Is Indian secularism ‘anti-Hindu’ in nature?

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~ Arvind Sharma.

In an earlier submit, I attempted to attract consideration to what I perceived to be the failure of Indian secularism[Read her the earlier post]. On this submit, I want to establish its anti-Hindu character.

I admit that the declare, that Indian secularism is perceived as hostile to Hinduism, is a controversial declare, and subsequently, I would love now to offer the proof in assist of this declare.

Quickly after independence, the Hindu neighborhood rebuilt the Somnath temple which had been destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazna within the eleventh century, and in addition subsequently by different rulers. Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, not solely declined to take part within the celebration but additionally tried to forestall the then President of India from collaborating in it, whereas Pandit Nehru had no compunction in attending features of an identical type when organised by minority religions.

Though the Indian Structure directs the federal government to endeavour to ascertain a uniform civil code for all Indians, the then authorities solely consolidated Hindu private regulation and left the minorities out of that train. This was, and is, perceived as discrimination towards the Hindus. It results in the anomaly {that a} Muslim in India can have 4 wives, however not the followers of different religions in India. It’s not a lot that the followers of different religions need to have 4 wives; the sensation of resentment springs from the discrimination concerned.

One other side of the Structure, which has brought on appreciable anguish within the Hindu neighborhood, is that the rights of the minorities to run their very own establishments are clearly safeguarded within the Structure however no such safety is afforded to the establishments run by the Hindu majority. A obtrusive instance of how this works out within the discipline is offered by the Ramakrishna Mission. This quintessentially Hindu physique petitioned the courts in 1980 to have itself declared a non-Hindu minority faith (following Ramkrishnaism), with the intention to profit from the safety of Article 30 of the Indian Structure, which permits Muslim and Christian establishments to safeguard their autonomy. The request was lastly turned down by the Supreme Courtroom of India in 1995, after the Calcutta Excessive Courtroom had accepted it. The truth that a Hindu establishment needed to declare to be a minority establishment to safeguard its independence speaks volumes.

In accordance with most students, the case of Shah Bano disillusioned many Indian intellectuals concerning the dedication of the Indian authorities to secularism. Shah Bano was the identify of a Muslim divorcee, who petitioned Indian courts for upkeep underneath India’s secular legal guidelines and the request was granted by the Supreme Courtroom. The federal government, nonetheless, underneath stress from the Muslim foyer in India, launched laws in 1985 to change it in accordance with Islamic regulation. The extended debate across the challenge, and the volte-face of the federal government, on the difficulty, significantly undermined well-liked confidence within the secular claims of the Indian authorities. One Muslim member of the cupboard, Arif Muhammad Khan, resigned over the difficulty. He now serves because the Governor of Kerala. In accordance with him, the Shah Bano case was some extent of departure on the difficulty of secularism.

The Indian authorities has not often proven such authorized sensitivity in instances involving Hindus.

Kashmir has been a bone of rivalry between India and Pakistan for a protracted interval. It may very well be argued that Kashmir as a Muslim majority state inside India, which is a largely Hindu nation, is a robust think about holding India secular. Nevertheless, a sequence of occasions from 1989 to 1991 led to the expulsion of a lot of Hindus from the state, amidst violent circumstances during which many Hindus misplaced their lives and those who survived the convulsion needed to be accommodated in camps in Jammu. The spectacle on TV of unarmed Hindus being pushed out of the Kashmir Valley to threats of rape and homicide (a few of which have been carried out) was not one of the best commercial for Indian secularism. The plight of the exiled Hindus has been captured in a movie, launched lately underneath the title “The Kashmir Information” and creates the impression that there isn’t a place for Hindus if they’re in a minority anyplace in secular India.

A obtrusive instance of the anti-Hindu nature of Indian secularism is offered by the way in which Hindu temples have been taken over by the state governments. The extent of this observe is solely mind-boggling. What’s much more disturbing is that among the states, the place the BJP is in energy, haven’t discontinued the observe.

It’s troublesome to think about a extra severe violation of the secular precept. It has led to such probably incendiary developments, as cash collected from Hindu temples getting used to fund Haj journeys for Muslims, and journeys to the Holy Land for Christians. It’s as if the looting of the Hindu temples, as soon as related to Muslim and British rule, continues unchecked in a secular India.

I hope sufficient proof has now been offered to persuade the sceptical reader that the cost concerning the anti-Hindu nature of Indian secularism ought to be taken significantly.

The creator, previously of the IAS, is the Birks Professor of Comparative Faith at McGill College in Montreal Canada, the place he has taught for over thirty years. He has additionally taught in Australia and the US and at Nalanda College in India. He has printed extensively within the fields of Indian religions and world religions. Views expressed are private.

This text was first printed on Aug 21, on First Submit.

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