of neo-fanaticism as part of Hindu revivalism and cultural nationalism.”[53]
Another significant and very real challenge to the fabric of secular state is politico, religious communalism. In the words of E. C. Bhatty, “we have to guard against political religious communalism gaining strength and stifling religious freedom and destroying the secular State.”[54] This is a dangerous trend because religious elements influence politics and politics use religious elements.
Another challenge is to safeguard secularism from the erroneous interpretations like, western secularism or secular state is different from Indian; and hence not applicable to us. This is often done in order to evade secularism in the name of Hindu nationalism.[55] One untainted fact is that India cannot be visualized without secularism. And enormous efforts are necessary to protect this great ideal as communal political parties and communal organizations make persistent attempt to dislocate it. The democratic framework of Indian constitution provides concrete platform to work with like-minded people to preserve secularism in India. Preservation of secularism spontaneously paves the way for the enjoyment of religious freedom.

 2. 5 Democracy

The role of democracy in strengthening a secular state is significant. This is amply testified in the Indian constitution. The connection between secularism and democracy in relation to freedom of religion in India is more momentous. About it James Massey writes “the right to religious freedom is universally recognized as one of the basic human rights, which also includes freedom to change religion or belief. It has also been recognized as an important factor in the foundation of a successful democracy. And India, since its Independence in 1947, has not only recognized the key role of religious freedom in nation building; it has also incorporated these rights in the constitution, which was adopted on 26 January 1950 as the main document for the governance of the country.”[56] From the point of freedom of religion democracy and secularism are essential pillars.
 Secularism and democracy are very relevant as the world is shrinking on account of technological and communicational adventures. The role and importance of secularism and democracy are portrayed as “secularism and democracy: these were the two gods of the newly independent countries of the ‘third world’.”[57] Although the statement seems to be exaggeration of the fact, it cannot be denied that secularism and democracy are integral to the present global momentum.
Democracy assumes pertinent position as it envisages equality. It is stated “democracy can be justified because it allots a status to each individual, and more importantly, allots it equally. Therefore, democracy can be validated but reference to the antecedent moral principle of equality.”[58] The democratic principle of equality goes well with the demands for freedom of religion in India.
It is remarkable to find that there is relationship between freedom of religion and democracy.  In the words of James Massey, “the fact that religious freedom strengthens democracy and that there is a definite relationship between the two is generally accepted. It has even been said that ‘religious freedom is the condition and guardian of all other freedoms’. Even individuals without any religious convictions, but who have faith in democracy, acknowledge this relationship.”[59]
The point that freedom of religion is crucial for the several interests of the nation like India is concisely stated as “since India is a democratic polity and recognizes religious pluralism, a clear guarantee of religious freedom is the surest way, not only for the peaceful coexistence of different religious groups, but also their active participation for the common good and unity of the country. Most often it is not the ‘diversity of opinion’, which leads to religious conflicts among communities but the absence of tolerance and understanding.”[60]
Unfortunately, along with freedom of religion, even the very concept of democracy is under threat by fundamentalist groups. They are closed to any change and innovation. For them “the spirit of democracy at its best, which confers the right of freedom of speech, thought and action on the individual, is nowhere more fully recognized and practiced than in the age-old Hindu tradition.”[61] This is the most dangerous form of hoodwinking people. People are discouraged to be in tune with the ever-present realities and made to feel nothing new is emerging in the world.
But it is an inevitable fact that “all the ways are to be thought for working towards this platform from Secular democracy.”[62] Only in a secular democracy freedom of religion can be enjoyed. To create such a congenial atmosphere the people of this nation need to be vigilant. Sunita Gangwal writes “our democracy can only survive if those who aspire to become peoples’ representatives and leaders understand the spirit of secular democracy…Candidates at elections have to try to persuade electors by showing them the light of reason and not by inflaming their blind and descriptive passions.”[63]
Another significant dimension is that democracy and minorities go hand in hand. It is said,  “human history has ample evidence to illustrate that not only have minorities and democracy co-existed, but they have also been part of one another.”[64] Those who respect the democratic principles and freedom shall be able to appreciate the merits of freedom of religion. E.D. Devadasan remarks “the tendency to place restriction on change of religion is nothing short of a fascist tendency and therefore has to be fought against by those who believe in democracy and freedom.”[65] As secularism in India is committed to freedom of religion, democracy helps maintaining the constitutional provisions for freedom of religion through various representations.
