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Secularism - What does it mean?

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Secularism is defined by many people, including sociologists, philosophers and politicians in so many ways, suiting their own line of thinking.

Although this is a topic very extensively talked about and debated upon,
I wanted to add my bit.

First, let us see what secularism is not.

1. It is not 'irreligiousness' or lack of religious consciousness (athiesm).
2. It is not keeping equal distance from all religions (altruism).
3. It is not promoting all religions equally.
4. It is not promoting religious minorities' interests, often at the cost of
the majority community.
5. It is not adopting a 'laissez faire' approach, as far as all religions are

I will explain how and why.

1. It is not lack of religious consciousness, because secularism shall end
up in promoting athiesm i.e. non-believers in god - a super-natural
force. Certainly, this cannot be one of the objectives/functions of a
truly elected government.
2. It is not keeping equal distance from all religions, because a responsible
government cannot close its eyes and ears to all the religious affairs of
the country it rules. If it does, it may become a mute spectator to
all the happenings around, in the name of any religion.
3. It is not promoting all religions equally, because it is neither expected of
a good government nor is it pragmatic and just.
4. It is not promoting the interests of the minorities alone, thereby
ignoring or even jeopardising the interests of the majority community.
5. It is not about adopting a 'non-interventionist' approach, because
after all the government is made up of individuals who practise diverse
religious faiths and beliefs. They cannot hide or suppress their own
feelings, notions, attitudes and tendencies - either wholly or in part -
for long.

Then what is secularism all about? I will continue in my next post.
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Secularism - Part 2:

What true secularism is or shall be?

1. Secularism is to treat all the citizens of the country equally, without any favour
or discrimination shown to anybody, on the basis of their religion etc.
2. Secularism is to allow the people to practice any religion, according to their birth or
choice or both. Complete religious freedom is ensured by allowing people to
construct places of worship, establish trusts and administer their properties and
celebrate festivals and conduct rituals, without hindrance from any quarters.
3. Promoting understanding and support between people of different faiths and this
does not stop at mere tolerance.

4. Creating a conducive atmosphere wherein all people live without fear and feeling of
repression or insecurity. For this, the government and the other law-enforcing agencies
like Police and Judiciary are to guarantee safety to the life and properties of all people without any cause for suspicion or distrust.
5. Religious conversions must be based on individual faith and not on allurement, coercion
or intimidation. Poverty-alleviation shall not be used as an excuse or avenue for encouraging conversions. The government has a definite role to play to prevent this.
6. The government should keep a tab on all foreign inward remittances and the
beneficiary/receiver of such funds must have proper identity and the end-use of
such funds must be above board.
7. Wherever there are group-clashes they must be nipped in the bud, so that they do
not snowball into major riots, destroying the very social fabric of the nation.
8. Politics, Wealth and Religion shall not get mixed up in gigantic proportions. Religious
leaders must keep themselves away from politics, power and authority and large
industrial groups, even in the guise of social service.
9. Finally, country shall be placed above religion and not vice versa.
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Dear Panvalan,

You have tried to explain what secularism means only on its postive aspect. You should also balance it by listing how secularism is used to attack Hindus and Brahmins.

RSS sends Muslim delegation to Srinagar

(The Hindu, 7 Aug. 2008)

New Delhi (PTI): With agitations over the Amarnath land issue continuing in Jammu and Srinagar, the RSS on Thursdayflagged off a delegation of Muslim leaders to campaign for peace in the trouble-torn state.
The 30-member delegation of the Rashtravadi Muslim Manch (or the Nationalist Muslim Front), a Sangh-backed outfit, was flagged off by RSS leader K S Sudarshan from the Red Fort here.

"The land allocated for the pilgrims needs to restored. This is not a view held by Hindus only but by people of all religions across the country," Sudarshan told reporters.

The delegation is slated to reach Lal Chowk in Srinagar and will hold discussions with different section of the society on the issue.

"We stand for the fact that Muslims in India love their motherland. Anyone who stands in our way is not a true Muslim or a Hindu," said Convenor of the Front Mohammed Afzal.

"If there is any Muslim in the valley who feels that Pakistan is his homeland, then we will respectfully leave him to the borders."

Commenting on RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's comments to ban the RSS on the lines of SIMI, Sudarshan said, "The demand reflects his nature and mentality."

Dear Desi,

I only wanted to present true interpretation of 'secularism' through this forum. The fact that it is observed more in breach than in practice is a sad affair.

Due to ill-conceived ideologies and prejudices, hatred towards the religious majority of this country became the hallmark of secularism in India. I too am deeply concerned by this phenomenon. Unfortunately, people like you and me constitute a minuscule majority.

Common man today has plenty of woes in his basket - drinking water, food, a small but decent shelter, children's education, health and sanitation and safety to his life and property. In this, it is no wonder that real threats to his religious freedom are never felt by him at all!

Please consider these 4 points carefully.

1. As long as petroleum fields exist in abundance in the middle east Asian region, the
power of petro-dollars can not be undermined and the Muslims there be subjugated. (This
is the reason why USA wants to wrest control of the whole of the middle east Asia, so as to
cripple the financial muscle of the whole world's Muslim population).

2. Unlike all Indian religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism- and the
Zoroastrianism (Parsi) and even Sufism, other religions like Islam and Christianity
believe in and also vigourously indulge in mass conversion of people of other
faiths to their own religion. This they do by allurement in the guise of social
service (health, education and poverty-alleviation), jobs and liberal distribution of
money and wealth through their masked front organisations in India. (Do you
remember the famous statement of Pope John Paul, when he visited India, about
the existence of potential for a big harvest in Asian nations?) But when a law is
enacted banning 'mass conversion', our own Hindu brethren cry wolf. Why?

3. Most of the political parties- barring BJP- vie with one another, to play this
‘secularism card’ just for 'vote-bank politics'. They exploit the illiteracy and
poverty that exist in the minority communities for this purpose. Rajinder Sachar
committee report is a case in point.

4. After 11/9, 2001, terrorism the world over has got associated with one particular
religion – whether for right or wrong reasons. Thus, the threat from the other terrorist
networks is being overlooked or perceived to be less dangerous.

Now, the time has come for all right-thinking persons to act. That's why India, Israel and USA are coming close to each other on this common plank.

Many more countries like Russia and China also may follow soon.
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