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How to create a real secular India!

Submitted by on March 26, 2007 – 2:12 am

Following is the Link to the article over simmering discontent on providing special privileges to Muslims by the Manmohan government. The present Congress or UPA government is persistent that Muslims of our country have lagged behind and need special packages. “We still think that unless we can give economic freedom to the Muslims, the soul of Mahatma Gandhi would not rest in peace,” the Congress- leader Mr Dasmunshi said.

This is outrageous! In a secular country, there is no place for dividing people on the religion-based ‘minorities’ and ‘majoritities’. Yes, if Indian muslims are economically backward, do provide them opportunities, and that policy actually should be applied to all the economically-backward people of India, why alone a particular community! Infact,if we classify people for the purpose of providing socio-economic opportunites, it will go in a long way towards ending caste-based reservations in a gradual manner.

Many a time, I see very hostile reactions to Muslims on the discussions boards are discussed over the internet. And vice-versa! To be proactive towards one’s religion is a good thing, but let there be no hostilities! If Hindus constantly sharpen the myth that Indian Muslims are not joining the streamline, this will only lead to further polarization. Similarly, the Indian Muslims will have to see through the pseudo-secularist policies of Congress and outright casteists like Mulayams, Laloos and will have to come out of ghetto mentalities. The whole story of Indian freedom struggle is full of constant bickerings and mutual distrust between Hindus and Muslims which led to the division of country (British divide and rule policy notwithstanding!). This is my firm conviction that the future of India lies secure only if we implement secularism in true way, like uniform civil code, phasing out reservations and doing social justice to economically backward people.

When India attained independence from Britain, it opted for a secular polity, thanks to the fore-sightedness of the founders of our Constitution. Pakistan on the other hand started its journey to create a ‘pure’ or ‘holy’ land for the Muslims. In last 60 years of its journey, unfortunately it has gone from bad to worse because in the process of creating a theocratic State, it has been ruled by mullah- army nexus and democracy has been suppressed. ‘Mullah power’ is the only power in that country. Letus apply this principle to our country: given our diversities, contradictions, poverty, illiteracy ours too is a fertile land for disintegration and fundamentalism, but thanks to our secular constitution, we have been able to thwart these tendancies. For example, Mr Jinnah told people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)- soon after the birth of pakistan- that they must accept Urdu as as their language. The Bangalis people were being ‘lorded’ over by the Punjabis of (west) Pakistan. The end result was that a separate Bangladesh was created: out of a pure land for Muslims, there was another nation created! The principle of religion could not keep them together! In India, in 1960s, the nation confronted the issue of National Language, there were widespread protests in Tamil Nadu and Bengal in particular over the implementation of Hindi as the national language. India tried to tackle this issue and the issue of language- based formation of States through democracy and establishing a dialogue with ‘separist leaders’ like E V Ramswamy Naicker ( popularly known as EVR) and later on CN Annadurai of Dravid Khazagam (now called DMK party) who wanted a separate Tamil country and involving them in the process of nation building. Now DMK is a partner in national politics and Tamil Nadu is as much a part of India as any other State is. Punjab is a fresh example in our minds.

Experts had written that when Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires could collapse and rebron as a Europe consisting of small language -based countries, what would prevent India from meeting the same fate! We could have, but we did not fall prey to the demons of fundamentalism, and fascism and that helped India retain its boundaries.

How India tackles the issue of resolving its dilemma of minority versus majority and reservations will define the future.

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