Friday, December 26, 2014

Left- Right of Indian secularism

Fall of Constantinople and subsequent fleeing of the Byzantine-Greek scholars to Italy, has helped bringing the literature, art and cultural heritage of Greek and Roman into western world that had revived the classical learning and thus a spirit of enquiry developed. This spirit of enquiry stimulated the progress of science, art, architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, geography and religion. This led to the renaissance and consequent reformation. The term Reformation refers to a great religious reform movement in Europe during 16th century. There was a big protest against the Christian Church in different parts of Europe and it ultimately resulted in the emergence of Protestant Christian religion. And perhaps it was the beginning of new dawn where the role of religion into political sphere has to be abolished. And thus the process of secularization began.

In the West, the word secular implies three things: freedom of religion, equal citizenship to each citizen regardless of his or her religion, and the separation of religion and state. One of the core principles in the constitution of Western democracies has been this separation, with the state asserting its political authority in matters of law, while accepting every individual’s right to pursue his or her own religion and the right of religion to shape its own concepts of spirituality. Everyone is equal under law, and subject to the same laws irrespective of his or her religion, in the West.

In contrast, in India, the word secular does not imply separation of religion and state. The genesis of secularism in India needs to be understood before we venture into the real issue. Divide and rule policy of British has treated Hindu and Muslim differentially, that had created a gulf between them and their aspirations and interests were thus made contradictory to each other.  Separate electorate for minorities, its acceptance by congress during Lucknow pact and amalgamating the religious Khilafat movement with otherwise secular movement of  Non-Co-operation Movement was few step taken by congress which helped in reinforcing this differential treatment which later became the very base of Indian secularism. 
In the name of divide and rule policy the colonial administration, under pressure, enacted the 1937 Indian Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, which instead of separating state and religion for Western secularism, did the reverse. It, along with additional laws such as Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939 that followed, established the principle that religious laws of Indian Muslims can be their personal laws. It also set the precedent that religious law, such as sharia, can overlap and supersede common and civil laws, that elected legislators may not revise or enact laws that supersede religious laws, that people of one nation need not live under the same laws, and that law enforcement process for different individuals shall depend on their religion. The Indian Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 continues to be the law of land of modern India for Indian Muslims, while parliament-based, non-religious uniform civil code passed in mid-1950s applies to Indians who are Hindus (which includes Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsees), as well as to Indian Christians and Jews. 

These acts along with subsequent differential treatments to Muslims by left oriented governments including  Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begumcase had been seen as an act of appeasement by the rightist of our country. They for the first time proclaimed that Indian secularism is nothing more than the act of appeasement. They went further in saying that instead of preparing minorities for becoming the part of main stream, they (Left- read congress), through their differential treatment and in the name of protective discrimination, went well beyond the western notion of secularism and created a society where minorities are becoming more conscious of their own religious interest. 

Historian Ronald Inden, have also observed that the Indian government is not really "secular", but one that selectively discriminates against Hindu communities while superficially appeasing Muslim leaders (without actually providing any community or theological benefits to regular Muslims in India). And rightist believed that this very notion of secularism had been enforced upon Indians through state based education system without actually coming from the people as was the case of Western Europe where secularism had been preceded by popular movements. “As we all are the product of this state based education system our ability to revolt against this faulty notion of secularism is limited and are being seen as an act of communalism” Rightists claim. 

India must come out of this debate of left-right of Indian secularism. Secularism in the political sense requires the separation of the state from any particular religious order. This can be interpreted in at least two different ways: The first view argues the state be equidistant from all religions – refusing to take sides and having a neutral attitude towards them. The second view insists that the state must not have any relation at all with any religion. In both interpretations, secularism goes against giving any religion a privileged position in the activities of the state. Here first form is more suited to India, where there is no demand that the state stay clear of any association with any religious matter whatsoever. However modern India is not symmetric in its treatment. What is needed is to make sure that in so far as the state has to deal with different religions and members of different religious communities, there must be a basic symmetry of treatment. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Protest & Public Policy

Not a long ago, we as a nation stood very firmly behind Damini and showed our righteous assertion on the justice for her. Damini had become a household name. Candle marches, peaceful protests, and other related happenings were common those days. These post rape incidents led us to believe that a nation, long suppressed, has, at last, started finding its utterance as once said by Nehru. But, alas, what is even more unfortunate is the fact that she slipped in periphery from the center stage within a month or so and we could not even realize that.

