‘Secularism’ as practiced in India has no connection with its dictionary meaning. Indian Constitution awards equal rights to all Indians, but Indian ‘secularism’ downgrades the ‘majority’ Hindu community. Thus, if you promote interests of Muslim or Christian fundamentalists, you are secular; and if you say anything in favor of Hindus you are ‘communal.’
Why are Hindus Burdened with ‘Secularism’
India, the ancient land of Hindus, was partitioned in 1947 to give a separate nation to Muslims so that they could live in their own religious ways. What did Hindus get?
Hindus got a so-called ‘Secular’ State where Muslims and Christians get preferential treatment not only because they are privileged “minorities” but also because they had ruled over the Hindus – and plundered and converted them over centuries. While leaving India, the colonial British ensured that the Christian community is always represented in the parliament through nomination. The ‘secular’ Indian State continued giving Hajj subsidy to Muslim pilgrims, and no one pointed out the contradiction. Even after 70 years of independence, the talk of uniform civil code is vehemently resisted by the Muslim leaders who still live in romance with the 7th century Sharia jurisdiction, while rest of India wants to get modern.
Many westerners are amazed at Hindus’ irrationally high tolerance and accommodativeness in their own ancient land. In their opinion, Hindus should have demanded massive compensation from the Muslim and Christian communities for centuries of occupation, plunder and injustices done to them during the Mughal and British periods.
They ask: Can you imagine the Jews giving special privileges to the Germans or Arabs in Israel?
Another thing that astonishes Western thinkers is the imposition of the concept of secularism on Hindus. Hindu mindset and culture is inherently multi-theist, multi-cultural and accepts diversity among people, so where is the need of asking them to be secular? If at all secularism has any relevance, it is relevant only for Indian Muslims and Christians whose religions train them to discriminate against people who are not among them. Christians and Muslims are drilled to have bias against the people of other faith. Therefore, Indian Christians and Muslims should be asked to develop non-discriminative mind towards Hindus; asking Hindus to do that is like asking sun to give light!
Indian intelligentsia is particularly in love with the word “secularism.” Why? Because it thinks that being secular means being modern, liberal and progressive. But when you look at their discourse and conduct, you soon begin to see signs of their empty brains. Whenever they pretend to be championing the cause of ‘secularism’, they are either deriding Hindus or advocating the interests of the Muslim or Christian communities because they are ‘minorities’.
Now if you ask me, “Are there no other minority ‘religions’ in India?” I will have to simply laugh out loudly at your ignorance! Because you don’t know what ‘religion’ is – and therefore, you can’t understand what secularism is! And both words are 100% Western invention; presence of these words in India’s political discourse is a serious injustice to Hindus and devaluation of their way of life.
But looking at how media intellectuals and politicians use the word ‘secularism’, it is clear that they haven’t the least idea what they are talking about or why the West had to coin this word! Come election time, and the word ‘secular’ gets into the mouth of every politician – each one trying to be bigger ‘secular’ than the other! It’s a comedy of competitive ignorance!!
Contrary to popular belief in India, secular and communal are not each other’s opposite. Communal is not such a bad thing, it simply means something ‘related to a community’. A community can be any group of people; not necessarily people belonging to a single religion. In Germany, local body elections are called “communal elections”.
So, next time when you are hear Mayawati, Mamta or Pawar saying that “all secular forces should unite in the Grand Coalition against the Communal BJP and super communal Hindu Modi” you should laugh out hysterically! Because what they are saying is totally ridiculous!
Even their ‘secular’ buddy, Italy born Sonia, is as illiterate when it comes to secularism. In fact, she should have known better because it was her mother-in-law Indira who inserted this word into the Constitution in 1976. But in her long political life, she has only abused Hindus in the name of secularism. Anyway, her only strength in politics comes from the Nehru family connection that unites sycophantic and slave-brained Indians into the Congress Party.
Let’s first put the idea of ‘Secularism’ into the right perspective and why it was originated around three centuries ago in Europe.
‘Secular’ is Opposite of ‘Religious’
Secular is something non-religious. For the context of this section, being ‘religious’ refers to Christianity, which is a well-organized, dogmatic faith that claims to be the Only Keeper of the ‘Truth’, revealed by God himself through his Son Jesus. It got written in the Bible, interpreted by the privileged clergy class. Truth exists only in the Bible, and everything outside the Bible is false. Therefore, Bible alone tells the ONLY divine truth! And you must believe in it to become the privileged Christian. [You can easily apply all these arguments to Islam, because both are ‘religions’.]
