Secularism in Bharat

The print media reported that the Supreme Court declined to reconsider 1995 order on the meaning of Hindutva and rightly so. But the media quoted the Representation of the People Act (RPA) ‘promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, by a candidate or his agent, amounts to ‘corrupt practice’ and election of the candidate can be set aside on this ground.’

Does the quoting of the RPA by the media in this context support the view of the seven –judge Bench led by the Chief Justice of Bharat which maintained that seeking votes in the name of religion is an “evil”..the Bench continued – ‘appeal for votes must be based on principles of secularism….political agitation advancing the cause of religion with an intent to garner votes is not permissible’. No one can fault the stand taken by the judiciary.

But what is intriguing is why always when there is an assertion of Hindu Dharma-Hindutva or for that matter any utterance of Hindu religion immediately ‘secularism’ is being called upon. If one says that this is a Hindu country then again it is against secularism. Teesta Setalvad and theatre activist and author Shamsul Islam and senior journalist Dilip Mandal had urged the Bench to check the ‘devastating consequences’ of the 1995 judgment which according to them caused Hindutva to ‘’become a mark of nationalism and citizenship’’.

Time and again Hindutva and Hindu Dharma become a bone of contention and it is being held out to contend that this is against ‘secularism’. So the latest we have is that the TMC will oppose amendment to Citizenship Act 1955 because it is against ‘secularism’. Let us for a moment be objective and analyze the swearing on secularism by the political parties and netas opposed to the BJP. First and foremost why is secularism being used as a whip against the Hindus? Is secularism valid only for the Minorities. Why was it that the Founding Fathers had not clearly included that word when the Constitution was drafted? Why was it later inserted by Indira Gandhi-the one who imposed Emergency and called for the ‘committed’ judiciary?

To be honest I think that the very Minority-Majority divide is based on religion. Is there anything in this country which is not communal? Be it Reservation,Minority Rights ,et al. these are based on religion. How can a secular country extend privileges to some adhering to particular religions? Is this secularism? The basis of Minority Rights is ‘unsecular’. So for those swearing by the Constitution it would be good to reflect on this. If religion is “evil”, then why use that as a yardstick to confer privileges?

Is it secular to allow the Minorities to manage and administer their own institutions run on the taxpayers’ money? What is the rationale? Is it secularism that Rights become exclusive for some on the basis of religion – Is this secularism? Hence we have even places of worship earmarked in government offices for prayers for a particular religious community. Is this secularism? We have the Wakf board –permitting properties and funds to be owned and controlled by the Muslims –similarly the funds of the Christian churches are controlled by Church leaders. But the temple lands and the temple monies are controlled by the government. Is this secularism?

Freedom of speech becomes very exclusive and of course a fundamental right when it is used in the most undemocratic way by persons of particular religions. Hence a former IAS man Christudoss can without any qualms use the TV channel to use derogatory words and even abuse the Hindu gods. It is strange that in this country we have Hindu Gods and Christian gods – and your gods and my Gods. One who is an atheist must know that there is only God – so this former IAS man stated that he has the right to beat Lord Rama with slippers. This is according to him his right. Now is this right only for this former IAS individual because he belongs to a minority religion?

What happens if a Hindu adherent repeats the same and claims that he/she has the right to beat the ‘gods’ of the Christian and Muslim faith? Will the assertion of Christudoss not amount to creating enmity – hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus and does it not justify him to be   hauled up for not just using unparliamentary words but also because he had incited enmity and hostility against the majority people-not against gods. Because if gods are gods then they cannot be hurt or harmed!

If the former PM of UK David Cameron says that the UK is a Christian country, it is not faulted. If we refer to the Middle East countries and refer to them as Islamic countries, it is not faulted. But if any one says that this is a Hindu country then all hell breaks loose.

We swear by the Constitution –the Constitution did not fall from the heavens and was drafted in a particular period with a particular background. It is no doubt an anchor and a reference, but to swear by it as though nothing has changed and as though it has been followed scrupulously in all contexts and in all circumstances and by all people is simply creating a mirage. So when it suits us we swear by the Constitution; and this happens inevitably in preference for particular groups. Hence it is biased-at least its interpretation is biased. This is exactly why individuals of a minority religion could blaspheme Lord Rama and get away with it.

Similarly there is mass conversion in Tamil Nadu and in the NE States-but then it becomes a matter of ‘Rights’ to follow a religion of one’s choice. It is interesting to note that often these conversions are based on enticements – economic, social benefits. ‘Force’ need not be physical force, but there is psychological force. There is the simple basic need survival compulsion. So for a bowl of rice, for a job, for other benefits – conversion has been and is being carried on. So what is forced conversion?  I strongly advocate the banning of the flow of foreign funds – if this is done then Evangelization will simply evaporate. But when there is reconversion to Hindu Dharma (Ghar Wapsi) then it becomes a heated topic for debate.