In granting and protecting freedom of religion to all the citizens of this nation, the secular and democratic values play crucial role. For example “if India is to be a truly secular and democratic State, the government of the land should extend an even-handed treatment to people of all religions and of no religion.”[66] In spite of the interconnectedness of signs of civilization like, secularism, democracy and freedom of religion the outstanding witness for the civilization of a nation is its approach to freedom of religion.

2. 6 Freedom of Religion

At the outset it needs to be underlined that India never interfered in the freedom of religion of her citizens. India has also taken adequate measures to ensure that the citizens enjoy this freedom constitutionally. It is valuable to remember that right to religious freedom is universally recognized as one of the basic human rights. It has also been recognized as an important factor in the foundation of a successful democracy. And freedom of religion is constitutional in India.[67] Any violation of this provision can be challenged in the court of law. These cardinal tenets are candidly stated, as “religious freedom is a fundamental right of Indian citizens, an entitlement that is available to members of all religious groups. The Indian Constitution describes it as a basic human right, which can be enforced by the Judiciary”[68]
The inclusion of the provisions to enjoy freedom of religion in the Indian constitution is not accidental nor a chance, but well conceived along the lines of the developments over the globe. This fact has been identified as, “the universal nature of this right (Religious), which forms the very basis of successful democracies the world over, was repeatedly emphasized in the constituent Assembly debates.”[69]
Still further, the necessity for freedom of religion in India is spontaneous and inbuilt in the structure of the Indian society. Hence from very early the committed Indian leaders had no possibility of thinking otherwise than protecting and strengthening freedom of religion in India. For instance “in the Nehru Report of 1928 the right to freedom of conscience, profession and practice of religion was included explicitly to prevent one community domineering over another. Such rights were called Minority Rights in the early days of the Assembly, and they appear in the constitution as Rights relating to Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights and also in part XVII on Language.”[70] This natural and spontaneous urge to preserve and fortify freedom of religion in India continued in all the successive efforts towards independence and republic. The Indian National Congress held its session at Karachi from29 to 31 March 1931 and adopted a resolution. Its focal point was asking for swaraj.  Other salient features of this resolution to be noted here are pressing for ‘freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion, subject to public order and morality; protection of the culture, language and scripts of the minorities; no disability to attach to any citizen by reason of his or her religion, caste or creed or sex in regard to public employment, office or power or honour, and in the exercise of any trade or calling; and Religious neutrality on the part of the state’.[71]
The commitment to safeguard and concretize freedom of religion in India was explicitly obvious in the meetings of the India’s Constituent Assembly. The Assembly, which had started meeting on 9 December 1946 to frame the constitution for independent India unanimously adopted a resolution on 22 January 1947. One significant aspect of the resolution with regard to the constitutional safeguards to facilitate freedom of religion in India was “WHEREIN shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of India justice, social, economic, and political; equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association, subject to law and public morality;”[72]
The precedence to such a resolution was “the “Objective Resolution” of January 22, 1947, moved by Nehru on December 13, 1946.  It provided that the people of India would be guaranteed for freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, association and vocation.”[73] As a result of these initial maneuvering “in the Constitution, specific provisions are given in Articles 25 to 28 and 29 and 30.”[74] These provisions are mainly to protect the minorities, particularly religious minorities, so that their rights are not invaded.
In spite of all these privileges the freedom of religion guaranteed in article twenty-five [75] is not absolute but subject to the sovereignty of the nation and social interest. It is astonishing that the state will have all the rights to intervene even in religious matters when it thinks it necessary. This unique provision and solemnity are clearly acknowledged, as “religious freedom should not be an absolute and unconditional one. The freedom to profess, practice and propagate should be as Indian Constitution puts it, subject to the condition of ‘public order, morality and health’. Practices and norms, which violate human dignity and public morality, should not be allowed in the name of religious freedom and secularism.”[76] But in the constitution there is no trace what so ever of giving in to the religious sentiments of the majority at the cost of religious minorities.
