Purpose of the State:
According to John Locke, the purpose of the government is human welfare. According to Bluntschli and Holtzendorf, the purpose of the state is the welfare of the people.
According to Giddings, t he purpose of the state is to create such an atmosphere in which all the people should be able to lead a supreme and self-sufficient life. Ritche says, “The purpose of the state is the achievement of the best life by the individual”.
In modern times, Burgess, Willoughby and Garner have discussed the topic in detail. According to Garner, the purpose of the state is to look after the interest of the individual, nation’s interest and to develop human civilization.
According to Adam Smith, there are three main purposes of the state: First, protection from external aggression and maintenance of internal peace and security; secondly, protection of the individual against injustice and atrocities of other members of society; and thirdly, to establish different jobs and public institutions and to maintain them, which cannot be established by any individual or group of individuals.
Functions of the Welfare State:
What functions should be performed by the state and what should not be performed by it has been a controversial matter since ancient times. Individualist writers are of the view that the state should perform only three functions.
The following are the three functions of the state according to individualists:-
(1) Protection from foreign aggression;
(2) Maintenance of internal law and order; and
(3) To implement such mutual agreements which are legally valid?
Thus, it is clear that the individualists want to limit the functions of the state. They are not ready to make the state a welfare institution for the public welfare. Contrary to this, the socialists want to expand the state activities in every sphere.
The activities of the state have been extended very much in Russia, China and other communist countries and the state is controlling every sphere of the society. In the countries, where there is no socialism, efforts are being made to make the state a welfare organisation, as in India. In England and America, similar views are prevailing.
In modern welfare states, individualistic view, that the state should not interfere in the fundamental rights of the individuals, has been accepted. For example, people have been given some fundamental rights in India, France and the United States of America, and there is generally no undue interference of the state in these rights.
Today, the welfare state maintains law and order, defence and justice, but besides this, no other view of individualism has been accepted. Today, the state considers it as its duty to remove evils like illiteracy, poverty, illness, use of intoxicants, etc.
The state also makes rules and regulations for trade and commerce. It imposes taxes and controls the production and distribution of essential goods. The state also makes laws relating to marriage, untouchability, property, etc. Thus the sphere of state activity has extended to a great extent.
Functions of Modern States:
Bern’s says, “The state should give full help to make the national life complete and to develop the national health, welfare, morality and intellect of the society”.
The state activities can be divided into two parts:
(1) Compulsory or essential;
(2) Optional. American writer Wilson has divided the functions of the state into two parts-Compulsory and Optional.
According to Wilson, the following are Compulsory Functions of the state:-
(1) To maintain law and order and to protect life and property against theft and violence.
(2) To establish legal relations between husband and wife and between children and their parents.
(3) To make rules regarding property;
(4) To decide the rights which come out as a result of agreement between the individuals?
(5) To fix the crimes and to award punishment;
(6) To give justice in civil matters.
(7) To fix mutual relations between the citizens and their rights and duties; and
(8) Relations with foreign countries and protection against foreign Aggression.
It is clear from the compulsory functions of the state that according to individualists all functions have been adopted by the welfare states but in welfare states some functions of socialist countries have also been included and they have been made optional for the state.
Thus, the concept of individualism is midway between individualism and socialism. Today, all the politicians accept the above mentioned functions of the state irrespective of the form of the government. All wise people accept the view that the main function of the state is to guard its people against foreign aggression, and to maintain law and order, and justice.
For this purpose, every state has to keep a large army and police force and it has to establish courts. The state cannot function only on the basis of non-violence. There is no example in the world history where a country has functioned on the basis of non-violence. Many people quote the example of emperor Ashoka, but this is a mistake.
The reason for this is that though after the war of Kalinga, he stopped conquering more lands, yet he did not disband military and police organisations. He maintained up to the last military and police for the maintenance of peace, to suppress rebellions and to protect the frontiers of the country. This fact has been supported by Kalhan, a famous Kashmiri historian, who wrote that once during Ashoka’s regime, the Greek aggressors violated in the north-western frontiers of India and they entered Indian Territory.
Immediately, Emperor Ashoka sent a large army under the command of his son Jallock in order to turn the invaders out of India. Jallock defeated the Greeks and turned them out of India. The second example is that of the rebellion of the tribal people near Taxila.
