Home > History, India, Politics, Religion, Social Trends > Indian Secularism: Is There A Rationale For Defensiveness?

Indian Secularism: Is There A Rationale For Defensiveness?



Does Indian society and polity need to defend itself against random barbs of sectarianism? Any quantitative measure would indicate that no grounds exist for such barbs.
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Twitter exchange between - swapan55- and @_sabanaqvi We have agreement ... Screen shot on 2014-04-30 03-35-10 | Click on image to go actual tweet message

Twitter exchange between – swapan55- and @_sabanaqvi We have agreement … Screen shot on 2014-04-30 03-35-10 | Click on image to go actual tweet message

fter having to give away Pakistan and Bangladesh (now), which was about 20% of the Indian land-mass, India by rights could have decided to be a narrow, sectarian country.

End Games

Even before the Indian Partition, Indians in neighbouring countries (e.g. Sri Lanka, Burma) under British influence were expelled, excluded and made into second class citizens.

These were difficult political compromises made by Indian negotiators – to arrive at the outline of current political India. With a broken economy and no military back-up, negotiations with world’s pre-eminent military and economic power were never easy or straight-forward.

In any negotiations, British Raj usually started with an advantage.

Trading Losses

100-years before Independence, in 1840, Britain had already lost Afghanistan – which was a part of the Sikh Empire last ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and founded by Banda Bahadur.

Soon after Independence, Tibet was lost to China – while US made much noise and gave little support. Keeping Communist China with one foot outside the Soviet camp, to US was more important than Tibet or India.

After ceding Pakistan and losing traction in Burma, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet were major blows to India. These were major raw-materials sources for India and markets for Indian output. These countries were also important buffers from land-based military adventurers.

Polity Trends

After these kind of amputations, the modern India that was put together has a vast numbers of ‘minorities – with no singular elitist class. In Bharattantra, Brahmins and banias were excluded from political affairs and the State was excluded from academic and economic affairs.
In this kind of context, the Congress Party, painted as a ‘Hindu’ party, had to make special efforts to be seen as a national party. Above sectarian politics. After 70-years of seeing treatment in the West and in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, the long-term fundamentals of Indian society should be plain.
Especially to Indian Muslims.

Worship vs Religion

Since, worship-practices in India have been so varied, to make that as a political point does not come easily to Indian polity or society. Unlike the West, where  secularism came about due to Napoleonic imposition to curtail excesses by the Church.
In Bharattantra, India’s traditional political philosophy, State intrusion into worship-practices or traditions is alien and unacceptable.
However, in most parts of the world, religion is usually a political weapon – controlled by One Book, One God, One Government, One Currency, One Morality, et al.
Hence, for and in India, wariness about making religion into a political issue is ever-present – which must be dealt with the contempt that it deserves.
Can there be any room for debate or discussion on this?

Can we?

Having granted Pakistan, midwifed Bangladesh, historical agreements are clear. Muslims from the Indian sub-continent, who wish to insert Islam into politics are free to do so.
In Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  1. April 30, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Poor India and Poor Indians. Always on the Backfoot. Always reacting. Always defensive. Always taking body blows. How many more blows can we take? This is just too much.

  2. April 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Poor India and Poor Indians. Always on the back foot. Always having to defend ourselves. Always reacting. Always taking body blows. How many more blows can we take?

  3. September 7, 2015 at 9:57 am
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