Secularism is a fig leaf for anti-Hindu attitudes
In 1919, after the First World War ended, one of the important issues facing the victors, chiefly the British, was the fate of the Ottoman Empire. The Empire itself had been defeated and had been partitioned into its mainly Arab successor states, but there was also the issue of the fate of the Emperor, Mehmed VI. He had, of course, lost the Empire because of his alliance with the defeated Central Powers. Still, there was a large body of opinion among the Muslims, particularly in India, that his status as Caliph [Khalifa] needed to be preserved. Gandhi, as leader of the Congress Party, joined the leaders of the Khilafat movement and agitated against the abolition of the Khilafat.
The purpose of this brief reference to an event of nearly a hundred years ago is to trace the roots of the wrong turn our leaders have taken in pursuing their brand of secularism as state policy. This was the original sin against secularism: not only was it the aim of the movement to save an overtly religious institution, but it was also aimed at reaching out to one community, the Muslims of India. On both counts, it militated against the practice of secularism, in any common sense – as against the current, perverted - understanding of the term.
Since then, this wrong turn has only been accentuated by the Congress, from Nehru’s days. His proposed draft Hindu Code Bill was resisted even from within the Party by the likes of President Rajendra Prasad. This approach continued right through the years to include the control [and abuse of that control] over Hindu Temples’ funds, and further on to the way Education has been made almost a special preserve of the minorities.
This government – UPA 1 and 2 - has been particularly egregious in regard to the in-your-face anti-Hindu policies, including at the very top levels. This is reflected in several recent events, relating to the current UPA Government. There is, first, the Communal Violence Bill. The way it was drafted, the Hindus were the guilty party in any communal incident.
It was a clever piece of drafting, and sneaked in the presumption of Hindu guilt in the definitions; a “group” was by definition only a minority community, and a victim could only belong to such a “group”. Interestingly, rape and gang rape were defined as instances covered under the communal violence bill. Thus, Nirbhaya would not, ipso facto, be a victim under this bill – but if she had belonged to a minority, it would have attracted the clauses of the Bill. By any measure, this is a grotesque distortion of the doctrine of equality before the law. And could anything be more divisive than this in thus dividing Indian from Indian? Fortunately, the opposition, for once, stood up to this subversion of society and the Bill appears to have been shelved. Nonetheless, it is a window into the thinking of the top leadership of the Congress Party, for it was drafted by the National Advisory Council, under the chairmanship of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.
We then have the spectacle of Rahul Gandhi told a diplomat that the danger of Hindu terror was, for him, more serious than that of the Jihadi groups. According to The Guardian, Rahul Gandhi observed that though
"there was evidence of some support for [Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba] among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community"
This view has not been repudiated at any level in the Party or Government, and the decision to leave it in the public domain must be seen as a deliberate statement of the views and assessment of the leadership.
More recently, we had the Home Minister attacking the BJP and RSScamps at a Congress Party meeting in Rajasthan. Here, he alleged, “Hindu terror” was being promoted. The examples he gave included the Samjhauta Express bombings, the Mecca Masjid incident, and the Malegaon bombings. Even though the Government had itself blamed Pakistan-based Jihadi groups in all of these, the Home Minister had no compunctions in giving voice to this appalling lie. And all this is very much part of a pattern that the Congress has honed over the years: at the Party level, they attack the Hindus and paint them, against all evidence, as terrorists and extremists, though usually without specifying what they would do to the Muslims – just holding out and fanning vague apprehensions. On the other, at the Governmental level, as a rule, the country as a whole is fed the soothing bromides about being ready to fight terror, about zero tolerance, about not politicising security issues - seeking to make the best of both worlds.
We have it on good authority that once is accident, twice is coincidence, and thrice is enemy action. The conclusion is inescapable: the Congress is anti-Hindu: and has been over several decades, though the country has been slow to recognise it. Truth be told, the Hindus have not really had anyone to champion their cause either. Secularism as practiced has been the cover for these anti-Hindu policies. Just as in the West, anti-Zionism is used in order to provide the cover for anti-Semitism, in India being anti-communal is the fig leaf for those whose real agenda is anti-Hindu. High time for the Hindus to wake up to the reality and understand that time is fast running out to put an end to this stream of policies will further weaken them and their role in India.
An important illustration of how the discourse is being distorted is the issue of the Uniform Civil Code. It is enjoined on the leaders of the country by the Directive Principles of the Constitution. Nobody in their right mind could argue that the framers of the Constitution were anything but secular. And yet, over the decades, this issue has been made a communal one by the Congress – again with the aim of dividing Indians from Indian and preserving its vote bank. Even the Supreme Court, another unimpeachably secular institution, has asked the Government to move on this, but there has been no response from the Congress.
To sum up, it is the warped understanding of the meaning and practice of secularism that has created a situation where the Congress Party has caused deep divisions within Indian society, all in order to preserve its vote banks. Happily, this seems to coming to an end as the people are getting wise to these tactics, and are demanding better governance, rather than the counterfeit coin they have been given at each election so far. It is this awakening more than anything else that has led the Congress Party to its current dead-end.
July 2013, New Delhi