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Secularism in India: The right definition
Why the powers that be should stay away from defining secularism correctly? Why should we put up with their erratic definition? Why do not we realise that the great issues of the day are not settled by speeches and slogans but by solid action?

WHAT IS secularism? Sarva Dharma Samabhav (all religions are equal). It’s a beautiful phrase and I can close my eyes and see those newsreels from the past - that had Gandhiji scurrying about in black and white courtesy the glitches on film, with the Raghupati Raghav soundtrack playing in the background.

India is a secular country. Secularism is normally defined as something that has nothing to do with religion. But the Indian definition - that of mainstream political parties, a significant section of the media as well as a small but influential section of educated people (I doubt they are really educated), has changed over the years to mean anything that is anti-Hinduism. The BJP and other saffron parties have coined a term for it: pseudo-secularism. And as much as I hate saffron politics, I have to say that I am in complete agreement with them on this one issue.

Hinduism is a quaint religion; one even doubts whether it is a religion. Even if one doesn’t go to a temple or wear the sacred thread or perform Sandhyavandhanam (morning and evening prayers) or have bath everyday or even if one scolds his Gods and observe no fast, one still remains a Hindu and could be branded as communal although he sports no characteristics of even a normal Hindu. In contrast, if a Muslim does not visit the mosque or abuses Allah or a Christian abstains from church on a Sunday, he is branded a heretic. But to appease the minorities, a die-hard Muslim or Christian is labelled ‘secular’ and a liberal Hindu, ‘communal’. These points clearly define secularism in India.

Our Hindu society is unfortunately divided into several castes. So we can consider India to be comprised of the following major groups: the upper castes, the lower castes, the Muslims and the politicians (of course, they don’t belong to any religion or caste).

The thing that amuses me is this: none of the said major groups is happy. The Brahmins feel discriminated against because of the reservation policy applied by successive governments. They do not relish the speeches delivered by leaders of the various Dalit and other caste-based parties, which target them. The Dalits and other backward castes are not happy as they feel they have not been given their due in spite of continued efforts. Hindus resent the government’s pussyfooting on the issue of Islamist terrorism. Muslims feel threatened in spite of being a big chunk of the population because terrorism is linked with Islam and their allegiance to the country is doubted even 60 years after the partition. The only people who seem to benefit are the politicians. But even they have been targeted on numerous occasions (the attack on parliament in 2001 being one of them).

Considering all this, any rational person would mend his ways. But since politicians and religious bigots thrive on irrationality, expecting them to change is a waste of time.

We, as a nation, do not realise that the great issues of the day are not settled by speeches and slogans but by sound and solid action. Ideas are important. But it is constructive work alone that can "inject meaning into the veins of history and civilisation".  

"A secular country will not make decisions based on a person’s religion and the citizens of such a country will be free to practise any religion of their choice".   This is the actual definition of a secular country. While the second part is more or less true in India, it still has a long way to go as far as the first part goes. It would be nice to see the change happen within my lifetime. But I am not holding my breath.

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You wrote secular has nothing to do with religion is totally incorrect. Europe was ruled and exploited by chruch. The people had to give a large part of their earning to church and Rajas. The public remain poor but gthde church and Rajas were very rich. Against the atrocity of church Martin Luther, theocrate and also a church man of Germany raised voice. Church tried his best to eliminate him but failed. He was the first person in the history who fought for the said secularism. According to him Religion i.e. church has nothing to do with politics or rule. He was the first person who founded the separation of church from rule. One must say the word secular has important relation with religion. It was the religion who terrify the european people. The war of Martin Luther was for the freedom from church i.e. religion. In Bharat, to whom you wrote India, no any religion has ruled in the history of this nation. No any religion has suppressed other religion in the past history. The history of Christian religion is full of bloodsheds as well as of Islam. As you wrote sarv dharam sambhava Bharat was and is very neutral towards other religions. A Hindu has no hesitation to go to church and mosque as he sees one almighty in all Roops and atoms. Have you ever noted any muslim or christian going to tempel ? Never would you like to say. Dharmikta in bharat teaches Ahinsa. But in Islam aacording to a study by home ministry of germany published on 5.6.2010 Dharmikta teaches hate and agressiveness. Bharat is a secular country. The word secular was imported to India via USA and has loosed its real meaning on the way. The word secular arose as a modern political vision in some in bharati politicians, without knowing its real meaning and root cause. As you wrote every argument against the said falsified secularity landed in the SHRAP as communal Hindu. Bad Luck of Bharat.
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