Similarly, we had come across numerous scams, rapes, murders and other breaking news. They all were not only considered very serious but also they invited numerous protests from some or other quarters of our country and society. They all seemed to shake the nation at the time they broke the news. But again we forgot to deliver. Again we could not realize that how one new incident suppressed the intensity of our protest for other incidents that preceded the latest.

In fact the amount of news, we are being fed these days, left us with no or very little time to think and make opinion on any one of these issues. Today, the basic problem with our public protest is not the absence of support but is our inability to focus on the right things at right time. Today, most of our opinion is formed by media trial. The nature of news and incidents is sequential and is so large that, otherwise preoccupied, middle and lower class mind hardly gets the time and energy to think beyond these major headlines. 

Actually, we are interested only on the effect (any individual case) and do not take any pain in understanding the real cause (defective public policy) behind that effect. We only tend to focus on individual cases. And a nation, which protests for stand-alone cases like Damini, 2G, CWG etc, is bound to forget it if another case emerges. Consequently we tend to jump from one piece of news to another piece of news and in spite of such a huge uproar and protest, these scams continues to hit the national daily. And it is this context in which they say that "Public memory is very short”.

We need to understand that these scams would continue to emerge until we see the real reason behind these. And the real reason behind many of such news i.e. scams, rapes, public disarray etc. is nothing but the very bad public policies of our own democratically elected government. Thus, only by changing the government and switching the loyalty from one politician to another would not solve this real and more serious problem.

I often remember a quote “Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived” which aptly and rightly justifies why the man of today is being exploited by his ruler. But we must have to look beyond what seems to be obvious. We must rather protest for a serious systemic change. We don’t have to look towards our politician for everything. And moreover, why would our politician support us, at the first place, when they are very successfully and convincingly exploiting us using the current system? They would never support such protest demanding for systemic reformation as they all are status quoist.

Most of our public policies are socialistic in nature and that is their major defect and flaw. Under this socialistic environment, governmental monopoly and control on our mind and thought is so total and complete that we could hardly even think of revolting against the current systemic exploitation. We need those policies to be abolished which are reportedly proven to be the existential threat to our individual liberty. Today, India must fight for freedom from the big government. We, rather, need those policies which not only help us in curtailing the very antagonistic power of our government but also make our administration more transparent and accountable. Only then, we will be able to provide a truly liberal and eternally peaceful society to our coming generations.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why does India need Founding fathers ?

I really can't recall, exactly, when I came to know that Gandhi is our father of nation and that, it was he who is, reportedly, said to have responsible for India’s independence single headedly. I do agree with the greatness of the great soul but making him only force would certainly be a very shallow assessment of our history and its martyrs.

In USA they have recognised their founding fathers as the group of people who have reported to have signed the declaration of independence, or framed the constitution, etc. Notable among them are such worthies as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. But, back home we always celebrated our success with only one hero.

You may note that the Americans have “the Founding Fathers” but India has only a “the Father of the Nation”. Why did India choose only one man that too as his father of nation, is something beyond my knowledge and comprehension. Is it because of some political interest or some shellfish propaganda? As they say, History is always a survivor's account of events, no wonder, in our case Gandhi was made a sole hero, presumably because many other pseudo Gandhis could rule this country effortlessly. Gandhi's sole worship has given birth to another political religion known as Gandhism. And all those following this 'ism' turn to be the de-facto rulers of this country. This is really interesting to note that how Sonia came to be known as another Gandhi, even though I would not surprise a bit if she comes out and tells that she was not even aware of real Gandhi and his work before coming to India. But again they say politics is the game of possibilities.

Indian diversity and cultural heritage is essentially more majestic than any country in the world. And in the context, if we do settle ourselves with a single hero, we would certainly not do any justice to our history and and her people. India i.e. Bharata is more than Gandhi.  But, making India a sub set of Gandhi is one of the biggest existential threat to the very soul of our great nation.

India must move beyond Gandhi and must explore her set of founding fathers. It must not only include those who have defined the very soul of this country but should also include those who, at the very defining moments of Indian history, have shown their courage and valour in shaping India’s future. Our historical legacy is essentially bigger that that of USA. Thus "Indian founding fathers" cannot be concentrated at some certain point of space and time, just to suit the whims and fancies of her contemporary ruler. We have to exploit ourselves in exploring the legacy we have inherited.

