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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Is secularism no more relevant?

    We have been listening since our childhood that India is a secular state but the exact meaning of secularism has not been decided yet, especially, in this age when some of the leaders have called secularism a big threat to democracy. Now, I think we need a discussion on how secularism should be defined.
    One of the reasons why secularism is floundering and stumbling in India is that we hardly know about each other. We are confined to enjoy holidays for religious festivals of all communities only
    We grew up, literally, in silos as there was always a tug of war between the west-inspired antiseptic 'stay away from religion' secularism (that Nehru and the Left preferred) and a more inclusive deeper Gandhian 'faith in all religions' existence. The latter goes better with the masses, as Indians are entrenched in religion, without necessarily being intolerant or becoming hard-liners. I think Indian secularism does not stop any person who is holding any constitutional office from following his religion, however, our secularism doesn't allow him to show any discrimination or partiality based on religion.
    But now time is changing and it is being propagated that India should be changed into a Hindu Rashtra. What is the concept of Hindu Rashtra? Does it need explanations?
  • #727751
    I think we should not go away from secularism. People should have the liberty to chose the religion they want. But no one should force the other to change the religion. It should be the individual's choice.
    As far as leaders are concerned they should not bother about the religion or caste of the individual. There should not be any reservations based on caste or religion. If the government wants to continue the reservations, those reservations should be based on the financial position of the individual but not on any other basis.
    As a matter of fact, no politician will take the risk of going away from secularism. It will make them lose votes. After so many years of independence also no government is able to touch the reservations and everybody is trying to increase the percentages. As such India will be secular only always and always caste and religion will play an important role in politics and reservations will continue forever.

    always confident

  • #727753
    Secularism has many advantages and it allows us to choose our religion as per our convenience. There is no one to interfere with our choice. We are at liberty to celebrate Holi, Deepavali and Dussehra with great fervour being Hindu and similarly our friends of other religions would celebrate their religious events with the same degree of zeal. Our constitution does not put any barrier irrespective of following different religions and they would rise to the highest levels in their profession if they have the potentials.

  • #727754
    Secularism is a word mentioned in the constitution whose definition is difficult to some extent, yet it can be understood in such a way that the country will neither oppose nor support any religion. But the authenticity of this fact has not yet been proved as to how much secularism has been adopted. In India, almost every religion resides in the country, according to their religion, they are allowed to live, and as far as democracy is concerned it will never be opposed for any particular religion in the country, that would be the secularism.

  • #727796
    Secularism was a good concept but unfortunately some politicians misused it badly and spoiled it's meaning. It can be restored back if there is a will to do so. Let us go through some basic things. A secular state can survive and progress when all the people of different religions are allowed to observe their religion but not on the cost of nation. The religion is secondary to the nation. In China, they have simply removed it as it often creates confusion. All religions have right on the country and person of any religion can become PM or President but he cannot distinguish between the different religions after attaining the power. In a secular country there should not be appeasement of a particular community even if it is a minority one. Reservations and facilities should be based on financial condition. In a populated country no couple has right to keep more than one child. We should reward them if they have none. That is their biggest contribution to the country. Long back in US, the people of Jews community were in minority but they were holding big positions and were the wealthiest. In a secular country the common rules are to be adhered to and no religion should take precedence over them. If the above things are not followed then the already ailing secularism will die.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #727802
    Thanks for your input. Would you clarify:-

    - What was the concept of secularism in past. How long it remained in its original form?

    - What is the concept of Hindu Rashtra?

