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The Discourse On The Ram Mandir Amidst Concerns Over Declining Secularism

The term 'secular' means being separate from religion. A secular person is one who have the equal respect to all religions. In the term of the secular state, the state has no religion or the state is one that does not consider anyone's religion as an official religion and the secular state also treats all its citizens equally, regardless of religion.

Concept of Secularism
Secularism means separation of religion from political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life and religion being treated as a purely personal matter. The term 'secularism' is like to the vedic concept of 'Dharma Nirapekshata' that is the indifference of state to religion. The Indian philosophy of secularism is related to "Sarva Dharma Sambhava" means that the destination of the paths followed by all religions is the same, though the paths themselves may be different which means equal respect to all religions. All religions must be treated as respectfully and equally.

Secularism and the Indian Constitution
The term 'Secular' was added to the Preamble by forty-second constitutional amendment act, 1976. India is the Secular Country which has no state religion and that the state shall recognize and accept all regions or not favor any particular religion.

The original framers of the constitution adopted articles 25, 26 and 27 to further secularism. The 42nd amendment, which formally inserted secularism into the preamble. Secularism is a part of the basic structure of the constitution. There is no provision in the constitution making any religion the "established Church" as some other Constitutions do.

Case Laws:
  • In S.R.Boomai v. Union of India, the Supreme Court has held that "Secularism is the basic structure of constitution".
  • In Aruna Roy v. Union of India, the Supreme Court has said that Secularism has a positive meaning that developing, understanding and respect towards different religions.

According to critics, the foundation stone-laying for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya marks the decline of a secular nature of our nation and the birth of a Hindu nationalist one. The present Indian government's active participation in the event simply adding fuel to the fire.

On 22 January, in Ayodhya our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes part in consecration ceremony of Ram Mandir. The day also called Pran-Pratistha day. The event symbolized the struggle of crore of people of the nation who strongly fought for this day and also symbolizes the sacrifice of many hindus and completion of a four-and-a-half decades-long project of the Sangh Parivar - Hindu organizations, with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its political wing, fundamentally changes the nature of Indian state. It seems with this event, India's existence as a secular state is gradually decreasing and also paving its way towards the rise of Hindu nation.

The construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has raised several secular concerns, primarily related to the principles of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the implications for religious harmony and minority rights.

The following highlights some crucial matters to address:

  • Violation of the Secularism:
    Some argue that the construction of a Hindu temple on a site historically significant to both Hindus and Muslims undermines the secular fabric of India. They contend that the state should remain neutral in religious matters and not prioritize one religion over others.
  • Sentiment of Minority:
    Concerns have been raised about the impact of the Ram Mandir construction on the rights and feelings of India's Muslim minority. The dispute over the site has been a longstanding source of tension between Hindu and Muslim communities, and the construction of the temple may increase these tensions.
  • Constitutional post:
    As per our constitution, India is a secular country which means the government cannot give the patronage to any specific religion and every religion is equal to other religions. As far as we all aware our hon'ble Prime Minister holding a constitutional post and his participation in the pran prathistha ceremony, which was held on 22nd January 2024 in Ayodhya, U.P., rising controversies because his presence is generally not observed frequently at ceremonies of other religions and due to these acts we clearly says that our PM gives patronage to Hinduism, this led to the decline of secular nature of the nation.
  • Public Holiday:
    The Centre announced that all central government offices will be closed for half a day, till 2:30pm on January 22 for the Ram Mandir Pran Prathistha ceremony. "Due to the overwhelming sentiment of the employees and requests from them, Central Government announces half day closing till 2:30 pm on 22nd January 2024, at all Central Government offices, Central institutions and Central industrial establishments throughout India on the occasion of Ram Temple pran prathistha ceremony," said the Central government's notification.
  • Secular governance:
    There are concerns that the government's involvement in facilitating the construction of the Ram Mandir may set a precedent for further government intervention in religious affairs, potentially eroding the secular principles on which India's democracy is based.
  • Allocation of funds:
    The construction of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir itself cost Rs 1,800 cr. The government has allocated Rs 100 crore for 'Ramotsav', a 70-day cultural extravaganza that commenced on January 14 and will continue until March 24.