In his famous last speech to the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar warned of the dangers of hero-worship in politics and history. In a less known passage from that same speech he allowed that a nation must have its heroes. That is to say, one can appreciate and admire those who nurtured Indian democracy and nationhood without venerating them like demigods. In that spirit, one might choose hundred great Indians, or fifty, or ten but not just one.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Definition of a Modern Teacher

There were numerous messages on Teachers day wishing happy teachers day etc. Some were talking about Dronacharya, some were talking about modern relation of Guru-Shishya, but no one tried to define the real role of a teacher in modern time.

First of all it is important to understand why we respect our teacher.  Because, he is the teacher, who indoctrinates all the social and cultural values, customs to his pupils. He is the teacher who teaches all the evil and unscientific customs, social stigmas etc to us. What parents want their wards to learn and know about our culture and past, teacher tend to imbibed us with those values. So in that way teacher does a social service by creating a breed of altogether a new generation that never doubts his past and blindly follow all unscientific customs. That is why teacher is respected figure in our society as he makes the process of socialization much easier.

According to me, a teacher must be a revolutionary. A real teacher is he who never conforms to social customs and evils, he who teaches his wards to have doubt, as he believes that it is the doubt that leads to discovery of truth. He must have the courage and conviction to inspire a whole generation to uproot the established order and create a new one based on scientific temperament entwined with the flavor of modernity. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Myth of an Independent Nation

Long year ago, when British bequeathed India as a God-forsaken country, our Prime Minister Nehru trysted our destiny with Spineless politicians. We are so attached with our politicians that, since then, we have been celebrating their independence with magnanimous ardour. Nowhere in the world of civilized human being, have we found such a nation where its subject worships their politicians like god and attach an importance of highest order.

In the time of British Raj, our leaders and politicians cursed and reprimanded English aristocrats for all our problems and, consequently, gave us a dream of a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC  i.e. India. Being the type of creature that breeds wit of sheep, we Indians started nurturing the dream of our ambitious politicians, which led us to this day when even a non violent protest against corrupt government is being seen as an instrument that could create chaos.

With the bloomy words like Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity etc, they have fabricated the largest constitutional poem to tame the Indians forever. Moreover, it is next to impossible to find even a single residential area where people of various cult, sects and religions are livening in bonhomie and yet we foolishly say that we are a secular country.

Winston Churchill once notoriously said in prophetic fashion that Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues & silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power & India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water would be taxed in India. Though, sad and unfortunate, but what British politician said is correct to the core.

In fact ours is the only country where independence is celebrated not exercised. Moreover, it is largely ceremonious but not functional and still they say we are a vibrant democracy. As a matter of fact, we are living in a fool’s paradise where our beloved politicians, though black in color, possess taste of a King but intellect of an idiot and pillager. In fact in the spring of 1947 power transferred from British to those hands which were the produce of Maucalian Fornication, which have finally culminated into a morally dead, spineless, illiterate, unhygienic, corrupt and indolent political and social life.

Today I want to ask few questions. Are we free? Does a weakest of weakest can lodge a fir against a powerful feud? Can we independently and freely exercise our fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution? Can a poor get a job and live a life of affluent and dignity? Can a woman be a living being but not a commodity? Can Dharma prevail over religions, sects, cults?  If you say and I hear a “NO” then I have no hesitation to say to hell with your independence and your freedom, Go and celebrate your independence and live a life wrapped in an illusion of a constitutional democracy. But I for one don’t give damn to such constitutional poem, nation and its independence.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jan Lokpal : A damp Squib ?

Team Anna needs no introduction in contemporary India. Anna Hazare, a fragile old man, and his enthusiastic team took the vow to overthrow the corruption with the might of Jan Lokpal. But visionless and over ambitious crusaders either took no pain to understand the nature of problem or they did not want to understand it beyond a point where their electoral aspiration could not be nurtured. Thus they took the easiest path of picking apart the established government which, in the wake of numerous scam and scandal, had already been become a great harassment to Indian middle class.

As the say “every society gets the leader what they deserve”. Ours is a society which is corrupt to the core and thus, is destined to vote spineless, morally dead and corrupt leaders to the power, again and again, even if they could have succeeded in passing such ombudsman bill. So instead of crusading for some Jan Lokpal bill, they could have agitated for a more scientific, rational, modern and prosperous society.

Perhaps they failed to understand that society, like other living organisms, has the potential to correct itself with its own feedback mechanism. Perhaps they could not understand that Great man produces ideas as a feedback that has the potential to revolutionize the society. But this old man and his over ambitious team has failed to do so and certainly is more interested in electoral politics than revolutionizing the Indian Society.