  • #727817
    Secularism is relevant. It is enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of India. The terms 'Socialist' and 'Secular' were added to the preamble by the 42nd. Amendment to the Constitution of India in 1976. Secularism means that the State and religion are separate. In the matters of the State, religion has no place.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #727818
    For you and me the meaning of secularism is respecting and regarding all faiths as one. But what our political leaders has turned this into their opportunistic feel and faith. For Congress those who are against the minorities and favoring Hindus they are branded as communal. But when the opportunity comes they are ready to form the govt with the communal centrist party. The best example is the Shivsena which was earlier partnered with BJP in Maharastra suddenly snapped ties and afterwards it joined hands with Congress and NCP to form the Agadi govt. Now who is communal and who is secular the voter should decide. When the Congress sides with the Muslims and just for the votes purpose and has done nothing is called secular party and If BJP supports the Hindus for the cause it is branded as the communal party.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #727820
    @ K.Mohan:
    Congress is also a communal party but it has taken soft-hindutwa whereas bjp takes hard-hinduwta and everything is fair in politics.
    What you have said about Maharashtra government , if you remember bjp also formed government with PDP. This is all politics.

  • #727834
    The Constitution proclaims the principle of "unity in diversity" as the essence of Indian secularism. The Constitution envisions a system that brings together the different religions, castes, cultures, and languages ??of India. Every Indian citizen has the right to believe in and propagate the religion of his choice. But for the last 7-8 years, racism has been nurtured in the form of majority racism and minority racism. It will ignite the crossroads of Indian secularism.
    Secularism has lost its relevance when the political party itself comes forward claiming to be the spokespersons of the majority religion and wins the election with the religious card. Hearing that in the states where that party is in power, all except the followers of the majority Religion are unable to perform their rituals, worship, and even run places of worship is a testament to the worthlessness of secularism in India. The other political parties also used other types of cards to detain many religious sectors with them. This activity also caused to loss of the relevance of secularism.

    "Cheruthulli Peruvellam"
    small drops make a mighty ocean

  • #727837
    ^ "Hearing that in the states where that party is in power, all except the followers of the majority Religion are unable to perform their rituals, worship, and even run places of worship is a testament to the worthlessness of secularism in India. "
    And people think so?

  • #727845
    Mohanji, you forgot to mention the coalition of BJP and PDP in the erstwhile Jammu&Kasmir State. People living in glass houses should not throw stones at others.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #727851
    Before the invasion of India by Moguls the country was secular and there were many different communities which were living in a cordial state under various kingdoms under the autocratic rules and there was no need of the present day secularism at that time. It only existed in a small form that king used to see that poor also gets the reward for his labour. After the invasion of India especially the Northern part up to the Deccan block, the situation changed drastically and the Northern India culture changed to a great extent under the invaders who ruled the county for a long time but the things changed again when the Britishers took control and ruled us. Interesting thing is Britishers also had a democracy and secular system as many religions flourished in UK and the same was adopted by us with little modifications here and there.

    The concept of Hindu Rashtra is to bring back the glory to India which it had before the invasion but as a lot of water has flown under the river since then so it is only a concept and such concepts are prevalent in other parts of the world also in some communities and they are fighting for it vehemently even by sacrificing the life of their youngsters by making them terrorists and criminals. These concepts are made to awaken the people for their rights by politically polarising them and that is all and in a democratic secular system one should not take that much seriously. That was always a part of the game during the last 73 years and will remain like that only.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #727869
    What is wrong with Hindu Rashtra?

    Do not we feel that the secularism has got some meaning till the Hindus are in majority and when this declines the secularism would not have any meaning? Would request the author to please provide some relevant instances if this is not the case.

    But I am wondering how suddenly few are more concerned of following the constitution and the idea of secularism in India.

  • #727877
    The idea of secularism will work when one belief system respects that of others and at the same time do not try to demean and disrespect the ways in which these are performed. But few beliefs are not tolerating and flexible enough to accept this way and therefore contradictions and ambiguities for sure will take place sooner or later.

    We need to ask ourselves which type that we belong to?

  • #727880
    # 727851
    How you can trace roots of secularism back into ancient india where the whole edification of social system was based on varn vyavastha where people were not have religious freedom, even today we have a section of society can't enter temples. I am sorry to say this.

    Budhism originated in India but they were almost washed away from their land.

