India as a Democracy is a creation of the British who left a bleeding nation, broken into two sovereign states based on religion. Anyone who has a different take is not being honest. For often we hear that Pakistan is created based on religion but India is a secular nation where “all religions are equal”, the premise here is equality and not what secularism actually means, “indifference, or rejection, or exclusion of religion or religious considerations”!
And, who decided what shall be the nature, character of the new nation which was being forced upon the bleeding masses, torn apart by the bloodiest partition in history of mankind. Tens of millions were displaced, a million killed, a frenzy unseen, unheard in modern times. They tell us that the constituent assembly was the arbiter of the fate of the new nation, it would decide the destiny. Seems perfect, who else than the representatives chosen by the country. However, therein lies the catch. Independent India had only one arbiter, ie., the Congress party led by Gandhi, with his favourite acolyte Nehru, the father of secularism as his henchman. Gandhi was the overpowering figure, his word had by now gained coin in the country, thanks both to the British & the Muslim League.
The constituent assembly was dominated by the Congress party, the members of the states had no say, hardly a representation or anyone else who could oppose the hegemony. In such a scenario, it was pre decided that Secularism shall be the Mainstay of the new Constitution, interestingly, it wasn’t made a part of the original preamble.
But, we are told that secularism was the spirit on which the new nation shall rest. Secularism per se is not an attribute to be criticised nor it is bad in conscience. It is to be seen in the light of accentuating circumstances which followed the decision to break the Sub continent in India and Pakistan, forcing millions to leave homes of their forefathers, the leaving wasn’t peaceful, it was what historians say, a bloodshed not seen or heard in history borne out of the natural antipathy of the warring religions. Anyone who thought that the Partition would be anything else than bloody was either living in a fantasyland or was a fool. Two bloodied nations were born out of this, Pakistan was natural heir to the Muslim Nation so strongly espoused by the majority Muslims.
Anyone saying otherwise is a Liar. One Maulana Azad can’t be the talking point where destinies of millions was being decided on the streets of the nation. It would be futile to venture into the bloodshed, why, how and by whom was the first blow struck. Muslims of undivided India overwhelmingly voted for Muslim League, fighting the last general elections on the issue of formation of Pakistan. It got 90% of Muslim vote & 91% of Muslim seats. Congress walked away with 90% of Hindu votes & similar numbers of seats. The results were crystal clear. Muslims wanted a separate nation, dividing India into India and Pakistan. Hindus voted against Muslim League to save India, it will be prudent to call it “Hindustan“!
The mandate to Congress was manipulated by the leadership, Gandhi was a diehard secular. No one in the Congress could go against his will, we all know how Patel succumbed to Gandhi’s guile when Gandhi forced Nehru through the backdoor as the PM candidate despite his name not being nominated even by one PCC or Pradesh Congress Committee. Nehru was his chosen heir who would continue with his failed experiment of Hindu-Muslim Unity. And, Nehru didn’t disappoint. He was supported by likes of Maulana Azad in his pursuit of Gandhian Chimera of Unity among two people, lately two nations and forever two warring religions. Islam was an alien faith to the sub continent, it was very successful in establishing itself as a political ideology but it wasn’t so successful as a religion. It converted millions by force, slavery, killings but an overwhelming number remained true to their Faith in the Hindu heartland. Regions west of Indus were converted to the maximum, with Hindus a negligible minority but elsewhere Hindus stood strong and remained steadfast to Dharma.
One must remember that there were very prominent voices in India who wanted complete exchange of populations, that is Muslims should leave for Pakistan and all Hindus must return to India. Not very feasible but it was the only solution in the prevailing situation. Sardar Patel was one, Ambedkar was another, but it was turned down by Gandhi and Nehru followed suit. The idea to cite all this is an attempt to tell the reader that if the present generation feels that Secularism was only point of discussion, it wasn’t. Secularism was forced upon by the brutal majority of the Congress Party in the Constituent Assembly. Understandably, it did not resemble anything which can be called Secular. The State which should have delinked itself became the arbiter of the People’s Faith.
What followed is a classic example of democratic power grab. Nehru and ilk became the masters of nation’s destiny. The brute majority enjoyed by successive Congress governments was result of well orchestrated vote bank politics. Muslims were cultivated as distinct from the majority Hindus, there material and educational development was negligible but Congress made sure that the grip of the Ulama tightened on the Muslim masses. Over the decades, Muslims deteriorated as a community in almost all spheres but they were now completely under the spell of the Religious Leaders. The society degenerated, literacy abominable, poverty rampant but the Spell of Secularism was the glue which bound them to Congress and the other so called Secular Forces in the country.
Indira played to the gallery and inserted the word Secular in the Preamble during the Emergency and it stays even after all other amendments were repealed by the Janta Government of Morarji Desai. What’s wrong with it, argues the liberals and their political friends of the Left?
Nothing. But the fact is that this is the most abused term in Indian Democracy. It has been systematically employed by the secularist to forever damn the Hindu to the purgatory. It has been utilised by vested interests to paint the Islamic Invasions as benign, to justify the destruction of temples as their being centres of wealth. It has become the veritable Brahmastra to flog the Hindus with. In pursuit of Secularism, the Indian polity bent backwards to appease the minorities, read Muslim Ulama, who in turn held a sway over the Muslim Vote. Most obnoxious things have been done in name of Secularism in this country, maligning and demonising the Hindu is one of the most important.
India is a Nation which believes in Equality says its preamble but Secularism in India has served at cross purposes, it’s the yardstick of Inequality, where a PM says that Muslims have the First Right to nation’s resources! It has served the interests inimical to the majority Hindus. Rampant Conversions by Christians are overlooked under the guise of Secularism. Ethnic Cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits is brushed under Secularism and its co-brother Kashmiriyat. Murderous assaults on Hindus are remnants of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb, specific areas have been made inaccessible to law enforcement agencies, veritable mini Pakistans can be seen in most of the states in India. The list is unending. All this is Secularism according to the votaries. How can a religious Country, home to largest and second largest population of Hindus and Muslims, plus a vibrant Christianity, add the Indic religions of Buddhism, Jains & Sikhs be Secular, when its political parties and its leaders are immensely religious?
Where the state has a Minority Affair Ministry looking after the affairs of the religious minorities alone? But, there is no ministry which looks after the majority. Where minority institutions are exempted from national obligations but institutions of majority Hindus must fulfill their obligation? Where religious places of Islam and Christianity are managed by the laity themselves but Hindu Temples will be governed by government? Where donations to Mosque and Church cannot be utilised for anything except for the propagation of Islam and Christianity but donations by Hindu devotees will be utilised for Secular purposes? Where it’s perfectly alright to give Fatwas against Hindus but a call for economic boycott of the minority brings the law on to you?
Secularism has destroyed the social and cultural fabric of India, because in our country its manifestation is the worst caricature of what Secularism is. It is alien to the Indian conscience and consciousness, it sounds like an empty vessel which makes enough noise to attract attention but has nothing to offer to the people. It is time to adopt and adapt Equality as the binding principle of our Constitution than this vague and abused terminology defined as Secularism.