So, shut your mouth as well as the brain – and just Believe. Being a ‘believer’ in Christianity is enough to salvage your from all your sins! It automatically means accepting unquestioningly all dictates coming from the religious elites, who call themselves ‘Holy Fathers’ and pretend as if they have direct hot line with God who lives somewhere up in the sky!
Even if you are not a Christian, you may ask – so what is wrong in believing? Well, there is nothing wrong in believing that Bible alone is right. Actually, the problem is not the Bible or what is written in it. As Europeans discovered, the problem is the Elite Clergy running the Christian Church, which was traditionally also the State. When the Church issued dictates, they have to be accepted by all citizens. It demanded absolute unquestioning surrender from the masses. Disobeying or disagreement with the dictates often meant severe punishment – imprisonment, torture and death were common for those who dare question the authority of the Church. It demanded a ‘shut-minded’ adherence to whatever it said, in the name of the ‘holy god’.
Therefore, rational and free thinking people as well as atheists had to remain silent for fear of punishment. People had no choice of questioning the imposed belief or to express opinion different from it. This was the PROBLEM.
In nutshell, faith is not a problem; discriminating on its basis or imposing it on others is the PROBLEM.
Need to Separate Church and State brought “Secularism” 350 years ago !
Things started to change around 350 years ago as scientific discoveries began to emerge. It required free, open and rational thinking, away from the traditional dogmas and blind beliefs which hinder unfettered thinking. Thus, more and more Europeans started to speak against the religious dictates of the State. Along the way, many faced punishments in various harsh ways, we can’t even image now. In modern times, how the Taliban imposed its Islam in Afghanistan and how the ISIS treated people come close to it the situation of medieval Europe.
But slowly the idea, that reason and rationality (untainted by imposed religious beliefs) should guide the State, gained ground. It ultimately led to the demand for separating the State and the Church. This separation is called SECULARISM. It was born out of the need to get away from Church imposed blind beliefs and shut-minds. Therefore, the purpose of ‘secularism’ was to allow free speech and respect for differing opinions in the society, became only in such environment can people enjoy freedom, grow intellectually and indulge in scientific inquiry.
Today, most western democracies are ‘secular’. Religious (Christian) beliefs don’t dictate state policies, although most western democracies still treat Christianity preferentially. For example in Germany, the Constitution guarantees that the Christian doctrine is taught in government schools.
In stark contrast, societies following the other major religion Islam always appear to be moving in just the opposite direction. Rather than restricting the religion in the personal space, Islamic societies have the tendency to put Islam into everything. That makes the Muslim clergy supreme, who then start promoting fundamentalism in the name of Sharia jurisdiction of the 7th century Arab society to sustain their own power! How ominous such a mindset can be for non-Muslims can be seen from the experience of Pakistan and Bangladesh, both Islamic States, where minority Hindu community has been reduced to microscopic levels through systematic forced conversions, killings and rapes.
Nothing can be more unfortunate for humanity than this. Jogendra Nath mandal, the first Law and Justice Minister of Pakistan, had to return to India in 1950 after he saw systematic forced conversions, rape and discrimination against Hindus who joined Pakistan. Mandal’s resignation letter says it all.
Indian Situation is Different
The situation in India has been entirely different. First, Hindus don’t follow monolithic ‘religion’, they follow dharma based ideology which respects diversity of opinions. Second, the Vedic knowledge, by its very nature, does not stifle rational or free inquiry; it imposes nothing on people. On the contrary, it encourages open thinking and investigation to find one’s own path to Moksha (Liberation). Hindu philosophy accepts that people can choose their own path to realize the same ultimate reality. It even accepts atheists as comfortably as believers of God – which is absolutely impossible in religions.
Moreover, what is known as Hinduism today, evolved spontaneously through the experiential knowledge of ancient Rishis, sages and ascetics who achieved full liberation. Their focus was always on reason, intuition and direct experience. So, people followed a multitude of paths according to their conscience. Their efforts were always about living in the right way or doing the right thing in any given circumstance.
They all see humanity as one big family and have reverence for the One Universal Consciousness (or formless God) that permeates all life and all existence. Therefore, everything that exists in nature became the object of reverence – the rivers, trees, mountains and living creatures. This gave rise to the concept of non-harming and peaceful coexistence with all beings and nature.
Even other India born philosophies like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc – that the Westerners wants to see as distinct from Hinduism – also have their own systems of beliefs, rituals and traditions. Yet, they also revolve around Dharma and thus, focus on right conduct to ultimately attain full liberation. Therefore, Indian philosophies of life are entirely different from Christianity and Islam and don’t promote discriminative mindset. None divide the humanity into believers and non-believers and none play the game of conversion to prop up their numbers. Their strength lies in the purity of conduct; not on numbers. So, the lecture on ‘secularism’ should be directed towards Muslims and Christians alone.