This precious concern and commitment of all the law-abiding citizens of this land beyond cultural, linguistic and religious differences has further been reiterated as “the Constitution-framers have thus treated all religions alike. It follows that we are free in our country not only to practise our religions in our own way, but also to preach and propagate them, provided of course, we do not in so doing, go beyond the limits of public order, morality and decency which we as good citizens are bound to observe.”[77] This salient principle deserves due recognition and application as we dwell deep on the issue of propagation.

 2.6.1 Propagate
Granting freedom of religion to all the citizens of this nation was not cynical from the point of the constitution. It was an earnest commitment to make every one really experience freedom of religion in its fullest possible sense. This is vivid in the approval of the framers of the Indian constitution to include the expression ‘propagate’ along with profess and practice religion of one’s choice. P.N. Sapru underlines this special aspect as “the freedom, which Art. 25 of our Constitution assigns, in the matter of religion, concedes to every person what might be called not only freedom of conscience but also the right to make manifest his belief by freely propagating or disseminating his ideas for the education of others.”[78] Sadly, this privilege is capitalized by the Hindutva proponents to cast their anger on the religious minorities and the same issue is carelessly handled by propagation oriented religions.
The critics of this exceptional provision in article twenty-five of the Indian constitution suspect that the word propagate amounts to converting people from one religion to another. Similarly, many religious communities take this word for granted and reiterate that the constitution empowers them to convert a person from one religion to another. For example “it is amazing that some Christian leaders assert that the word ‘propagate’ in Art.25(1) gives them a fundamental right to convert people of other Faiths into Christianity, by any means.[79]
The fact is that it does not mention that it empowers people to convert others, although the notion was originally implicit. Even the Supreme Court in its verdict on Article 25 said that it does not include the freedom to convert.[80]
Some Christians insist that it means freedom to convert. And hence the judgment is also evaluated as “the supreme Court of India, in coming to the conclusion that the right to propagate does not imply the right to convert, has overlooked one of the most precious features of our Constitution; namely, its harmonious blend of individual and group rights.”[81] Christians who are motivated by proselytizing approach wished to have the constitution confer them the privilege to convert the others. Therefore, “whenever the word ‘propagate’ was taken up for discussion in the Constituent Assembly the means and methods employed by Christian missionaries dominated the scene and in that light the right to propagate acquired the colour of a right to convert exclusively.”[82] No one can deny, “for Christians, propagation of their faith is an indispensable part of the practice of their religion.”[83] Nevertheless, accepting the broader vision of the constitution is good for the health of the nation. This is endorsed as “it is good therefore that the Constitution has explicitly mentioned the freedom to propagate one’s faith and has left us in no doubt about it.  It is no little credit to the framers of the Constitution, most of whom were Hindus, that they unmistakably provided for the full religious freedom of minorities like Muslims and Christians.”[84]
What is required and necessary in the time of cultural post-modernity is one must have the freedom to choose the religion of his or her choice without obstructions. It is unconstitutional and unethical to claim the right to convert a person. The point is that any individual should have the freedom to convert himself or herself to the religion of his or her conviction subject to the fulfillment of constitutional requirements. Burdening this provision with further legislations on faulty premises counterfeits the original provision of the constitution.
The real purpose of this aspect can be deduced from the statement that “the ambit of the freedom of religion guaranteed by Arts. 25-26 has been widened by the judicial interpretation that what is guaranteed by Arts. 25 and 26 is the right of the individual to practise and propagate not only matters of faith or belief but also all those rituals and observances which are regarded as integral parts of a religion by the followers of its doctrines.”[85] It simply means freedom of religion in its fullest sense and does not guarantee a specific compulsive force or privilege to any one.
The constitution is committed to guard equality to all the citizens on religious grounds. It does not support or favour any particular community. According to Soli J. Sorabjee, “the debates in the Constituent Assembly clearly indicate that our founding fathers did recognize that conversion was implicit in propagation of religion and that the expression “propagate” was deliberately incorporated because Islam and Christianity are proselytizing religions.”[86]
 The goodwill of the constitution of India is very clear and encompasses all citizens. It is contented that “the invidious labeling of the religious rights by some as merely minority rights must be discarded, it being incorrect historically and constitutionally.”[87] It is unfortunate that a few communally charged fundamentalists want to curb this freedom of religion in all possible ways and reduce it as only a minority right.