We must realize that from the very beginning conversion was resorted to by the Christians and the Muslims. This was not through choice but through force. Hindus did not lead crusades for conversion, Hindus did not block the inflow of peoples of others faiths driven from their own countries on the basis of religions into this country. They were all welcomed and allowed to propagate their own religions and follow their own way of life. But then it should not become like the story of the camel which after being sheltered in the tent drives out its occupant to monopolize the whole tent. This is what one sees in this country.

And our political parties are game for it because all that they see and want are votes. Hence we have the inflow of the Bangladeshis, and the demand of those who opted to remain in Bharat after the partition demanding their own constitution – their own laws and not just their own space but the space of this nation. The fatwas then become ‘rights’, the ‘public’ roads can be blocked for public assemblies for prayer. This is another ‘Right’. Even the use of the outer space for announcements and prayers become yet another ‘right’. The management of the Madrassas with the tax money becomes a ‘Right’. The civil laws of the country cannot be enforced on them because that is not what their holy books state. They even have asserted to the judiciary that they would murder and burn their women if they are not allowed to use the triple talak to put them away. And the Judiciary is helpless. It is yet another ‘right’ not to sing the national anthem. But they want this land, its monies, the subsidies, its protection et al yet do not want to follow the common laws .

The netas do not hesitate to swear by Dr. Ambedkar when it suits them to garner votes. But they use selectively what is relevant. Did not Ambedkar ask the Muslims to leave this country if they were going to demand Partition? Why is his stand on this not being quoted and followed? Each and every action and inaction in this country is based either on creed and or on caste. Yet we relentlessly use the Constitution and swear by the Rights enshrined in it.

In implementation of these Rights we are biased – partial and ‘unsecular’. How does the triple talak empower women? Christudoss boasted that from his Muslim wife he learned what equality is all about. Why doesn’t he share with us his education on equality followed in Islam and educate us especially in the present context of triple talak?

There was an article by Faizan Mustafa- ‘Multiple ways to equality’ (IE dated 28th Oct) – his premise is that Muslim men who take more than one wife are legally bound and polygamous Hindu men have no such legal compulsions. Hence he argues that banning polygamy amongst Muslims would simply have an equalizing effect of making the second Muslim wife as destitute and vulnerable as a second Hindu wife. In this context he must remember the famous Shahbanu case-why was she simply thrown out without any financial safeguards? It is one thing to argue a case but it is another thing in reality.

If the Muslim men are so fabulously rich to maintain many wives then why do they want subsidies provided by the taxpayer? What happens to family planning? Is it proper to go on begetting any number of children and become a burden on the public funds? Why do the Muslim men want to discard their wives on some pretext or another? To point at Hindu polygamous men is no remedy. Two mistakes will not make a right.

Imagine telling the SC that if not allowed polygamy then the Muslim men will resort to burning and murdering the wives they want to discard. Are women mere chattels? To be used and thrown away at the whims and fancies of the Muslim men. I also doubt the statistics presented in that article stating that polygamy is higher among Hindus than Muslims. In absolute terms may be, but what about the ratio to the population? Statistics can be manipulated according to what one wants to prove. This is like the Justice Sacchar report statistics proving that Muslims are at the tail end of the development ladder. Naturally, with so many children and mouths to feed, it is no small wonder that they are down the development ladder. But one must remember that the Muslims  also are some of the richest in this country. Is it not unjust for those to depend on the Government to provide them with the survival needs when they refuse to control the size of their families?

As for the political netas, the larger the electorate in poverty the better and easier for them to be manipulated; the poorer the electorate, the easier to cheat and take them for a ride. If there are government programmes of Family Planning, then the Muslims must co-operate and benefits must be based on the acceptance of the Family Planning. Religion yardstick must not be used for demands. Benefits must be linked with control of the family size. It is public money. If the Muslim religion is against family planning, then let the Muslim community provide for its members from the enormous funds in the Wakf board and mosques.

To me it seems that the Hindus have become second class citizens of this country. They must act with restraint and not invoke their gods, their religion and their beliefs. One can identify how every aspect, every programme, every interpretation of the Constitution and its invocation is discriminatory. It is based on religion, caste and communalism. After 60 years of being in power the Congress is the main culprit to have kept the various group in poverty. A truly democratic polity and adherence to democratic norms would not yield to the creation of a culture of dynasties .That is the litmus test to check whether the democracy by which we stand, and the Constitution by which we uphold was really vibrant and followed. Such an ethos will not permit communalism either.

But what one sees is everything is based on communalism – thanks to the netas. The people have been brainwashed into making demands based on caste, not on needs. Hence we have the quota list ever lengthening itself. We have netas who keep promising quotas, we have religious fanatics being nurtured, we have anti nationalism being abetted – hoisting of Pakistan’s flag has not been seriously viewed as anti-national, refusing to sing the national anthem is again not viewed as being anti-national.

But if one speaks of nationalism, patriotism and Hindutva then it becomes a singular case for Teesta and the likes of her to approach the Supreme Court. Then religion becomes ‘evil’, not when it is used to disburse  subsidies, when it is used to extend the reservations, when it is used to allow minority universities to function, when it is used to create tensions when a minority dies. But when hundreds of the majority people are harassed, denied their rights, it is the fashion of the day. Is this democracy?

This is exactly why universities like the JNU run on the tax payers money have become a den of upstarts. Effigies of the PM are burned within its campus and yet it is seen as a right of Expression. Rights and Freedom come with a price. Patriotism now seems to be a much objected word and national patriotism calls for dissection and analysis -why so?

When Bharat is being demeaned and insulted-derogatory terms are used, it is viewed as ‘right to freedom of Expression’. If I refuse to rent out my flat/house to a Muslim then it becomes a topic for the media to debate on the discrimination meted out to a community in this country. And somehow exhibit that this community is being harassed and discriminated against. We have specialized  TV anchors for spreading such muck. Why a few Bharatiyas, especially those with Magsaysay awards and Booker prizes, champion such ‘freedom’ to denigrate this country? It becomes fashionable to be such an intellectual.

If there is so much of discrimination in this country, may I ask why these people who are crying hoarse of being discriminated against not just leave this country and go to  countries which guarantee their freedoms, rights and which uphold the Koran as its Constitution? To even state this truth, there will be a cry that they are citizens of this country and every right to belong to it. Then why are they not behaving as citizens of this country? Why are they demanding special rights and special treatment and why are the political leaders acceding to these demands. Why has J&K become a disputed topic and why are separatists being sheltered and housed?

Why are some Bharatiyas against Bharat? Why have Dalit leaders not improved the lot of their own? Why has Mayavati who has wealth disproportionate to her income not rescued her own? Why blame the Modi government for its failure in this respect. Why has the Congress not improved the lot of the Dalits all these years? Now Rahul Gandhi has embarked as a ‘dalit ka dalal’ – shamelessly to garner votes at the cost of their poverty and suffering. Why are a good number of NGOs who are getting foreign funds allowed to function in this country – creating unrest, turmoil, discontent? All this and more – in the name of Democracy?

We are afraid to own our mistakes – afraid to say that the kind of democracy which we follow has given rise to dynasties, a weak political system. Why are we not bold to rectify and move ahead of times – at least keep with times? Why have most of our political leaders become crorepatis – from where has that money come? What is the accountability of these netas – every single political neta (except one or two) is a leech sucking the blood of the people. How can we have democracy when political parties do not have internal democracy in their own parties? Do we not swear by the Constitution for everything, but do not hesitate to dent and tear it apart?

Why has the Congress party become a family’s private corporate. If it cannot have internal democracy how will it uphold democracy of the nation? Do you call this democracy? Why has Bharat after boasting to be the largest democracy in the world becomes a soft State? The Congress is the mother head of communalism – most political parties have divided the people on the basis of caste and creed and still swear by the Constitution.

Let me be frank – what is wrong in wishing and working to make this country a Hindu country? All are welcomed to live within it, provided they follow the Constitution and uphold democracy. Not a warped democracy mentioning and falling back on creed and caste. All who want to be citizens of this country must owe allegiance to its flag and its national anthem. They must integrate within the ethos of this country. It is good to hear about unity in diversity — but today it is not diversity but divisive forces that are destroying the country from within.

No tolerance must be shown to those hoisting any other flag in this country. Simply and honestly put, we are feeding traitors with the tax payers’ money. This is anti-people. Religion is a private affair and worship cannot be a public demonstration to exhibit numbers. Worship any god but within one’s compound walls. Remember that one cannot cut the branch of a tree on which one sits. All Bharatiyas must unite and feel that oneness irrespective of different religions. Towards this O Lord let my country awake.

(Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and the Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content. HinduPost will not be responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information, contained herein.)


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About the Author

Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja was a PG level professor at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Post retirement, she worked with many NGOs and as a Development Consultant. She was nominated on the Advisory Committe of the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India ) for three years. Having studied throughout in Minority Institutions and reared in a Christian ethos, she is fully convinced that the Hindu soul is secular and Hindu Dharma is totally misunderstood by other religions. For her, Bharat and all that it holds is sacred.
  • Anuj Pratap Singh

    We know the problem tell us solution.
    We are not Lord Parashuram that we will kill these modern age Rakchas and restore Dharma. Time has changed. Main Q is how we are gonna all these mess?