The word “secular” was added in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution. It changed the description of India from a “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic”. It was Passed on 11th November 1976 when the entire opposition was in Jail during Emergency.
“Secularism” is an extremely noble and revolutionary political concept.
Describing in one line: Secularism means separation of state and religion.
It means the following:
- Communist ideology wants to destroy religion. But in the concept of secularism, State and religion will co-exist.
- Religion would have minimal influence on politics. For e.g. Pope may have all spiritual powers but he cannot take any political decisions.
- State assumes a higher place than religion. For e.g. State may make laws banning “triple-talaq” or “untouchability”.
- State will have powers to regulate the “non-religious” activities associated with a religion. For e.g., a temple is free to decide which mantras to chant, when to do Yajna etc., but must pay minimum wages as determined by labor laws.
Lets analyze how did India fared on the above aspects after the addition of word “secular”?
- We see that in late 70s-80s, many caste and/or based parties grew who openly tried to lure people on basis of caste and/or religion. We see many political leaders flourished who tried to woo a particular caste and Muslims to come to power. For e.g. Muslim+Yadav or Muslim+Dalit votebanks flourished.
- Muslims became a vote-bank. It was assumed that Muslims vote en-masse. And hence, many political parties tried to lure the Muslims in the worst possible manner.
- We also see that many political parties used tricks like hosting well publicized iftar parties to woo the Muslims.
- Since Hindus voted on caste lines, no appeasement was needed for Hindus.
- Political parties made attempts to please the hard core fundamentalist clerics within Muslim community. The best example is Shah Bano.
- Every possible attempt was made to unite the Muslims.
- Every possible attempt was made to divide the Hindus on caste lines for Caste based politics.
- During this period, the first law giver of the world “Manu” who wrote “Manusmiriti” and never propagated a dynasty based caste system was made a deplorable villain.
- Any attempts to move Muslims away from Sharia was met with fierce opposition.
- Attempts to pass anti-terrorism laws were met with stubborn resistance. For e.g. POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) enacted by Vajpayee was repealed immediately after UPA came to power in 2004.
- Public employment, pensions, govt contracts started to happen on lines of caste or religion.
The above examples are few. But, based on above facts, we can conclude that India became communal after adding “secularism” in the Constitution.
Whether this was a coincidence or was a part of well thought design to polarize the very concept of “secularism” has to be left to history to decide.
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