India is a country, where people of different caste, creed and colour live, speaking different languages. If at all there is one aspect, which could unite the Indians, it is its enduring ‘culture’. Worshipping God, worshipping style and the language used for offering prayers may be different, but in general, the ‘way of life’ remains the same.
This aspect must have been utilised to the hilt for the unity and integrity of the nation, at least post independence, if not before. It is painful that even after the painful partition the nation is not able to breathe peace.
This predominantly Hindu country has been so magnanimous that it addressed the minorities with concern at the time of framing the Constitution and ensured their safety, security and religious freedom and even refrained from enacting a ‘Common Civil Code’, which is an essential factor for the well being of the society and prevalence of peace and harmony. The dominant Hindu majority never treated the Christians and Muslims as the descendents of the country’s ‘invaders’, but as fellow citizens, for their ancestors were Hindus.
Though the government and the Constitution are termed as ‘secular’, the nation’s ‘character’ and& ‘culture’ will not become ‘secular’. ‘Sanatana Dharma’ is the culture and character here. The world’s oldest civilization has evolved in this sacred Bhoomi and the products of this bhoomi have a unique charchter, which cannot be changed by promulgation of laws! This Hindu character itself has a secular side and that is why it allowed the outsiders to set shop here and grow. The secular side of the Hindu culture treats the entire world as a family through the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakham and again the same secular side of the Hindu character welcomes the outsiders through the concept of Athithi Dhevo Bhava!
Moreover, secularism, in fact, is literally synonymous with atheism. Sanatana Dharma, also known as Hinduism, comprises atheism in itself and accepts it as a concept and that is why it has a ‘secular’ side. Whereas, in monotheistic religions, there is no place of ‘Atheism’ and an atheist or a non-believer doesn’t have a place. In other words, a man who doesn’t believe in Allah or Mohammed the Prophet cannot be a Muslim and likewise, a man who doesn’t accept Jesus as his God cannot be a Christian. So, these monotheistic religions automatically lose the ‘secular’ status!
A ‘secular’ Constitution must have stayed away from the religions, or at least, must have treated all the religions equally, which has unfortunately not happened in the Indian context. The minorities have been given extra privileges albeit with a good intention by the Constituent Assembly. Similarly, a government claiming to be secular, must keep itself away from all the religions and their institutions, allow them to run according to their principles and ensure their non-interference with each other.
Does it happen in reality? Unfortunately not!
The Article 14 of the Constitution, ensuring ‘Equality before law’, says ‘The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India’.
This is one of those ‘Articles’, which has been treated with utmost contempt by the successive governments. The absence of a ‘Common Civil Code’, the Caste based ‘Reservation Systems’ and undue ‘Privileges to Minorities’ have all failed this ‘equality before law’.
Article 15 ensures ‘Prohibition of discrimination’ on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. No citizen shall be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition based on the above-said factors with regards to access to public places and use of public funded (wholly and partly) places. Nothing in the article prevents the state from making special provisions for women & children and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes.
This must be one of those articles in the Constitution, which is most violated by the State. While the article ensures prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, the state has been blatantly discriminating by taking control of ‘only’ Hindu religious institutions (Temples) through the HR & CE Act and leaving the management of Churches and Mosques freely at the hands of the respective communities. The subsidies for Haj Pilgrimage and the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to ‘create’ subsidies for Jerusalem Pilgrimage are classic example for discrimination against the Hindu majority. Similarly the constitution of Rajinder Sachar Committee exclusively in favour of Muslims is another blatant discrimination perpetrated by the UPA government against the Hindus. The article confirms that ‘special provisions’ can be made only to women and children and SCs and STs and hence the government cannot attempt to make special provisions to Muslims & Christians and leave Hindus in lurch.
Articles 25 to 28 ensure Right to Freedom of Religion through Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion (A-25), Freedom to manage religious affairs (A-26), Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular Religion (A-27) and Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions (A-28).
While both the articles 25 and 26 ensure freedom of religion subject to public order, morality and health, article 25 doesn’t give the right to convert and article 26 gives right to every religious denomination or any section thereof to establish, administer and manage their own religious institutions and affairs. The reality is just the opposite! The minority institutions abuse the freedom to propagate as a right to convert, despite the Supreme Court’s categorical verdict in 1977 that the Constitution prohibits conversions and that the freedom of religion doesn’t ensure conversions. Also, while article 25 protects the right of the state to make any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with the religious practice, it is a wonder that even after sixty years of independence, no government has had the courage to enact laws to regulate or restrict the ‘economic, financial, political or secular activities’ of minority religious institutions, which play havoc in the society with their foreign funding in the name of educational and health service creating law and order problems affecting peace and harmony. While article 27 protects the citizens from the compulsion of the state to pay tax for promoting a particular religion, it is outrageous that the tax paid by the people has been misused for the promotion of Haj pilgrimage and Jerusalem pilgrimage (Andhra Pradesh), which are blatant violations of the concerned article. Also while article 28 says that no person should be compelled to attend the classes imparting religious instructions in institutions, it is again atrocious that the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milania University goes to the extent of using the university funds to defend the terror suspects!
Articles 29 and 30 ensure the Cultural & Educational Rights through ‘Protection of interests of Minorities’ and ‘Rights of Minorities to establish and administer Educational Institutions’.
Article 29, while giving protection only to language, script & culture, makes it clear that no citizen should be denied admission into any educational institution on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. In this regard, giving 50 per cent quotas for minorities and attempting to give the so-called minority status to a particular institution (For example, Aligarh Muslim University) is again a blatant violation of the Constitution. Article 30, which ensures the protection of the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions including acquisition of lands and properties in the name of ‘culture & education’, has miserably failed to ensure the same to the majority community, as if it doesn’t have the right for culture & education. In fact, the lands & properties of Hindu temples have been misappropriated, encroached upon illegally and even usurped by many people, who have political connections.
In a nutshell, many sections within the framework of articles 14 to 30, which deal with the rights of equality, freedom of religion, culture and education, have been biased towards the minorities thereby treating the majority community as ‘second-class citizens’. To be more precise, these articles need a compulsory re-look and necessary changes have to be made for true equality and freedom for all the citizens of this country.
The political class pandering the minority communities chasing their vote-banks is directly proportional to the minorities abusing the Constitution taking advantage of the political class’s appeasement policies. In the process, internal strife are being internationalised leading to the arrogant interference of foreign countries in the internal affairs of India in the name of human rights and minority rights. Unfortunately, we have a foreign-headed inept government, which dances to the tunes of foreign countries without showing the required courage to tell them to mind their businesses. The recent snub by French President and the compliant act of Indian Prime Minister is a classic example for the pathetic state of affairs in this country.
The repeated harping of the ‘secularists’ on the so-called tolerance factor, as if it is attributed only to the Hindus, emboldens the minorities to indulge in provocation, mockery and blatant Machiavellian methods to crush the majority community. This has to be stopped and the so-called secularists and minorities must understand that even tolerance has its limits. If things go beyond tolerance, only anarchy will prevail.
The cultural ethos of this great nation has to be respected and the feelings & aspirations of the majority community have to be appreciated, so that, peace & harmony prevails and the country develops itself into a ‘complete nation’ superior to the rest of the world.