Freedom of religion is a universally accepted right. That is why “the right to profess and practice one’s faith was adopted by an overwhelming vote in the UN Assembly as all the countries voted in favour.”[88] Its connection with human rights further confirms its universal necessity and applicability. For example “it saw the right to religion as a human right and confirmed the principles that human rights are means and ends to the preservation and protection of minority rights.  It went further and gave centrality to religious rights as a means to realize other rights of the minority groups.”[89]
            Equal freedom of religion to the numerically disadvantaged sections of the society is the sign of a nation’s direction. Thus it is said, “the minority’s right to propagate its religious or other views is essential for the religious and cultural development of any country.”[90]
            Two negative remarks concerning the insertion of the word propagation in the Indian constitution is not out of place as both can further illuminate about the intricacies associated with this expression. The first one is that “however, the freedom to propagate ones religion was reluctantly conceded as a compromise with the minorities, for relinquishing their right to reserved seats in the legislature.”[91] The second remark resulted from the unhealthy manipulative interpretation of the term propagation. And hence it is sought “freedom of propagation of religion does not fit in the secularism we profess. It has been misused. It should be removed from Art. 25 of the constitution.”[92] This is not true because the constitution did not envisage such a meaning. It guarantees equal status to all citizens.
            In spite these few negative remarks it is crystal clear the vision of the constitution is broader and it unambiguously guarantees equal freedom of religion to all. It is a mistake to construe it as a special privilege bestowed to the minorities.

 2.6.2 Conversion

Together with the word ‘propagate’ another word that is widely capturing attention in all debates particularly political is conversion. Here the word conversion is used in the sense of converting one or many persons from one religion to another. It is used to connote the change of religion. The word generally used for this act is proselytization.  The author, however, prefers the word conversion.
At the out set it needs to be clear that “conversion is a matter of free choice based on personal conviction.”[93] Alas, this has been diluted and corrupted and posed as a grave threat to nationalism and culture. For example “conversion of Hindus into other religions is nothing but making them succumb to divided loyalty in place of having undivided and absolute loyalty to the nation. It is dangerous to the security of the nation and the country. It is therefore necessary to put a stop to it. Conversion of an individual does not take place after a serious and comparative study of philosophies by him. It is by exploitation of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, offering of inducements and by deceptive tactics that people are converted. There is no question of a true change of heart involved.”[94] The contention is acceptable if there is any proof to this extent. On the other hand any service rendered to a person or a community in terms of liberation that leads to development cannot be misinterpreted as proselytizing efforts. The argument that conversion results in divided loyalty to the nation is nullified on the ground that Indian converts never ceased to be Indians on account of a change of their faith.[95]
Although conversion is exclusively a matter concerned with the individual persons, it has impacts on the social realms as well.  Julian Saldanha opines “conversion is basically an interior event which, however, separates the convert from his family and community.”[96] Conversion not only changes a person’s religious behavior, but also his or her social orientation.  This phenomenon is stated as “conversion results in a switching over from one personal law to another, and implies a passage from one social group to another.”[97] Still further the convert is seen as joining the community of another religion, governed by another personal law. This change over in religion and social sphere is anathema to the Hindus; “hence missionary activity is viewed by Hindus as a mode of communal aggression, a threat to the very existence of the Hindu community.”[98] There are many related reasons for such opposition. For example “this shift of social allegiance takes place by force of law, and is brought home to the convert by various provisions of the Hindu law affecting such personal matters as succession, marriage, maintenance, guardianship and adoption. Hence conversion breaks up the cohesion of the Hindu family and community.”[99] Still further, “conversion involves changes in group identification with accompanying changes in attitudes and actions. When the convert leaves behind his past life and enters into a new life, he departs from one social group and joins another. His group loyalties change; old customs and beliefs are denied; and a new set of norms accepted.”[100] These concerns are true. But the freedom to decide the change over belongs to the individual or group concerned. Rather than focusing on conversion as such, it will be relevant if the attention is shifted to the socio, religious and economic factors that necessitate conversion. It is also necessary to maintain that mere change of religion does not affect the constitutional privileges one is entitled to.
