|| Satyameva Jayate ||

Dedicated to “Bharat” and “Dharma”

“vigorously pro Hindu and anti Muslim”

I stumbled on this comment by Bhagwad Jal Park on his blog yesterday morning (pl see his comment dt Oct 16, 2010 at 5:56am; emphasis added):

Satyameva Jayate..comments are more decent, though I find the topics are vigorously pro Hindu and anti Muslim.

Here we go again

Now, this is neither the first time – nor will it be the last (a recent instance at comment #114 here) – that I have been called anti-Muslim, Hindu fanatic, Hindu fascist, Muslim-hater, right-wing fascist etc etc….and I understand that there is a nuance here between me being “anti-something” vs. the topics being “anti-something”. That said, I did not expect such a seemingly flippant observation from Bhagwad. I’m therefore more than curious to hear why he made that assertion…

In the spirit of an open discussion – and in keeping with the highest traditions of Hinduism – and of course, the title of this blog, “Satyameva Jayate”, I would like to invite Bhagwad Jal Park to substantiate his allegation here – on this post, in public.

I am currently travelling and then on vacation so there may be some delay in my response and in responding to/moderating the comments. Your comments, thoughts are welcome as always.  In the context of the statement, I believe Bhagwad would find this post by Atanu thought-provoking, “The Distinction between People and Ideologies” – Excerpts

Somewhat related: The beginning…. Pl. also read: Why I am a proud nationalist?

December 16th, 2010 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Personal | 138 comments

138 Comments »

  1. Ashwani, Kartik. Did you notice that Ahmad wrote his second comment only because Shantanu requested him to do so. What purpose will your comments serve? Will they encourage further discussion or will they hamper it?

    Comment by Prakash | December 18, 2010

  2. prakash,

    my comment is in response to ashish#97.

    Comment by ashwani | December 18, 2010

  3. ahwani 102. urright. sorry.

    Comment by Prakash | December 18, 2010

  4. Ashish,

    Thanks for responding. Of course I’m interested in your views – that’s why I specifically addressed my comment to you. OK – so can I assume that you and I agree that
    a. parties like Congress, CPI, CPI(M), others are at least equally, if not more, communal as BJP is, and
    b. that secularism as practiced in India has been anti-Hindu?

    And this is something which is obvious to a casual observer – one doesn’t need to have a PhD or be an expert. Why do you think the mainstream media don’t catch on to this, and instead, keep flying the flag of secularism when they talk or write about Congress and left parties, instead of calling them communal, as they are?

    Yes, secularism as defined in the west is separation between the church and the state – which was an outcome of the situation in Europe, where the church was interfering in the affairs of the state. What’s the similarity with India and Indian history? As far as I know, there were no churches in India in the 1500s which were interfering in the affairs of the state. When the Brits came, they also didn’t bring any churches with them which started interfering in the affairs of the state. And AFAIK, there wasn’t a parallel situation in India where mandirs or matths were interfering in the affairs of the state. So, how is the concept of secularism relevant to India? I mean, Jews have been given shelter here and have been free to practice their religion. Parsis too. Sikhism as a religion was born here and Sikhs are free to practice their religion. So, historically, I don’t really see a situation in India where there was a need to separate religion from the state.

    BTW, I didn’t say or imply that secularism should be discarded because it is a western (no quotes) concept. I’m just trying to understand how is it relevant in the Indian context, given Indian history, and to what extent.

    Additionally, I didn’t say anything about “forget about Hindu rashtra” – I merely said let’s leave it aside for now from our discussions. And Sanjeev and Shantanu can respond to your queries – I can’t really speak for them.

    One last question. If you agree that secularism as practiced in India by the Congress Party has been communal and anti-Hindu, and that this kind of attitude had no justification, don’t you think that the rise of a party like BJP would be a natural outcome?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Kaffir | December 18, 2010

  5. I’m encouraging Comrade Ahmed to peel off his layer of anti-Hindu prejudice and look at Hindus the same way he would at his fellow Muslims. All have the same rights: to eat only halal food, not to eat halal food, to do whatever. It is not entirely his fault that he harbors a feeling of entitlement — our flawed secularism and loony leftwing ‘liberalism’ are partly to blame. However, it is his fault if he refuses to see the light even when I am shining it upon him. Comrade Park’s attempts to paint Ahmad and himself (but I’m repeating myself) as victims is, to put it mildly, a bit funny.

    Comment by Kartik | December 18, 2010

  6. Kaffir

    Not only Congress, CPI and CPM but ALL parties have been communal. I don’t see how Indian Union Muslim League or All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musleeman or Bahujan Samaj Party could ever not be called non-communal! Communalism is in their very names.

