Secularism is the belief that religion should not influence the organization of society, education and government, and thus each citizen should have the freedom to practice his personal faith. There is a narrative being pushed by ‘intellectuals’ in India that Modi and the Hindu movement in general pose a threat to this fundamental pillar of India’s Democracy. That narrative is laughable and deeply flawed; it demonstrates a fundamental inability to understand the crux of the problem. Why, it would be more accurate to say that the Hindu movement is the only thing protecting Secularism in India.
Let’s be clear, Hinduism has always been a natural fit with the ideal of secularism. Core Hindu philosophy provides its followers with tremendous religious freedom, and as a result we have millions of Gods, sects, practices and rituals. This directly translates into a society that is not only tolerant, but also adopts customs and practices from other faiths. For a long time Hindus have freely visited Masjids, Churches and Gurudwaras, and have happily celebrated festivals like Christmas and Baisakhi. Visit Mumbai in December and even today you will see Christmas trees in the homes of as many Hindus as Christians. There has never been any opposition to true secularism, and nor will there ever be. The real issue in India is that we demand secularism only from the Hindus, while giving a free pass to the ideology propagated by intolerant Abrahamic faiths. As a ‘liberal’, ‘left-wing’ college-student, the hypocrisy astounds me.
There is a reason Modi swept the elections in 2014 and 2019, and no, it is not because all Hindus are intolerant communal fascists, like the New York Times would like you to believe. It is because Secularism in India has long been replaced with Appeasement, and even the most tolerant reach a point where they say ‘enough is enough’. There is constant hypocrisy at every turn; ‘one rule for them, another for everyone else’. It is safe to say that intellectuals, academics and journalists have truly failed the country when it comes to holding different communities to the same social standards. Hindus cannot be expected to continue tolerating the intolerant, and it is time to shift the narrative to the real issue: the intolerance of Abrahamic faiths and the extreme threat they pose to secularism in India.
-This is just the introduction to my article, wanted to know whether OpIndia would be interested in publishing something with a theme like this before putting in the work to complete it.