Counterfeit secularism: Gurumurthy
Here is, as usual, an incisive piece by Gurumurthy. Congrats, Guru for the
The word, 'secular' was an after-thought and introduced by amending only the
Preamble of the Constitution. The word does not occur anywhere else in the
glorious document supposedly penned by Dr. Ambedkar. One wonders when the
Supreme Court full-bench of 25 judges will sit and review the basic features of
the Constitution and when the declaration will be made that the Constitution of
Bharat, that is India, is non-secular for all intents and purposes and that
secular-ism is not a basic feature of the Constitution. It is a make-believe
being sustained by Hindu-bashers who do not even have a vernacular equivalent
for the word in any of the languages of Bharat.
Dharma-nirapeks.ata, a linguistic contortion or aberration, a tautology, is not
a synonym of the term, 'secular'. Dharma is just that, dharma. Everyone should
yearn, have apeks.a -- an intense longing -- for dharma because that alone
sustains a socio-politico-spiritual order.
Counterfeiting secularism will destroy it, not the VHP
As we began our journey as an independent nation we were told that our polity
would be based on three pillars. First, that it would be classless. Next, that
it would be casteless. Third, that it would be secular.
Let us begin with the first, classless society. The idea of a classless
society, a socialist utopia, is now gone officially. In fact, socialism never
really took off in India. The Bible of Socialism, the Das Capital, was disowned
in Moscow, its Rome, in the year 1990. As usual we were late. We began doing it
a year later. Now socialism exists but as a dead word in our Constitution. That
is all about classless society.
Turn now to casteless society. This mirage kept us going for a while. First it
was not manifest externally as caste-based polity. But it was ever internalised
in all political parties. Caste emerged as the decider of the candidates in
constituencies. Once caste got political legitimacy within a party, it was just
a matter of time that it took the form of caste-based political parties. Now
thanks to V P Singh, it is now regarded as `social alliance', a respectable
word for caste politics. So much for casteless polity.
Turn to the third limb, secularism. With classless socialism dead, and
casteless polity buried hundred fathoms deep, secularism has emerged as the
only refuge for all. Whether it is the Marxists or the Congress, or DMK or TDP
or NCP or TMC, secularism is the only slogan left of the post Independence
polity. So every one, including the BJP to Shiv Sena to the Muslim League, is
secular. Why? Under the rules of the Election Commission unless a political
party affirmed its commitment to secularism and also socialism, it will not get
the licence to fight the elections. So, today all political parties are
compulsorily secular. That is, as compulsorily secular as they are compulsorily
Hindus who were leftists and atheists defined what secularism meant in India.
It is not the Christian definition of separation of the Church from the State.
In fact, Hinduism never had a Church to separate from the State. But the
Marxists and atheists had an agenda to make this nation forget its past. For
them anything ancient in India was Hindu. So, ancient India was not just Hindu
in character. As a corollary it is not secular. Since it is not secular,
logically, it is anti-minority. So anything which has to do anything with
Hinduism or Hindus is not secular, communal, anti-minority. So went the logic.
The practical manifestation of secularism in Indian polity began with the
alliance between the Congress Party and the Muslim League to defeat the
Marxists in Kerala. The Marxists, of course, cried hoarse, that `Congress had
allied with the communal Muslim League'. The Congress declared that Muslim
League, being a party espousing the cause of the minorities, was by definition
secular. Elections later the Muslim League allied with the Marxists. Thus by
the evolution of Indian secularism the Muslim League was baptised as secular.
Later it became an honoured partner in all secular alliances in Indian polity.
Thanks to secularism.
Look at the consequences. Politics openly based on castes is respectable
`social alliance'. Minority politics is minority political action and is
integral to secularism. But talk of Hindu interests or Hindu unity it is
anti-secular, communal. That Swami Viveananda, Maharishi Aurobindo, Dr Annie
Beasant wanted Hindus uified to makeIndia strong will make them communal and
anti-secular restrospectively. Thanks to secularism.
The entire world, including Pakistan, openly debates about the growth of
Madrassas and about the violence and terrorism that the madrassa training
inculcates. Including Pakistan, every government is passing laws to curb them.
But despite the fact that extremism and terrorism are on the increase in the
border areas of India we canno even discuss the issue, much less curb the
growth of such fanatical institutions. Thanks to secularism.
No spokesman of any party priding about its secular credentials has ever urged
the government to give any help or concession to the pilgrims to Kasi or
Rameswaram or to Badrinath or Kanyakumari, despite the fact that such
pilgrimage, as Mahatma Gandhi observed, is the bond that brings India together.
But everyone is vying to increase the subsidy for Haj pilgrimage. Again thanks
to secularism Haj pilgrimage itself is elevated to the status of a secular act.
To talk about Vedas or Upanishads, ancient puranas or sciences, Hindu astrology
or history is wholly retrograde and communal. To talk about the promotion of
Sanskrit which language Ambedkar wanted to make the national language is
communal. But to talk of Urdu is secular. Thanks again to secularism.
To demand that Article 370 should be deleted is anti-secular. Even though this
was what the original intent in the Constitution was and committed by Pundit
Nehru himself. To urge that cow-slaughter be banned or that uniform civil code
be enacted is considered a sacrilege. Even though the Constitution itself calls
for a ban on cow-slaughter and uniform civil code. Yet again thanks to
The Hindu temples in most states are under government control and
administration. Their funds given by Hindu devotees are in many cases diverted
for totally secular purposes. When Jayalalithaa sets out to rejuvenate the
temples with their own funds and to start spiritual classes in the temples, it
is ridiculed as anti-secular and communal. So thanks to secularism, secular
governments should manage Hindu temples according to secular principles, not
according to Hindu religious scriptures.
When it came to the Ram Temple issue all secular political parties, leaders and
intellectuals raise the chorus of obeying court verdict, which is not yet
delivered. But the Supreme Court gave verdict on Aligarh University as not a
minority institution. The secular parties called for disobeying the verdict and
voted to overturn it to declare it as a minority institution. Again the secular
parties overturned Supreme Court verdict in the Shahbano Case by a special law
on Muslim women. So thanks to secularism, overturning the court verdicts when
they concern Muslims is secular. And again thanks to secularism, court orders,
not yet delivered concerning the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, should be obeyed. The
Hindus cannot seek a law to override the verdict if it goes against them.
Secularism will give that privilege only to Muslims.
Instances are countless. But this sample is sufficient. This establishes that
the secular polity in India is just a counterfeit. Not genuine. It is just
allergy to Hinduism, to Hindus, that defines secularism.
The polity professed to be casteless, dishonestly. It ended up as a caste-based
polity. Again, it dishonestly professed to be classless. And ended up as a
class-based polity. It professes to be secular, again dishonestly. The result
is obvious. It will end destroying secularism altogether. If anyone will
destroy secularism in India, it is not the VHP portrayed by the seculars as the
villain. It is the counterfeiting secular polity that is most likely to snuff
out secularism from India. If the VHP's growth highlights anything it is that
the Indian secularism is just a counterfeit.