The hoax of secularism

Letter to the editor published in ‘The Hindu’

Carefully go through the above ‘Letter to the editor’ written sometime in the 50s and published in “The Hindu” newspaper. The gentleman from Secunderabad talks about the plight of Hindus, minority appeasement and injustice being meted out to Hindus in the name of ‘secularism’. The situation described there in could perfectly suit today’s India as well meaning nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed in all these decades. Hindus needs and interests have remained neglected thanks to the ecosystem created by Congress and communists over the last seven decades since independence. Unfortunately, parties on the other side of the divide have not done much to change the narrative as well.

Politicians raise the secularism bogey to further their vote bank politics. Speaking of vote bank politics we recently saw Rahul Gandhi undertake a temple run in the run up to Gujarat elections. This is possibly the first time in his political career that the Gandhi scion has taken to temple hopping to woo Hindu voters. For the Congress, communists and their allies secularism has always been about appeasing minorities. The glee on D. Raja’s face, when congress and its allies were ahead during the counting of votes before being ousted by BJP, was clearly visible. He didn’t lose a minute to declare the “loss of Hindutva” and went ahead to ask secular forces to join hands to defeat ‘Hindutva’. While he is entitled to his views, the inherent hatred leftists have for anything Hindu is clearly apparent.

Interestingly the term secular did not find place in the original draft of the constitution. The terms “secular” and “socialist” to the Preamble by the 42nd amendment in 1976 under the purview of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Not that this idea was not floated earlier. As early as November 1948 Prof. K.T. Shah, representing Bihar, mooted the idea proposing an amendment that stated “India shall be Secular, Federal, Socialist union of states”. B.R. Ambedkar turned down the proposal stating that secularism was inherent in the Indian constitution. Therefore, there was no need to particularly mention the term.

The question here is not of merely including the term in the country’s constitution but that of what does secularism truly mean in the Indian context. Like with most other things we have simply imported a western concept without as much as adapting it to Indian conditions and culture. Secularism means separating the state and religion. In essence the government of the day would neither favour nor oppose any religion. It would have no role in promoting any religion. On the contrary what goes on in the name of secularism is merely appeasing minorities to gain votes and power. That is all secularism has been reduced to in the Indian context. As the letter rightly points out, it is very difficult for a Hindu to proclaim himself to be a ‘proud Hindu’ without being called a communalist. This narrative and attitude needs to change. Appeasement of any section of the society to the exclusion of others is detrimental to the unity of the country. Secularism doesn’t come from throwing iftaar parties or wearing skull caps in return for a few votes.

In my opinion, our country does not need secularism. It needs Dharma where the citizenry as well as government are doing their duty towards building a bright future. A society that is rooted in and respects its past while striving to create a future is one that sets itself on the path to glory. It is high time to draw curtains on the drama that goes on in the name of secularism.