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False Secularism

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‘Secularism’ has been a much abused word in Indian politics and media. It is a mask that hides many sins. Indeed, in practical politics, it has come to mean the exact opposite of its real meaning. If you are ‘secular’ you must pander to the more extreme fringe of a minority community – often outright terrorists. All this is done while completely neglecting or denigrating the feelings of the majority community. A ‘secular’ politician belonging to the majority community cannot possibly show respect for his community or religion if he wants to keep his vote bank among the minorities.
The Congress and parties of its ilk have been using the secularist label to divide the country along lines of religion, caste, language – to exploit differences, wherever possible, to play a cynical game of numbers and win power at any cost. ‘Secular’ politicians have been solely interested in appeasing minorities – whether they be Muslims, Dalits, Harijans, Christians etc. – or in making them insecure. Their only motive – to gets more votes.
But talking to the Hindus in India about secularism is preaching to the choir. Hinduism is and has been the most inclusive and tolerant of all religions because it is not a religion as understood by the adherents of the Semitic religions. It is a dharma, a way of life, which accommodates the needs and natures of the various types of human beings to lead them in the best possible way to God. Reformers have come from within its folds time and again to correct and counteract social inequalities or injustices which have crept into society.
During the freedom struggle an anglicised class, molded in foreign ways of thought, tried to put right what they saw as the evils of Indian society. And in an often genuine, though misguided, attempt to correct the inequalities of representation in the emerging democratic systems of governance, minorities and backward classes were given special status. In the post-independence era this trend continued but slowly and steadily deteriorated into a naked and calculated policy of ‘divide and rule.’ As more and more politicians from different parties and from the backward classes themselves learnt this game of appeasement, the whole political scenario became nothing but a cut throat competition to see who could buy more votes by making promises to the minorities. As a result, corruption, nepotism, cronyism became the watchwords of the political establishment and the nation went on a downward spiral in practically every field.
The coming of the government of Narendra Modi will hopefully see the end of this false secularism. Without an emergence of a truly national broad based government any hopes of a resurgence of India can be only incompletely realised or be forever deferred.

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