Deceptive Induction Of  ‘Secularism’ In Constitution Was ‘Fraud’

Constitution of India

Arun Anand writes on how a new debate has started on the relevance of the word ‘Secularism’ in Bharatiya Constitution  in wake of a recent article penned by RSS joint general secretary Dr. Manmohan Vaidya

A new debate on the relevance of the word ‘Secularism’ in  Bharatiya constitution has begun  with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) joint general secretary(Sahsarkaryavah) Dr Manmohan Vaidya questioning  the very genesis and misuse of the concept of ‘Secularism’  here over the last several decades.

In an article published in the latest issue of the weekly ‘The Sunday Guardian’, titled ‘Time To get rid of pusedo-secularism’, Dr Vaidya said, “The deceptive induction of this word into the Constitution was the actual “fraud” committed.”

“The word “secularism” was inserted in the Constitution in the year 1976 when Emergency was imposed upon the country, democratic norms were compromised and the Opposition was absent from Parliament (as Opposition leaders were forcefully detained and those who escaped detention were underground).”

He said, the  word “secular was previously declined by the Constituent Assembly and it did not undergo any such legal scrutiny as it should have. “Amidst the terror of Emergency, in the absence of any need, demand or debate, this insertion was evasively made to the Preamble of the Constitution and this is the real fraud dealt with the Bharatiya Constitution,” said Dr Vaidya.

Quoting from the  debates of Constituent Assembly, Dr Vaidya  emphasised, “Our Constitution makers were not unacquainted with the concept of secularism. After an intense debate over K.T. Shah’s suggestion to define Bharat as a “secular socialist republic”, members of the Constituent Assembly deemed it unnecessary in the Bharatiya context and hence kept it out.”

Explaining how ‘Secularism’ is an alien concept in Bharatiya context, Dr Vaidya said, “ Secularism is attributed to the peculiar socio-political context of Europe. Secularism was a reaction to the 1,000-year-long historical context of the theocratic state ruled by the Pope. To separate and free the control of non-religious matters from the Church, secularism was brought into practice. However, such need did not arise here in the long history of Bharat as we never had a concept of theocratic state; considering the spirituality-based integral and holistic concept of life, our Constitution makers did not visualise such a possibility in the future. We never had a theocratic state. The all-inclusive ancient civilisation of Bharat that adheres to the holistic and integral Hindu view of life was a testimony for the Constituent Assembly that even in the future no such need will arise.”

Underlining the misuse of  the concept of ‘Secularism’,  the RSS’ joint general secretary emphasised, “Having engulfed Bharatiya imagination over the decades, this “secularism” is causing havoc in our national and social life, but its definitive meaning is still a matter of debate. Even the Constitution has not provided for any definition of the same.

Against the backdrop of this semantical mystery, organised efforts to impose this conspiratorially added foreign concept on Bharatiya collective conscience are underway to create confusion. If assuming secularity pertains to religious neutrality on the part of the state, where followers of all religions are entitled to equal rights and opportunities, then this magnanimity has been a Hindu tradition since time immemorial.

Therefore, being a country with a Hindu majority, the Bharatiya Constitution had inbuilt provisions regarding the same. Moreover, the “religious minorities” are assured of special rights under the Constitution, which the “majority” Hindu is not given. What could be the motive behind surreptitiously adding an ill-defined “secular” to the Constitution despite these provisions?

A critical analysis of the socio-political developments that took place in the aftermath of this foul play evidently proves that this fraud was committed to create an environment congenial to divisive and communal politics in the country, and to nurture and protect those whose agenda is to break the nation into a fissiparous society. What is the impact of such an ill-conceived move on society? In the name of secularism, divisive-communal agenda is blatantly encouraged and promoted, while those who call out their misdeeds are labelled communal!”

“A “secular” Prime Minister openly made a blatantly communal statement: “Minorities (meaning Muslims) have the first claim on resources.” Despite the unconstitutional nature and despite of repudiation by the High Courts and the Supreme Court, the leaders of a few secular parties, time and again, propose to create reservations for religious minorities. If Bharat is secular in the true sense of the term, then the government should not provide a Haj subsidy. Some Islamic scholars have claimed that only a pilgrimage done using one’s own means is recognised in Islam, therefore, no other Islamic country provides a Haj subsidy.

Subsistence of this practice in post-colonial Bharat is both non-secular and anti-Islamic. Indiscriminate vote-bank politics is practised here by employing tactics like making religious ground a criterion for giving out scholarships to students, providing cycles to Muslim school-going girls exclusively, offering financial aid to marriages of only Muslim girls and so on. The “secularism is under threat” brigade conveniently turns a blind eye to such moves. On the lines of Haj subsidy, in order to acquire Christian votes, a “secular” state-government announced subsidy for a trip to Jerusalem, but we didn’t hear a peep from the champions of secularism there. Overlooking the court rulings, a “secular” state government announced reservation for Muslims thrice. Did the cat get the tongues of the keepers of secularism, then?! The government must have control over the offerings made at Hindu temples, while offerings made at the places of worship of other religions may go unaudited—is this secularism? Any discrimination by the state on the basis of religion is unacceptable as per secularism, but the defenders of secularism maintain a stoic silence over these matter.”

Dr Vaidya said, “Having engulfed Bharatiya imagination over the decades, this “secularism” is causing havoc in our national and social life, but its definitive meaning is still a matter of debate. Even the Constitution has not provided for any definition of the same. Against the backdrop of this semantical mystery, organised efforts to impose this conspiratorially added foreign concept on Bharatiya collective conscience are underway to create confusion. If assuming secularity pertains to religious neutrality on the part of the state, where followers of all religions are entitled to equal rights and opportunities, then this magnanimity has been a Hindu tradition since time immemorial. Therefore, being a country with a Hindu majority, the Bharatiya Constitution had inbuilt provisions regarding the same. Moreover, the “religious minorities” are assured of special rights under the Constitution, which the “majority” Hindu is not given.”

(The full article in The Sunday Guardian can be accessed at https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/time-get-rid-pseudo-secularism)

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