 Converting a person from one religion to another need not be the main agenda of Christian mission. The main agenda is to holistically liberate people from all oppressive structures. If conversion takes place in the process of liberation that cannot be accused or blamed. That is why “Gandhi wanted Christian social engagement without calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus, but some contemporary radical Hindu nationalists want to prevent Christians from empowering the poor as well.”[101] This Hindu viewpoint is again expressed as “they could bear witness to their faith in life and speech but they should not indulge in any unfair and unspiritual modes of conversion”[102]
Rather than analyzing the religious, social, economic, political, cultural, etc, rationales behind a person’s conversion, associating it with unlawful activities is a malevolent attitude. Such a negative approach of the Sangh Parivar is exposed as “all shades of the Sang Parivar- from the expediently mellowed ministers in Delhi to their gun wielding terrorists in the field say one thing in unison- they are all opposed to “conversion by force or fraud”. However to this day they fail to bring out a single case of conversion by force or fraud convicted by a court even though anti conversion (Freedom of Religion) Acts are in force for the last 30 years in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Arunachal and though all other states have enough provisions under existing laws to convict any criminal acts.”[103]
            The Sangh Parivar is reluctant to analyze the various reasons for conversion rather see it as a threat to their number and influence in the political arena. Valson Thampu writes “the Sang mouthpieces caricature conversions as a calculated strategy on the part of Muslims and Christians to wipe out Hinduism from the land of its birth. They allege, further, that large scale mass conversions are taking place and that every conversion is effected by ‘force, fraud or inducement’.”[104] But it needs to be remembered, “the numbers game has no room in the pluralistic approach.”[105] Rather than liberating a society, maintaining the people in a backward condition is good for vote-bank politics and not for the development of a nation.
             While objecting conversion from Hinduism to another religion the Hindutva forces continue conversion using different premises and nomenclatures. It is stated that “Hindutva, which is Brahmanical Hinduism based Nationalism has used the conversions to strengthen Hinduisms’ flanks by co-opting the low castes and Adivasis earlier through shuddhi and now through Gharvapasi.”[106] The inherent motive is that “the shuddhi was more to attract those low castes that had adopted Islam or Sikhism as their religion. The current Gharvapasi campaign of VHP draws it legitimacy from the assertion that Adivasis are Hindus.”[107]
            Another effort to curtail freedom to choose a religion of one’s own choice is discarding the new converts from the government privileges otherwise applicable to them.  This anti-constitutional stand is appraised as “conversion to Christianity still disqualifies poor and underprivileged converts from Dalit benefits. Religion should not become a disqualification. It is the social and economic conditions that should determine the granting of privileges. The Dalit Christians have for long demanded reservation benefits from successive governments in power at New Delhi, but in vain. The demand is called controversial and fears are expressed that if Dalit Christians are given reservation benefits then non-Christian Dalits will leave the caste hierarchy of Hinduism and convert to Christianity.”[108] It is also an indication that opposition to freedom of religion is waged from the point of losing majority status and refusing liberation to the underprivileged section of the society.
In the Indian context “freedom of conscience and religion for the untouchables and tribals is opposed only by their masters, whose prosperity depends on their continued slavery. The tribals and untouchables never oppose their own freedom of faith.”[109]    The reality is that in India conversion is seen mainly as a social emancipation or quest for equality. For example Ambedkar defended his decision to convert from Hinduism on these grounds.[110]
Quest for emancipation and equality are inseparable from the issue of conversion. That is why “Weber’s study undoubtedly proves that religion is one of the agents of social change.”[111] This is evident in the case of conversion to Christianity because “conversion to Christianity influences the converts from different angles and touches the different areas of their lives and takes them, or better, helps them, directs them to social status mobility and thus functions as an agent for social change.”[112] Studies conducted in this area confirm this fact. One of the studies affirmatively states, “it is proved from this study that conversion has brought about a certain metamorphosis in the lives of the converts.”[113] Some argue that the change can be internal and not necessarily external.  Hence it is said, “in the past, the emphasis has been on external separation as a sign of transformation rather than on internal transformation and the fullness with love.”[114] It is essential that any change over whether internal or external should have the direction of liberation and empowerment.
