CHALLENGES OF SECULARISM & RELIGIOUS

There is a saying in English “Proof of pudding is in its eating.”  Hindutva forces are let loose without any obstructions against Muslims and Christians after Modi government came to power first in Gujarat and later in the Centre. In the name of ‘Home Coming’ the Parivar people are reconverting poor and Dalit Muslims and Christians from their religions using all types of forces and incentive including bribes. Reconversion programmes are sometimes publically announced and there are news reports that gullible people are reconverted to Hinduism according to Arya Samaj rites!

I have heard about advertisement that Christians are offered certain sum for reconversion and double the sum is offered for a Muslim to get reconverted to Hinduism! Within two months of Modi government coming to power in the Centre five churches and one school were attacked in the capital city of New Delhi!

From the time of preparation of the election for Loksabha we have been hearing and reading about “Love Jigad” especially in states like Uttar Pradesh and other BJP rules states. After Modi government came to power at New Delhi the forces against Secularism and Religious Freedom have become active in many parts of the country. But the Prime Minister has not uttered a word against these anti-social elements raising the question. “Is Modi still sleeping like Kumbhakarna?”

Modi’s silence is taken as permission by certain Sadhus, Satvinis and even some politicians and Hindutva leaders to speak hatred and intolerance against the minorities especially against the Muslims and Christians. These so called religious and political leaders and their followers are in the field to harass and persecute the Muslims and Christians. The Modi government has taken the stand like the three monkeys of Gandhiji of ‘not hearing’, or ‘not speaking’ or ‘not doing anything’ about hate-mongering and persecution of the minorities.

Learning about such news of the persecution of the minorities in the friendly country India, the American President Barrack Obama in his address at New Delhi Siri Fort Auditorium on 27th January 2015 spoke about it. There were news reports about Obama’s address by the world wide mass media. Obama said that every person has the right to be free from tyranny, fear or to practice on religion without any discrimination. And India will continue to succeed when India is not divided on the basis of religions… Unity in diversity is the strength which unites India and America. Both the countries have to be alert constantly against the attempt to divide on the basis of races. This is the thing which makes us world leaders. It is not the size of our economy or our armament. (Naya Marg, Feb. 1, 2015)

After enjoying the hospitality of Prime Minister Modi on the Republic Day 2015 Obama returned to America and once again referring to the religious intolerance in India and the persecutions against Christians and Muslims. Obama said that Gandhiji would have been shocked about the attacks against the minorities. The whole world reacted to Obama’s two comments within 9 days. The echoes of his comments were heard everywhere. Shocked by the comments of Obama the Prime Minister finally broke his silence. He publically spoke on February 27 in English at New Delhi in a meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India that his government will not tolerate any kind of religious violence. Strong actions will be taken against such violence. According to newspaper reports Modi also said, “My government will give equal respect to all religions. Respect for all religions should be the DNA of every citizen. Let us hope that the words of Modi will be headed by the Sangh Parivar. For, the taste of putting is proved only by eating it.

Some Sangh Parivar people reacted saying that Obama, instead of interfering in the internal matter of India, should pay attention to the intolerance between the White and the Black people in his own country. Our politicians’ words and their actions are different like the elephant’s teeth, which are different for showing and eating. In Obama’s America there are no distinctions in the name of religions and races. There is not only the white and black people but also the citizens migrated from different countries also enjoy equal rights and respect without any distinction. Of course, there by way of exception crimes are committed against equal opportunity and rights.

An English periodical by name ‘The Asian Era’ is published from America. My article entitled Challenges to Journalism in Digitalized World appeared in the periodical in its October-November 2013 issue. The editor Ajay Ghosh sends me its copies by e-mail. I am impressed the achievements of people in USA who are migrated from India and other Asian countries.

Some people here call Sonia Gandhi ‘The daughter of Italy’ because she has married Rajiv Gandhi and has become his wife and a citizen of India. Such people will not be able to understand how Indian-origin Richard Rahul Verma has become the new ambassador of USA to India! Then, two original Indians Boby Jindal and Nicky Hailey become the governors of Louisiana and South Carolina respectively! I believe that there three Indians who have been born and brought up in Hindu religion and culture must have become impressed by the Christians of America and with deep faith in Jesus Christ became Christians there. But the Americans have accepted them as one of them without any discrimination of colour or race.

Like Boby Jindal and Richard Rahul Verma, there are many Indian-origin, the so called upper caste Hindus, who have converted to Christianity and live happily in USA. As they have embraced American culture and Christian Religion as their own and so also the Americans have not only accepted them as their own citizens without any discrimination but have also voted them to high politically powerful posts! Can you imagine such things happening in India?

In this context we may note that in a public advertisement on the Republic Day 2015 put out by Modi Government two significant words Secularism and Socialism have been omitted from the Preamble! When such important words of Secularism and Socialism of Indian Constitution are taken out in official Government advertisement it is but natural many Indian citizens feel worried and threatened!

It is true that these two words are not there in the very original text of the Constitution. But the ideas of Secularism and Socialism are there in the whole Constitution. Still those two words are officially included in the Constitution later. Thus articulating the two words Secularism and Socialism our commitment to them is publically declared in the Constitution. It is also showing ‘red-light’ to those forces who challenge the enshrined ideas and values of the Constitution. Everyone knows that the different religions, variety of cultures and the protection of the rights of the minorities in India are not acceptable to Sangh Parivar. So against these ideas and values the Sangh parivar wants to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’! And the Sangh parivar is working very hard at it!

Now those who want to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ have tried to omit the two significant words of Secularism and Socialism. But there were all India protest against such omission and Government understood its blunder and crime. So Minister Arun Jetley of Modi Government has assured the protesting people that the Preamble of the Constitution will be used with those two significant words of Secularism and Socialism. All the same the citizens need to be ever watchful to protect such noble ideas and values of the Constitution. The English saying goes to say, “The price of freedom is the eternal vigilance”. #