Secularism: State and Hinduism (3)


India had historical conditions that were totally different from conditions of England. Even in 326 BC when Alexander the great invaded India, he found that in India Hindu Yogis and Buddhist Shramans were living in austerity in meadows near a river. They were living naked but were revered by the king and the common people alike. They did not hold any political authority over the king of Taxila kingdom. Thereafter we find, a Yavan (Greek) king named Maharajadhiraj Milind (Greek name Minendra) who was ruling from Mathura (in India) to Bactria (in modern day Iran). This Bactria was conquered by Alexander and on his death was first inherited by his successor king Seleucus Nikator (who was bound in friendship with India under a treaty concluded between him and Chandragupt Maurya) and after Seleucus Nikator by king Milind. Milind’s coins have been found in India, on one side of which is written in Sanskrit ‘Maharajadhiraj Milind and on the other side in Greek ‘Maharajadhiraj Minandrau’. This king Milind came with a royal retinue of soldiers to an Indian Buddhist Yogi Nagasena to learn from him the teachings of Buddha. Here too, we find that the political power of State did not vest in the religious authorities.

It was for the first time in India that the emperor Asoka the great declared Buddhism a State religion (268 BC) and the State power vested in religion. Still, Asoka too, in accordance with the Buddhist tenets, did not outlaw the religious dissent or punish those who held a contrary views on religion or secular matter. Far from persecution of his opponents, he forbade his citizens to kill any human and even animals. Buddhist religion, even when it had the State power in its hand, did not forbid any person to believe in a religion or ideas that were contrary to Buddhism. We find that in India this harmonious relation of state with the multitude of religions passed through ages and continued till the times of King Harshvardhan, who ruled Kannauj in 628 AD. We find that in India there was never a communal clash between competing religious beliefs or between religion and new ideas. India has encouraged free thinking and competition of dissenting philosophies, be they religious or secular ones in nature. This mindset was not deviated in India throughout its long history, irrespective of the fact whether the State power was vested in the hands of religion or not.

For Indian faiths – like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shikhism etc. – secularism has been an alien concept. None of them had history of clash between their beliefs and new ideas, which challanged those beliefs. On the contrary, India had a history where the State power – ruling kings and monarchs – encouraged and sponsored public debates between the rival claimants of truth. Intellectual contest between Adi Shankaracharya and Mandan Mishra is well known in Indian history. The visit of king Milind (Minendra) to the Buddhist master Nagasena to learn new knowledge at his feet is also well known. Huen Tsiang – the Chinese traveler to India in 628 AD – writes that in India there is a tradition of holding of intellectual debates between renowned rival men of knowledge; that such intellectual contests were patronized by kings and society alike; and that the one who was defeated in the contest used to leave the company of society in ignominy and depart to forests, away from human presence. With such a background of amicable intellectual atmosphere, there was no scope in India for the germination of an idea of the separation of religion from the State authority. India historically had nothing to do with the concept of secularism. Thus, India had a reason why – despite having a long history of fertile imagination of its people – did not have an inkling of the idea of secularism or separation of State from religion.  It did not have its utility in India.

Indic faiths are such that they can live in harmony with all other religions. Indian secularism creates an environment in polity where it is not only made possible for these two religions – Islam and Christianity – to infect the State with their poisonous virus but also its process is made smooth. In Indian secularism they are guaranteed a freedom to carry on their preying and devouring activities. In India this secularism, instead of fulfilling its historical aim of isolating the State from the short-sighted religious institutions and shielding it against their unwanted interference, infests the State with the virus of these predatory religions and, thus, serves the cause of an indirect take-over of the State by them. The secularism of India is a sick secularism.

The idea of secularism is strange in Indian conditions and an ill-fitting constitutional device for a forward-looking India. It drives a wedge into her social cohesiveness and is a poison for its social fabric. It ruffles social poise and equilibrium and disturbs its peace. It destroys its communal harmony. It is strange because it is not needed in a country where overwhelming majority of people do not believe in presecuting and killing those who do not agree with their beliefs. It is ill-fitting constitutional device because the majority population of this country do not take offence to ideas that are new or against their own; they do not seek to convert those who hold ideas contrary to their own.

India has been home to vast number of people who follow numerous Indic faiths, like Hinduism, Buddhism Jainism, Sikhism and their many branches for thousands of years. This India had followed a principle where religion tamed and mollified the arrogant authority of State. Religion showed the path of compassion to State; Asoka the great who was an emperor was called by his people ‘Prya-Darshi’ or ‘the loved one’. This India never had the need or utility of an idea of secularism – the idea of separation of religion from State. This ideas was for the first time incorporated in its constitution after its liberation from the British colonial power.