    "The temple of Jagannath is an old Buddhistic temple.We took this and others over and re-Hinduised them. We shall have to do many things like that yet. That is Jagannath, and there was not one Brahmin there then[CW-3]." – Swami Vivekananda's The sages of India

    V.D. Savarkar had justified the violent cleansing of Buddhists in the ancient past in his own book (Essentials of Hindutva)

    Hindu Rashtra: You mean to say there is no authentic concept of Hindu Rashtra in hunduism.

  • #727882
    @Ved Prakash Anand
    Thanks for this input. This thread is intended to have your honest opinion on this issue.
    I think there is no true secularism in our country rather I see pseudo-secularism instead.

    Pls clarify what you think about following:

    - What is secularism
    - Do we need secularism in india
    - What is the concept of Hindu Rashtra
    - What changes will occur if India is decalred as a Hindu Rashtra


  • #727884
    I request our learned members, including the author, to please maintain a balance while putting forth their arguments for or against the topic.

    I think the comment by Wilson at #727834 is totally uncalled for. While I agree that there might have been isolated incidents creating provocation among people of other religions, it is totally incorrect and misleading to say that people belonging to other religions are unable to perform their rituals and worship or to run their places of worship. We should avoid being party to spreading such messages that are totally false.

    Secularism, for the information of all, means separation of State from religions and also ensures that each individual will have the right to practice the religion of his choice and on top of it means peaceful co-existence of people belonging to different religions. So, let it be so in the ultimate interests of India as a nation. India needs to remain secular to preserve its 'Unity in Diversity'.

    “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • #727885
    If other parties have tie with up for their vested interest it is said that securalism and if BJP forges any alliance it is called opportunistic and hard Hinduvta cult.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #727887
    Mohan, a question to another question does not become an answer. When you have raised a point that is being questioned, it is logically expected that you provide a convincing answer or clarification. You raised the point of the Congress allying with communal forces to come to power and was questioned by some about the BJP forming an alliance with the PDP in J&K. So, you need to state how they are different and need to justify the same. Please go ahead.
    “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • #727892
    I appreciate your deep knowledge in the subject but the queries that you are raising are beyond my understanding of the subject but I have a strong feeling that we cannot obtain secularism till all the components of the society behave and act in a synchronised structure where equal opportunities for all should be there by the state along with equal responsibilities shouldered by those groups. We have to live in a cordial state rather than fighting for our individual religions and castes. Until we all have that mind set the secularism will be an elusive entity. The only doctrine that can save this country from disintegration is the feeling of nation first. That is why it is necessary for any Govt to get rid of anti-national elements - all of them whether internal or infiltrated and come from Bangla Desh, or Pakistan, or Mymmar. Today the threat is not only from external sources but also the internal bad elements. The threat to secularism is mainly from these internal bad elements only.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #727895
    India is the world's major democracy where people are living in harmony and respecting each other's identity. India is well known in that matter throughout the globe. Our constitution is based on robust secular principles. Some politicians have misused it through appeasements policies and if that factor is removed there is no problem in the present system. For winning in the elections the politicians do many tricks which spoil the secular framework.
    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #727909
    @ Arafatuzzafar

    What made you think that, "Is secular is no more relevant?"

  • #727923
    I resd this starement of UP CM in India Today, Nationak Herald and other newspaers.

    "This word 'secularism' is the biggest threat to develop India's prosperous traditions and give it a spot on the global stage. People who are misguiding the public for their own benefit and betraying the country will not be spared. People who are creating false propaganda about India for money will face the heat. "

    It makes feel if we really need secularism in our country?

  • #727941
    What is wrong in his say?

    Can you name any other secular nation on this planet?

  • #727945
    ^ Thanks for your opinion.

    Almost all democratic countries are known as secular countries too.

    Now pls enlighten us about these queries raised in #727882.

  • #727967
    - What is secularism
    Answer # I am not interested in what a standard dictionary mentions but instead what few political parties meant. And they meant to speak about the Muslims and their welfare and at the same time demean the Hinduism.
    1. "Secular", according to gone by PM that Muslims has the first rights on resources.
    2. "Secular", mean that other than temples, all belief systems should have independent rights and at the same time there would not be any governmental control on any of their institutions. While the money earned by temples given by their devotees will get disbursed for the growth of the other belief's institutions including properties.
    3. Etc etc. The more could be objectionable to this moderate forum.