This aspect of transformation is found in Hinduism as well. Plamthodathil S. Jacob maintains “if we examine Hindu religious thought, we also find its focus on transformation, basically known as Self-realization, culminating in perfection of godliness.”[115] This self-realization ultimately helps the liberation of others. But this liberation cannot be confined only to religious but also to other dimensions. Thus, “in practice we find that conversion is not only a religious experience but also a social and cultural adjustment.”[116] Even there are proposals to avoid the use of the word conversion, as “it should be replaced by concepts like transformation.”[117] But transformation is not for conversion. Conversion cannot be hindered if takes place in the process of transformation. 
All spiritual exercises, irrespective of religious affiliations, are for the transformation of individuals and society. And therefore “the crucial question for missiologists today is whether Christianity can offer a quality of transformation which is not being offered by other religions.”[118]  The Christian service is not just for adding members to church organizations.
The main concern her is that even this honest effort to transform the individual and society is unacceptable to the minds that work against freedom of religion. The reason for doing so is explained as “it is a fear complex of the majority community that in the Christian Gospel there is a message of uplifting a downtrodden humanity, and they are afraid of losing their own hold upon these people who are not even Hindus but on the fringe of Hindu society. It is this fear in their subconscious mind that is coming out with all sorts of attacks against people who are doing missionary work.”[119]
There is diversity of motives in conversion.[120] Conversion is also a part of Indian reality from ages but the Sangh Parivar makes an issue out of it.[121] Conversion is the crux of religious freedom within the parameters of liberation, transformation and empowerment. Not the least is the religious conviction of an individual and society. Therefore “the tendency to place restriction on change of religion is nothing short of a fascist tendency and therefore has to be fought against by those who believe in democracy and freedom.”[122] Refusal of freedom of religion is a serious matter of concern.
 Those who voice against freedom of religion, particularly the Hindu communalists, need to answer several questions. If freedom of religion is a threat to the majority community what about the conversions, re-conversion and the home coming of the Hindu movements? What is behind such activities? Do they meet the legal requirements set in the freedom of religion acts? Are these legislations not contrary to the fundamental rights of the individuals and to the rights and privileges granted to the minority communities? Why lengthy procedures and complicating simple matters? Why restrictions only to the minorities?

 




[1] P.L. John Panicker, “Marginalization of Minorities: Anti-conversion Bill,” in Inter-Play of Religion, Politics and Communalism, edited by Samson Prabhakar (Bangalore: BTESSC/SATHRI, 2004), 61.
[2] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 19th ed. Reprint (Nagpur: Wadhwa and Company, Law Publishers, 2003), 27.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism
 (Calcutta: Punthi- Pustak, 1993), 63. The author of the book purposely used small ‘m’ for Muslims.
[5] Ibid., 63-64.
[6] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 3rd ed., Reprint (Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu
Prakashan, 2000), 162.
[7] A.G. Noorani, “Fractured Democracies,” frontline (December 1, 2006):84.
[8] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 116-117.
[9] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities (New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, 1999), 41.
[10] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism,100.
[11] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual Rights
( Jaipur: Arihant Publishing House, 1995), 98-99.
[12] Meera Nanda, The Wrongs of the religious Right: Reflections on Science, Secularism and Hindutva ( Haryana: Three Essays, 2005), p. 61.
[13] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities (New Delhi:
            Oxford University Press, 1999), 42.
[14] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities, 47.
[15] Brenda Cossman and Ratna Kapur, Secularism’s Last Sigh: Hindutva and the (Mis) Rule of  Law (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999) 63.
[16] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 337.
[17] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 79.
[18] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities, 74.
[19] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism,80.
[20] A.G. Noorani, “Fractured Democracies,” frontline (December 1, 2006):84.
[21] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 80.
[22] Ibid., 79.
[23] Ibid., 81.
[24] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 162.
[25] Ibid., 163.
[26] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 82.
[27] Ibid., 91.
[28] Ibid., 66.
[29] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities, 50.
[30] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
 Rights, 200.
