Jawaharlal Nehru, our first prime minister may not be able to recognise the India of today , the one he carved out of the ashes left by partition and the leftovers of British rule .
While the British left with the
loot of our resources, communities which had co existed for centuries turned onto each other with swords and knives pillaging human lives on the basis of religion .
With this disastrous background of instability the Prime Minister and his trusted cabinet of elected representatives presented the constitution of India highlighting the secular notion that the state will adopt and abide by come what may.
Even though most of the decision makers of that time including Nehru were higher caste Hindu men, they never shoved Hinduism down the throat of a country where different religions and cultures originated and spread.
This secularism is not new to India, throughout history even with the Mughals who were Islamic rulers , there was always encouragement of other religions including having Jesuit, Buddhist, and Hindu sadhus as advisors to Akbar and other scions of the Mughal dynasty as opposed to just having Muslim ulama-priests.
While in modern India the media portrays Muslims and Islam as terrorists and practisers of forceful religious conversions, hiding under this banner is the crimes that are being committed by the RSS, a wing of BJP-the ruling party. Our current prime minister Modi, who is a very different man from Nehru in ideology and working, comes from this RSS school of ideology.
What is the RSS ideology?
it demands that Non-Hindus namely Muslims and Christians should be subservient to the majoritarian culture that is Hinduism.
While all Hindus are not supposed to be blamed for the workings of a few, the tragedy is that moderate Hindu majority including a handful of politicians do not have the moral courage to stand up in defense of their fellow citizens who offer their prayers to a different god.
IS THE IDEA OF SECULARISM UNDER ATTACK OR IS IT JUST PROPOGATED BY THE MEDIA ?
As much as supporters of a certain party might hate to admit it, the idea of secularism is certainly under fire. It started with innocuous attacks like undermining secularism with ‘secularism’ and ‘pseudo
secularism’, secularism was compared as a disease affecting Indian society where in reality secularism is supposed to act as an elder brother one that accepts all and loves all while showing bias to none.
The rise of right wing nationalism and the party which adheres to this ideology winning majority of 282 has given a commanding majority to practicing the notion of Hindutva and serving blows to the concept of secularism which was already tattered with.
Thanks to this majority only sticking to the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha, the higher house of governance, legitimizing laws with Hindutva ideology at its core
still hesitates while making bold policies.
While it is true that media overplays stories of anti secularism and communal riots to garner higher TRPs for commercial interests, all this smoke of anti secularism and one religion dominance is not without
The attacks on Muslims, all of a sudden debate on the divine nature of cows and as a result vigilantism on cow traders, exporters and killing of meat eaters are major symptoms of this anti-secularism that is affecting Indian society.
THE TASK OF SECULARISM
So how can people who worship different gods, speak different languages and subscribes to different
conceptions of doing good live together in a certain level of civility, dignity and with mutual respect?
It’s not easily find an answer for this troubled question but one way would be by understanding that administering secularism does not just lie with the government of the country but its a collective social responsibility.
Every fundamental right guaranteed by U.N constitutions, resolutions, national policies
and laws proves incapable in real life situations of fully protecting citizens when they targeted on the grounds of their identity.
Therefore unless society learns to respect groups of different religious
persuasions, these groups will always be vulnerable to riots and crimes by dominant religious communities.
The task of secularism which
was long given off to the governments to administrate has served its time in the wrong hands and is now finally being passed onto the people.
In this 70th year of independence , let us begin the work of ensuring religious freedom throughout the
country and interpreting the notion of secularism as seen through the eyes of our nation-makers armed with the constitution to restore India to its glorious past of respecting and practising more than a
thousand religions all within the borders of the subcontinent .
So that if the noble ghosts of our past leaders tend to make a visit here, they’re not greeted by a country filled with human carcasses and massive herds of cows roaming the street instead of people .
Because the last thing we need in this country of superstition is a tryst with the supernatural.