Showing posts with label secularism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label secularism. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Secularism' redefined?

Secularism' redefined?
By Amba Charan Vashishtha

Today's (May 11) The Statesman carried a news saying that Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, the head of the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) pads for 'secular forces' to join hands to prevent BJP from coming into power in Assam.
It is an irony — and to a great extent, hypocrisy — if a person like Ajmal claims himself to be a 'secular'. Though nobody, not the Constitution  and even courts, have so far defined secularism, yet if people like Ajmal claim themselves to be 'secular', then god save this pious concept.
Reality is that many political parties which have confined their membership to one community, like the Indian Union Muslim League and others, claim themselves to be 'secular' outfits while they condemn BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena and others who join hands with NDA as 'communal'. This is true of JD (U) even. Till JD (U) was having a coalition government in Bihar with BJP and had joined NDA government at the Centre, both BJP and RSS were not 'communal' for it. But when for political and electoral opportunism, JD (U) snapped its about 18-19 years old political-cum-electoral association, BJP and its allies instantly became rank 'communalists'.
The fact of the matter is that practically every political party, except the Congress, has at one time or the other shared power with or got outside support of BJP — the same BJP whom they today condemn as 'communal' and, to a great extent, untouchable.
Late V. P. Singh had no qualms of conscience to accept the outside support of 'communal' BJP to occupy the chair of Prime Minister which, he knew, he  could never without it. But the moment it withdrew support, it became 'communal'.
In the sixties during the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal governments formed in various State, even communists shared power with Jana Sangh, the earlier avtar of BJP of today. BJP, it looks, becomes 'secular' and 'communal' to these 'secular' parties depending upon whether they need it for power or not.

When will our political parties stop befooling the public on the issue of 'communalism' and 'secularism' with their hypocritical conduct?

Saturday, May 9, 2015



By Amba Charan Vashishth

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Mrs. Smriti Irani stoutly stood her ground when she was charged with "saffronisation" of education and packing academic bodies with "Hindutva scholars". She "tore into opposition" as the media put it, and pointed out that even leftists and others were also there. But their criticism of her does raise some questions.
India is a great country whose diversity is a great asset and it also contributes to unity because the nation is uppermost in everyone's heart. Our 'secularists' speak of 'composite culture' and 'inclusive approach'. This should, in the normal course, include every section of people, every thought, every opinion and every way of life, to the exclusion of none. But when it comes to those  working and fighting for the nation and are nationalists to the core in their heart, mind, word and action, they become "saffron" and to a great extent, untouchable to this 'exclusive' class of 'secular-liberals'.  That is why, whether it was the earlier NDA government of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee or the present one under Shri Narendra Modi, saffron is the colour that irritates their eyes the most like pepper. "Saffronisation, saffronisation" is the shout with which they sore their throat.
There is no gainsaying the fact that by their acts, behaviour and opinion the 'secular-liberal' people suffer from a superiority complex which, in reality, is construed as the inferiority complex. Whatever it is, the practitioners of fascism are not ready to hark the other view. They are self-centered and self-righteous for whom everybody else is a fool if he doesn't agree with them. The traits of these self-righteous people are disrespectful to the point of view different or opposite to theirs. This behaviour is antagonistic to the spirit of democracy which is rule by majority opinion.  It is risky to say that they are sticklers to the rule of law and the Constitution.  
With their stand the 'secularists'  exhibit their scorn for the highest court of the country, the Supreme Court, which has ruled that Hinduism/Hindutva is not a religion but a way of life. It found nothing obnoxious with the concept.  By presenting Hindutva in bad light, they are injuring and insulting the very soul of India. Yet, to them, Hinduism and Hindutva remain offensive and detestable but those convicted or involved in heinous crimes like murder, rape and corruption are pious souls who must be welcomed with open arms and heart.  For them the blood of crime and corruption is thicker than water. Just a few recent instances.
Lalu Prasad Yadav stands convicted and sentenced to five years of jail on having been found guilty of corruption. He has been divested of his membership of Parliament.
Within two weeks of his being granted bail by the Supreme Court, the then Congress-led UPA government appointed Binayak Sen on the board of one of the steering committees of the Planning Commission to give inputs for 12th Plan on health related issues. Sen has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of treason.
Mrs. Teesta Setalvad was decorated with Padmashree in "social service" category by the UPA government. The 'social service' she rendered is known to everybody. The only merit in her is that she has always been crying wolf against the then Gujarat chief minister Shri Narendra Modi. It is also well known that she is facing criminal charges for having swindled crores of rupees she collected from people within and abroad for Gujarat riot victims.

These individuals and many more are the blue-eyed boys of the 'secular-liberals' and those promoting the spirit of nationalism are, for them, 'criminals' who must be kept miles away from every forum.                                      ***

Thursday, April 10, 2014

POINT TO PONDER Present election re-defining secularism?

Present election re-defining secularism?

It is difficult to determine who is secular and who not. Actually, 'secularism' is a notion and conception which is self-assessed and self-proclaimed. What a political party or individual claims is something opposite that looks to their opponent.