King Ashoka warned them to stop the rebellious attitude and threatened to use force against them if they did not do so. The rebellions were immediately put to an end. Our government too has military and police forces for the protection of the country and for the maintenance of law and order, even though it believes in non-violence.
Our government had to use force in Hyderabad, Kashmir, Goa, Diu, Daman and against the Naga rebels. When on October 20, 1962, China invaded India; the Government of India had to face the aggression with military force.
The aggressor could not be defeated by employing non-violent or peaceful methods. After that, our government has increased its military powers. It is, therefore clear that for the protection of the country, adequate military power is essential.
During the Second World War, Russia, America and Britain protected their countries against the German invasion with force. Therefore, since the very beginning, it has been the duty of the state to protect the country and to maintain law and order.
According to Wilson, the following are the optional functions of the state:-
1. To make regulations relating to commerce and industry.
2. To make laws for the benefit of the labourers.
3. To make care of the poor and the invalid.
4. To make arrangements for Post and Telegraph;
5. To construct roads and highways;
6. To make arrangement for water, gas, etc.;
7. To make arrangement for health and cleanliness;
8. To plant jungles and to protect their production and to increase fish in the rivers;
9. To eradicate social evils like child marriage, drinking etc.
10. Education; and
11. To make arrangement for important and export and to make laws in this regard.
In modern age, the state performs most of these functions for the welfare of the people. For example, welfare state has been established in India. The government has made many rules relating to commerce and industry and for the welfare of the labourers.
Our government has imposed many restrictions on the import of foreign goods that indigenous goods should become popular. Our government is providing many facilities to local and foreign industrialists so that they may invest their capital and the people should get everything easily.
Our government is not only giving loans and providing many facilities to the industrialists, but it is also imposing heavy taxes on them, so that adequate money should be available for the execution of Five-Year Plans. For the welfare of the labourers our government has fixed their pay, working hours, bonus, holidays and compensation in case of accident.
Our government has left many industries in private sector, but it has regulated them. It has started some industries in public sector also. It has established steel plants in Durgapur (West Bengal), Bhilai (Madhya Pradesh), Rourkela (Orissa) and Bokaro (Bihar) and got technical assistance for them from foreign countries. Our government has established a Locomative Factory at Chittaranjan (West Bengal) and a Coach Factory at Perambur (Tamil Nadu).
Civil Aviation has been nationalized and a ship building and repairing factory has been established at Visakhapatnam. The Governments of France, West Germany, Italy, England and Japan are also doing many things for the welfare of the people and they are making efforts for the regulation of industries and for the uplift of the labourers.
In modern times, all welfare states are making strenuous efforts for the development of agriculture, because it is the first and foremost duty for the government to increase the production of food-grains. After the partition of the country, our government has taken many important steps.
For example, the government launched a Grow More Food Campaign and made many efforts for the improvement of the condition of the farmers, which includes abolition of zamindari system, through constructing many dams, new techniques of agriculture, production of fertilizers, arrangements for loans through co-operative societies, etc.
The Governments in other countries are making similar efforts. The Governments in Russia, China, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, Hungary, etc., are having more control over the industries and” agriculture than the welfare states.
Today all progressive countries have full control over Posts and Telegraphs; and import and export. Modern government build roads for the benefit of the citizens and make arrangements for water supply, lighting and cleanliness for villages and towns.
Today in all progressive countries, the governments create such situations as help the people to keep good health. For this purpose the governments impose price control, check adulteration in foodstuffs and ban the sale of rotten and intoxicating things. They make arrangements for the supply of pure butter and milk. The progressive governments in order to check the spread of diseases establish health departments and open hospitals.
Modern governments have done a commendable work regarding the care of ne poor, invalid and the old. Many states have made arrangements for their livelihood and some pension is also being granted to them. In our country the governments of U.P. and Rajasthan have taken very important steps in this direction. The Central Government also chalked out a plan for this purpose.
The progressive states have also taken steps to increase fish in the rivers, to grow forests, to make better arrangements for education and to eradicate social ills. In our country, in order to grow more forests, Vanamahotsavas are celebrated every year.
The government is continuously making efforts to develop fisheries. To recommend reforms in the educational system, our government has set up a commission. Foreign Educational experts have also been engaged for advice in this matter.
Today, the state also protects the prosperity and tries to bring about moral reforms. In the Constitution of India, the people have been given the right to freedom. The Government of India has also introduced many social reforms. For this purpose the government has passed the Hindu Code Bill. Besides, the government fixes weights and measures and it also mints money. The government also establishes international relations. It develops natural resources.
