Class 8 Civics Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism Extra Questions

Class 8 Civics Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism Extra Questions and Answers are provided here. These Extra Questions with solution are prepared by our team of expert teachers who are teaching in CBSE schools for years. Extra questions for Class 8 Civics Chapter 2 will help you to properly understand a particular concept of the chapter.

Understanding Secularism Class 8 Civics Extra Questions and Answers

Very Short Answer Type Question

1. What does the term ‘secularism’ refer to?

Answer: Secularism refers to this separation of religion from the State.

2. What do you mean by ‘freedom to interpret’?

Answer: ‘Freedom to interpret’ means an individual’s liberty to develop his own understanding and meaning of the religious teachings.

3. Explain the concept of ‘principled distance’.

Answer: This means that any interference in religion by the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.

4. How are non-Muslims treated in Saudi Arabia?

Answer: In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not allowed to build a temple, church etc., and nor can they gather in a public place for prayers.

5. What is meant by the word ‘establishment’?

Answer: The word ‘establishment’ means that the legislature cannot declare any religion as the official religion. Nor can they give preference to one religion.

6. What is the most important aspect of secularism? State its importance.

Answer: The most important aspect of secularism is its separation of religion from State power. This is important for a country to function democratically.

Short Answer Type Questions

1. “The government cannot force Sikhs to wear a helmet while driving two wheelers.” Give reason.

Answer: This is because the Indian State recognises that wearing a pugri (turban) is central to a Sikh’s religious practice and in order not to interfere with this, allows an exception in the law.

2. What provision has been made by the government to follow religious equality in government spaces, schools and offices?

Answer: In India, government spaces like law courts, police stations, government schools and offices are not supposed to display or promote any one religion. Government schools cannot promote any one religion either in their morning prayers or through religious celebrations.

3. When does discrimination occur?
Or
When does the act of discrimination take place?

Answer: Discrimination occurs when members of one religious community either persecute or discriminate against members of other religious communities. These acts of discrimination take place more easily when one religion is given official recognition by the State at the expense of other religions.

4. How Indian concept of secularism is different from United States?

Answer: There is one significant way in which Indian secularism differs from the dominant understanding of secularism as practised in the United States of America. This is because unlike the strict separation between religion and the State in American secularism, in Indian secularism the State can intervene in religious affairs.

5. Why government schools are not allowed to celebrate religious festival?

Answer: The celebration of the religious festival within the school would be a violation of the government’s policy of treating all religions equally. Government schools cannot promote any one religion either in their morning prayers or through religious celebrations. That’s why government schools are not allowed to celebrate religious festival.

6. What is secularism in Indian context?

Answer: The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State. Secularism refers to this separation of religion from the State.

7. When was law passed by French government banning religious symbols in school? What was its impact?

Answer: In February 2004, France passed a law banning students from wearing any conspicuous religious or political signs or symbols such as the Islamic headscarf, the Jewish skullcap, or large Christian crosses. This law has encountered a lot of resistance from immigrants who are mainly from the former French colonies of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

8. What are the three objectives of a secular State?
Or
State the three objectives of a secular State.

Answer: The three objectives of a secular State are:

  • One religious community does not dominate another;
  • Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community;
  • State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.

9. Why is it important to separate religion from the State?
Or
Why does state not interfere in religious matter?

Answer: It is important to separate religion from the State because of the following reasons:

  • To prevent the domination of one religion over another.
  • To protect the freedom of individuals to exit from their religion, embrace another religion or have the freedom to interpret religious teachings differently.

10. Site some historical examples of discrimination.

Answer: Historical examples of discrimination are:

  • Jews were persecuted in Hitler’s Germany.
  • Jewish State of Israel treats its own Muslim and Christian minorities quite badly.
  • In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not allowed to build a temple, church etc., and nor can they gather in a public place for prayers.

Long Answer Type Questions

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

Answer: The government will surely intervene if some religious group says that their religion allows them to practice infanticide because it involves killing of innocent child, which is against fundamental right – The Right to Life. No one is allowed to go against fundamental rights. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.