[31] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 56. 
[32] Ibid., 120.
[33] Ibid., 159.
[34] Brenda Cossman and Ratna Kapur, Secularism’s Last Sigh: Hindutva and the (Mis) Rule
 of Law ,138.
[35] Ibid.
[36]E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, edited
by J.R. Chandran, and M. M. Thomas, (Bangalore: The Committee for Literature on Social Concerns, 1956), 74.
[37] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities, 87.
[38] E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, 74.
[39] Ibid.
[40] P.N. Sapru, “Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties,” in Religious Freedom, edited by J.R. Chandran, and M. M. Thomas, (Bangalore: The Committee for Literature on Social Concerns, 1956),5.
[41] Ibid., 6.         
[42] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 77.
[43] Ibid., 69.
[44] Ibid., 77.
[45] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 163.
[46] Ram Puniyani, Fascism of the Sangh Parivar (Delhi: Media House, 2000), 112.
[47] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities, 56.
[48] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights, 228.
[49] E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, 74.
[50] Ibid., 75-76.
[51] Pannalal Dhar, India and Her Domestic Problems: Religion State and Secularism, 120.
[52] E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, 77.
[53] M.P. Raju, Religious Conversion: Legal Implications (Delhi: Media House,1999), 34 .    
[54] E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, 86.
[55] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 162.
[56] James Massey, Minorities and Religious Freedom in a Democracy (New Delhi: Manohar
Publishers& Distributors, 2003) 96.
[57] Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism, the rights of Religious Minorities,  53-54.
[58] Ibid., 140.
[59]James Massey, Minorities and Religious Freedom in a Democracy, 9.
[60] Ibid., 10.
[61] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 337.
[62] Ram Puniyani, Fascism of the Sangh Parivar, 112.
[63] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights , 229.
[64] James Massey, Minorities and Religious Freedom in a Democracy, 17.
[65] E.D. Devadason, “The Supreme Court Judgment on the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act,
1967,” NCC Review XCVII/9 (September, 1977): 439.
[66] Eddy Asirvatham, “ Religions and the Unity of India,” in Religious Freedom, edited by J.R. Chandran, and M. M. Thomas, (Bangalore: The Committee for Literature on Social Concerns, 1956),22.    
[67] James Massey, Minorities and Religious Freedom in a Democracy, 96.
[68]Ibid., 9.
[69] Ibid., 10.
[70] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights, 108.
[71] Arjun Dev, Indira Arjun Dev and Supta Das, compiled and edited, Human Rights:
A Source Book (New Delhi: National Council Of Educational Research And
Training, 1996),16-17.  
[72] Ibid., 19-20.  
[73] Giriraj Shah & K.N. Gupta, Human Rights: Perspective Plan for 21st Century ( New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books, 2002), 4.
[74] P.L. John Panicker, “Marginalization of Minorities: Anti-conversion Bill,” in Inter-Play of Religion Politics and Communalism, 62. 
[75] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India with Selective Comments (New Delhi: Universal
Law Publishing CO. PVT. LTD., 1998), 47.
[76] P.L. John Panicker, “Marginalization of Minorities: Anti-conversion Bill,” in Inter-Play of Religion, Politics and Communalism, 65.
[77] P.N. Sapru, “Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties,” in Religious Freedom, 4. 
[78] Ibid., 5.
[79] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 117.
[80] Ebe Sunder Raj, National Debate on Conversion (Chennai: Bharat Jyoti, 2001), 4.
[81] Valson Thampu, “Tamil Nadu Ordinance and Freedom of Religion,” Christian Mind Series Valson. 8/10 (October, 2002): 15.
[82] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights, 131.
[83] C.P.Mathew,  “Religious Freedom from the Christian Point of View,” in Religious
Freedom, edited by J.R. Chandran, and M. M. Thomas, (Bangalore: The Committee for Literature on Social Concerns, 1956),5.
[84] Ibid., 45.
[85] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 116.
[86] Soli J. Sorabjee, “So Long as Religion is religion,” The New Indian Express
 (Vijayawada), 17 February 2006, 8.
[87] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights, 109.
