SECULARISM IN A RELIGIOUS SOCIETY
General political concepts socialism, communism, and democracy ..and commonly misused term..
Its actual meaning depends upon the context in which it is used.
1.In western countries it implies non-involvement of church or religion in socio-political matters.
2.According to the Hindu view, secularism means equal treatment of all religious communities and regulating their religious activities on equal terms.
3.The 'nationalist' view implies respect for all religions, without interfering into the religious activities of any community and without permitting any religion to influence the political affairs of the state.
Secularism is not anti religion but a secular state does consider religion as personal matters for its citizens.
Let us agree to this definition then….
Secularism in India can thus be defined as "peaceful coexistence of all religions without state patronage to any ONE of them and treating them all equal, both in theory and practice, without any of the religious tenets blocking any of the humane values which would help us all achieve or realize the common goals of democracy and socialism"
CONSTITUTION AND SECULARISM
The basic features of Indian constitution lay a great emphasis on the secular character of Indian polity.
· The preamble expresses the resolve of the people to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.
· The Fundamental Rights guaranteed in the INDIAN constitution are applicable to all citizens irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex etc. and prohibit discrimination on these grounds. They include some specific rights which relate to freedom of conscience and free practice and propagation of religion and protection of the rights of minority communities to establish and administer educational institutions of their own choice.
· The Fundamental Duties enjoin upon Indian citizens to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities.
This fact has been reinforced by the Supreme Court which while delivering an important judgment in 1994, had clearly stated that the Indian constitution does not recognize the mixing of religion in politics and that no political party can simultaneously be a religious party. The legal and political implications of this judgment of the apex court led to inescapable conclusion that secularism is not only a basic feature of the constitution but is actually its integral part.
Religions and religious communities in India
India has been the land of many faiths and beliefs since time immemorial. At present there are 6 major religious communities in the country. Hinduism is the religion of the majority community which itself includes a variety of paths within . According to 1991 census they constituted 82.6% of the total population.
They are followed by Muslims (11.39%), Christians (2.4%), and Sikhs (2.0%), Buddhists (0.7%) and Jains (0.5%).There are also Parsis and Jews in still smaller percentages of population.
Basically speaking, all religions require us to look upon life as an opportunity for self realization. In all of them, god is the universal reality, wisdom and love and we all are 'His' children, irrespective of our race or religious beliefs. Each religion is a great motivating force and is intimately bound up with the formation of character and inculcation of ethical values.
SECULARISM- ATHEIST AND COMMUNIST VIEW
Leftists and those who altogether DO NOT believe at all in concept of GOD ,view secularism as there is no need or existence of Religion in their lives and in that of their followers. They define Secularism as total absence of any form of any Religion in our lives. These groups are always blaming RELIGION and absence of total 'true secularism' for all the problems of the society at large. They do not take into consideration the age old belief systems, traditions and cultural aspects of what they call Religion of the Land they live in. They want every body to start and end lives with a clean slate without any 'Religion' involved. They base their tenets forced 'Justice and Equality' of all and merging of all Classes into one. Surprisingly that aspect is actually found in each Religion of the world in one or the other aspects coated in their own traditional tenets. Communism itself creates a new 'Classes' of its own and discrimination within.
Their 'SECULARISM' dehumanizes lives , enforces laws and imposed-enforced decisions on Individuals, which breaks most of the tenets of the basic Human Rights.
ANTI –SECULARISM= 'COMMUNALISM'-
INDEPENDENT INDIA'S BIGGEST PROBLEM
YESTERDAY-THE PAST -HISTORY
Communalism grew in India after the revolt of 1857.At first the British looked upon Muslims with suspicion as they saw in the 1857 revolt an attempt on the part of India to reestablish the Mughal rule in the country. After 1870, the British rulers were faced with the rising tide of Indian nationalism and in this development; they found a greater danger to their imperialistic rule. To check the growth of a united national feeling in the country, they decided to follow actively a policy of 'Divide and Rule' by coming out as champions of Muslims. This policy succeeded because the Muslims were generally not able to keep pace with Hindus in the spheres of education and economic development primarily because of their initial opposition to modern education and western ideas.. Many Muslims in the upper and middle classes, who subsisted primarily on their Zamindari and Jagirdari, continued to support the British in order to protect their vested interests. It is through them and other conservative elements among Muslims that the British were able to generate a fear in the Muslim minds that in case they withdrew from the Indian scene, the Muslims would be dominated by the Hindus who constituted a substantial majority of Indian population.