It is no secret or surprise that even the Indian Union Muslim League and other political organizations whose membership is restricted only to Muslims proclaim themselves to 'secular'. They exhort other political parties not to do anything that divides the 'secular' vote, a synonym for Muslim vote.

When the 'secular' Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi called on Abdullah Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid a few days back, Bukhari too spoke of the need for unity of the 'secular' vote and to ensure that it is not divided.  Bukhari claims to be the leader of Muslims and, at the same time, 'secular. He later obliged Mrs. Gandhi by calling Muslims to vote for Congress.

Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party is another political organization that professes itself to be the 'secular' icon and, at the same time, the only protagonist of Muslims. That is why Mulayam Singh also attracts the epithet of 'Mian" Mulayam. One of the leading lights of this 'secular' hoard is its prominent leader Azam Khan and presently a Minister in UP's Akhilesh government.  On April 8, 2014 he declared that it was not Hindu but Muslim soldiers who should be credited for the Kargil victory against Pakistan in 1999 war.

In the last Bihar Vidhan Sabha elections another 'secular' conglomerate in the State declared that it would ally with the party which promises to make Muslim  the State's chief minister. To corner 'secular' votes the leader took an Osama bin Laden look-alike during campaigning in the hope that Indian Muslims would be humoured with this gesture of his to vote for his party.

Another self-acclaimed die-hard 'secular' is the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav of Bihar who has been sentenced to five years of jail in the fodder scam, presently on bail. He too pretends openly that Muslims are with him.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar does not wish to lag behind in this 'secular' marathon. He derides other parties' professions on this score. There are many other 'secular' groups who openly appeal for Muslim community vote during  the ongoing elections and previous ones too.

In the present election to the 16th Lok Sabha and some State assemblies there is free for all, everybody scouting for Muslim votes in the open. This appeal is being vociferously made despite the fact that under the Representation of the People Act 1951 imploring for votes in the name of religion is a crime. Anybody doing so can not only be tried for violation of law but if such a person gets elected, his election can as well be set aside on this count.

Further, all this is going on under the prying eye of the too vigilant and alert Election Commission of India.

What does all this boil down to — appealing to the Muslim community for votes in the name of religion is an act of secularism and doing so in the name of non-Muslims an unpardonable crime of 'communalism'?                                   *** 

Also published in the May 2014 issue of SOUTH ASIA POLITICS monthly.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

TOPICAL ISSUE Vanishing distinction between gay sex and animal sex

Vanishing distinction between gay sex and animal sex

Man, it is said, is a social animal. It is also said that sex is an animal instinct and a natural one too. Even animals do not go beyond the dictates of nature. Mutual consent is a precondition in consummation of a marriage and even among animals. Sex between two individuals of the opposite sex is the law of nature. Animals religiously abide by the law of nature; it is only human being who infringes it.

The reaction of different sections of society and political parties on the Supreme Court (SC) of India upholding the constitutional validity of the section 377 ("Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.") of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) borders on our liberal, permissive bent of mind influenced by western thought and culture. There is hardly any reason for so much hue and cry.

Section 377 was inserted in the IPC because the unnatural sex between individuals of the same sex, even if with consent, was considered to be a crime against the "cultural and religious values of the country". It was introduced just in keeping with the cultural and religious ethos of the Indian society.

While legalizing the gay marriage upsetting the provisions of Section 377, the Delhi High Court had erred in quoting to the speech of the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly in which he had said that equality before the law meant inclusiveness. First, Pandit Nehru is not a member of judiciary whose opinion should be quoted and followed. Political views need not overwhelm judicial judgement. Two, which law — social, religious or cultural — gives sanction to such an unnatural act? Third, there could be no "equality before the law" for the one who violates the law of the land and society and the one who respects it.

On the analogy of this logic, sex between a prostitute and her client in a kotha is as much with mutual consent as much in a hotel or some other place. Both involve some kind and element of consideration. Then how is prostitution a crime and other not? Is it not hypocrisy to call one a prostitute and the other a 'sex worker'?
Our courts have given consent to live-in relationship. Even this relationship is not free from the element of consideration whatever it may be.

In fact, our legal system and law of the land amount, in some form or the other, to an infringement or curtailment of human rights. If we give license to gay rights, one must, then, have the uninhibited license to freedom of speech, thought, action and reaction. But which society or government can afford to allow this unlimited freedom?

Gay rights can in no way be called human rights because gay sex transcends the contours of humanity to delve into the realm of animals. How can one distinguish between the sex rights of gays and those of animals?

Section 377 also prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal". Would the government extend the freedom to have sex with animals if a person feels natural or unnatural sex with human beings is, to him or her, not satisfying and does not lead to ultimate bliss?

It is for political and electoral considerations that our political class can go to any extent. Gay rights are one. It is an instance where the will of a miniscule minority is going to overrule the majority opinion.

Secularism does not mean irreligiosity. It is on the unanimous petition of all the faiths in the country that the SC has upheld the constitutional validity of Section 377 of IPC on the grounds of "cultural and religious values of the country". Nothing can be secularly more sacrosanct than this instance. If our government, political parties and society is secular in the real sense of the term, it should stand by the SC verdict.