Fake Secularism

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.

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  22. Ankit Jain

    The article sounds like what a BJP leader will say in a speech. Is that the motive – doing propaganda? ‘Secularism’ is the very core of our democracy. And I do not understand why you call it ‘Fake’ if people take it up as a topic for discussion. Is it not concerning that a particular party leaders are constantly and blatantly calling for a ‘anti-Muslim’ activities? Eg: Pravin Togadia is proud of causing monetery losses to Muslim citizens, some other stupid leader wants them to go to Pakistan etc. Is it not concerning that a person who is blamed for killing thousands of Muslims in his state is projected as a Prime Minister and he continues to evade from looking eye to eye with the community? Is it not concerning that a political party who supposedly will rule India for the next 5 years (as per opinion polls) wants to build a Ram Mandir is a communal sensitive region rather than use the same money to build hospitals or schools? I am no Congress fan and I am not a Muslim, but I think ‘Secularism’ should be the key topic of discussion in Indian politics and somebody who fakes it is at least far better than somebody who is calling for ‘killing’. By the way, I am a Jain – and I do not think our community needs any kind of special reservation like the Muslims do. If you study the economic disparity, you will know why

    Reply
  23. Tanmay Bagchi

    Why only religion? In many parts of the country, People are targeting voters in name of caste also. But sadly, EC doesn’t have a rule against it.

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  24. Amar Dogra

    Everything the politicians do is fake. Can you show a single party who is not faking it? SP, BSP, Congress are faking secularism, BJP is faking ‘Gujrat Model’ of growth and fooling people around it, TMC is faking ‘democracy as a whole’ in the State, Jayalalitha is faking ‘honesty’ and so on….. Even probably AAP is faking their ‘anti corruption stance’. What can we do?

    Reply
  25. Narendra Ch

    In Indian contest there is not reverence for secularism where state is not having any official religion. In that name, all these years political parties resorting to vote bank politics

    Reply
  26. Satbir Singh Bedi

    Unlike the West, which had to deal with a powerful Church for centuries, the Chinese had begun with a secular outlook that ensured that no Church could be established to challenge political authority. (Quote from ‘Secular China’ in Diasporic Chinese Ventures: The Life and works of Wang Gengwu. Benton, Gregor and Hong Liu. 2004. It is this type of secularism that is prevalent in China, that needs to be enforced in India. Presently, we are only a fake secular country or a psudo-secular country. Secularism in the strict sense of the term is not being practised in India. What we need is Chinese type of secularism where Church has no authority while in India Fatwas are issued regularly.

    Reply

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