What the State Should Not Do?
We have discussed above the functions which the state should performs. Now we discuss what the state should not do?
The state should not perform the following functions:
(1) The state should not unnecessarily interfere in the customs and usages of the people, but if any custom is bad, the state has the full authority to ban it. For example, Sati system, child marriage and untouchability were bad customs in India. There, the Government of India abolished them by law.
(2) The slate should not prescribe dress or fashions for the people. It means that the state should not prescribe one type of dress for all the people and it should be left to the people to decide which dress or fashion is to be adopted by them.
But the government is free to prescribe dresses for government officials, police and military personnel. Amir Aman Ullah Khan, the king of Afghanistan, ordered his people to shave off their beards. The orthodox Muslims did not like it because in their view, the government had not right to prescribe a fashion for the people.
The Muslims of Afghanistan took this order as against their religion and an interference in their daily life. The result was that the people revolted against the king and Aman Ullah had to abdicate his throne, and run away to Paris via Delhi.
(3) The government or the state should not interfere in the religion of the people. The students of history are very well aware of the fact as to how Aurangzeb’s fanatic religious policy shook the very foundation of the Mughal Empire. Britishers also tried to convert Indians to Christians before 1857, with the result that the people revolted against them.
This was one of the most important reasons of the 1857 upheaval. Therefore, at the time of the enactment of the Constitution of India, a secular state was established in India. This means that religious matters our country is secular and it will neither work for nor against any religion.
(4) The state should not impose any special restriction on public opinion but it should give maximum freedom to such means as form public opinion. In a democratic set-up, there should be maximum freedom of speech and writing, freedom of criticism to the press, freedom to form institutions or association.
However, in actual practice it is seen that this type of freedom exists in democratic countries, but it is almost non-existent in communist or dictatorial regimes. These rights are included in the human rights declared by the United Nations. The U.N. is trying to get these rights for all citizens of the world.
(5) The state should not interfere in the family and personal affairs of the people.
(6) The state should not take up such measures as hinder the mental or physical growth of the people.
State and Religion:
Political Science deals with the State. In ancient and medieval times, and Politics were closely related to each other. Ancient scriptures deal with also. In ancient Egypt, India and other countries Political Science and religion went together. In the same way European States were Christian in the medieval ages.
There was theocracy in the medieval Islamic Empire. In Rig-Veda reference has been made to “Samiti” and “Sabha” the two political institutions of that time. And it was believed that a wise king should always be in harmony with these institutions.
The two institutions were very powerful in the Vedic era. In Atharva Veda we come across many incantations which were taken as an oath by the king before his coronation and if he did not act in accordance with the incantations, he was very likely to be dethroned.
There were incantations (mantras) which recommended the dethroned king to be enthroned again if he had left repentant. Manusmriti deals with the duties of a king. In Mahabharata, reference has been made to the origin of the state.
In ancient times the Hindu kings tried to run their government in accordance with the Hindu religion and Muslim kings in accordance with the Quran. This makes it very clear that in ancient times kings and emperors were much impressed by religion. Emperor Ashoka made all efforts, except the use of power, to preach Buddhism.
Religion has helped to a very great extent as a cementing factor in political organisation also. Islam successfully united all the warring tribes of Arabia. The preaching’s of Guru Nanak and other Gurus united all the Sikhs into one state- Punjab-which proved to be a very powerful kingdom during the tenure of Ranjit Singh.
Religion disciplined the public and taught people how to obey the king or the government. Religion also taught people how they should behave. Religion is a very good thing because it teaches morality and love for human beings but it has been misused by the politicians to suit their own ends, therefore, it has given rise to secular state.
Rise of Secularism and the Growth of the Secular State:
If religion united the public, much blood has also been shed in the name of religion by politicians who exploited it for selfish ends. In Jerusalem, fierce battles were fought in the name of religion first between the Egyptians and the Jews and then between the Christians and the Muslims in the middle Ages.
In India, some Turks and Afghan rulers, and some Mughal Emperors like Aurangzeb, declared Islam as their state religion and imposed it upon the Hindus. These rulers tyrannised over those people who refused to profess Islam. Consequently, religious conflicts between the Hindus and the Muslims arose.
