As we know, the term ‘Secularism’ is a western concept and practice. While the concept of secularism has deep historical roots, the use of the term ‘secularism’ dates only to the 19th century, when it was coined by British reformer George Jacob Holyoake. As per French scholar Jean Bauberot, there should be three essential components in a secular society: 1) the separation of religious institutions from the institutions of the state; 2) freedom of conscience for all individuals, circumscribed only by the need for public order and the respect of the rights of other individuals; 3) no discrimination by the state against individuals on the basis of their beliefs.
The Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, contained the second and third components of secularism, as described above, explicitly without mentioning the word ‘secular’. But the first component was conspicuous by absence. Then, after thirty years of independence, the word ‘Secular’ was incorporated in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution through 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi government in 1977 under Internal Emergency situation. But no Article was added to define and explain the word “Secularism”.
M K Gandhi was the greatest influencer and opinion maker in the politics, social dynamics and freedom struggle of India’s Hindu community between 1915 and 1948. His ideas, convictions and policies largely influenced the Congress Party also, as well as the Constitution of independent India.
During 1925, Gandhi said in the Young India, “For me, politics bereft of religion are absolute dirt, ever to be shunned. Politics concern nations and that which concerns the welfare of nations must be one of the concerns of a man who is religiously inclined, in other words, a seeker after God and Truth”. Gandhi had the gall to say so after the failed Islamic Khilafat Movement (1919 to 1924) in India. Gandhi not only supported the Khilafat Movement, but also dragged Hindus to fight for a Muslim cause more than 4000 KMs away from India and having no relation to India’s freedom struggle. Gandhi did so in the name of his ‘fraudulent Hindu-Muslim unity’.
During the height of Khilafat Movement, Moplah Muslims of Malabar region of Kerala launched a massive and extensive riot on Hindus of the region from 1921 to 1922. They killed thousands of Hindus, destroyed their properties, and violated their women and force-converted hundreds of Hindus to Islam. Surprisingly, Gandhi, instead of condemning the Moplah Muslim rioters, supported their cruel and violent Jihad on Hindus. In Khilafat Movement, Gandhi sanctified the extra-national allegiance of Muslims towards Islamic Ummah. After a century of Khilafat Movement, a large proportion of Indian Muslims have remained unapologetically the supporters of Muslim Ummah, compromising their Indian identity.
Avoidance of the use of the word ‘Secular’ in the Indian Constitution by the august body of Indian Constituent Assembly (1947-1949) must have some definite reasons. It gave enough provisions in the Constitution to practice and promote a religiously neutral society and governance. Thus incorporation of the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble of the Constitution in 1977, without defining and explaining the term, created lots of confusions and secularism has become an open-ended term in India.
In his autobiographical account, M K Gandhi made the now famous observation, “those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is”. Gandhi used to say that religion can never be separated from politics. What he meant by religion was not any particular religion like Hinduism or Islam but moral values that form the basis of all religions. He believed that politics must be guided by ethics drawn from religions.
The meaning of the term ‘religion’ as envisaged by Gandhi, in context of the Indian politics, is different than that of the meaning of the same word by the Western scholars in context of secularism. So, Indian secularism is not detachment of religion from the state, but attachment of religions in all the levels of the state and governance with equal treatment towards all religions and followers. While Western secularism has kept the Frankenstein of religion away from the state after experiencing social problems and discords for centuries, Indian secularism embraced that Frankenstein within the functioning of the state with the hope to tame it and make it useful.
The result has been a miserable failure, as Indian secularism became Muslim leaning and Muslim appeasing over the years and decades after independence. Treating all religions and followers equally did not call for (i) opening and funding of only Islamic schools (Madrasa) by the government; (ii) according government stipend to Madrasa students; (iii) continuing with Muslim Personal Laws; (iv) putting only the Hindu temples under government control and Income Tax regulations, and (v) reversing Supreme Court’s verdict on Shah Bano case through Parliament.
Moreover, for the Muslim community of India, the government accorded Hajj subsidy (1959); constituted Waqf Council (1964), All India Muslim Personal Law Board (1972), National Commission for Minorities (1992) and National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (2004); gave minority institution status to AMU (1981) and Jamia Millia (2011); appointed ‘Sachar Committee’ (2005) for Muslims and created Ministry of Minority Affairs (2006).