    - Do we need secularism in india
    Answer # No. We do not need secularism in India. Instead one should be rewarded based on one's ability.

    - What is the concept of Hindu Rashtra
    Answer # To re-establish and occupy the cultures and heritage and glories that was lost during invasion times and rectify the wrong doings by the historians in our history books.

    - What changes will occur if India is declared as a Hindu Rashtra
    Answer # Only then this would be the true secular state.

    "Almost all democratic countries are known as secular countries too."
    "known as" and "happens to be" have completely different meanings.

  • #727981
    - Pls see Sachar Commission Report

    - This vast land was a home of many small independent states (countries) before their arrival

  • #727986
    @Arafatuzzafar #727981

    What I have to do with "Sachar Commission Report"? and how does this relates to your thread?

    But if this mentions the below,
    "This vast land was a home of many small independent states (countries) before their arrival"

    then we also need to ask the following,

    Whose arrival? Why did they come here and what did they do here?

    You have mistaken independent states to countries Please try to get the logic in the below,

    Do you know whom we referred to "Bharat" during the earlier times? If you get time, then search Bharat map during the Mahabharat era or even earlier.

    Have you heard of something like?
    1. Punjab export to other countries or
    2. TN export to other countries etc.

    But rather India exports to other countries. And this does not mean that any of the above states are not the part of India.

    Similarly, the same was the scenarios during the era that as per our history books never existed because the first education minister of independent India had his own destructive thinking. As a student in the CBSE board, we studied mainly of Mughals and Britishers and now India as a secular country, Mahatma Gandhi as Bapu and Nehru as Chacha and finally Taj Mahal and Kutub Minar for great Mughal architecture and we are done with our history.

    I would suggest instead of diverting stick to the subject matter of the thread or else we will end-up no where.

  • #728040
    I am still interested to know more about secularism.
    1. Why few from Bollywood actors got fearful when BJP voted to power in 2014. While none of them left so far although the BJP voted more in the last general election.
    2. Interview of former VP Hamid Ansari was entertaining too who suddenly beginning to feel fearful.
    3. Why many ashamed for singing and standing for our national anthem.
    4. Etc etc.

    The above are Just for a sample.

    According to me few are more concerned of Ambedkar Ji, Indian constitution and more to secularism because a big majority do not want to be in fool's paradise anymore.

    Thanks to the internet and the social media platform. This combination will expose more on political front as well on demographical aspects of our country along with others which is inappropriate and insecure for our secular fabric. These must end.

  • #728052
    @Ved Prakash Anand:

    Members may notice why I have written that you are losing your patience.

    This thread is about secularism whether or not is relevant in our country? You think it is no more relevant, even it sounds that you don't like secularism at all. I respect your opinion because everybody is free to have his opinion. However, disliking or rejecting secularism means you dishonour the Constitution of India.

    Second, what is the concept of Hindu Rashtra? You did not give a clear reply to it.
    You want to see that the pre-invasion era should be revived. Since there was no Muslims, no Christian, no Sikh, no communist in that age it means in a Hindu Rashtra No Non-Hindu will have any place in India?

  • #728058
    Obviously, I do not like the secularism the way this being practiced here and I shared with few instances too. Adding, you make me laugh when imagining the things beyond it is required and when it is not meant.

    I am stopping here as one of my comment has been deleted from this thread.

  • #728076
    # 727884 (Lead Editor)

    The truth you don't want to hear. But there is no conclusive evidence that such a thing is not happening. But the news reports from the press coming what's happening.

    A small instance. Recently, there was a report that "a few sisters from a convent, were attacked by a group of people on a train and detained at the railway station". Very soon a Union Minister's speech: "Nothing like that has happened". The next day, a police official in the state said, "This is what happened when a group of people returned from a camp. A case has been registered against them and they are being investigated. "

    You and I and no one else want to hear any of this in secular India.

