Monday, 23rd October, 2017

Definition of Secularism and How “So Called Seculars” contradicts their own views!

28, Jul 2015 By TEJASH PATEL

Now days we come to hear that secular and socialist fabric is in danger in India. “So called Seculars” says NDA government is in communal and not treats minority well. But as per my personal view many people need to understand what is secularism and socialism first.

Here, I am going to present some facts, various definitions of secularism and views of various people on socialism. Also I will try to put some facts that how “so called Secular” contradicts their own views on secularism.

First, I will start from the preamble of Indian constitution. Here are the some text of preamble which I get from WIKIPEDIA. “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; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”[1] The Important thing is this is not the exact text adopted in November,1949. But this is the amended preamble. The preamble is only once amended in 1976 during the “emergency” in the 42 amendment of the Indian constitution. And the words like “Secular, Socialist, and integrity” were added through amendment. [1] Now, we see the views of Mahatma Gandhi on religion and secularism. He believes that “The State would look after secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency, and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody’s personal concern.”[2] That means state has no right to interfere in views of any citizens related to religion, whether he is HINDU or MUSLIM or CHRISTIAN. It also suggests that any government scheme or policy should not be based on any religion or help to particular religion.

So, any state or central government shouldn’t make religion specific schemes or shouldn’t not give reservation on the basis of religion, which Congress/NCP government tried to do in Maharashtra. Also, on the state resources all citizens of India should have equal right irrespective of their religion. While former PM Manmohan Singh on 9 DEC 2006 in 52 meeting of National Development Council said that “We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources”. [3]. This contradicts their own idol M.K. Gandhi’s view.

For Mahatma Gandhi, Secularism meant: “All subjects would thus be equal in the eyes of the law. But every single individual would be free to pursue his own religion without let or hindrance so long as it did not transgress the common law. What [M.K. Gandhi] wished India to do, was to assure liberty of religious profession to every single individual.” [2][4] This means what Narendra Modi and Hamid Ansari did on wearing skull cap and lightning lamp respectively was not communal at all, which actually claimed communal by different sections of people at time.

Here are some reactions of people when Narendra Modi didn’t wear skull cap: “To run the country, you have to take everyone along… at times you will have to wear a topi (cap), at times a tilak (vermillion mark on the forehead).” : Nitish Kumar (CM of Bihar) [5] And the same Nitish Kumar refuses to take skull cap, shawl from Muslims and also refuse to Cover Head at Patna Gurudwara.

“By not wearing the skull cap, he is sending an unmistakable signal to his hard core supporters that he will not cater to the needs of this community. He never misses an opportunity to signal his bias and bigotry to the nation.” : Shashi Tharur [6] The same Tharur said “Engineer defended the right of Muslim women to wear a burqa, but out of choice, not coercion. He spoke for both culture & freedom, Empowerment. ” (write on his Facebook status)

As per Jawaharlal Nehru Secular nation means there should be clear separation of religion and Politics which quite near to the western secularism. Nehru gave more importance to the ideas growing out of the Enlightenment, such as rational inquiry and scientific temper. Historians have suggested that he wanted a complete divide between religion and politics.

Contradicts to Nehru’s Idea of Secularism, Gandhi believed that “every activity of man must be derived from his religion.” He said “Many of my political friends despair of me because they say even my politics are derived from religion. And they are right. My politics and all other activities of mine are derived from my religion. I go further and say that every activity of a man of religion must be derived from his religion, because religion means being bound to God, that is to say God rules your every breath” [2] In November 2014, Sonia Gandhi said “Nehru’s idea of secularism a must for country like India.” But in April 2014, she met shahi Imam when campaigns for LS election are running and demands appeal the Imam to demand “Secular” votes for congress. So we can say that Sonia Gandhi either not aware of Nehru’s idea of secularism or just use Nehru and secularism for only political gain.

Through, Nehru and Gandhi’s secularism contradicts each other, Political parties’ claims that they believe in “Nehru and Gandhi’s idea of secularism” and following it.

Finally for me, What I leaned and believe about secularism is “An individual person or group should have all right to follow their religion/faith, perform their religious rituals but that must not harm/insult others faith/religion, freedom and most important it must be as per law.”

References: [1] Wikipedia, Article: Preamble to the Constitution of India [2] GEORGE KARUVELIL, “GANDHI ON RELIGION IN PUBLIC LIFE”, Chapter-III [3] Times of India, 9 DEC 2006 edition [4] Speech at Narkeldanga, August 17, 1947, CW, 89, pp. 56-7 [5] NDTV website, September 20, 2013 [6] The New Indian Express, 19 April 2014 Edition