Every time the circumstances call for re-electing of our representatives, we are bound to witness blatant words and unjustifiable favors. Political leaders have, I believe, redefined the word ‘Secular’. In a wider sense, ‘Secularism’ can be viewed as an integral part of our constitution, which upholds that the people of India have freedom of religion and the state shall treat all alike. But what have our politicians modified it to? It is a common accepting these days that one who talks about the betterment of the minority religions is a pure secular. On the contrary, one who promotes the ideology of ‘prosperity of all’ is neither secular nor communal, and those advocating the advancement of a majority religion are definitely communal. This is how we view the concept of secularism in India, the world’s largest democracy. Are we on a right track?
Though our constitution speaks of equal treatment of all individuals, Article 46 directs the state to promote educational and economic interests of weaker sections, and in particular SCs and STs. The clause was thought upon with a target to breach the wall of exploitation and social injustice. Shall I call this as the beginning of what we are currently witnessing and suffering with? Your answer may be ‘No’; and I too admire the inclusion of this Article; however the prime motive of equal treatment is unreached. Post the independence, political parties have relied upon particular castes and/or religions with a view to come to power. Rather than bridging the gap between communities, our leaders haven’t left any stone unturned to widen the same. Motive? Extraordinary favor from a particular group.
I will talk about some facts. In 2011, GOI announced establishment of a sub-quota of 4.5 percent for minorities within the existing 27 percent reservation for OBCs just 2 days prior to the announcement of assembly elections in five states by the EC. The government alleged that Muslims are unable to compete with Hindu OBCs and hence they deserved a special treatment. EC quashed this and later the head of the Sachar Committee criticized this step saying that the GOI’s promises would not in any way help the backward sections and this is like befooling them. He added, ‘Political leaders are making these claims to win elections, and rather than reservations the government should focus on refining administration and governance.
The Supreme Court of India has recently advocated reservation for the third sex in employment and education. Prior to this, none of the political parties were even bothered. The reason is straight. The third sex wasn’t recognized as eligible voters. Let us focus on what is our role in this entire dilemma. Surely, we are vulnerable to perks and special benefits. It is easy to fetch support on religious lines and we hardly resist. Soft targets are the minorities and even that too Muslims. Reason? Muslims are second to Hindus in terms of population percentage. Not too less; however enough to play a decisive role in the formation of government. Even lesser in number are Jains (0.4 percent) and Buddhists (0.8 percent), still none of the political parties have any special policies for them. Reason? You can interpret it now.
Readers will surely relate my thoughts with my religion and can say that my idea of writing is to restrict special treatment afforded to minorities. However, my intention is to help the nation achieve an environment wherein voters are asked to vote by comparing administrative skills and prosperity delivered. Remember, as long as we vote with a view to safeguarding our individual homes, the only beneficiaries will be our representatives.