The Mindset

"There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it." – Chanakya

Secularism India Style

Posted by The Mindset on May 20, 2011

Here is a really good article on Pseudo-Secularism in India by Mr. Cho S Ramaswamy

Author: Cho S Ramaswamy
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 6, 1998

As a citizen of India, I am terribly agitated. The Marxists warn me that the nation is facing the risk of turning communal. Sonia Gandhi reminds me about the secular traditions of this country and alerts me to the dangerous prospect of seeing it wrecked. All the regional, district and municipal parties owing allegiance to
the front that was once united, have tipped me off about the peril posed by Hindu fundamentalism which is perched on the threshold of power at the centre.Naturally, I am worried. I am anxious to convince all leaders of secular parties that I too am secular. I believe that the state, in the process of decision making, should rely only on worldly criteria and not on religious doctrines or ecclesiastical dictates. The administration should not be a monastic practice but a temporal exercise holding the scales even between all men to whichever persuasion they may belong. But I realise that this faith of mine based on the concept of secularism as accepted the
world over is not going to convince the leaders of the various parties whose secularism is an indigenous product.
Indian secularism demands more of me. I have to accept certain postulates to get certified as a secular person by the Marxists, the Congressmen and the constituents of the Front which was once united. Let me in an honest attempt to accept this agenda, first try to understand it.

The first item on the Indian secular agenda is the prevention of the construction of a temple for Ram at Ayodhya. A temple where there was a temple, is not as secular a concept as a mosque where there was no mosque. Hence anyone who says that he would attempt persuasion and all other legal and constitutional means to get a
temple built at Ayodhya is a fanatic out to destroy the unity of the country.

The Indian secular agenda tackles next, the suggestion for a common civil code. The idea that there could be one law governing all citizens of the country is sure to divide the people. The chapter on directive principles of the Constitution which
commands the state to endeavour to bring about a common civil code should not be taken seriously. At best the directive principles are a joke and at worst a fraud. To be secular one should insist on different laws for different communities and hence the idea of a common civil code should be jettisoned in favour of a communal civil code.

Item 3 on the Indian secular agenda is the question of Article 370 of the Constitution. A secular person should be able to appreciate the argument that continuing the special status given to one state and treating it differently from all other states is the best way of ensuring the unity of the country. The very
fact that the framers of the Constitution termed Article 370 a temporary provision should be enough to confirm it as a permanent feature. Only a communalist would refuse to see the force of logic in the argument that since Kashmir is part of India it
cannot be treated on par with other states.

Having tackled the temple, the law and the Constitution, the secular agenda next takes on the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land might have held that Hindutva is a way of life and not a method of worship and ruled that it is not inconsistent with secularism. But the Indian secular agenda overrules the
Supreme Court and holds the concept of Hindutva to be an obnoxious idea. Christian values, Islamic ideals and Buddhist ethics could at different times be secular concepts but Hindutva is an out and out communal idea. And to give the final touch the secular platform condemns the slogan “justice for all, appeasement of none” as a perfidious attempt to deny equality to the minorities. Appeasement of a few and justice for none is a more secular programme than justice for all and appeasement of none.

It is a formidable agenda indeed. I cannot hope to be certified as a secular person unless I am going to agree on all these points. But can I?

I have to forget tradition to oppose the claim that Ayodhya is the birth place of Ram, bury the idea of an integrated nation to condemn the calls for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, dispense with the concept of equality to protest
against a common civil code, develop contempt for the highest judiciary of the land to hold Hindutva to be a communal idea and sacrifice common sense to curse the slogan “justice for all” as an attempt to deprive people of their rights.

It is a tall order. To be accepted as a secular Indian, by the certifying authorities for secularism, the Marxists, the Congressmen and the regional parties I have to practice hypocrisy.
No, I would rather be just an Indian. And I would still be secular.

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