Rulers of any state would like to keep many things undefined. It is one of the proven ways to perpetuate their reign by offering different interpretations at different times for the same provisions even in a written document. When written and approved in 1950, Indian Constitution was one of the best written documents with all its provisions and omissions well deliberated and concluded. But almost all the subsequent amendments have made it ambiguous and dangerous to the majority in the country. Perhaps no other democratic country had so many amendments to its written constitution in the first fifty years of existence. Dirty minds and short-sightedness of some of our so-called national leaders are reflected in the attempted and achieved amendments to Indian constitution. But for a vigilant few in Indian parliament much more damage would have been done by now.
If the religious divide of India in 1947 and the Aryan Migration Theory (AMT) can be ‘credited’ to the cunning Christian mind of the looting British in retreat, the onus of all subsequent drama of distorting our constitution lies squarely with our own political leaders. Complete neglect of Sanskrit and a virtual ban of any governmental involvement in anything related to study of Hindu scriptures was the much highlighted achievement of the first governments in India immediately after liberation from the British. The policy thrust still continues - anything and everything related to Hindu must be discouraged and discriminated against. The guiding principle of almost all successive governments in Liberated India remains the same – that any encouragement for Hinduism or studying its scriptures will only result in bringing back ‘untouchability’, ‘sati system’ and loss of scientific temper of the society. It was the pet theory of the architect of our nation and its damage (perhaps unintended) has been devastating.
One of the most damaging features that has been manipulated into the round hole of our constitution is the square peg of undefined secularism. A simple search for the word on the net would yield its most common definition as “the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs”. Now close your eyes and search with your independent conscience whether any of our ‘governmental practices or institutions’ follow this principle. Almost all our major temples are under government control, we have several wakf boards and all the government policies are segregated religion-wise or community-wise or caste-wise. Even after 60 years of existence we have made no attempt to evolve a common civil code or even common education system irrespective of the religious beliefs. Yet the dirty politicians would prefer to have the word in our constitution so that all their sectarian and vote-bank politics can carry on without any hindrance.
The real history of India is well known to everyone by now. Even after one thousand years of various onslaughts it is still illuminating the world with ancient wisdom and continues to be perhaps the only guiding light towards a better world. But the plurality of its culture accommodating all religions and all types of people is a stark reality. It cannot be ignored or wished away by anyone whatever be their arguments. The simple reason is that we are dealing with human lives and not inanimate materials which can be rooted out and shifted elsewhere. But at the same time, the identity of India as a sovereign nation cannot be compromised at all. To reflect this in all Indians, the primary requirement is a declaration that our nationality comes first followed by our regional or religious backgrounds. The undefined Secularism that is making a mockery of our ‘Indianess’ is the biggest hurdle in this process. India needs to encourage a common system of social laws and education that is cent percent enforceable on all Indians.
Indians are always proud to announce that Indian Secularism is qualitatively different from its Western counterpart. While the State must insulate itself and ignore religions in the West, it is equal respect for all religions in the Indian context. It sounds perfectly logical to have such noble and lofty attitude towards religions in the land of Santana Dharma. Religions are so much intrinsically involved in our daily lives that ignoring them for carrying out just some of our official duties alone does not sound practical and logical. Equality for all religions is a perfect concept and it should be so irrespective of the number of followers each one of them has. But it is this graciousness of the majority community that is paving the way for its own destruction.
India’s peculiar brand of secularism stands out on one aspect – that all religions enjoy the same status but followers of some are ‘more equal’ than others. That is the only way we can explain the special privileges enjoyed by the so-called minorities. Proponents of vote-bank politics who vehemently argue for perpetuation of these rights must accept the simple logic that a minority set can exist only if there is a majority set in any system. In the context of Indian nation, who is such a majority? None according to the supporters of Indian brand secularism and Hindus according to its opponents. But when everyone knows that Hindu religion itself is divided into so many sub-sets and so also the Muslims and Christians, what is the logic of justifying special privileges for some of the sets. This ambiguity can go away only when the term secularism is defined in Indian constitution.
In the absence of such a clear and unambiguous definition for secularism in Indian constitution the social status of Hindus will continue to decline. All sorts of organised groups under the guise of minorities will continue to enjoy special privileges for their educational institutions, religious schools and personal laws. Their own organizations are garnering millions and now the shortsighted vote-mongers in the government are spending millions of money for their development. The majority who will languish without the protection of any such privileges or even basic rights will whither away in not so distant future. ‘Indianess’ of India is being systematically destroyed by the deliberate negligence of our own elected leaders. We must define very specifically what is secularism in Indian context or do away with that suicidal synonym once for all. And that needs to be done immediately if India is to survive as one single democratic entity forever.