    I can’t bat for the media since I don’t have a very high opinion of them myself. I rely on them if I need any Bollywood gossip (which is very rare) and Cricket scores.

    I wouldn’t be so sure as you about religions not influencing politics in ancient India. I don’t know about all the kingdoms but I certainly know that saint Ramdas had a huge influence on Shivaji and Shivaji took regular advice from him in matters of governance. Gandhi’s politics was heavily influenced by his religious beliefs.

    But as I said, the concept of secularism has evolved over time from mere separation between religion and state to treating people as individuals instead of members of groups.

    Yet, even if you go with the separation of religion and state definition, it is extremely relevant to India. Take for instance the government’s control over temples for instance. Or government subsidy to Haj pilgrimage. Or state concessions to missionary schools… there are plenty of such examples if you try to find them.

    But the contemporary definition is even more relevant to India. Indian politics brackets people under several groups – dalits, hindus, muslims, marathis, dravidians and so on. These divisions do very little to unite the country and make our politics messy. Try to think of one political party in India that doesn’t try to “represent” one or the other such groups. The highly incompetent people such as Mayawati and Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Yadav are the gifts of this vote bank politics, which is a direct consequence of communalism. Mayawati is redundant if there are no dalits. Mulayam is inconsequential if there are no Muslims and so on. (dalits and muslims in the political sense that is!)

    So the best answer to all these communal political parties is not another addition of communal party but a genuinely secular party. BJP has basically played the same game with the same rules and has been ineffective as a result. We need a game changer – a party that rises above this communal politics and looks at India as the only constituency, irrespective of the constituents’ religion, race, caste, sexual orientation and rest of the laundry list.

    Comment by Ashish Deodhar | December 19, 2010

  7. Ashish

    Please correct me if I am wrong. You concede that secularism was born out of the European worldviews and its unique historical experience. Your point is that secularism places individual over social groups in matters of state policy.
    In general you would agree – that most Indians as well as most people all over the world consider themselves part of various overlapping socio-cultural identities.
    The very act of secularization (as per your definition) would deny them the use of their own socio-cultural memes (their unique worldviews and historical experience) in defining the nature of the political state, and therefore the future trajectory of their culture and civilization.

    This when there is no adequate basis for this act of arbitrary superimposition. The example of Shivaji and Gandhi is simply dichotomous to the original historical contexts of the development of secularism (divine rights accorded to monarchs, papal authority and rule etc). One could question if the religious-political views of Gandhi or Shivaji led to the curbing of personal independence or individual rights as happened under the papal Europe or caliphate middle east.

    Arguably as with many other things Indian – there was historically never a contradiction between the religious and the secular in India. This too is an imported cultural meme which seeks to redefine both religion as well as what is secular. Secularism – an originally European conceit was instrumental in purging the state of doctrinaire Christianity and breaking the control of the church in affairs of states of various nation states of Europe. Except Islamic rule in India – there is simply no analogous history in India. Thus importing this concept entails importing the historical worldviews, assumptions and implicit imitation of the European experience. It implies negating one’s own history of managing inter-communal relations and adopting make-believe assumptions of what various social communities are and how they encourage or impede the functioning of society and state.

    In your reply I see something bordering on contempt for the various social categories (I would be happy to stand corrected on this). Social groups exist due to people who adopt those groups and experience these as a part of their daily function, experience and expression. At the very least de-legitimizing these groups, or denying them a role in politics, or denigrating them – counts as a denial of fundamental rights. So secularism (as per your definition) would seem to conflict with fundamental rights. Furthermore a nation is also an arbitrary social category – how long before secularism begins negating that as well. My larger point is that secularism (as explained here) is an intrusive construct with an exclusive worldview – thereby setting up its followers as a distinct community with a social understanding that is often at conflict with various communities it is trying to secularize.

    In my view India’s historical experience offers us a means of harmonizing communities and peoples – without resorting to secularism. Indian worldviews do not offer dichotomies of secular and religious – and its attendant divisive potential. It is important for matters of cultural and intellectual autonomy, and maintaining uniqueness of our historical trajectory and preservation of socio-civilizational paradigm – that we try to rediscover how the purported objectives of secularism can be established using themes born of the indic civilizational experience.

    In my view your argument for universalizing secularism is inadequate and based on faulty assumptions both about the conceptual categories of secular and religious, but also by a negation of socio-cultural groups as valid constituents of identity and state formation.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | December 19, 2010

  8. Gentle request to all: I think we have got somewhat side-tracked from the main point of this post…

    Pl continue the discussion on “Secularism” here: Hinduism as a secular concept.

    Pl continue the discussion on “Islam, Hindutva” etc here.