The foundation of Muslim League in 1906 provided a separate forum to a section of the educated landlords and nawabs to voice their separatist and loyalist sentiments as opposed to the nationalist and anti-imperialist demands of many other Muslims. In due course of time the Muslim League, encouraged by the British government and indirectly strengthened by the establishment of equally communal Hindu organization like Hindu Mahasabha, came to represent the separatist tendencies of majority of Muslims.
When the Congress ministers, on assumption of office in some of the north Indian states in 1937, opted for adoption of Hindi as the state language, the Muslim leaders made their followers believe that this could harm the cause of Urdu to whish they were emotionally attatched.Further, the congress government's decision to do away with Zamindari and Jagirdari systems, hit many upper middle class Muslims hard, since they depended largely on them for their prosperity. Since it was these Muslim landlords who constituted the Muslim leadership in the country, they were able to exploit these issues to their advantage by propagating that Muslims material and cultural interests would never be safe in the hand of Congress which, according to them, represented the Hindu majority. Consequently, the Muslim league took an uncompromising stand on the issue of a separate state for Muslims and they made it a pre-condition for the British withdrawal from India. This ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan.
The attainment of independence by India in 1947 ushered in a new era in the country, but it was accompanied by bloody communal disturbances on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan, and large scale migration of Hindus from Pakistan to India, and Muslims from India to Pakistan, India had, no doubt, won freedom but the price that the country paid in the form of loss of life and property was too heavy to be easily forgotten. The specter of communalism continued to haunt Indian leaders after the partition. They had made all possible efforts to check its rapid rise during the two decades prior to the withdrawal of the British from the country but had failed. The creation of Pakistan was a balant proof of their failure. Yet they knew well that communalism produced fear, tension and disorder in the society and that it would prove disastrous for the future of multi-religious and multi-cultural society in India. They also knew that the future development of the country depended upon national unity and a sound policy of secularism alone could help in the creation of a united nation.
Jawaharlal Nehru said that the biggest problem of independent India is "the problem of creating a secular state in a religious society."
When Religion is not separated from decision making , policy making ,enforcing laws of the land and good governance ,true Secularism takes a beating. The problem within India is this. Religion is always part of every one' s lives and Government at each level has to take this into consideration. Minorities have to be protected every where .But they too have developed that into a weapon in our Democracy by converting this aspect into VOTE BANK POLITICS!! Democracy becomes a sham and Elections which are fate deciding events are fought on religious and Caste based divisions as these exists at all levels in our country. Even higher Education has NOT cured this malady as Religion has to do with ones inner most core of existence and traditions of each 'family unit' of the country. Such caste religion based families join hands every where to decide whom to VOTE ELECT and so Religion is a part of our POLITICAL and SOCIAL structure deciding our fates .Secularism has become a tool ,a 'word weapon' in the hands of all of us especially Minorities vote banks and its manipulators of today's Indian POLITY!!
Danger is nobody who matters in the Policy making is ready to accept this as it endangers their own existence and survival UP there!! British were more open in their Governance and played to the tune of each religious groups and made use of them to Govern this vast and varied land for years. Even cricket teams were based on Religion as they accepted the basic facts of the Indian ethos. Pakistan and East Pakistan (Bangladesh now) were truncated from the INDIAN NATION then on the basis of Religion .But Hindu majority of the remaining India accepted a modern Hindu outlook towards the many Indians of other religions "minorities" by not declaring rest of the India as HINDU state even after this vivisection. The POLITY then decided to create a state with Religion pushed to back ground within four walls of the Indian Homes. Unfortunately they underestimated ability of the 'Religion' as practiced within and outside our borders to come out in open at crucial times and foment trouble for all of us.
TOMMORROW-A Message for ALL INDIANS
Measures to Ensure Secular Progress of ALL
Our struggle to confine RELIGION within our hearts and homes continues…a true secularism followed by all of us..
1.Education might help some and many times as events have unfolded reveal, it does NOT prevent Religious fanaticism to damage others and Nation as a whole.
2.Political and Religious Leaders have a great role to play in diverting all our energies for good of all ,without Religion interfering with Governance and Justice .True Secularism should be taking us all ahead without harming each other.
3.Today the boundaries of nations and cultures are blurred as Science has brought real and virtual worlds within reach of all .The daily fight is on between those who want to move ahead and those who want the 'glorious past or green present' to continue.