While the Indian Constitution upholds secularism as a guiding principle, debates and controversies surrounding its implementation and interpretation have persisted over the years. Critics argue that certain laws and policies have favored particular religious communities or those communal tensions and incidents of religious violence challenge the secular fabric of the nation. Nonetheless, secularism remains a fundamental value enshrined in the Indian Constitution and continues to shape the country's legal, social, and political landscape.

The construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has raised several secular concerns, that discussed above-mentioned in brief but the construction of Ram Mandir cannot be blamed for the decline of secular nature of the nation, though if we look from the different point of view there are some points such as:

  • Sentiments of 120 crore Hindus:
    The Construction of Ram Mandir and the day of Pran Prathistha connects all the devotee of Lord Ram the entire nation not only the hindu religion of the country also the people of other religions celebrate this day wholeheartedly. We can say that the Lord Ram have a special place in the heart of hindu also the emotions of 120 crore hindu was seen that day.
  • Sacrifice of kar-sevaks:
    The struggle for the construction of Ram Mandir lakhs of karsevaks, not only the struggle of karsevaks, but the sacrifice of lakhs of karsevaks, finally got the result. The family members of deceased karsevaks have the emotions because their family members sacrifice his life only for construction of Ram Mandir.
  • Archaeological Survey of India Report:
    The ASI submitted its 574-page report on the matter to the Allahabad High Court in August 2003 and said that evidence of a massive structure was found under the demolished Babri Masjid."On entering the mosque, we saw 12 black granite temple pillars. At the base of the pillars was carved a 'poor kalasha' (the symbol of prosperity of Hinduism). This symbol was seen on all the pillars and then there were sculptures of some Hindu gods and goddesses who have been heavily defaced," said the ASI district director (Retired KK Muhammed).
  • Legal History:
    The legal battle over the Ayodhya land dispute has a long history, dating back to 1885 when Mahanth Raghubar Das filed a suit to build a temple at the disputed site. The suit was dismissed, leading to a series of appeals and subsequent court cases over the years. In 1934, a riot occurred in Ayodhya, resulting in the destruction of
    some buildings on the disputed site, which were later reconstructed by the british. In independent India, the legal battle continued with various parties filing suits for the right to pray and build a temple at the site. The Hindu Maha Sabha, Nirmohi Akhada, Sunni Central Waqf Board, and others all joined the legal battle over the ownership of the land.

Former Allahabad High Court judge Deoki Nandan Agarwal filed a suit in 1989, seeking ownership of the entire site for the construction of a new temple dedicated to Ram Lala. The Shia Wafq Board also filed a case as a defendant in the legal battle. The case saw delays and excavations at the disputed site by the Archaeological Survey of India, which reported the presence of Hindu artifacts and a massive structure underneath the disputed building.

Ultimately, a three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court made a decision on ownership in 2010, dividing the land among the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhada and Ram Lala. The legal battle over the Ayodhya land dispute has been complex and contentious, involving multiple parties and spanning decades of litigation.

Finally the Supreme Court Constitutional bench in 2019 ruled that the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya be handed over to a trust to be constituted for the construction of the Ram temple at the site, and five acres allotted at a 'prominent site' in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

In conclusion, navigating the discourse on the Ram Mandir amidst concerns over declining secularism requires a multifaced approach that acknowledges the diverse perspective and sensitivities involved. It's crucial to uphold the principle of secularism while also respecting the religious sentiments and historical narratives of various communities.

Emphasizing dialogue, legal avenues, and inclusive, decision-making processes can help mitigate tensions and foster social cohesion. Ultimate, fostering mutual respect for pluralism is essential for ensuring a harmonious and inclusive society where all can coexist peacefully despite differences in belief and identity.

We cannot say that construction of Ram Mandir snatched the secular nature but we could definitely say that the tactics we embraced for construction of Ram Mandir declined the secular nature of our Indian Constitution. As well as our Prime Minister who do all the rituals on Pran Prathistha Ceremony also declines the secular nature because he hold the constitutional post.


  • D.D Basu, "Introduction to the Constitution of India"
  • V.N Shukla, "Constitution of India"
  • M.P Jain, "Indian Constitutional Law"

Written By:
  1. Saurabh Kumar, 6th Semester LL.B(Hons.) Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow and
  2. Priyanshu Pandey, 6th Semester LL.B(Hons.) Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

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