These disputes reached culmination in the regime of Aurangzeb and shook the foundation of his empire. In ‘857, the British Government also tried to impose Christianity upon people by all means but people rose in revolt which reduced the British East India Company to nothingness.
When India became free, a new Constitution was framed and the rattlers of the Constitution thought it unwise to declare any religion as national religion because there was a great diversity of religions. As a result, India saw the origin and growth of the Secular State.
It was felt that religion was a personal affair and it should not be allowed to interfere in politics. The Constitution of India includes a list of seven Fundamental Rights and one of these seven Fundamental is the right to Freedom of Religion. According to Venkataraman, Secularism means that the State is neither theistic nor atheistic nor agnostic.
It is always away from the religious principles and their performance and thus it remains non-aligned in the religious matters. In the opinion of Dr. Radhakrishnan to be secular does not mean to be an atheist or to be follower of a narrow religious sect but it means to be perfect and spiritual.
According to Eric S. Waterhouse, “Secularism is an ideology which provides a theory of life and conduct as against one provided by a religion. The whole idea of secularism, as enshrined in our Constitution, was very vividly explained by a Member of the Constituent Assembly, Pandit Lakshmi Kant Maitra of West Bengal, who on 6th December, 1948 said thus:
“By Secular State, as I understand it, is meant that the state is not going to make any discrimination whatsoever on the ground of religion or community against any person professing any particular form of religious faith. This means in essence that no particular religion in the state will receive any state patronage any particular form of religious faith. This means in essence that no particular religion in the state will receive any state patronage whatsoever. The state is not going to establish patronage or endow any particular religion to the exclusion of or in preference to others; that no citizen in the state will have any preferential treatment or will be discriminated against simply on the ground that he professed a particular form of religion. In other words, in the affairs of the state the profession of any particular religion will not be taken into consideration at all. This, I consider to be the essence of a secular state. At the same time we must be very careful to see that in this land of ours we do not deny to anybody the right not only to profess or practice, but also to propagate and particular religion the Constitution has rightly provided for this not a right but also a fundamental right”.
So in other words it means that the State will not do any favour or disfavour to any one on the religious grounds either in the selection for jobs or in any other sphere. It depends entirely on the will of the person concerned to profess any religion, he or she likes.
The State will not make use of power or any incentive to pressurise people to profess a particular religion. In India no discrimination has been made since independence for any political or administrative office on the basis of caste, creed, religion or sex and equal opportunities are available to all the citizens of India.
This was demonstrated well on the occasion of the election to the highest office in India when Dr. Zakir Hussain and Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed were elected Presidents of India. Mohammadans have also enjoyed office of Chief Minister, Governor, Judge and Chief Justice of High Court and Supreme Court. So in India Secularism prevails. There is no official religion in India as we find in some Muslim States of the world.
Though India has seen the rise of Secularism and the growth of the Secular State, the world remains to see it yet. In the world there are many countries which have their official religions. For example, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt profess only Islam and they do not profess any other religion.
In the ancient and medieval Arab countries there was theocracy and the Caliph (Khalifa) was considered to be the chief of both the state and the religion. Though Capliphs are not there these days, yet these countries do not profess any other religion except Islam. Therefore, the interests of the religious minorities suffer there.
Advantages of the Secular State:
(1) There is no doubt about it that the Secular States are far better than the non-Secular States because such state neither favour nor disfavour any religion, the religions are given equal treatment. And all the persons professing any religion they like, are given similar opportunities;
(2) In a Secular State, the national unity is safe and secure as there are no religious disputes;
(3) In a Secular State all have equal opportunities to make progress and, therefore, stability is there Nationalism gets strength and the country makes progress on all sides;
(4) A Secular State may follow the high ideals of Truth, Ahimsa, Love and Brotherhood and by so doing the secular nature of the state does not suffer;
(5) In a Secular State People are at liberty to take their own decisions in the religious matters and nobody imposes religion of his choice on anybody. People feel self-reliant and self- dependent;
(6) In a Secular State, unity in diversity is maintained.
Criticism of the Secular State:
People have criticised the Secular Slate on the ground that in a Secular State there is no physical basis to run the government and people do not care to follow any religion or high moral ideals. The criticism is not totally baseless.
It carries some weight. But there is no denying the fact that the Secular State is far better than the non-Secular State. Its merits outshine its demerits. It will not be wrong to say that for countries like India, secularism is most suitable because it does not injure the religious feelings of the people and it does not discriminate against any religion.