Suppose for a moment, there is no noticeable presence of the followers of Islam and Christianity in India? What would be the fate of secularism in India? It would then be redundant and irrelevant here. It is so because there would be no occasion for Hindus in India to suppress any new ideas – religious or others in nature – on the ground that they were against Hinduism. Then, there would be no need of secularism, that is, need to separate State power from the religious institutions. Because of the tolerating nature of Hinduism, there would never be its antagonism to any new ideas; because of this lack of antagonism, there would be no need to separate State from religious institutions of Hindus. But it is only a supposition because there is a substantial number of people in India who are governed by the teachings of Islam and Christianity, which teachings are extremely intolerant in their thoughts and predatory in their actions.

Secularism is a poison for Indian social fabric because it provides state protection to those activities of religions that are predatory. It prevents state from taking action against those who believe in converting and killing those who hold beliefs contrary to their own. It directs state to give protection to those whose beliefs cast a duty on them to prey upon, convert or even kill those who hold contrary beliefs. It is a reality of secular India. It is a dangerous reality.    Though the context of secularism is absent in India, it has become here a virtuous political cult and a smoke screen for its defenders. It has  become a fashionable political correctness for them. In the face of the preying and predatory nature of these two religions – Islam and Christianity – the adoptition of secularism as a constitutional guiding principle is suicidal one for India. No amount of lies can hide this truth. No strategy can succeed in camouflaging this truth today in this age of information revolution

Secularism in its working here has been destructive to India. It has brought about a situation where this ancient nation with a spiritually enlightened culture, which produced Buddha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak, Mira Bai, Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and thousands like them, has been reduced to an artificial “idea of India”. This secularism in the western democracies has played a positive role by separating State from a fundamentalist religion and thus protected people from the onslaught of the brute power of a religion that was against common-sense. There it put in place this device of secularism and isolated the State from that religion and protected people against its illogical dictates. In India secularism has  played a negative role. It has generated here an antagonism – that would not have been here otherwise – between people following Islam and Christianity on the one side and those following Hinduism on the other. The net effect of this secularism has been of polarizing people along communal lines. While Islam and Christianity have been left free to practice conversion and propagate eternal hellfire for Hindus, Hindus have been made a sitting duck for these hunters.

Though Islam and Christianity claim that their God – to the exclusion of each other’s God – is the only true God and that God’s words are the final truth, which two Gods and their words do not agree with each other, this secularism has made them strange bed-fellows in India. They for the time being have kept aside their differences – and deadly clash to the bitter end of one of the two – to be decided between them at some later day and have united as one force today to destroy their common enemy – Hinduism. Secularism in India has become deaf to hear their warring words against each other and blind to see their unholy union to destroy Hinduism in India.

Secularism calls upon Indian State to protect the right of the hunters against any objection of their victim and protect their right to kill their prey. In the exercise of this right, these hunters have been guaranteed the State protection, which is reinforced with the powers of judicial courts, police, military and legislation by Parliament. One can see a strange anomaly of law present in India wherein, on the one hand, the right of Islam to propagate the Koranic mandate of converting or killing the Kafirs is guaranteed under Constitution and, on the other hand, India’s Penal Code forbids the propagation of human killing, which is called murder. When dealing with a fundamental issue like the implication of secularism in India, one cannot side step this truth – preaching, inciting and committing murders – that this holy book teaches as a matter of constitutional right. This is one out of many anomalies created by secularism in India.

Indian faiths (like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc.) do not propagate and practice conversion but Islam and Christianity both propagate and practice conversion. In fact, their entire effort is focused on conversion (leaving aside for the time being the issue of their employing of the unfair means like deception, luring, threat and violence for conversion). This religious conversion is the command of their holy books and their this right to convert is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. This right is protected by the power of state. It is so because the State is mandated by the Constitution to be secular. The State in India has nothing to do with religion but it leaves these two religions free to convert and carry their mission. This is Indian version of secularism.

In such a situation, where Indian faiths are not inclined to convert others, Muslims and Christians do everything to convert. This secularism is a confirmed death warrant of the Indian faiths in India. This death warrant has been imposed in India none other but by Indian themselves. They have invited this calamity to their religions by thoughtlessly  copying a clone – a sick – secularism in India where they still constitute 80% of the population and rule by the democratic majority. Certainly Hindus in India are slowly walking towards their extinction only because of this secularism. The danger to its life in India emanates from this Indian version of secularism. For its survival in the face of competition from rival religions, like Islam or Christianity, Hinduism does not need any mission for its propagation. It is a rational religion and appeals to human intellect. It may look strange but is true that Hindus in India do not need any fundamental right to propagate their religion but they need a fundamental right of their protection against the religious propagation by Islam and Christianity – and their conversion by these religions. It is their human right to be so protected. They need this constitutional protection to save their religious identity. Grant of such protection is their right in India and this is the true meaning of secularism in Indian context.

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