Rriddle Of Secularism 

DISCERNMENT OF THEOLOGICAL AND SECULAR STATE: A theological state is necessarily and inevitably a religious state. Any such state is believed to derive force, authority, and validity from God.  According to its proponents, the ruler is the phantom of God, on earth. A theological state has a religion, but a secular state has no religion. A secular state is non-aligned and impersonal in the matters of religion. A secular state reckons and only regards the relationship of a person with the state and has no concern and vexation over the relationship of man with God.

INDIAN FRAMEWORK OF SECULARISM

The Indian brand of secularism is a bit different from the western notion of it. In India, to be precise, it means a state which considers all religions to be equal, without any discrimination.

In the preamble to the Constitution of India, article 14, 15, 16, 25 to 28, and 325, ensure the secular nature of the state. The Supreme Court of India has further reinforced and advanced this argument by declaring secularism as the ‘basic structure’ of the Indian constitution. The apex court has further declared that this basic structure can’t be changed, amended or altered (S.R Bommai Case, Kesvananda Bharati Case).

ISLAMIC STATE AND HINDUTVA STATE

The concept of an ‘Islamic State’, strictly speaking, revolves around the rules and constitution based on the Shariah law. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, “‘Hindutva’ is an ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life.” Some people also use the term ‘Ram Rajya’, an ideal state, like the kingdom of Lord Ram has been hailed to be.

A PARADOX IN DEALING WITH ADHERENTS OF THE TWO IDEOLOGIES

Both these ideologies appear to contradict with the secular nature of the Indian state. In order to protect the essence, gist, and worth of the constitution, both ideologies were supposed to be curbed, and banned, but shockingly, the state’s response towards the two ideologies has been dubious, two-fold, and slanted.

Any person who is a proponent having any ideological lenience, or political orientation towards the idea of an Islamic state, is declared a potential extremist, fundamentalist, terrorist, and booked under UAPA, POTA, TADA, fair and square.

However, persons championing and propounding Hindutva politics or ideology are treated quite the opposite. Their politics is allowed to amass and conglomerate. They are given space in Indian mainstream politics, while, constitutional values are allowed to lose their essence in the backdrop. Unfortunately, those at the helm are affairs derive their ideology from the Hindutva school of thought, which is no different from the Islamic notion of a theocratic and hegemonic state.

There have been cases where a false alarm of Islamic extremism was raised and innocent Muslim youth were booked and implicated.

DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS

There are different dimensions associated with this paradox. Firstly, it is to be understood that  there is difference between adopting extreme ideas and committing violence. If a person embraces extreme ideas, it is not necessary that he or she will commit violence.

The sub-dimension associated with this is based on a supposition that Muslim extremists commit violence. It is however, on the record that Hindu extremist organizations have also carried out terror attacks, such as the 2006 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing (Hyderabad), Samjhauta Express bombings, and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast. Saffron terror is also a part of today’s reality, to which one can’t turn a blind eye. Also, the widespread presence of agitation terrorists such as the lynching mobs and cow vigilantes, enjoys the freedom to exist in the world’s largest democracy.

Secondly, some people have argued that India is a de facto Hindu state, as though secularism is only on papers and cards.  

TAILPIECE

Tackling Muslim extremism and allowing Hindutva, is part of a pogrom and conspiracy. We must ask, where lies the difference? If Islamic extremism is a crime, how is Hindu extremism just a battle of ideas, and no threat to secularism? Shouldn’t saffron terrorism be dealt with the same amount of sternness? Is India, therefore, a de facto Hindu state, hiding behind the mask and façade of secularism?

The answers to these questions might have diametrically opposite repercussions on the general public.

 

 

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