The Preamble of the Indian Constitution holds that we (the people) constitute India as a secular state and the Supreme Court has mentioned the same as part of the basic structure doctrine; I want to state, why shouldn’t we? In the lineage of humanity, Indians have it subconsciously in our genes since ancient times until only when prefixes like ‘pseudo’ have started accompanying it.
Is Secularism a principle as ideal as the holy book of Constitution or in a blurr? Secularism as a state policy, refers to non-interference and no discrimination by the state on the subjects of belief, faith and worship of an individual. In the West, Secularism works on the principle ‘Great wall of separation’ between the state and an individual whereas in India, we have been following the arm’s length rule since its insertion in the preamble through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA), which means the state shall interfere in such matters as and when required.
Had this CAA been used for matters of public welfare, I wouldn’t be writing this article today. But before we get into that, let us first also understand secularism as an individual principle.
One could be an Atheist or an Orthodox, but secularism comes into play when an individual, respects other communes’/individuals’ interests of faith, along with taking pride in their own belief system.
So, on paper, it all sounds pretty ideal. Secularism, by its definitions, look sorted enough to create a peaceful world.
But somewhere, while we promoted secularism, that was when we began to acknowledge religious and communal differences in the wrong manner. And contrary to the definitions, there has been news of Muslim lynchings, intolerant Bharat, Kashmir separatism, Terrorism, ISIS recruits shaking the basic structure of the Constitution of India.
We have friends on an individual level and politicians at the state level who are both scared that they’ll be lynched or their faith may be at stake. To counter this attack on the 70-year-old constitution and the thousands of year old philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam (The world’s a family), I want to make two points: First, we must understand that it’s official now, that this is an age of non-conventional warfare. Quoting former deputy NSA, Shri Arvind Gupta, “Violent extremism, radical ideologies, and terrorism have got interlinked with each other and emerged as potent international and national security issues.
Non-traditional issues cannot be tackled by the use of force although they may create conditions which require the use of force and military response”. Once we’re clear about it, we are ready to observe the ‘labeling’ trends going around for a while where liberals is the term used for pseudo-liberals, bhakts is to refer to undesirable fanaticism, while, originally both the terms used to be kind of pure adjectives. This narrative strengthened its roots when we took a step in following the west from merely copying their fashion and diets, to divide ourselves in the framework of right and left ideologues.
By Dr. J.B. Peterson’s definition, this postmodern collectivist doctrine is so psychologically and politically toxic, that it gives rise to the Hobbesian nightmare of a group against a group. This is an ungrateful ideology which denies the existence of an individual.
The solution that I have to suggest here is assess deeply, using our own conscience, the pros and cons of both sides and stay open to ideas. Once we start believing to have obtained absolute knowledge, remember that we have certainly landed in the enemy territory.
The second point that I have to make has more of a religious angle as eliminating communalism from a talk about secularism would mean sheer ignorance.
The incompetence of certain leaders in their quest to claim power has lead them to inject a toxic drug of religious intolerance since time immemorial all around the world and to no surprise, civilizations have fallen prey to the doctrine (hence making the use of incompetency as an adjective- ironical).
If religion has been causing so much damage, why do we even need it in the first place? Because religion is a subset of the culture, which in turn is a survival technique.
A social being needs a basic theory to give direction to her/his quest for knowledge, to unveil the cocoon of knowledge in the faith to watch the butterfly flutter its wings and religion, like science (trying to avoid religion vs science debate here), gives humanity the tools for the same- Ekam Sat Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti (Absolute truth is one but can be manifested differently) is very apt here. So if the religions are to offer these tools, why agitatively argue about them without even giving them a try.
So basically, when I began explaining Secularism as a state policy hasn’t been doing well, I wanted to mention its unintentional malignant form in inflicting a feeling of pseudo-secularism in some individuals when in case of barbaric, brutal crimes in which 5 yr and 3 yr olds are victims, they fall in the trap of phagocytic hypocrisy of maligned prowess to start tweeting communally. “I am Hindustan and ashamed of rape in devisthan” and “Some Viraat Hindus want to eliminate Muslims from India”.
Such uncontrolled hypocrisy on part of civilians is the only and most violent element in society.
We should have demanded speedy justice to rebuild faith in state machinery; fanaticism and bigotry are only going to deteriorate that faith.
Concluding my talk, Muslims and Viraat Hindus, if lie inside the set of India, i.e., Bharat, shouldn’t be tolerating one another. That’s rude, I don’t tolerate my Muslim colleagues.
Once we start using the term mutual respect, the debate of tolerance shall in itself diminish. In opposing bigotry, if an individual tends to use the opposite side of the same coin, they need to revisit their theory.
Anusha Mishra – The Reportist
Also read: Indian Culture : Pride or not ?