‘Secularism’ as practiced in India has absolutely no connection with what it means to the world – separation of State and Religion. If Indian Constitution treats all religions equal and awards equal rights to all citizens, Indian ‘secularism’ downgrades the ‘majority’ Hindu community. In essence, you are secular if you promote interests of Muslim and Christian fundamentalists, and if you say anything in favor of Hindus you are ‘communal.’
Hindus Carry the Burdened of ‘Secularism’
India, the land of ancient Hindu civilization that survived 1000 years of Islamic savagery and 200 years of colonial plunder, had to be partitioned in 1947 because some politically dominant Muslim separatists, under the delusion of Islamic superiority, did not want to live with Hindus in the imagined future ‘Hindu-Raj’ after the British departed. So they were given land for a separate Pakistan where they would live in their own Islamic ways away from the influence of ‘inferior’ kafir Hindus. If you ask, “Why did they have such as mindset?” This is because their “Religion” teaches them to discriminate against people whose way of life is different than the supposed Islamic life.
Now, what did Hindus get?
Hindus of Pakistan tasted the flavor of Pakistani Islam right after the partition, in the form of mass killings, rapes and kidnapping of women. The man who saw this typical jihadi barbarism in the ‘Islamic State’ was none other than Pakistan’s first law and justice minister, Jogendra Nath Mandal, a close associate of Jinnah, and unfortunately a dalit Hindu leader of Muslim League from East Bengal. But when he felt helpless in stopping the pogrom, seeing a bleak future of non-Muslims in the ‘Pure Land of Islam’ he decided to come back to India for safety in 1950. Of course, he came totally disillusioned by Pakistan’s brutal Islamic culture; Mandal’s resignation letter to then Pak PM said it all. Those who stayed there began to erode in numbers and now are waiting to become extinct. Incidentally, Mandal’s migration to supposed ‘Hindu-India’ only exemplified its ancient magnanimous of Hindu tradition of sheltering the persecuted people from around the world. Parsees can testify how driven by barbaric Islamic invaders from Iran their ancestors they found safe shelter in India 10-12 centuries ago.
And, what about the Hindus of India?
Hindus in India got a supposed ‘secular’ nation (without having this word in the constitution) where the White Britishers passed their legacy to an Indian team lead by an ‘almost brown British’, Jawaharlal Nehru who was more concerned about the sentiments of Muslims and Christians than what Hindus felt or wanted. While leaving India, the colonial British ensured that the Christian community is always represented in the parliament through nomination. The sizable Muslim community turned into a valuable mullah controlled vote-bank for the politicians dominated by the Congress Party.
Yet, despite special political attention to Muslims and Christians (in the name of ‘minority’ protection) the national politics by and large remained focused on larger issues – abject poverty and national development – in the 1950s and 1960s. Even in the 1971 Lok Sabha election, people voted for the Indira Gandhi slogan ‘garibi hatao’. But soon Indians started to get disillusioned as they saw nothing happening on the ground to effectively tackle their problems of poverty and destitution. Their frustration soon manifested in the JP movement that engulfed the whole country. It was a period when one single individual, Indira Gandhi, had grown bigger than the State, after already decimating all dissenting voices in her own party (Remember the ’emergency’ slogan: India is Indira and Indira is India!! Today her grandson, sub-mediocre Rahul Gandhi claims: I am Congress!!!). Realizing her failure on the poverty front, she started to weaken State institutions including the judiciary, by planting pliable individuals in order to strengthen her hold on power. When her own election was nullified by Allahabad high court she imposed ‘emergency’ in 1975 and took away all rights and freedoms from the people.
Indira Gandhi Added the Word ‘Secular’ in the Constitution in 1976
It was in this dark period of emergency that Indira Gandhi inserted the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble of the Constitution through the controversial 42nd Constitutional Amendment, which came into effect from January 3, 1977.
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. Then came the 42nd amendment in 1976 which changed the description of India in the preamble from “sovereign, democratic republic’ to ‘sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.”
Now the moot question: Why did Indira add the word ‘secular’ in the Constitution when the Constitution makers refrained from doing so? Was it not a challenge to the wisdom of the Constitution-makers? And most important, why did she leave the word undefined?
Vigilant media can testify that absolutely nothing happened in the country from 1950 when the Constitution was enforced till the 42nd Amendment in 1976 that would necessitate bringing about a Constitution Amendment to incorporate the word “secular” in the Preamble of the Constitution. Therefore, Indira Gandhi’s intention must be purely political. The clue comes from the justification for the 42nd Amendment. The Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Amendment reads:
“The question of amending the Constitution for removing the difficulties which had arisen in achieving the objective of socio-economic revolution, which would end poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity, had been engaging the active attention of government and the public for some years…It was, therefore, considered necessary to amend the Constitution to spell out expressly the high ideals of socialism, and integrity of the nation”.
It seems to imply that the word ‘secular’ was inserted to ‘remove the difficulties’. But it makes no sense because Emergency was not imposed due to any Hindu-Muslim tension. Therefore, the whole exercise was only a part of her tricks to divert people’s attention from the pressing issues of poverty and inequality where she had failed miserably despite winning elections in the name of ‘garibi hatao’.
