Thursday, February 21, 2008

The manual of Indian secularism

How Hindus have become second class citizens in their own land
In India, Christians and Muslims enjoy extra privileges in the name of ‘minority protection’ and ‘Secularism’. A consequence of this ill-advised step is a distortion of language that has made honest debate all but impossible.
The term ‘Secularism’, which means separation of religion and government, has become a tool of discrimination against the Hindus. (Articles 29 and 30 protect linguistic minorities also, but that does not alter the fact that Hindus are discriminated against.) The Indian Constitution draws some of its ideas from the American Constitution but ignores important lessons of history.
In framing the Constitution, the founding fathers of the American Republic showed that they had learnt from Europe’s history of religious conflict by excluding the influence of religion on the affairs of the State by adopting the First Amendment. And this is what secularism really means.
But the framers of the Indian Constitution failed to draw the same lesson and gave special privileges to the predatory religions of Christianity and Islam, which have been tools of imperialism. These special privileges, which sometimes lead to extra-constitutional demands, are being sheltered in the name of ‘Secularism’. This poses grave threat to the integrity of the Indian Republic. It also makes honest debate all but impossible.
The fact there that have not so far been major religious conflicts in India — other than the Jihad in Kashmir — is due to two reasons: (1) the tolerance of the Hindu community and the readiness of its leaders to compromise and even appease; (2) general ignorance on the part of the Hindus of the discriminatory nature of the Constitution and even the legal system.
To take a concrete example, there are massive subsidies for Haj pilgrims, but little help for Kashmiri Hindu refugees in Delhi. The Gujral Government even provided compensation for the victims of a fire in Mecca, but there was no such help for Kashmiri refugees in India. But with rising levels of education and national awareness, neither unlimited tolerance nor continued ignorance on the part of the Hindus can be taken for granted. The Indian Constitution must be revised to remove this poison seed before its insidious effects reach unmanageable proportions.
Here are a few manifestations of hypocritical secularism :
· When President George Bush inaugurated America's National Church, he was not called communal; but when President Dr. Rajendra Prasad inaugurated the renovated Somnath Temple, he was dubbed communal.
· President Ronald Reagan proclaimed year 1983 as the year of the Bible but, if Indian leaders were to declare a year of the Gita, it will surely be termed communal.
· The British monarch is considered a guardian of Christianity even though people of diverse faiths live in that country. The same holds good in Europe and America too vis-a-vis the heads of state and the state religion. but if the Indian President were to describe himself as a guardian of Hinduism, he will surely be branded as communal.
· Shrimad Bhagwad Gita is denied entry into Arab States; but questioning this policy will be deemed communal.
· The Indian Army has built several mosques in Jammu & Kashmir; but if Hindus were to request to build a temple, that would be termed communal.
· Detailing India's glorious heritage is considered communal.
· Muslim madrasas, where Hindus are described as kafirs and the students are taught to hate them, are on the increase. This has resulted in communalism gathering momentum and the prospect of a bloody civil war ending in the break-up of India is looming larger. But any talk of reining in such madrasas is considered autocratic and communal.
The Hindus have the following question for the secularists?
In India 85% of the population is Hindu. If Hindus are intolerant, how come Masjids and Madrasas are thriving? How come Muslims are offering Namaz on the road? How come Muslims are proclaiming five times a day on loudspeakers that there is no God except Allah?
When Hindus gave away 30% of Bharat to the Muslims for a song, why do they have to beg now for their three sacred places out of thirty thousand destroyed by the Muslims?
When the Constitution of India advocates equal rights to all the citizens, then why do we have different laws for people of different religious faiths? Why can't we have a Uniform Civil Code?
When Haj pilgrims are given subsidy, why Hindu pilgrims to Amarnath, Sabarimalai and Kailash Mansarover are taxed?
Why are the temple revenues diverted to fund Haj subsidy and the welfare activities of Muslims and Christians?
Why is post-Godhra blown out of proportion, when no one talks of the ethnic cleansing of four lakh Hindus from Kashmir?
If Muslims & Christians are minorities in Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, etc. are Hindus not minorities in J&K, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, etc.? Why are Hindus denied minority rights in these states?
In what way is J&K different from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh to have Article 370?
Is there one Mullah or Maulvi who has declared a 'fatwa' against terrorists?
Why did Gandhiji object to the decision of the cabinet and insist that the Somnath Temple should be reconstructed out of public funds, not government funds, when in January 1948 he pressurised Nehru and Patel to carry on renovation of the mosques of Delhi at government expenses?
When Christian and Muslim schools can teach Bible and Quran, why Hindus cannot teach Gita or Ramayan?
The percentage of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh after partition in 1947 was 17 and 25 respectively. Today their percentage is almost nil in Pakistan and 10.5 in Bangladesh. What happened to the missing Hindus? Do Hindus have human rights?

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