SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT, COMMUNALISM, REGIONALISM & SECULARISM

Social empowerment :

Social empowerment is a broad area of practice drawing upon social work and community development principles.

Social empowerment is understood as the process of developing a sense of autonomy and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people and keep them in poverty.

Communalism :

Communalism is defined as a mechanism to energize people for or against by raising an appeal on communal lines. It is revealed in literature that Communalism is related with religious fundamentalism and intransigence. Studies have demonstrated that the communalisation was first began in nineteenth century. The British historian (James) categorized ancient period as Hindu period and medieval period as Muslim period and this ordering was further used by both the British and Indian historians. Social literature documented that in medieval period, Muslim people were underprivileged, they were also oppressed as then people of Hindu community and the ruling class included both the Muslims and Hindus. Abdul Ahmed explained that “Communalism is a social phenomenon characterized by the religion of two communities, often leading to acrimony, tension and even rioting between them”. Communalism is also described by few other eminent theorists. According to Prabha Dixit, “Communalism is a political doctrine which makes use of religious and cultural differences to achieve political ends”. It is a dominant force in Indian scenario. Many factors such as casteism, communalism and religious fundamentalism pose challenge in India that are the major threats to Secular state. They deteriorate the working and strength of democratic secular Federal state and influence against the fundamental beliefs of national life and provide means to new individuality. ‘Casteism’ and ‘Communalism’ are destroying the Indian cultural diversity.

Factors responsible for the growth of communalism in India:

— The stagnant economy of India during the British rule was an important factor for the growth of communalism in India.

–It was an expression of the interests and aspirations of the middle classes in a social set up in which opportunities for them were inadequate.

–The vested interests deliberately encouraged communalism because of its capacity to distort and divert popular struggle, to prevent the masses from understanding the real issues.

–The British rule which produced the divide and rule policy, separate electorate on the basis of religion strengthened the basis of communalism in India.

–British also favoured one community against the other in services and promotions.

–The territorial settlement of different religious groups and many contradictory variations in their mode of life, social standards and belief systems may cause communal tensions.

Regionalism :

In current global trade system, regionalism is spreading at great pace. The huge spread of regionalism is encouraged by the explosion of regional institutions that give rise to substantial academic interest in both their sources and consequences. In bulk of academic literature, Regions are described as groups of countries situated in the same geographic space but it is not clear where one region ends and the next begins. Regionalism has widely spread in Indian politics since the independence of India. It has the major basis of various regional political parties. In Indian scenario, regionalism has increased in close identification with the regions. After independence, it is a great force of conflicts as well as collaboration, which depends on the manner of accommodation. Regionalism is elaborated as situations in which different religious or ethnic groups with idiosyncratic identities exist within the same state borders, often concentrated within a particular region and share strong feelings of shared individuality.Regionalism is basically an intense feeling of a particular region or an area in preference to the nation or any other region. It often involves ethnic groups whose major objective is to get freedom from a national state and the development of their own political influence. In Indian perspective, regionalism denotes to proclamation of different ethnic, linguistic or economic interests by various groups within the nation. The second meaning of the term is regionalism at national level refers to a process in which sub-state actors become increasingly powerful, power devolves from central level to regional governments. These are the regions within country, distinguished in culture, language and other socio-cultural factors.

Causes for regional disparity :

Low rate of economic growth

Land reforms are not done properly and the feudal mentality still persists

Lower level of infrastructural facilities in backward states

Low level of social expenditure by states on education, health and sanitation

Political and administration failures which further given birth to sub-regional movements for separate states.

Secularism :

Secularism is contrasting phenomenon of communalism. It was adopted by Indian Constitution, which signifies respect for all religions and broad-mindedness of all faiths, no State religion and support or favour to any religion by the State. Secularism is a form of government process that enhance democracy and commitment to financial development.Secular India has undergone several tremors in many decades. Many professionals relate these convulsions to the nature of Indian civilization, to which they attribute centrality to religion in both personal and public matters. The Indian concept of secularism is based on respect for all religions by the state and separation of religion from public institutional practices. The obsession with the European experience supervises the historicity of the Indian phenomenon.

The process of secularisation is not alike in all societies. With technical progression, human culture has undergone the process of secularisation. In India, secularism is huge political and constitutional struggle and disagreement. The perception was promoted by Mahatma Gandhi and it has been the central model of secularism after Independence of India. Indian secularism is based on a more functional approach to the belief of equal respect and acceptance of all religions, which has allowed for the defence of religious minority rights principally through temporary special measures, which is similar to the positive action in the United States. But, the Hindu Right has progressively been trying to cast itself as main successors of India’s secular practise, that is, as promoters of new secularism.

Nature of Secularism:

–The separation of religion and state is the foundation of secularism.

–Secularism seeks to ensure and protect freedom of religious belief and practice for all citizens.

–Secularists want freedoms of thought and conscience to apply equally to all – believers and non-believers alike. They do not wish to curtail religious freedoms.

–Secularism ensures that the right of individuals to freedom of religion is always balanced by the right to be free from religion .

–In a secular democracy all citizens are equal before the law and parliament. No religious or political affiliation gives advantages or disadvantages and religious believers are citizens with the same rights and obligations as anyone else.

–Secularism champions universial human rights above religious demands. It upholds equality laws that protect women, LGBT people and minorities from religious discrimination.