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

Answer: Different views are found within the same religion. For example:

  • In Hinduism, there are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism.
  • In Muslim community, there are Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya and Quranists.
  • In Jainas, there are Shwetambar and Digambar sects.
  • In Buddhism, there are Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

3. How does the Indian constitution ensure its objectives of secular state?

Answer: The Indian Constitution ensures its objectives of a secular state in the following manner:

  • One religious community does not dominate another;
  • Some members do not dominate other members of the same religious community;
  • State does not enforce any particular religion nor take away the religious freedom of individuals.

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

Answer: Holidays in school calendar

ReligionsHolidays
HinduHoli, Dussehra, Diwali
MuslimEid ul Zuha or Bakrid, Eid al-Fitr, Muharram
SikhGuru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Gurpurab
ChristianChristmas, Goodfriday

This indicates that India is secular country where religious freedom is granted to its citizens and all religions are equally respected.

5. Give one example to prove that the Indian secular state can intervene to prevent the religious domination concerning different groups of the same religion.

Answer: We can prove this fact with following example: Where members of the same religion (‘upper-caste’ Hindus) dominate other members (some ‘lower castes’) within it. In order to prevent this religion-based exclusion and discrimination of ‘lower castes’, the Indian Constitution banned untouchability. In this instance, the State is intervening in religion in order to end a social practice that it believes discriminates and excludes, and that violates the Fundamental Rights of ‘lower castes’ who are citizens of this country.

6. List the different types of religious practice that you find in your neighbourhood. This could be different forms of prayer, worship of different gods, sacred sites, different kinds of religious music and singing etc. Does this indicate freedom of religious practice?

Answer: The various types of religious practice found in our neighbourhood are:

  • Hindu performing Puja and Havan
  • Muslims offering Namaz
  • Sikhs visiting Gurudwara
  • Christians praying in Church

There are churches, gurudwaras, mosques and temples in our neighbourhood. People of different cultures and religions stay together and celebrate festivals. This indicates that all the citizens are able to practice their religion with freedom in secular environment.

7. In what ways does the Indian state work to prevent domination of the majority religious group?

Answer: The Indian State works in various ways to prevent the domination.

  • First, it uses a strategy of distancing itself from religion. The Indian State is not ruled by a religious group and nor does it support any one religion. In India, government spaces like law courts, police stations, government schools and offices are not supposed to display or promote any one religion.
  • The second way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the above domination is through a strategy of noninterference. This means that in order to respect the sentiments of all religions and not interfere with religious practices, the State makes certain exceptions for particular religious communities.
  • The third way in which Indian secularism works to prevent the domination listed earlier is through a strategy of intervention. The State intervenes in religion in order to end a social practice that it believes discriminates and excludes, and that violates the Fundamental Rights of people who are citizens of this country.

8. The Indian State both keeps away from religion as well as intervenes in religion. This idea can be quite confusing. Discuss this once again in class using examples from the chapter as well as those that you might have come up with.

Answer: In Indian secularism, though the State is not strictly separate from religion, it does maintain a principled distance vis-à-vis religion. This means that any interference in religion by the State has to be based on the ideals laid out in the Constitution.

For example:

  • Where members of the same religion (‘upper-caste’ Hindus) dominate other members (some ‘lower castes’) within it. In order to prevent this religion-based exclusion and discrimination of ‘lower castes’, the Indian Constitution banned untouchability. In this instance, the State is intervening in religion in order to end a social practice that it believes discriminates and excludes, and that violates the Fundamental Rights of ‘lower castes’ who are citizens of this country.
  • Similarly, to ensure that laws relating to equal inheritance rights are respected, the State may have to intervene in the religion-based ‘personal laws’ of communities.
  • The intervention of the State can also be in the form of support. The Indian Constitution grants the right to religious communities to set up their own schools and colleges. It also gives them financial aid on a non-preferential basis.
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