Our Indian constitution is the supreme guide on which our country runs. It entails our rights, duties and division of work also. Back in 1946, when the constitution was being drafted; it’s makers noticed the need of protecting the rights of some communities.
These communities were small. And their number of men was also small in comparison with the majority of the country at that time. Our constitution aimed to achieve justice on all social, economical and political issues for all its citizens.
The makers saw that some communities were deprived of the rights and opportunities they were entitled to. This was just because of their race, caste or ethnicity. So it decided to award some communities with the tag of ‘minorities’ so as to grant them special rights.
The constitution does not exactly give us a definition of the term ‘minorities’. But on what parameters a community is classified as a minority? The basis of classifying minority is very vague and ambiguous. This is because it does not have any proper explanation in the constitution.
But on a general laymen level, minority is defined by any community that is less in number and therefore are treated differently. For e.g. women, LGTB community, schedule castes, schedule tribes, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Jains also. The Indian constitution has entailed various measures for the protection of the rights of the minorities and socially and economically disadvantaged classes.
History is testimonial to various movements that took shape to support the minority rights of certain minority groups. Time and again, minorities have stood up for themselves and their rights they deserve. This has taken form of many movements that have occurred in the past.
The first movement for minority rights was proclaimed by the Parliament of the Hungary in July 1849. For instance, the movement for women’s rights. It started in the 20th century with the feminist movements gaining girth in France and Russia. It finally spread its claws to the entire world.
Women started battling for their rights. Right to property, right to receive aid from several violence, right to vote and right to equal wages are some of the rights that women gained access to. Similarly the fight for LGBT right began way back in 18th century. But back then, they didn’t come forward to fight for their rights.
This was because they were shamed for being different from the rest of the society. But now, this movement has gained momentum with the operating of education. They have come out with their sexuality and voiced the need for their rights. Though India has still not accepted them with open arms yet there are many countries who have welcomed this pleasant change.
Now I will enlist name constituents in the pages of constituents which enlist the right provided to the minorities as to safeguard its interests.
First and foremost, India establishes herself as a secular state. A secular state is the state in which all religions, races, ethnicities and civil groups are accepted.
Also it does not reinforce the dominion of one group over another, on linguistic, racial or ethnic basis. The state does not enforce any religion. This also means that no particular party or ethnic group is above others in any respect.
Article 29- Article 29 dictates the right of linguistic minorities to establish and manage educational institutions on their own. They are given the right so that they can protect their culture.
The constitution gives the minorities various rights to promote the principles and theideas of their culture. This way India is able to practice her motto of ‘secularity’- by shoeing faith in cultural diversity.
Article 29 forbids any kind of discrimination or bias along racial, religious and linguistic lines. The educational institutions run by minorities are entitled to receiving grants and funds as received by other institutions.
Also, the educational institutions set up by minorities cannot refuse admission to students of other groups. They also cannot refuse jobs to the staff along the grounds of any, other group.
Article 25- Article 25 is the defender of every individual who lives in India. It guarantees freedom to each individual to follow any race, ethnicity and beliefs. It also gives the freedom to the individuals to move about in the country without any restrictions.
It articulates that the members of a minority have the right to follow their own interests and ideas. They shall not be faced with any interference from any other groups. The state is not allowed to regulate or intervene in the practice of a religion unless it becomes a threat to the existence of other people in the community.
The minority also have the right to propagate their religion. But they do not have the right to force it. The state regulates any conversion that is done forcefully or bytemptation. This is because it is the duty of the state to safeguard the interests of the citizens.
Article 26- Every religious denomination is given the right to public order, morality and health. In view of this, they have the following rights
- Establishment and maintenance of institutions which are started for a religious or charitable purposes.
- To manageitsaffairs in matters of religion.
- To buy and sell property in their own name.
- To administer the bought up property in accordance with the law of the land prevailing.
Article 27- The minority groups are provided the freedom to propagate their ideas and beliefs. But they cannot be charged any taxes for doing so, in whatever case.
Article 350 A- Article 350 A endeavors to bring education to all children even if they have different mother tongues. Hindi is recognized as our nationallanguage.
But there are 22 more languages which are identified as official languages. The government facilitates the teaching of children in their mother tongue at least at a primary stage. This is done so that they can learn with ease what is being taught.
So in this article, I have tried to give a very brief account of the minority rights that are entitled to every individual of the minority faith.