    Thanks All…still travelling so may be delayed in responding and/or moderating comments…

    If you feel particularly aggrieved by any specific comment(s), please email me at jaidharma AT gmail.com

    ***
    @Ahmad (#98): I am looking forward to your email. Thanks.

    Comment by B Shantanu | December 19, 2010

  9. “I wouldn’t be so sure as you about religions not influencing politics in ancient India. I don’t know about all the kingdoms but I certainly know that saint Ramdas had a huge influence on Shivaji and Shivaji took regular advice from him in matters of governance. Gandhi’s politics was heavily influenced by his religious beliefs.”

    Ashish,

    You seem to change some of my words, thus changing their meaning. You did that with my earlier comment too, and I had to correct that. I’d specifically used the word “interfering” when referring to the dynamics in Europe, and the word carries a negative connotation – hence, the need for secularism in Europe to counter that interference and its negative effects. Interfering is not the same as influencing.

    I’m not convinced that the two examples (Gandhi, Sant Ramdas) you gave are examples of “religion influencing politics,” (more like “religion influencing an individual”) and neither am I convinced that these two examples resulted in something deleterious for the Indian society. If anything, as I’d mentioned in my previous comment, the role of Hindu religion in India had been positive when it comes to people from different religions peacefully co-existing and practicing their faiths. The influence of Swami Dayanand Saraswati on the independence movement cannot be overstated.

    Comment by Kaffir | December 19, 2010

  10. Kartik,
    Aurangzeb Road was not a historic relic but named in New Delhi by Govt led by our super secu-liber CONg Party.
    Delhi already has ZH Marg thouhgh not sure if there is MC Chagla Marg in Delhi (or anyhwere else) – shame on you, BJP Party for forgetting that great man. Just listening to his speech at BJP’s first conv in Mumbai will bring tears to any eyes. Ungrateful BJP.

    Comment by Gopi | December 19, 2010

  11. AD (#106)
    Rajaji’s Swatantar Party was not communal by your yard stick but got no where after some success in 1967 n disappeared in 1974.

    Comment by Gopi | December 19, 2010

  12. Those claiming Sant Ramdas’s influence on Shivaji need to explain how many times Shivaji took the decisions in the matter of statecraft (for example, if he has attacked anyone or forgave a criminal based on their religious belief) after listening to his Guru. Being inspired by someone’s teaching is not same as being influenced by someone.
    About Gandhi, how much inspired he was by Hinduism is very doubtful. His ideals of non-violence, passive resistance and resistance to contraceptives has more similarities with teachings propagated by southern baptist church than Hindu scriptures. But even then, I would like secular to show how and when Gandhi took political decisions based on some Hindu teaching.

    Comment by Sid | December 19, 2010

  13. Rajiv

    Please correct me if I am wrong but you seem to suggest that people are naturally part of some or the other social group and denying them their political destiny as part of the social group is infringing on some of their fundamental rights.

    If that’s what you are trying to suggest, then yes, I advocate infringing those fundamental rights – if the fundamental right of a Bramhin is to deny his dalit neighbour water from the same well. If a Muslim considers it his/her fundamental right to government subsidy for his/her Haj pilgrimage. If a Hindu considers it his fundamental right to deny his muslim co-citizen a choice to live in his housing society. If a Marathi considers it his fundamental right to deny Biharis from performing their religious festivals in Mumbai…

    If we agree with your argument that people should be allowed to use their socio-cultural memes to define the nature of their political state, a country like India would remain in a perpetual state of conflict given the many socio-cultural memes in our society. Who should dictate what political state India should have? Why is a Christian wrong in asking for a Christian India? Why is a Muslim wrong in asking for a Muslim India? Why is a Marathi wrong in asking for a Maharashtra for Marathis? Why are the Kashmiris wrong in asking for a separate Kashmiri state?

    And it’s not that it’s not happening. The RSS wants a Hindu state. The MNS want Maharashtra for Marathis. The Kashmiris are asking for a separate homeland. We all know the Dravidian slant in the south. In this light, letting socio-cultural groups define the political state is simply impractical and potentially extremely dangerous.

    Does it mean that secularism negates socio-cultural groups? Definitely not. We are social animals and we WILL be part of some or the other social groups. I am a Marathi and I will remain so. In a secular nation, I will simply not get a special treatment (positive or otherwise) based on my Marathi identity.

    I have no doubt that you genuinely believe that the Indian civilisation or Hinduism (whatever you prefer to call it!) is inherently secular. Interestingly, the right-wing American Christians think the same thing about Christianity. And I don’t blame such a view of one’s own religion or culture. Such biases about what one holds dear are natural to creep in. Should we let these biases run our politics? I definitely don’t think so!

    Comment by Ashish Deodhar | December 19, 2010

  14. Ashish

    I see my response has touched off a raw nerve. But let me try answering you without responding in kind.

