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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Secularism Zindabad!!!!

LALIT KOUL

Secularism Zindabad!!! Secularism Zindabad!!! Secularism Zindabad!!!

Wonder, why this sloganeering? Well, why not? We are after all the proud citizens of our great country and we should once in a while remind ourselves that our country was founded on the basic principles of secularism.

So please join me in saying it loudly “Secularism Zindabad”.

Now that we are done with the sloganeering, let us get back to the ground and the realities therein.

Where is the secularism heading towards in this great country of ours? Do we really practice the concept of secularism that our constitution refers to?

The Preamble of our Constitution starts as:

“We, The People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
…..
…..”


So, does the government make every effort to uphold this constitution in letter and spirit? Does it make sure that its policies are driven to maintain the secular fabric of India? Unfortunately, not.

What have we, the citizens of India, done to make sure that the secularism stays and flourishes in India? Sadly, very little!

What has the media – the fourth estate – done to make sure that every citizen of this country, irrespective of his/her religion gets a fair deal? Inexcusably, nothing.

If the government, the citizenry and the fourth estate are not doing anything to secure the secular fabric of our great country, where does that leave us and our future generations?

We have experienced numerous examples of horrendous governmental policies that go against the basic tenet of secularism. Secularism means “the view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.” It also means “a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations.”

But how many times have we really seen it being actually practiced in the policies of this or the past governments?

One latest example of UPA government’s anti-secular policies has been the decision by Human Resources Development Ministry to remove Mr. S. K. Pandey and Mr. M. K. Kaw, from their respective posts of Director and Chairman of Srinagar-based National Institute of Technology.

Since this latest move by UPA government is related to the domain of Kashmir, it is very detrimental to the secular basis of our country and thus the national security of India. This act of replacing these two top officers of the institute, without justifiable reasons, demonstrates the continuing appeasement policy of UPA government towards the majority community in Kashmir. By taking this shocking decision, UPA government has once again succumbed to the diktats of majority community in Kashmir and confirmed that it cannot appoint any member of minority community to the top posts of such prestigious institute.

In a country that is constitutionally based on the concept of secularism, such decisions based on the racial considerations are nothing but violation of law. One only needs to read the letters published in the recent editions of vernacular press in Kashmir to see the venomous attitude of majority community members towards one of these two officers from the minority community. This is definitely another way of ethnic cleansing of minority community members in the valley, the recent wave of which started in Kashmir way back in 1989.

By succumbing to the black-mail tactics of majority community in Kashmir, the government is setting a very dangerous precedent in the valley. If this policy of appeasement continues to be the fundamental policy of this government, it is only matter of time before every appointment to the central governmental posts in Kashmir will have to be ratified by its majority community chieftains.

In light of such policies being practiced by the government, what should the mainstream media’s role and responsibility be?

Mainstream media needs to wake up and be real about secularism. It has been so far practicing the pseudo-secularism and that is a death knell for our country. It needs to live up to its own responsibilities as a watch-dog. We have plentiful examples where the mainstream media has played havoc with the concept of secularism. It has most often taken the sides of minority communities at the cost of majority community interests, all based on its convenience. I am not against any community per se. But in my opinion, the mainstream media’s job is to be fair and balanced and cover each community equally and fight for each community’s interests irrespective of its size and religion. Wouldn’t that be being truly secular in principle, letter and spirit?

What should the role and responsibility of an Indian citizen be?

We, the citizens, always whine about the unjust policies of governments. But is that whining enough to bring about a change, a positive change? Does this whining absolve us of our responsibilities? NO. Simply, NO. We, the citizens, need to engage in meaningful protests as well as education of our elected representatives. We all should protests against such high-handed policies of governments that are unconstitutional and are against the national security interests of our country. We, the citizens, should write/speak to our elected representatives and express our disgust and anger over any such policy that is unjust and puts our national interests at risk. We, the citizens, the electorates, need to make it very clear to our elected representatives that their job is in our hands and if we are not happy with their performance they will be without a job after next election. Every election has to be their performance appraisal. Only then will these politicians learn and listen to us. We all need to be the watch-dogs for our own national security and survival.

So, my fellow citizens, would you please stand up against each and every anti-secular policy of this and all future governments? Would you please watch your elected representatives (all the way from a Panchayat in a village to the National Parliament in Delhi) and their actions and how those actions affect the survival of our great country? Would you please watch the media organizations and patronize only those organizations that work for the welfare of our great country? Would you please realize your responsibility towards our great country and deliver? Would you, please?

It is now or never.

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