Debate in the Constituent Assembly
The Constituent Assembly consisted of eminent people full of wisdom, vision and inspired confidence. More importantly, they were all products of the freedom struggle and had firsthand experience of inter-religious dynamics. Leaving aside the separatist minded Muslim League leadership whose aim was solely to get an “Islamic State” for them, Indians of all communities took part in the mainstream freedom movement. Therefore, Mahatma Gandhi propagated the concept of “Sarva Dharm Sambhav” – that all religions are equal. This is Indian secularism – and such a thing can come only from Hindu mindset that is ever willing to accommodate diversity of beliefs and traditions.
Reflecting this philosophy, on August 14, 1947, the President of the Constituent Assembly, Dr Rajendra Prasad said on the floor of the Assembly, “To all the minorities in India we give the assurance that they will receive fair and just treatment, and there will be no discrimination in any form against them. Their religion, their culture, and their language are safe, and they will enjoy all the rights and privileges of citizenship…To all we give the assurance that will be our Endeavour to end poverty and squalor and its companions, hunger and disease: to abolish distinction and exploitation and to ensure decent conditions of living.”
On the same day, Nehru had said, “The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.” The country was to achieve this objective on the basis of the principles contained in Part IV of the Constitution, which were “fundamental in the governance of the country.”
Thus, the Constitution was created to absorb the essence of this philosophy of peaceful coexistence of all religious groups in India. Thus, the Article 15 says, ‘The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them” and the Article 25 provides that “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion”.
Why was the Western concept of secularism rejected?
When the Western secularism – separation of State from Religion – was debated, the vice president of the drafting committee H C Mookherjee commented “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.”
Adopting the Western secularism was problematic because it was widely acknowledged that Indians are quite religious and religion was inseparable from their life. Further, the Western ‘secularism’ was devised to counter Christian ‘theocracy’ – clerics assuming State power – so that people of diverse beliefs can live in freedom and security. Both the words ‘secularism’ and ‘theocracy’ have no substitutes in any of our Indian languages because such a situation had never existed in the history of India. In fact, none of the India born ideologies – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc – has theocratic political traits; they are ideologies of pure personal-spiritual growth, devoid of socio-political diversions like in Islam or Christianity.
Thus, even Western educated Nehru and Ambedkar rejected the Western model as this was not suitable for Indians. And, the Gandhian ideal of ‘Sarva Dharm Sambhav’ formed the basis of Indian Constitution. Naturally, the English word ‘secularism’ was never included anywhere.
The spirit of equal treatment to all religions manifested 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 which is not monolithic.
Talking of ‘theocracy’ it must be emphasized that the Muslim League boycotted the Constituent Assembly and Jinnah gave call for ‘direct action’ to push for a separate Pakistan for Muslims. This was the political side of what is called ‘Islam’. Indians should know that religions – Islam and Christians – are not limited to spiritual upliftment of the followers; they inherently have a “Political Side” which is more dominant in the current world order.
Why Impose ‘Secularism’ on Hindus; They are Already Secular!
Looking at the manner Muslims forced division of India, many Western observers were amazed at Hindus’ irrationally high tolerance and accommodativeness in their own ancient land. They strongly feel that Hindus should have demanded massive compensations both from the Muslim and Christian communities for centuries of occupation, plunder and injustices done to them during the Islamic rule and British period.
They ask: Can you imagine the Jews giving special privileges to the Germans or Arabs in Israel?
Another thing that astonished Western thinkers is the lopsided importance given to the issue of minority protection in the post-independent India. They argue that the Hindu mindset and culture is inherently multi-theist, multi-cultural and naturally accepts diversity among people, so where is the need of asking them to be secular? They further argue: If at all secularism has any relevance, it is 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, secularism should be only directed towards Indian Christians and Muslims and be asked to develop non-discriminating mind towards Hindus; asking Hindus to do that is like asking sun to give light!
Secular – Communal Debate in India
Post-Emergency having the word ‘secular’ in the Constitution, gave minority appeasing Congress politicians an explicit weapon to beat Hindus with it. The majority-minority politics revolves around arousing insecurity in the so-called “minority communities” by playing the threat of the majority community dominance. Thus, Indira Gandhi gave Muslim vote-bank politicians a new fashionable, but deceptive, name – secular politician. It led to secular-communal divide in the politics. Since then, polarization of India society has been openly going on in the name of secularism. Blame, of course, rests on Hindus.
Arrival of rootless Sonia Gandhi at the helm of Congress took the secular-communal discourse to dangerous new lows. She started to demonize Hindus and Hindu organization, particularly since Gujarat riots in 2002 which came in retaliation of Godhra train massacre when Muslims burnt alive 59 Hindu Karsevaks. Her sub-mediocre son Rahul Gandhi, the current Lord of the Congress Party, and his associates are now taking this dangerous anti-Hindu discourse to further filthy levels. Their anti-Hindu tirade often goes too far when it begins to sound anti-India. [‘Secular’ Riots of India]
Apart from widening the Hindu-Muslim divide, the same politicians also try fragmenting the Hindu society for vote gains in the name of redefining ‘minority.’ For instance, 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 the Jain community ‘minority’ status in January 2014, just as Karnataka’s Congress government tried doing it in March 2018 with the Lingayats.
The self-declared secular politicians are today the biggest threat to India’s integrity. Their vote-bank gimmicks are emboldening inherent isolationist and separatist tendencies in the Muslim community. Already there are regions in West Bengal, UP and Bihar where Muslim form majority local population, in many such areas they try imposing sharia and make non-Muslims feel insecure.
You may also like to explore: