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Ridiculing nation’s secularism

Author: JS Rajput
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 13, 2015
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/ridiculing-nations-secularism.html

Secularists, especially of the Left and Centrist variety, have exploited the sentiment to create and sustain vote-banks in the country. They believe that the constant use of the word ‘secular’ is more important that its practice in daily life

 The Preamble to the Constitution of India receives universal acclaim as it projects the historical spirit of the Indian tradition and determines to create an enlightened future for every Indian. It was modified during the Emergency.

 Its original image, recently reproduced in an advertisement issued by the Union Government, greatly disturbed the ‘secularists’ of political variety. These worthies are in search of some issue that can save them from irrelevance that has overtaken them, May 2014 onward.

 In spite of a clear assurance that in future, only the revised version of the Preamble — with ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ words intact — would be printed, their concerns do not get assuaged. They see a conspiracy to remove ‘secular’ from the Constitution. One wonders whether secularism came to India only in 1976!

 There is hardly any demand, or need, to drop the word ‘secularism’ from the Preamble. This occasion must, however, be utilised to examine how secularism has been distorted to fulfil the hidden communal agenda of a well-known section of self-professed secularists. The framers of the Constitution understood India, its culture and tradition.

 They had all seen what India suffered under the alien rule, and how independence was achieved under Mahatma Gandhi. Most of them had actively participated in the freedom struggle, suffered the atrocities of the British, and had undergone long jail terms.

 They were in politics that was based on principles, not on power and pelf. They did not forget those who walked to the gallows for the motherland. Instances like the Jaalianwala Bagh or the sacrifice of 26,000 martyrs of the Indian National Army, are enough. The members of the Constituent Assembly had seen the sufferings of the nation during the dreaded partition.

 It was the result of the nefarious two nation theory propagated by communal elements. The great talent pool entrusted the responsibility of framing the Constitution of India, new India, its diversities, strengths that emanated from its great past and aspirations of its people. They did their best to meet their expectations.

 They had not included the term ‘secular’ in the Preamble to the Constitution. Equal respect for all religions was ingrained in the Indian psyche; it was in practice for ages. The same was the consideration for not including fundamental duties while devoting a full chapter to fundamental rights. Indian society has always remained a secular and duty-based society. That is how it has survived and thrived over the ages.

 It is well established on historical records that India practised equal respect for all religions at least for the last 2,000 years. It was because of this tradition that  Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam were received with open arms and supported to live, earn their livelihood and practice their own way of worship. The rhythm was disturbed by the looters and proselytisers when they resorted to wanton destruction, killing and many forced conversions.

 The British followed the policy of divide and rule to further their interest. Successive Governments led by the Congress did the same — to divide Hindus and Muslims under the garb of secularism to create a vote-bank, all in the name of secularism and minority welfare.

 There are innumerable instances of blanket suppression of the spirit of the Constitution of India indulged in by the oldest political party of India and its ideological fellow travellers in academia who thrived under political patronage. Together they worked on dividing Indians on communal lines and, ironically, kept on accusing others as communal!

 Secularism of the political variety perpetuated by Leftist historians and scholars has probably done far greater damage to Indian history, heritage and culture than that inflicted by looters, marauders and British colonialists. In these efforts, they received unhindered patronage from those who came to power immediately after independence.

 They, in connivance with the Leftists, adopted the strategy of dividing people on the basis of religion and further, played the caste card unashamedly to remain in power. Religious amity and casteless Indian society was the dream of Mahatma Gandhi but these self-professed heirs to his legacy brazenly crushed his principles and values without blinking an eyelid! The manner in which numerous programmes were initiated in the name of minority welfare sowed the seeds of mistrust amongst communities.

 These failed to upgrade the lives of the Indian Muslims. Salaries to imams, Haj subsidy and religion-oriented scholarships and other benefits did lasting damage to secularism. Who can forget the case of Shah Bano, the widow awarded a miserly monthly allowance of Rs250 per month by the Supreme Court of India? Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan in the Rajiv Gandhi Government, with his full concurrence, made a forceful speech in favour of the decision which could have benefitted innumerable Muslim women in India. But the secularists and the vote-bank managers prevailed upon the young Prime Minister to reverse the decision. The Constitution was amended and the Supreme Court verdict, overturned.

 The imposition of the dreaded Emergency, extending the term of the Lok Sabha and the massacre at Turkman gate, could be put in the same category. Do such instances depict any respect for the framers of the Constitution?

Equal respect for all religions is one of the greatest of accomplishments of ancient India’s tradition of intellectual pursuits. It has withstood numerous attempts to disturb and dismantle it. Indians know how to practise secularism in daily life, and that is the greatest assurance for every Indian.
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