    The present constitution of India recognizes six inalienable fundamental rights to it’s citizens. Rights to
    equality, freedom ,freedom from exploitation ,freedom of religion ,Cultural and educational rights ,constitutional remedies

    Seems that the above rights sufficiently address all the hypothetical scenarios you raised. The right to freedom from exploitation, the right to constitutional remedies between themselves ensure that mechanisms exist to prevent, deter or remedy, any misuse of rights themselves in their own infringement.

    That said these rights are more or less complete and consistent within themselves- I do not see how secularism adds any value above and beyond these fundamental rights – except as mechanism to curb these rights. The purported negation of group identity that you ascribe to secularism is covered by the right to equality (before law).

    The point has been made about multiple memes being in conflict is redundant. It is an active and ongoing process which does not require mediation of the secular.Differing cultural memes (not necessarily conflicting ones) have existed in India mostly in harmony, many a times in conflict. The conflict itself (as with all social categories) is a part of discourse. The process of negotiating a pan-Indian identity is fraught – but by no means impossible. It is a process of negotiation between the memes, perhaps Indian secularism as a distinct meme has a role here. However to state that secularism alone can provide a remedy – is like saying that Jesus is the only savior or only Mohammad is Allah’s messenger. This is a doctrinaire assumption and there is an element of blackmail in this. This is similar to the British plea that only imperial rule keeps India’s various communities from killing each other. This is what comes out of a belief that various Indian communities (Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others ) alike have no indigenous agency. The implicit assumption here is that the various Indians communities are barbarous and bloodthirsty only waiting for the restraints (of secularism) to be taken off before they hurl themselves at each others throats. With such sentiments don’t be surprised that secularism is treated with such contempt.

    Mention is made of the various regional and regional-religious conflicts that plague our nation and then there is a prompt dismissal of “Indian civilization or Hinduism or whatever you (I) call it”. Has one paused to investigate how such identity conflicts came into being ? At least almost all major issues mentioned here (Dravidianism, Kashmir’s Islamic insurgency, linguistic regionalism) are results of either colonial politics or of eurocentric categories and adoption their Indian adherents blindly following them. This should ideally offer followers of secularism reason to pause an think – but no such thing seems forthcoming. Without elaborating these further- let me ask a question why weren’t these conflicts there earlier ? And why so many of these have appeared only in secular India ? Preempting the answer that “we need to be more secular” I would say that it sounds suspiciously like the Islamists of Pakistan for whom all problems can ultimately be ascribed to that country being “insufficiently Islamic”. In short doctrinaire conclusions neither borne out by reality or evidence in history.

    Regarding peoples biases running politics – the statement seams to be like all biases are okay except one’s own. Can anyone sincerely vouch that there is no bias in the secular? Seculars love to play the proverbial monkey between two sparring cats – standing judgment while on the sly stealing the treat.

    When I speak of Indic civilizational experience I amp leading for understanding indegenously developed ideas and methods of inter communal coexistence – that developed over long years through our own historical experience. If I am skeptical about secularism it is precisely because it is an imposed or recently inherited external idea (much like dravidianism, linguistic regionalism and islamism). What Idea is better in particular contexts and cultural geographies cannot be judged by superimposing them on the social and civilizational fabric. These have to compete and find their place in the marketplace of ideas. The word secular was slipped into our constitution by a power mad despot – it still remains there unexamined and virtually placed on a pedestal. It has been placed beyond question and universally imposed as if it were an overarching construct. Other ideas never had a chance to test thier relevance and applicability. Other ideas are not allowed to be developed or adopted. The response here is one typical of forcible imposition of secularism (recourse to imaginary fears, building canards and demolishing strawmen) – the “my way or the highway” approach. If we concede that secularism is just another idea we will recognize that the plea for empowering and universalizing secularism here is reminiscent of the argument that “dictatorship is bad so long as the dictator isn’t me”.

    PS : Shantanu – I agree this post has digressed from the original objective but posting it on the alternate post will rob it of its original context. Please do as you feel necessary with it.

    Comment by Rajiv Chandran | December 19, 2010

  15. Rajiv

    You said: “Seems that the above rights sufficiently address all the hypothetical scenarios you raised. The right to freedom from exploitation, the right to constitutional remedies between themselves ensure that mechanisms exist to prevent, deter or remedy, any misuse of rights themselves in their own infringement.”

    Only they don’t. Let me give you an example. I had unfortunately happened to book a train to Mumbai once. When I realised upon boarding the train that my reserved seat was taken and is not being given to me, I complained to the TC. Much to my surprise, I was told that the group that has occupied my, and other reserved seats, was a group of dalits en route to Mumbai for the Ambedkar jayanti and that they could not only take whichever seat they want but also travel for free on that day! I don’t know whether this is provided for in the constitution but my “right to freedom from exploitation” wasn’t upheld. If I can’t ascribe this violation to caste-based group identity, I don’t know what I can ascribe it to.

