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Atheism And Indian Constitution

India is declared to be secular country. Every body is independent to practice his or his religious faith or belief in Indian Republic. This was the basic difference between India and Pakistan, when in the year 1947 the two got independence. When our country became independent it adopted Secular ideas in so far as religion is concern. It is a fact that every citizen in India is free to choose and practice his own religion.

Though atheism is popular way of faith being practiced in India. Since ancient days , Charwaka way of life was there, who did not accept existence of any divine power. Besides this, seeds of atheism also found seed in Buddhism, Sankhya philosophy etc. Though atheism is also one of the popular way of life in India, however in literal sense, this concept was not mentioned in India Constitution.

Thought this word does not found mention in Indian Constitution, but right this very right to practice flows from article 25 of Constitution of India.

Article 25 of Constitution of India is reproduced as under:
Article 25 of constitution of India says "all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health." Further, Article 26 says that all denominations can manage their own affairs in matters of religion."

If we read this provision thoroughly , it can be divided into following parts.

Article 25 of Constitution of India provides to its citizen the right to:
  1. Freedom of conscience.
  2. Freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
  3. Manage his own affairs in matters of religion,
Provided the same honors public order, morality and health.

It follows that a citizen of India can enjoy freedom of conscience , freedom to practice religion and can mange his own affairs in matter of religion, provides the same is not objectionable to public order, morality and health. Its goods that every body is granted right to choose and practice his own faith and religion.

Since ages we have witnessed that in name of religion, world has witnessed massacre , war , superstition , battle etc. Be it Hinduism, Jews, Muslim or Christianity, Sikhism etc. there has been constant war amongst  the followers. In the name of religion of religion lots of ill practices are flourishing.

Religion has been great factor behind initiation of war by one Nation against another one. Superstition, blind faith etc. are major drawback , which curtails the objective thinking of human mind. Besides this , in the name of religion, people develops hatred for other people.

It is said that only a God realized Soul  starts new religion. But problem lie with their followers. Religion is a matter of faith. When there are different kind of faith, struggle is bound to happen. Followers follow their religion blindly. Though one religion never teaches to be intolerant to another one. But reality is contrary.

Having seen the nuances caused in the name of religion,  there are many persons who like to search the truth not by faith, but open eyes. They apply their mind, their objectivity to reach the conclusion , in so far a faith is concern. They want to taste the truth themselves. Only because something has been mentioned in a particular book, they do not like to obey blindly.

Problems lies when one is forced to be associated with a particular religion by birth. When a child takes birth, a particular religion is imposed upon him blindly. He has to follow it, whether he likes it or not? He has mention name of a particular religion while filling up the school forms or other government forms. It is presumed that one has to belong to a particular religion.

There may be many person, who does not like to be associated with a particular religion. One may like to taste beauty of Hinduism, Muslim, Christianity etc.  as he wish. He may practice one religion for a particular period and just like any subject in School , he would to change it.

Where is his option available in India? Even Article 25 of constitution of India guarantee right of a citizen "Freedom of conscience." When a person is entitled to freedom of conscience and if his conscience suggest him not to follow any religion, then this right should also be granted as a matter of right.

This factum can not be overlooked that 7 % of World Population does not practice religion. The most number of people who do not practice any religion, do inhabitant in China. Who knows this might be one of the factor for making China , a super power in the world.

From reading of Article 25 of Constitutions of India, it is apparent that right to practice religion also does include right not to practice any religion. Time has come that this right should also found express and tangible expression now. Now a second option must be made available to India Citizen to indicate that the same does not practice any religion, while filling up school form or any government form.

The Indian Constitution, though does not contain the word atheism in it, still by grating freedom conscience, it allows every Indian Citizen to practice any faith , which may also be inclusive of atheism.

Written By: Ajay Amitabh Suman, Advocate, High Court Of Delhi

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