[88] I. John Mohan Razu and D. Samuel Jesupatham, “Religious Rights as Part of Human
Rights when the Lives of the Minorities are at Stake,” in Struggle for Human Rights: Towards a New Humanity, edited by I. John Mohan Razu ( Nagpur: National Council of Churches in India, 2001),160.
[89] Ibid.
[90] E. C. Bhatty,  “Religious Minorities and the Secular State,” in Religious Freedom, 81.
[91] Julian Saldanha, “The Indian Constitution and Conversion,” in Conversion in a Pluralistic
Context: Perspectives and Perceptions, edited by Krickwin C. Marak, & Plamthodathil S. Jacob (Delhi: ISPCK/CMS, 2000) 81.
[92] Sunita Gangwal, Minorities in India: A Study in Communal Process and Individual
Rights, 229.
[93] P.L. John Panicker, “Marginalization of Minorities: Anti-conversion Bill,” in Inter-Play of Religion, Politics and Communalism, 64.                                         
[94] M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 170.
[95] Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India, Centenary Edition (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989), 62.
[96] Julian Saldanha, Conversion and Indian civil Law (Bangalore: Theological Publications in  India, 1981) 89.
[97] Ibid., 11.                       
[98] Ibid., 13.
[99] Ibid., 115.
[100] Y. Antony Raj, Social Impact of Conversion: A Comparative Sociological Study on the
 Christians of scheduled Caste Origin and Scheduled Caste Hindus (Delhi: ISPCK, 2001), 24.
[101] Richard Howell, “Issues in Conversion: as Argued by Bishop Azariah, Mahatma Gandhi
and Mr Shourie,” in Free to Choose: Issues in Conversion, Freedom of Religion and Social Engagement, edited by Howell, Richard (New Delhi: Evangelical Fellowship of India, 2002), 26.
[102] M.A. Venkata Rao, “Introduction”, in M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts. 3rd ed., Reprint (Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan, 2000), xv.
[103] Ebe Sunder Raj, National Debate on Conversion,  3.
[104] Valson Thampu, “Tamil Nadu Ordinance and Freedom of Religion,” Christian Mind Series 8/10 (October, 2002): 5.
[105] Plamthodathil S. Jacob, “Hindu and Christian: Conversions and Transformations,” in
Conversion in a Pluralistic Context: Perspectives and Perceptions, edited by Krickwin C. Marak, & Plamthodathil S. Jacob (Delhi: ISPCK/CMS, 2000) 109.
[106] P.R. Ram, “A Campaign Without Content,” Indian Currents XI/50
(13-19 December, 1999): 47.
[107] P.R. Ram, “A Campaign Without Content,” Indian Currents, 46.
[108]Richard Howell, “Issues in Conversion: as Argued by Bishop Azariah, Mahatma Gandhi
and Mr Shourie,” in Free to Choose: Issues in Conversion, Freedom of Religion and Social Engagement, 16-17.
[109] Ebe Sunder Raj, National Debate on Conversion, 161.
[110] B.R. Ambedkar “Why go for conversion.” NCCI Review CXXV/10
(November 2005):11-21.
[111] Y.Antony Raj, Social Impact of Conversion: A Comparative Sociological Study on the Christians of scheduled Caste Origin and Scheduled Caste Hindus,  7.
[112]Ibid., 8.
[113] Ibid.,152.
[114] Plamthodathil S. Jacob, “Hindu and Christian: Conversions and Transformations,” in
Conversion in a Pluralistic Context: Perspectives and Perceptions, 97.
[115] Ibid.,97-98.
[116] Ibid., 107.
[117] Ibid.,108. 
[118] Ibid.
[119]Paul Sudhakar, “Conversion: What Conversion is not and What Conversion is,” in Free to Choose: Issues in Conversion, Freedom of Religion and Social Engagement, edited by Howell, Richard (New Delhi: Evangelical Fellowship of India, 2002), 29.
[120] Walter Fernandes, Caste and Conversion Movements in India: Religion and Human
 Rights (New Delhi: Indian Social Institute, 1998), 29.
[121] P.R. Ram, “A Campaign Without Content,” Indian Currents, 47.
[122] E.D. Devadason, “The Supreme Court Judgment on the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967,” NCC Review, 439.

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