    I know at least one example of a work colleague who was refused rental property in my apartment simply because he was Muslim. So these are not “hypothetical” scenarios and if you haven’t been discriminated against in India because you identify with some or the other group, I must say that you are damn lucky!

    Yet, I would agree with you that in a perfect India, the administration would definitely protect my right to travel on a reserved seat and my colleague’s right to seek tenancy in a housing society of his choice. Just that the politics of India won’t let that happen.

    You said: “The point has been made about multiple memes being in conflict is redundant. It is an active and ongoing process which does not require mediation of the secular.”

    I think you misunderstand secularism as some sort of mediator. It’s actually exactly the opposite. You are right that different cultures and religions will always be in an ideological conflict and secularism takes a non-partisan approach in such a conflict. Take the Ayodhya issue for example. It is a conflict between two independent parties and secular politics should have no role to play in it. In stark contrast, Indian politics is deeply involved in such issues and hence is divisive. So no, secularism is not dictatorial, compulsory, doctrinaire and what not. And there’s definitely no underlying assumption that communities sans secularism are bloodthirsty or barbarous. If anything, secularism is a hands-off approach and assigns greater responsibility to the communities to resolve their issues within themselves.

    You said: “At least almost all major issues mentioned here (Dravidianism, Kashmir’s Islamic insurgency, linguistic regionalism) are results of either colonial politics or of eurocentric categories and adoption their Indian adherents blindly following them.”

    This is something that I find rather amusing. It’s easy to fix responsibility for all of India’s ills on the British or the Muslim rulers and all the good things on vedic civilisation. Given your commendable debating skills (from whatever I can gather from this little debate), I would expect a lot better from you. I am sure Raj Thackrey and Karunanidhi won’t agree with your conclusions.

    You said: “Can anyone sincerely vouch that there is no bias in the secular? Seculars love to play the proverbial monkey between two sparring cats – standing judgment while on the sly stealing the treat.”

    That certainly is the case with the pseudo-secular politics in India. However, I think we could agree that they don’t represent the true secular position. At least when I defend secularism, I don’t intend to steal any treats. Yes I have a bias in promoting secularism. That bias is in favour of an individual and against communism. I don’t see why that’s wrong!

    You said: “When I speak of Indic civilizational experience I amp leading for understanding indegenously developed ideas and methods of inter communal coexistence”

    I don’t disagree with you. By all means, we must strive to find inter-communal coexistence. So if Indic civilisation offers the best solution for inter-communal harmony, we should definitely seek that solution. But that’s not what secularism is about. Secularism is about treating individuals on their individual merits, not on group-based identities.

    When I speak of secularism, I speak it only in the political sphere. And I don’t think seeking inter-communal harmony is a government’s business. My argument is that we should leave that to the religions and communities. Let the governments look after its constituents as one group – Indians. If we can’t agree on that, let’s agree to disagree.

    Comment by Ashish Deodhar | December 19, 2010

  16. Interesting discussion between Rajeev and Ashish. Few points here…

    @Ashish,
    [quote]
    I had unfortunately happened to book a train to Mumbai once. When I realised upon boarding the train that my reserved seat was taken and is not being given to me, I complained to the TC. Much to my surprise, I was told that the group that has occupied my, and other reserved seats, was a group of dalits en route to Mumbai for the Ambedkar jayanti and that they could not only take whichever seat they want but also travel for free on that day! I don’t know whether this is provided for in the constitution but my “right to freedom from exploitation” wasn’t upheld. If I can’t ascribe this violation to caste-based group identity, I don’t know what I can ascribe it to.
    [/quote]

    This appears to be a foot-in-the-mouth quoting. This situation you experienced above is the result of your darling secularism and certainly NOT in-spite of. Had “secularism” been what you [and I also think it should be] think like upholding equality of every individual without bias, we would not be discussing this issue like this these days. This incident that you quoted is trivial compared to what my friends and relatives face throughout their life.

    – My brother-in-law, a brahmin doesn’t get his due promotion inspite of putting hardwork and number of years. Instead, a junior to him gets speedily promoted. Why? becoz that other person is a dalit.

    The point I wish to make here is, this word secularism is rotten and stinking. It is hijacked and r**ped by a section of politicians to mean an appeasement to no end for a) appeasing of muslims by congiis, mulayams and laaloos; b) appeasing of christians by congii psychopaths like YSR of Andhra; c) appeasing of dalits by mayawatis.