4.Ensure Justice for all in every walk of life, with a principle of 'first do no harm in any form to others' as the most basic rule, is secularism.
5.Empathy to understand those different from you in culture, dress, codes of conduct and language is being secular.
6.Bi lateral Respect for others' views, whether you have the tail and the trunk of the same 'elephant' of 'Religion' is secularism. After you have accepted the above all principles in a code of mutual co existence to flourish together as a society.
7.Tolerance for minor issues.
Large heart and a strong mind are expected from all, especially from the decision makers-leaders of the communities. This never happens is the real tragedy of secularism. Punishment meted out to those who started it all and that to the victim CANNOT be same! A punishment lawfully given can beget retribution by the guilty and those who uphold law and righteous become victims of their crusade against injustice.
8.A uniform law just to all is crucial for survival of a civil society. All should be dealt with same wand of law keeping social religious tenets laws separate from laws of common humane behavior common for all Indians .
9. PUNISH THE GUILTY :
Those guilty of mass murders, bomb blasts, carnages cannot hide behind their own women and children coming on streets to escape punishment. Those who protect such people have to be dealt with for the greater good .How can you throw a blanket of human rights and secularism over such people in any civil society?
London blasts and 9-11 New York got more attention than daily mass murders on grounds of religion elsewhere. More people of locals and minority groups have been murdered and ravaged by Muslim and Christian terrorist groups in Kashmir or Northeast India, than those killed anywhere else. Those unarmed innocent victims were killed because they were from different religion cold bloodedly as the other group wants to drive them out.
SABARMATI TRAIN WITH 56 HINDU PILGRIMS WAS BURNT PURPOSEFULLY BY MUSLIM MOB IN GODHRA..RIOTS FOLLOWED
Many Muslims were killed murdered in riots of Mumbai -Gujarat ALONG WITH Hindus, they all need justice now.
Murderers of Sikhs in 1984 still roam free. 'POOR" Naksals are killing Law enforcers in the name of class struggle or for creation of a classless communist 'secular' society .
In places like Iraq ,Intra religious divide is killing their own! Why do we not call spade a spade? Total mass murder count of the locally evolved tribes by the whites who inhabited North and South America is much more than any world war deaths. Similar transformation of tribal Indian North East in 100 years of Christian rule has changed the people who once had co habited with others on the sub continent since ages. Millions of people 'embraced' Islam to save their daughters being raped or husbands slaughtered even as thousands of temples and deities lay ravaged across the unfortunate sub continent.
Even today in Gujarat and all across India you find groups like Dawoodi Bohras who still claim them selves as Brahmins converted and Moresalaam Garasias are Muslim converts from Hindu rajputs of Gujarat. Goa too suffered from Christian conversions.
10.Minority groups take advantage of the freedom given to all to demand rights as Minorities while many of them refuse many common laws or duties under garb of separate Religious Beliefs as if the common humane law stems only from Majority group-Hinduism!
Accept ions should not be made any where so as to establish true secularism in the minds of the majority community who should not feel persecuted and minority being pampered.
Tabliqui Jamaat from Muslims is still busy nationally to convert as many poor and dalits hurted classes to Islam. The Christian conversion machine works over time in countries like India targeting poor and the needy or the HURT dalits in far corners of this country through timely medical and educational 'help' missions funded by dollars/pounds.All of these believe theirs is the ONLY PATH .......unlike Hindus who are 'rationalists' -all paths any thing that makes you behave well can work as GOD ,they believe even a stone carved to a form or not!
12.VOICE OF THE MAJORITY BE HEARD
The culture, which taught their children that 'world is your family', 'let good thoughts come to us from all directions' and 'different paths leads to one supreme godhead', fell victim of its weaknesses. Its both flanks have been swallowed by physically stronger or more resourceful religions of imported Gods from distant lands who even today speak a foreign language. To talk about it now is 'non secular' and the victims and the guilty are to be judged on the same scale. The lessons of secularism too have to be learned by the victims from the victors of wars of middle ages!! Forget past, live in its present grotesque form shaped by it!
Any dissent or a lone incident of counter action by a Majority may also be taken as 'an attack on secularism'. Any attempt to bring in the past in the nation, victim of its past is now banned and un lawful even in an essay!
So let us think ahead for better common good of all taking everybody together, as the Vedas taught the 'majority group' ages back.
Let us learn to accept differences ,find common grounds to exist and progress together as Indians.
The problems arise when a party or some within it do not accept these fundamental principles of human co existence and yet demands fruits of secularism and progress from others.
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