Consequently, what could have been a mile stone in history of civil society activism in India, has turned into another damp squib. Anna Hazare and his team, thus, cannot be forgiven for butchering the spirit of Civil Society Activism in India

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Essence of raksha bandhan

There has been numerous attempt by man to dominate,tame the woman. If you closely observe to various rituals, customs  you would come to know that, not only, all of them are male centric, but also that all of them, that too without any exception, are being performed by some woman. It would be hopelessly sad that though there are numerous vrata (fasting) for husband, brother, son etc. but paradoxically there is none for mother, wife and sister by their male counterparts. 

Don't you think, Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi is such a festival in which a brother takes a lifelong vow to protect her sister and thus reflecting subconscious impuissance of a woman. Why a member of fairer sex should be made subservient to man.They say that men are the one who was given strength by the God  to protect woman, dont you  realize that this muscular strength is the only reason that dignity and innocence of a woman is being raped here and there. Don't you think that, this is sheer male chauvinism.

I for one would not term it as more than the act of self fulfilling prophecy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Myth of young India

India is the country of largest non younger population. It is the country where people have tendency to settle for the things, ideas much more below to their potential.. Though they boast for being the abode of largest young population but, yet it is difficult to find even a single young person in India. Young is he who never surrenders, has the potential to fight, courage to struggle and has courage to follow his conviction. A young is he who has the energy, large enough to convulse the world. But what do we find? We find flocks of people of lower age busy in searching for comfortable job, settling for life which does not have any challenge, for them Santosham Param Sukham (satisfaction is the ultimate peaceful state of mind) is the ultimate goal. For them, pursuit of excellence is an alien thing. They do not have to courage to uproot the established order and create a new world irrigated by their energy and flourished by their wisdom and knowledge. They are more interested in knowing their destiny than creating the one. They all are old, not because of their age, but because of their fatalistic attitude, ideological narrow mindedness and because of the tendency to settle for the things, ideas much more below to their potential. They don’t produce original ideas and are more interested in using the already over used ideas.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The dichotomy of God and Religion

God had been a puzzling figure for me since I have started to understand my surroundings. I have always been opposed to those rituals, religious beliefs which seem to me the creation of human mind. It is really hard to believe that how a man is judged for his deeds which he has performed during his mortal sojourn on immortal earth and subsequently would be sent either to hell or heaven accordingly. Is heaven the ultimate fate of human soul? Does this life a judgment time? Is there exist any dichotomy between heaven (or hell) and life? These questions, along with numerous others, need to be answered.

Astonishingly, all the religions of the worlds talk of their glorious past and none have any optimistic plan for futures. According to them, our golden time has already passed out and hence our future seems bleak and consequently there is no hope for coming generations too. How can an analytical and logical mind accept the very existence of god on these very religious foundations?  Hence it is quite a natural that a curious mind would be popped up with a question that is there any god? Or is it just another beautiful creation of human mind? He is very confused. He does not have any answer, based on some scientific notion.

Actually, religion has been made such an essential part of our life that an already over occupied human mind hardly invest any time and pain in understanding these nuances of religion and god. In Modern society it has become fashion to disown the God for the fear that they would be branded as religious fundamentalist or orthodox or backward that too without realizing the dichotomy of God and Religion

 It should be clearly understood that God and religion is two different entities. While god is truth and real, religion is perhaps the strongest and most influential creation of human mind and had been established to identify, interpret the very existence of God. God is truly more than rituals, beliefs and religions. Religions are nothing but the interpretation of god in their own ways and terms which itself depends on values, culture and society of the place where these religions were evolved. And that is why there is difference among various interpretation of god and his stories.

Hinduism is born in a country which is richly endowed with water, fertile land and a society which was essentially an agrarian guild and hence preference for vegetarianism was enforced over non vegetarianism. Bull was needed to cultivate the land. Cow dung was needed as fuel (in the absence of modern energy resources) and as manure. In those primitive societies cow, the mother of bull was essentially considered as an asset and consequently was accorded the status and dignity of a mother.

Similarly, Islam was born in a rough terrain, a god forsaken part of the world where nothing was in abundance except the crude oil. These societies were not richly endowed with fertile land and abundant water and hence agriculture was not their main occupation. Their life entirely depended on herding and animal rearing and hence non vegetarianism has become the part of their culture and belief.