    So it is better that this dirty word is dissolved and fresh lease of life begin without it. Dharma (righteousness) is what is needed, which is amply provided for in the vedic way of life. If you feel so scared of hindu rashtra, let us call it Dharma Rashtra, based on sanatana dharma. I don’t think that the way of life preached and followed by several exalted and noble beings like Shriram, ShriKrishna, Shankara, Kabir, Nanak can ever be bad. So, what is the problem if we return back to sanatana dharma?

    it is an act of phobia that of loosing the vote banks of these 3 sections (christians, muslims and Dalits) that make the present politicians wary of hindu (dharma) rashtra.

    You can also see my 17 points (comment#90) on why secularism is bad to this country in its current shape.
    regards,
    RV

    Comment by Ravindranath | December 19, 2010

  17. @Ashish,
    another point worth adding here…

    secularism makes sense only when all religions are having similar dharmic values as their guiding principles. As for instance, Hinduism (sanatana dharma, if one is afraid of the word Hindu) , buddhism, jainism, sikhism, and various other small Indic sub-sects are more or less founded upon dharmic principles. Such religions can coexist. if all religions were similar like the ones quoted above, secularism would have definitely been fulfilled, without an explicit secularist creed coming into existence.

    Talking about abrahamic religions, they do not fall under co-traveling religions on the dharmic path.

    Jesus showed and taught compassion, but this was hijacked and misused by next generation romans (ironically the ones who crucified him!!!) to create a conversion factory.

    As for Islam, little said the better. I just point to this site for interested readers:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Calcutta_Quran_Petition
    http://voi.org/books/tcqp/

    Suffice to say, it represents an emperor without clothes. If one were to tell the heroic deeds of this cult ideology to an innocent 6 year child, then that child would say will be the truth about this emperor.

    regards
    RV

    Comment by Ravindranath | December 19, 2010

  18. I’m in favor of Secularism.

    They say motherhood and apple pie are good. Since Secularism is in the same league, I’m in favor of Secularism.

    But I am intrigued by Comrade Deodhar’s verbose and meandering expositions of Secularism. He only seems to have gotten started on explaining what the stuff is all about (and what it isn’t) and looks like he can go on like this for at least another year laboring on Secularism’s finer detail. Secularism is this, Secularism is that and therefore blah blah but Secularism is NOT this and Secularism is NOT that and therefore blah blah etc.

    Why does this happen? I thought Secularism is a simple thing. Secularism is there in Constitution too. The good book. Since it is in the Good Book, why don’t we just take it for granted, close the debate, and move on? Motherhood and apple pie — do we debate them endlessly? Good stuff is evidently good stuff. We just don’t go on hollering our lungs off about how good it is. Take Gulab Jamoon. It is good. We just _know_ that it is good, period. Anyways, some dumbass didn’t sneak Secularism into the Constitution in the middle of the night without any discussion, ok? The Constitution was debated threadbare. Everybody understands what it says when it says “Secularism”. Not like in Alice in Wonderland:

    BEGIN SECULARISM IN WONDERLAND

    `But “Secualarism” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

    END SECULARISM IN WONDERLAND

    Therefore, my request to all participants in the Great Indian Secularism Debate is: let’s move on. The most important thing is: what kind of world do we envisage? How do we get there? Can we get there as long as a good number of people continue to believe in the Book’s exhortation to slay the idolaters wherever ye find them? Or in the Great Commission to covert the heathen to the only true faith?

    Comment by Kartik | December 19, 2010

  19. Agree with Kartik: let’s move on..

    Comment by B Shantanu | December 20, 2010

  20. @Ravindranath,
    When I see phrases like “Had “secularism” been what you [and I also think it should be] think like upholding equality of every individual without bias” I think we have not put adequate thinking on secularism.
    Secularism, the “pure” variety, raises some important questions and leaves them unanswered. Consider the sermons that everyone has right to practice their religion and sermon of religion/state separation. This begs a question: what is the definition of this religion as per secularism? Are we required to call all belief systems as religions? If that is so, then what happens to religion/state separation if a belief system has strict guidelines (Catholicism/Islam) on how to run a state. If all belief systems are not to be considered as religion in secular perspective, then what is the guideline to determine a religion as per secular ideology?
    Secularism succeeded in a region that have been totally dominated by a belief system that had no role in statecraft (protestants/anglicans in western Europe and North America). When it comes to the belief systems which are aggressive about statecraft, secularism finds very few takers. Example: catholic Poland in eastern Europe and Islamic countries in mid-east.

    The western European countries which remained secular over last few centuries now find themselves being challenged by an aggressive immigrant minority who subscribe to a belief system that is aggressive about statecraft. Faced with the inconsistency that secularism offers, politicians take the easy route out: appeasement. India’s case is not any different. Therefore, I conclude that appeasement/pseudo-secularism is latent in the half-baked ideas of secularism, appeasing politicians are merely symptoms of the system.
    If you do not agree, show me a secular democratic country that has more than 5% Islamic population and did not institute any appeasement.