The medieval Indian history spanned from 6th to 16th century AD. At least 13 Hindu dynasties had ruled different parts of India during that period with full glory and vigor. The names of the dynasties are: Chola dynasty, Chauhan dynasty, Pandya dynasty, Pallava dynasty, Chera dynasty, Tomar dynasty, Chalukya dynasty, Pala dynasty, Ahom dynasty, Western Ganga dynasty, Sena dynasty, Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty and Kakatiya dynasty. But Nehruvian Leftist historians of India had sent those Hindu dynasties either to oblivion or to the periphery. They wrote the medieval history of India mostly around Muslim dynasties, among which Mughal Dynasty has been highly glorified as saver, promoter and en-richer of Indian heritage, culture and traditions. That was ridiculous for a nation with continuous and glorious indigenous history of five thousand years.
The word ‘minority’ has also created a lot of problems in India. If India is a secular and democratic country and has to treat all its citizens equally, then where from the issue of minority comes? The Constitution of India, like the word ‘secularism’, does not defined ‘minority’ also. Article 30 only considers those Indians as ‘minority’ who are numerically inferior in number on the basis of religion and language. But, strangely under the Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 only Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jain and Parsis have been notified as minority communities, leaving the linguistic minorities high and dry.
While notifying the minorities of India, the criterion for numerical inferiority has never been quantified by the government. Historically Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parses, who in combined-way, may not be even 7 percent of India’s population, have never been assertive about their minority status. But the Indian Muslims have been all along. Indian Muslims with 18 to 20 of India’s population have been exploiting their minority status to the hilt. And all the government department, forum and NGO related to minorities in India are dominated by Muslims alone.
All the above-mentioned Islam leaning and Muslim appeasing steps were taken by the Congress government of independent India. By April 2014, India was reduced to a Hindu majority Islamic country. The Muslims of Indian subcontinent ate the apple and had it also. They refused to live with Hindu Kafir of British India and made Islamic Pakistan (West and East) in 1947. But about one-third of total Muslims of British India did not go to Pakistan and stayed back in the independent India. Their descendants were allowed by the successive Congress governments to cultivate a sense of entitlement and exclusiveness in India over the past decades. And they became a virtual state within Indian state. They created thousands of Islamic pockets across the length and breadth of India.
The situation got worsened by the grossly communal public statements of many Indian political leaders. Manmohan Singh said “Minorities, especially Muslims, have the first right to the nation’s resources”. Mayawati said “If Muslims support us, BJP can be defeated”. Lalu Prasad said “Muslims and Yadavs should unite and show their strength”. Kejriwal observed “Muslims and Dalits should unite”. Mulayam Singh claimed “Muslims and Yadavs are our strength”, Rahul Gandhi thundered “Muslims and Dalits reside in the soul of India” and Mamata Banerjee said “I am for the minorities” (read Muslims). Not surprisingly, India’s Durbari media and Lutyens gang found such disruptive and divisive public statements as highly secular.
In 1951 census, Muslims constituted about 8 percent of total population of India and now they are about 18-20 percent. It should be noted here that British India was divided in 1947 when Muslims constituted about 24 percent of population. So, India is square back to 1940 (Lahore Resolution) again. Following Islamic Delhi riot of 2020 and unearthing of the schemes of Umar Khalid, Sarjeel Imam and other Islamists, the Islamic secessionist activities of certain section of Indian Muslims have come to light. Indian Durbari Media and Lutyens gang have been at the back and call of these secessionist Muslims. Leftists and Urban Naxals have taken up their age old Islamic cause in India. This time Congress has also joined the Islamic secessionist gang.
Following the 2014 and 2019 electoral wins of BJP, the things have started changing. Hindus have started to question for the first time. They have started reclaiming their history and pride. Continuous Muslim ‘minority’ appeasement and Muslim leaning ‘secularism’ have been challenged by Indian Hindus for the first time after seven decades of independence. ‘Being Hindu’ has no longer remained something to be ashamed of. Moreover, construction of Ram Mandir on Babri Masjid has started in Ayodhya; renovation of Somnath temple has been done; Kashi Vishwanath Corridor has been constructed; Triple Talaq and Article 370 were abolished; and CAA was enacted.
The paradigm shifts, stated above, have rocked the boat of Congress-Communist-Islamist ecosystem of India. Indian Muslims have lost their sense of entitlement and exclusiveness. Congress has become politically irrelevant and Communists have lost their role of power brokers. All three evil forces have come together and Islamic hells have broken loose in India now. But to disguise this Islamic hells, Islamism in India has become like ‘Alternating Current’, that is, calling for Ghazwa-e-Hind and showing obvert respect to the Indian secular Constitution at the same time.
Wafa Sultan in her famous book A God who hates said “No one can be a true Muslim and a true American simultaneously”. This applies to a large chunk of Indian Muslims too. Indian Muslims, like Muslims of all non-Muslim majority countries, have the Islamic habit of playing the victim card at the drop of a hat. They demand that they should be pampered or they will create problems for majority community. India has come to a very crucial juncture of its existence at present.