‘Religions’ destroyed Social Cohesiveness in India
Drilled to believe that their “Book” alone contains the Truth and their God or Allah is the only superpower, arrival of Christians and Muslims and then expansion through conversions slowly destroyed the social cohesiveness in India. They despised and ridiculed the good-natured Indians for whom it was a strange thing to look down upon people who held different beliefs. They also could not understand how it is right to kill another human being just because he believes in a different God or philosophy.
Islamic invaders from Central Asia brought the ‘religious barbarism’ to India when they slaughtered countless Hindus simply because they were ‘Hindus’ (which is actually a geographical term) and believed in things out side Quran. It was totally unbelievable for them to see merciless killings, rapes and conversions in the name of Allah, Islam or Mohammad. A contemporary of Babur, Guru Nanak Dev had left a graphic testimony of Babur’s invasions. Nothing much has changed in the 21st century as far as the basic Muslim mindset is concerned. Here are typical pieces of wisdom from the mouths of some Indian Muslims that shows what they feel about Hindus.
Voltaire, who opposed the stranglehold of the Church in Europe, had accurately observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.
Historical Perspective of India’s Secularism
India’s Constitution-makers wanted to give a level playing field to all Indians regardless of religion, caste, language, or region so that Indian democracy can provide full freedom and liberties to its citizens. Since Indian democracy was to be modeled on the lines of Western democracies the ideal of ‘secularism’ – separation of State and Religion – was also debated at length.
Adopting the Western secularism, where the State would remain unconcerned with religions, was problematic. It would mean that the State would not be able to make religion-based interventions such as the reservation for the oppressed dalits in the Hindu society, protection of the Muslim personal law and the directive principle to protect cows etc. Nehru and Ambedkar were strongly committed to the ideal of secularism. Yet when it came to including ‘secular’ both were reluctant. The vice president of the drafting committee H C Mookherjee stated that “are we really honest when we say that we are seeking to establish a secular state? If your idea is to have a secular state it follows inevitably that we cannot recognize minorities based upon religion.”
Therefore, the word ‘secularism’ was not used in the Constitution but its spirit was adopted through Articles 25, 26 and 27 – all furthering various rights and freedoms to citizens of India. But our Constitution-makers seem to have overplayed the minority-majority issue. While granting various freedoms to promote equality, they ended up making the minorities more equal than the ‘perceived’ majority.
Secularism in the 42nd Amendment
On June 26, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared emergency and put all political opponents in jail. She initiated a series of Constitutional amendments to prolong her rule. The 38th amendment ensured that no judicial review of the Emergency could take place and the 39th amendment stated that the office of the prime minister could not be challenged by the Supreme Court, but only by a body constituted by the Parliament. Soon came the 42nd amendment in 1976. After which the description of India in the preamble was changed from “sovereign, democratic republic’ to a ‘sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.”
However, despite this insertion, things remained pretty much the same. ‘Secularism’ remained the smokescreen for minority appeasement and heart-burn among the majority Hindu community remained ignored as usual.
It is really a mystery why Indira Gandhi did this. Perhaps the most plausible explanation is that it was to assuage the faith-based fear psychosis among Christians and Muslims looking at the awe inspiring high population of rest of the Indians.
Dirty Game of Minority-Majority Divide
Dividing Indian society (particularly the so-called ‘majority’) is another game of secularism. In 2001, the Rajasthan High Court rejected a plea to award the status of minority to the Jain community. The court warned, “If we go on making classifications like this, … perhaps the pious concept of ‘WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA’ would be defeated and the people as a whole shall stand divided in innumerable parts.” Yet a “secular” UPA government accorded Jains minority status in January 2014, just as Karnataka’s Congress government did in March 2018 with the Lingayats.
India’s Secularism is Utterly Nonsense
Governments – state as well as central – engage in all sorts of religious activities and play favorites. They own and operate places of worship, fund religious schools, grant tax exemptions to religious bodies, award them government contracts and give public lands, and take people on religious pilgrimages. Both central and state governments are engaged in this free-for-all because the Constitution places “religious institutions” in the Concurrent List. They began exploiting religious communities with special treatment, sops and populist slogans.
Therefore, all talks of secularism in India is sham and deceptive. It’s no more than a ploy to corner Muslim and Christian votes to win elections
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