    Shantanu,
    Considering that Mr.me-myself-and-my-liberalism has long quit the discussion, it would not be unfair to continue the discussion here.

    Comment by Sid | December 20, 2010

  21. @Rationalists at #81

    Debate, Islam is religion of peace was again a good watch. Thanks for the links. In the end Zeba Khan wanted to divert the discussion by presenting Islam Vs. West. I want to tell her that 100 of years ago they could not convince Hindus of India, now they are struggling to convince this to the west in recent time. The same is being discussed now,recognizing and doubting the same facts. And Muslims are still juggling to present their religion as peaceful before to India and now to the West!

    Comment by Indian | December 20, 2010

  22. 115 Post and others

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism
    The word secularism was introduced by George H in 1851.

    Then in 1858 , the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara a Jewish boy, in Italy and the series of incidents which followed to make Italy secular must be read by all. Please go thru this. This has relevance to all countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgardo_Mortara

    Then there is the book on this true incident. In the references section of the above web site, a brief summary has been given of the book.

    With all this in 1858 and the introduction of secularism , there was this WWII.

    So one has to be on guard about the meaning of secularism. It keeps on changing.

    Comment by Smith JM | December 20, 2010

  23. Secularism as presently defined and practiced in the west and even in India has no chance of remaining vialble in long run with the influx of Islamic theology. Islam is not compatible with democracy let alone secularism. Final chapter has not been written on one successful democracy, that is Turkey among muslim countries. Its claim of being secular has no meaning when almost 99% of its population is muslim.
    Muslims believe in secularim so long as they are a minority within a defined geographical area. If they can claim a majority within such a defined area secularism is out and a struggle for establishing a Islamic republic begins. Just look around the world. That is what is happening all over the world. That is why we have 55 + or – Islamic republics in the world. How many Xian republics there are? I do not know.

    So is it any wonder that Kashmir is striving for freedom? It will ultimately become another Islamic republic. And sooner India realize this lesser the pain for all concerned. The best India could do is to secur some parts for the minorities. Otherwise their fate will be the same as those of hindu pundits.

    Comment by Morris | December 20, 2010

  24. Dear All: As I had requested earlier, pl continue the discussion on “Secularism” here: Hinduism as a secular concept.

    Pl continue the discussion on “Islam, Hindutva” etc here.

    Alternatively, please use the “Search” boxes at top right and/or at the bottom of the page to find the appropriate post(s). The two boxes use different search engines so results may be different.

    You could copy-and-paste extracts from earlier comments on the above-mentioned posts to provide context
    . Thank you for your cooperation…still travelling so may be delayed in responding and/or moderating comments…

    Comment by B Shantanu | December 20, 2010

  25. @Sid,

    Your point well taken. In my mention about secularism, I have only taken a very very hypothetical scenario, namely of secularism providing what one wished for. As you see, in the later part of my post, I was demolishing that myth, by suggesting that even if we hypothetically assume everyone and every creed is given equal rights, they would still be incompatible to live harmoniously.

    Thanks for noting…
    cheers!

    Comment by Ravindranath | December 20, 2010

  26. @Indian
    Warning: The following material is very extreme going by the normal standards present here but nonetheless can’t be ignored. Reader’s discretion is advised.
    Religion of Peace

    Comment by Rationalist | December 20, 2010

  27. Sorry Shantanu, I will post comment on the topic other than the secular topic on the link you provided.

    Comment by Indian | December 20, 2010

  28. Shantanu,

    The answer for this is simple. We have to understand one simple fact… the so called Islamic golden age is the dark age of the Hindus (when invasion of Hindu land and massive destruction of Hindu temples took place) and the so called the golden age of the Hindus are labeled as the dark age from the Islamic view (as the period before Islam is labeled as such). Thus anything that favors or of Hindu interest is automatically sounds anti-Islam and unfavorable to Islamic interest.

    It is that simple because if we observe carefully, the so called Islamic interests are at the expense of Hindu interest. Thus anyone who attempts to fulfill or accommodate the Muslim interests will find themselves working against the Hindu interests. Thus today we find the so called “secular Hindus” have turned to be a Self-Hating Hindus without their knowledge.

    It is like if Mr. A believes in destroying me and if I were to fulfill the interest of Mr. A, i will end up destroying myself. ANd if I were to oppose that, i will sound anti-Mr. A or like hating Mr. A.