    "Cheruthulli Peruvellam"
    small drops make a mighty ocean

  • #728107
    The Constitution of India is the guideline for the governance of our country. India was a country of small kingdoms but for some Hindu dynasties which dominated for few centuries. The Mughals came to the country around 1526 when Babur founded the Mughal empire in our country. Later the East India Company came to our country for business around 1757. It slowly captured many parts of our country taking advantage of the infighting between the small kingdoms. In 1858, our country came under British rule. It lasted up to 1947 when they were made to give independence and leave the country. The Muslims came here with a view to settling down whereas the British exploited the mineral wealth of the country and the gains were taken to England.

    There are six prominent religions in our country. Hinduism is the majority religion and the other five are Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. These five are given minority status as their population is very less compared to the Hindus. These minority communities enjoy the facility of setting up minority educational institutes and enjoy some scholarships for those studying in those institutions. Apart from this, no other major benefits are given to these communities. There are about 13000 minority institutes all over the country as per the government statistics.

    The Muslims fought along with other Indians for the independence of the country. At the time of independence, the country was divided into India and Pakistan. Many Hindus from Pakistan and Muslims from India crossed over to the other side. The Muslims who stayed back in India are as much Indians as anyone. For centuries together we lived with each other in harmony. They are here to stay. Many of the Muslims are poor and uneducated. The majority of areas where Muslims are concentrated in our country are without proper infrastructure. In 2005, the Sachar Committee was formed to look into the conditions of Muslims and make recommendations to the government. This is altogether a separate issue.

    There were always problems between Hindus and Muslims but they never spoiled the harmony among all the religions in our country. Hindus can practice their religion without any hindrance. The same is the case with other religions. Some sections of the people think otherwise and it is not much of serious concern as the Constitution gives equal rights to all and the judiciary is there to protect the same. All the religions in our country should respect each other's religions and live harmoniously.

    A secular government is separated from religion in its governance. The preamble of the Constitution reads our country as a Socialist and Secular country. Secularism is relevant and to be followed. Disobeying is nothing but disobeying the Constitution. The fundamental duty of a citizen of India to honor and obey the Constitution. We, the people of India, have to respect all religions and create an atmosphere of harmony.

    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #728117
    Wilson, I did mention isolated incidents. But does that mean that there is a threat? I don't think so.

    And Ved Prakash, the question is whether secularism is no more relevant. You are proving it to be so. And too religious people do speak against reservation without considering the 'Hindutva' factor when it comes to their own caste and that is what needs to be avoided. So, let us be responsible as citizens of India first and religiously motivated thereafter.

    “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • #728119
    The incidents so far seem to be isolated. The Government should take stringent action against those indulging in such incidents. If the will is lacking from the government, those isolated incidents may become a new normal in India. When we compare the Tablighi incident with Kumbh Mela at Haridwar, the differential treatment is quite glaring. It is for the government and the people to see that the secular nature of India is retained.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #728126
    KVRR made two telling statements that hit the nail on the head - one, "A secular government is separated from religion in its governance." and, two, "We, the people of India, have to respect all religions and create an atmosphere of harmony."

    Saji - the isolated incidents are increasing alarmingly so yes, there is a threat. Each time a place of worship is vandalized or destroyed to set up one of another faith, each time somebody is heckled on the basis of their beliefs or food habits, each time flags and inscriptions are forcibly placed on the outside walls of homes, each time somebody is forced to say a religious chant - aren't all these growing threats that create fear and disrupt harmony as a whole?

    The problem is that the atmosphere of harmony gets disrupted because people are brainwashed into believing what they are fed. Why blame politicians? Can't people make informed decisions for themselves and not get blinded by whatever is dished out to them? The relevance of secularism is indeed a point to ponder over.

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • #728134
    Vandana Ma'am, I agree that isolated incidents are on the increase. My question is as to who is responsible. Aren't we no longer secular? I am of the firm opinion that we need to follow our Constitution.

    Can I have an answer to the topic brought up by the author? Irrespective of religious beliefs. Balanced and logical?

    “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

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