NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Social and Political Life Chapter 2 : Understanding Secularism


Look up the annual calendar of holidays of your school. How many of them pertain to different religions? What does this indicate?


Many holidays on a school's annual calendar pertain to different religions. This indicates that India is a secular country where religious freedom is granted to its citizens and all religions are equally respected.


Find out some examples of different views within the same religion.


Examples of different views within the same religion:

 (i) Hindus are divided in Vaishnav (followers of Lord Vishnu) and Shaiv (worshipers of Lord Shiva).

(ii)   Muslims are divided into Shias and Sunnis.

(iii)  Buddhists are divided into Mahayan and Hinyan.

(iv)  Followers of Lord Mahavir are called Jain. They are also divided into Shwetamber and Digamber.


Complete the following table:
Objective Why is this important? Example of a violation of this objective
One religious community does not dominate another.
The State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.
That some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community.


(a) This is important to protect the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion.

Example of violation: the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6th December, 1992 by Hindu radicals.

(b) This is important to uphold the ideals of a democratic nation which allows its citizens the freedom to choose whichever religion they wish to follow. 

Example: France, in February 2004, banned headscarves and turbans in public places, thereby hurting the sentiments of Muslim and Sikh minorities.

(c) This is necessary to uphold individual freedom in the light of pressure from a group or religious community that one belongs to. 

Example,the Christian community is divided into Protestants and Catholics; Irish Catholics are looked down upon and troubled by the officials of the Church of England who are pre-dominantly Protestants.


Will the government intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide? Give reasons for your answer.


The government in any democratic nation would intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide because this tradition goes against the Fundamental Right to Life. It involves the killing of an innocent and is, hence, unacceptable. The government, in this case, interferes by coercion. However, sometimes, the government may also intervene via support. For example, Sikhs in Delhi are excused from wearing helmets on two-wheelers because their religion demands them to wear a turban-a sacred tradition for them.

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