    Comment by tmvish | December 21, 2010

  29. When I read this, I know what my choice, once again.

    What happens when a Muslim woman dates a non-Muslim guy
    http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/3422/

    Comment by VoP | December 22, 2010

  30. BJP this is for you
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Falsely-accused-of-killing-spouse-doc-jailed-in-Saudi/articleshow/7154236.cms

    Comment by dilkhush singh | December 24, 2010

  31. On his Blog, this is what Mr. Park has said in response to a comment to one of his posts –

    In reality, terror attacks kill just a handful of people. The recent hoopla over the Varanasi blasts which killed just one person is an example!

    In his latest post he says – “Islamic Terrorism in India is a Complete Myth”!

    Comment by Proud Indian | December 24, 2010

  32. Park comes out as Muslim, especially, hard core sympathizer, far ahead of Mulayam and company! Though he claims to be atheist, he has deep interest in propositions in line with Islam! He is closely matched by Ashish Deodhar!

    Comment by JC Moola | December 24, 2010

  33. I read that on Parks’s blog and the reason I commented- don’t laugh at those who have lost their loved ones.

    I want to know from the Bhagwad Jal Park-How many numbers he would like to see as victims and can make him sad?. It seems he is O.K with barbaric culture. No sensitive human can write this kind of lines. So what victim is one or two, this kind of terror must be dealt with heavy words and there cannot be any kind of excuses to justify the terrorists and terror by the numbers of people die. I want to know, if Varanasi has only one victim what he has to say about Taj Attack, Mymbai train blast and many more combined? On a link provided by Rationalists, Park can find the numbers of attack carried out in past 2 months all over the world. Is it myth or hoopla? Let us know?

    Off topic but flaws of comment prompts me to put comment here.

    Comment by Indian | December 25, 2010

  34. @Indian,
    I want to know from the Bhagwad Jal Park-How many numbers he would like to see as victims and can make him sad?. It seems he is O.K with barbaric culture. No sensitive human can write this kind of lines.

    You have to remember that guy is a lefty-liberal. This type will sacrifice the lives of millions in the alter of their holy ideals of liberal-secularism. For them, humanism is only a tool to gain sympathy for their cause. That is why every time they loose an argument about terrorism the sympathy for victims of Gujrat riot takes center stage, every time secularism is dished a discussion of caste system takes place. Template is obvious. When you find discussion uncomfortable, derail the discussion. That is also the reason Swastika Sharma would die a million times at the alter of liberals like Park, Deodhar and a thousand such secular liberals in mainstream media.

    I remember the day after Godhra train burning took place. The next day, in Bengali daily, I read an opinion space on how Godhra train burning could be a RSS conspiracy in the line of “Reichstag Fire”. The writer was one of those then-upstart art film directors who are famous for making award-winning taxpayer-funded movies that nobody would see. Till then I was a nonchalant somewhat liberal-leaning apolitical person. The insensitivity and inhumanity displayed by the article made me angry and for the first time I began to pay attention to the Hindu nationalism that these liberal secular community hate so much. I probably have not got much sympathy for BJP/RSS but it is this disgust for liberals that inspire me to speak against them. Every time these people make those comments, I realize that it is their Karma that would one day return them their award.

    Comment by Sid | December 25, 2010

  35. 133. Indian said:

    “I read that on Parks’s blog and the reason I commented- don’t laugh at those who have lost their loved ones.”

    Your outrage at the antics of BJP and his ilk …. is justified.
    But, don’t post on his website and increase its web traffic. You can post it here with a link and an excerpt. If these hateful blogs dehumanizing Hindus are completely ignored by netizens they die a natural death.

    Comment by Malavika | December 25, 2010

  36. @ sid

    “That is also the reason Swastika Sharma would die a million times at the alter of liberals like Park, Deodhar and a thousand such secular liberals in mainstream media.”

    You should not call these people ‘secular liberals’. They are paid mercenaries. The dynasty has been in power for a long time and the durbaris are well entrenched thanks to the gravy train of the Dynasty. No wonder they lash out so eagerly at any perceived slight to the Dynasty line .

    Comment by Malavika | December 25, 2010

  37. Titles of three posts on BJP’s blog-

    “Exposing Right Wing extremism in India”

    “Islamic Terrorism in India is complete Myth”

    “Terrorism is Over Hyped – Creating Mass Hysteria”

    I call it the height of intellectual dishonesty.

    Comment by Raj | January 10, 2011

  38. *** COMMENT COMBINED ***

    I consider many people consider boot licking to be a mode of life. Hindus must never tolerate anything such and must live with pride without bothering about what others say. By the way, Hindus live on the soil of their ancestors, they never went elsewhere to convert people and must not give any damn to intolerants who come to India and want their faith to be respected in India while in their own homeland there is zero tolerance of other faiths. Much harm has been done to our forefathers and we must set justice in some ways. The link here can give an idea
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Hindus
    http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/moghal_atro.html

    http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/moghal_atro.html

    Comment by Beeraj | January 17, 2012

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