Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Secularization of India…?

Author: S. Balasundar
Publication: Hindu Voice

Introduction: An MLA, C.P Shaji, said in Kerala Assembly: ‘The hand that touches even a syllable of the Shariat will be chopped off then and there (‘Mathrubhumi” July 3,’85)

Secularization was first used at the end of thirty years war in Europe, 1648, to refer to the transfer of Church properties to the exclusive control of the premises. George Holyoke, in 1851 coined the term 'secularism' and led a socialist movement of protest in England.

One of the Indian authors on the subject put it this way, 'Man lives at three levels, personal, inter-personal and institutional… the last assuming a variety of forms such as educational, social, economic, political and many others that can be easily think of. Secularism, thus would require the decisions one takes at any of these levels are governed by considerations which do not stem from religious belief or dogma of any kind.

Pandit Nehru, our Prime minister, to take office of first Swadeshi Government wrote in “Discovery of India”, “Religions have helped greatly in the development of humanity. They have laid down values and standards and have pointed out principles for the guidance of human life. But, with all good they have done, they have also tried to imprison truth in set forms and dogmas and encouraged ceremonies and practices, which soon lose all their original meaning and become routine” He went on to state: Religion, though it has undoubtedly brought comfort to innumerable human beings and stabilized society by its values has checked the tendency to change and progress inherent in human society.'

With his English education background and thought emphasis laid on men like German philosopher Max Mueller, and the like he could possibly have formed such personal opinion, undoubtedly. Whereas our great monk, Swami Vivekananda, who traveled the length and breadth of our land, studied the culture and traditions of the people living in nook and corner of India and who confabulated with many a common man and went to represent Hindu Religious Conference at Chicago in 1880, had put it emphatically that “the Indian mind is first religious, than anything else.” ('Future of India').

Swamiji wrote “The political systems that we are struggling for India have been in Europe for ages, have been tried for centuries, and have been found wanting. One after another, the institutions, systems and everything connected with political government have been condemned as useless and Europe is restless, does not know where to turn. It is hopeless and perfectly useless to attempt to govern mankind with the sword”. Swamiji's prophecy ca me at a time when India did not get the inkling of freedom from the British.
He said: “Everything goes to show that socialism or some form of rule by the people, is coming on the, boards. The people will certainly want the satisfaction of their material needs, less work, no oppression, no war, more food. What guarantee have - we that this or any other civilizations, will last, unless it is based on religion, on the goodness of man?” Depend on it, Religion goes to the root of the matter, exhorted Swami Vivekananda.

After the unseating of Smt. Gandhi by the Allahabad High Court verdict in 1975 March and consequent clamping of the emergency, she brought in omnibus amendment Bill to destroy the basic features of the Constitution. She even defaced the basic rule book of governance by inserting the words. “Secular and socialist” in the Preamble. Even then, what had really happened? Encou-raging communalism instead of secularism, was the watchword for the Congress irrespective of whose initial was added as tag to the party's name! The reversal of Supreme Court verdict on Shah Banoo's case was a severe blow to the cause of secularism.

An MLA, C.P Shaji, said in Kerala Assembly: 'The hand that touches even a syllable of the Shariat will be chopped off then and there.' {‘Mathrubhumi’ July 3,’85.} and a strong section of conservative Muslims demanded the setting of Shariat Court, here.!

Syed Shabuddin wrote: 'the nation is yet to reach a consensus on the shariat and nothing but the shariat, in order to protect their religious identity which in the contemporary Indian milieu, the Muslim community perceives as being in the state of siege (Onlooker 1/15,'86).

The correct position however, remains as written by Arun Shourie, in his essay (Weekly, 5/1/86): “First to note, is under our Constitution, the very nature of the state, no religious or other group has any inherent or perpetual right to insist that it will be governed by the laws that apply to the generality of citizens. Second, every tradition has much that is valuable, just as every tradition; whether it was progressive. The excellent of the tradition on one point is no justification for continuing an inequity on another.

All this reaction are because for the Supreme Court judgement which said “that under Sec. 125 of Cr. P.C the husband had to provide for a divorced wife who had no means of livelihood.” It also said that such, provision was in keeping'-with the spirit of the Koran which enjoined a man to look after his wife.

Significantly, this judgement also made a reference to the need for enacting a common civil code as envisaged in Article 44 of our Constitution. The government did not talk at all about the observation for a civil code! No congress government ever spoke of a directive principle which enjoins the State to enact a Uniform Civil Code. This had certainly blemished their talk of secular democracy and all that virtues accompanying the democracy. Appeasement of the minorities continued unabated.

If Nehru had a vision of the nation, smacking by not looking into the past, which he believed checked the progress', Swami Vivekananda said that the past is built into the future! Swamiji's philosophy was... 'Look back, therefore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, and after that, look forward, much forward, march forward and make India brighter, greater, much higher than she ever was... We must go to the root of this disease and cleanse the blood of all impurities.” Swamiji had put immense faith on our religion. 'To my mind', says he, (that is my argument why) our religion is truer than any other religion, because it never conquered. Because it never shed blood, because its mouth always shed on all, words of blessing, of peace, words of love and sympathy. It is here and here alone that the ideals of toleration were first preached. And it is here and here alone that toleration and sympathy become practical; it is theoretical in every other country; it is here and here alone, that the Hindu builds mosques for the Mohammedans and churches for the Christians.”

That is the simple truth. If the history is not distorted, the forbearance of the Hindu community, will stand aloft, among the world communities! That is the only consolation for the secularism to prevail in India, by now. The moot point, however, is whether our representatives in the legislatures are made or moulded by the real public opinion? Are they made accountable at all? Do they appreciate the values of democracy? Do they allow the other sides viewpoint, leave alone the appreciation of the traditions?

Rajiv Gandhi, when out of power, began his election campaign in 1980, after performance of puja at Ayodhya but when it came to the core issue of the Ram temple, the entire Congress regime made it flip-flop game! In the context of the Ayodhya, being made an issue by the Government, an eminent Scholar of our times, HH Swami Satyananda Saraswati ridicules our regimes so far. 'The policies of the Indian Government were contradictory to the aim of uniting all sections of the people by a stream of thought'. The events at Ayodhya could have been avoided if the record proving that the miserable disputed structure is temple building itself were placed be fore the nations of the world for creating an impartial world opinion.!!!

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