NOT A FAILED IDEA…?

A true Indian nationalist irrespective of the religious affiliation today feels utter disappointment on finding that we have failed to disseminate proper education about secularism among the masses who feel more comfortable with religious fanatic leaders. Almost all the communities feel that Secularism is a failed idea, blaming it for encouraging competitive sectarianism. They feel that rather than promoting harmony and coexistence as it was intended to, it seems to have ended up as a divisive force instead. It would be quite appropriate to mention here that Secularism is the hallmark of Indian Democratic set up despite claims and allegations by the majority as well as minority communities that they stand victimized due to the Secularism in India. However, we need to understand that people in India are not victims of secularism but of a certain kind of secular politics played by their so called leaders who despite being irreligious claim to be the champions of their religion. This is true about all the radical religious organizations or groups. Andre Beteille, a distinguished sociologist has said “The social and political turmoil in the country does not make the case for secularism weaker, it makes it stronger. Indian intellectuals will do little good to themselves or their country if they espouse secularism in fair weather and disown it in foul weather.” With each passing day we find an intense debate on the future of secularism raging especially during the election campaigns across India. It would not be wrong to say that election campaigns and promises made by various political parties in their manifestos are proving to be increasingly toxic leaving least scope for moderate voices which keep struggling to be heard. The trend of outspoken Muslim attacks on secularism and echoing of the same language by the Hindu fundamentalists is the most unfortunate trend catching up these days and there is a dire need to halt this all explosive trend that can lead to nation’s disintegration. It is undoubtedly the worst political abuse of secularism, which has the potential of wholesale rejection of the idea of secular polity itself. The truth is that the religious issues which were of no importance to millions of ordinary Muslims living in India were raised in the name of secularism. However, there is a silver lining too with Muslim community now feeling it has been used by the so called secular political class to fight its own battles with Hindu nationalists. If the nation is debating threats from communalism today, it is because secularism matters to the vast majority of Indians including the minorities. Secularism is a Jewel in India’s Crown and the need of the hour is to nurture and restore it to good health and deny its detractors the pleasure of seeing it buried which is possible by initiating a joint fight against fanaticism by all the communities irrespective of religious affiliations.