Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 04:16:14


By Manoj Dubey
Updated: January 31, 2023 9:38 am

Dharma is the Sanskrit word with multiple meanings like natural propensity of anything, individual’s duty as per the custom or law, divine laws, right way of living etc. The religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent are Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Islam originated in Mecca (in Saudi Arabia) and Christianity in Judea (near Jerusalem). We have Islamic states where the govts. are based on Sharia (Islamic law), Christian states where the countries have Christianity as the official religion and state church. On the other hand, there are secular states where the govts. function without any religious preferences. Secularism is most commonly defined as the separation of religion from civil affairs and the state. It is an ideology that religion should not be involved with social and political activities of a country. The powers of state and religion are separate. All the religions are equally respected and there is no state religion.

India was divided into two parts on the basis of religion in 1947 and Pakistan came into existence, Muslims migrated to Pakistan, many preferred to continue to stay in democratic India and many stayed back on the appeal of Gandhi and Nehru.

The Preamble of the Constitution of India presents the principles of the Constitution. it was adopted on 26th November 1949 and implemented on 26th January 1950, which is celebrated as the Republic Day of our nation. The Preamble was amended by the Indira Gandhi govt. during emergency in 1976 (42nd amendment) where the words Socialist and Secular were added. It became – WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and secure to all its citizens…

The obvious questions that come to the mind are-Was India not secular before 1976? Has it become more secular now?

Under Section 2(c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act 1992, six religious communities, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis have been notified as minority communities. As per Census 2011, their respective population is 14.23%, 2.3%, 1.72%, 0.7%, 0.37% and almost negligible. And the total minority population is about 19.23%.

But the reality is entirely different and in India minority community means Muslims (the majority in the minority) only. If we go back to the history from independence, Congress used them as vote bank and no efforts were made to strengthen them educationally and economically, and the other parties like Samajwadi Party, BSP, TMC etc. did the same at the state level. Their population in 1951 was 9.8% which rose to 14.23% in 2011 of the total population. whereas Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis are flourishing in the country and their population is stable.

Now the fact of the matter is that the Congress which claimed itself to be secular, is not so. It practiced pseudo secularism, which is used to pejoratively describe policies considered to involve minority appeasement. Such parties are not interested in the welfare of the minorities. Secularism is only a euphemism for vote bank politics. We recollect a few cases of pseudo secularism. In 1986, Shah Bano, a Muslim woman was denied alimony even after winning the case in Supreme Court, because the Indian govt. headed by Rajeev Gandhi reversed the court judgement under the pressure of Islamic orthodoxy. In 2006, Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister, said that Muslims must have the first claim on the national resources. Rajiv Gandhi imposed ban on Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses and his successor VP Singh declared Prophet Mohammed’s  birthday a national holiday.

In the process of appeasing the minorities, the majority community’s sentiments are hurt. The new words coined by the Congress Party “saffron terror” or “Hindu terror” have been prominently used by the senior Congress leaders. Salman Khursheed in his book compared Hindutva with ISIS or Boko Haram. Recently, the education minister of Bihar from RJD passed a derogatory comment on the Ramcharitmanas. This is deliberately done to secure minority votes. A lot of Hindu phobic movies in Bollywood have been exposed for spreading Anti Hindu propaganda in the disguise of freedom of expression using the right to ‘freedom of speech and expression’ in the Constitution. Quite often attempts have been made to mock and denigrate the Hindu festivals and cultures. Increasing cases of love jihad are also a matter of concern and need to be addressed.

In a truly secular country, all the citizens irrespective of religion should be covered by a single set of laws. It is suggested that the names of the political parties must not indicate any religion, for instance, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena or AIMIM. The recent statement of the Prime Minister advising party workers not to make needless comments on any religion and increasing public contact is laudable. Nothing is better then humanity.


By Manoj Dubey
Principal (Retd.)
Delhi Public Schools

Comments are closed here.