Similarly other religions were also the product of the circumstances that prevailed over the area or region of their origin. Astonishingly they still bear this baggage as a heritage in spite of their development in space and time that too without realizing that religion is the product of local culture and physical attributes of respective local climate.

It should be clearly understood that whenever we fight for Ram or Allah or Jesus or some other god propagated by some religion or other, it is not actually the fight for God but for their religion. In fact there is a race amongst all these humanly religion to assert their dominance on each other. It is really unfortunate that they all fail to understand the very  purpose of god and his role. While God is a true and real entity which created everything including human mind, religion is essentially the product of intellectual and curious human mind and is now being protected by their so called religious saints.

 It is not necessary to follow any particular religion for worshipping and interpreting the existence of god. This all can be achieved without following any existing religion. God is more than religion. But it is really unfortunate that while worshipping god we are more interested in religious rituals, beliefs etc. and hence in the process we have started worshipping the religion and consequently forgotten the god itself. We are now attaching more importance to religion and have made god the subservient of a religion. Suddenly religion has become larger than life institution threatening the very concept of god.  No religion is great enough to define the god. God is in law of gravitation, in your heart and giving it energy all the time, is in the law of nature etc. He is omnipresent and omniscient. God is everywhere. God is itself sufficient to define himself. There is absolutely no need of human interference to define the creator of the universe that too in the guise of religion. He is beyond the scope of any religious text book.

So while making it very clear that there is a huge difference between god with religion we should try to respect the individual difference prevailing amongst various religions and create an atmosphere where those who are sponsoring these religions, should not be allowed to plan and execute any bloodbath in the name of almighty.We should also realize that time has come when we should start attaching more importance to god and make religion subsidiary of almighty GOD

Friday, February 11, 2011

Indian Muslims: Challenges and Opportunities

The barren desert of south west Asia has given birth to 3 Abrahamic religions in which Islam is most hyped, dominant and static religion. Indian Muslim constitutes around 13.6% of India’s population and inspite of being the largest minority they are comparable, some time even worse, to SCs by all means of socio economic indicators. Though there are numerous movements which preached to improve the condition of backwards and dalits but unfortunately there is none by and for Muslims.

The Divide et impera policy of Britishers has created the gulf between Hindus and Muslims and the composite culture (and Ganga-Jamuna tehjib), which evolved over centuries and which we inherited from mighty Mughals, was destroyed and ruined with in no time. After the independence, Indian Muslims are being seen as the main culprits of partition by Hindu fundamentalists. This prejudice has created the feeling of in group and out group amongst the Muslims in India. Since independence, due to partition, they are misperceived as a separate group, the interests of which is not seen as same as that of Hindus. Our politicians, who became king (from slaves) overnight, encashed this misperceived conflict of interests between Hindus and Muslims and further widened this gulf and since then they have never been channelized into the main stream of India.

Thus the basic problem with Muslims in India happens to be the illusion of identity. They are more interested in maintaining their identity than anything else even some time sacrificing their own socio economic interests. This misperceived conflict of interest has made few shrewd politicians CMs, PMs but the real cause of Indian Muslims was never politicized in the same way as that of Dalits and backwards in India.

Though the periodic steps taken by the government, in the form of Sacchar committee, Rang Nath Mishra committee, minority commission etc, may help them in winning the parliamentarian debates over opposition but the real emancipation of poor fellows would remain a distant dream. Moreover Indian Muslims will continue to live and remain in destitute poverty as long as they would be guided by the leaders who are more interested in satiating their own political ambitions and who treats Muslims no more than a means to earn power.

The real solution of their agony lies in their own political determination. Rather than being guided by such conventional political leaders, they should launch their own version of Mandal movement and that too in consonance with fellow Hindus. This will not only ameliorate the prejudice among both communities but also would help in their empowerment. Muslims in India enjoy a unique position. They have been rulers here, they have been ruled and now they are sharers in power (of course, junior partners). They are not in majority but they are also not negligible minority. Rather than being the mute spectator, they should be proactive towards day to day problems of India. Muslims in India have yet to react on the problems of national and social interests and problems which are secular in nature.

In due course they may have to make some sacrifices too, as the cost  of being largest minority but this would prove beneficial for their own socio economic development in long term.
Because as they say “When Prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah, it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters. However the Quran described that as clear victory and it did prove so. Within a short span there from Muslims entered the Mecca as victors, and not a drop of blood was shed."