Thursday, March 26, 2009

Definition of Secularism in India

Secularism is defined as a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations. The Congress manifesto for the upcoming General Elections says it will bring in reservations for the Muslims in educational institutions and jobs. Now isn't the promise that the Congress is making based on 'religious consideration'? Can the oldest party then claim itself to be secular.

The Congress has always branded the BJP as a communal party. Had the BJP's election manifesto had promise of reservation for the Hindus this would have been branded as a communal agenda by the saffron brigade. How can the Congress brand a certain party as communal when it is itself playing with the religious card for what is simply known as 'vote bank politics'.

Why is that the Congress party doesn't plan to call for reservation for other religious minorities like the Christians (2.3%), the Sikhs (1.9%), the Buddhist (1.1%) or the Jains (0.4%). The reason is simple these communities hardly have influence over substantial number of Lok Sabha seats unlike the Muslims. Are small minorities not minorities enough to be eligible for reservation like the so called 'largest minority community' in India is?

With 13.4% population and influence in close to 120 odd Lok Sabha seats Muslims are a cash cow for the Congress. Add to it the illegal migrants from Bangladesh in Assam and West Bengal and the Congress has got its arithmetic right with the reservation promise. For years the Congress has claimed to be the guardian of secularism in the country. Then why did the worst riots take place before not just the BJP but even the Jana Sangh had come to existence as a political force?

It is a true fact that the Muslims are backward in most social parameters. Their upliftment is necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. The root cause of their backwardness need to be studied and policy for change formulated accordingly. But their development cannot be at the cost of denying some eligible candidates job or a seat in educational institutions.

Secularism stands not just to allow someone to practice and preach his own religion but also not to make policies based on religious consideration. In this case the Congress has to understand secularism before branding others political parties as communal.

1 comments:

Mister.Rao April 10, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

Go check out the debates on http://www.youtube.com/user/cultuurwetenschap

of the 2009 conference. Very interesting if you are into Indian secularism.

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