Indira Gandhi brought in the word Secular
I was talking to a new colleague, the person who had just joined my team, who claimed “I am a very secular person”. I wasn’t sure why she brought that up, but I chose to shake my head in disbelief. This phrase has been reiterated SOOOO MANY times, it leads me to believe my understanding of the word Secular is quite different than those that people use. Secularism, defined in any dictionary, is “the separation of church (or any religious institution) from the state”. What these people wanted to say was “they were pluralistic” and not “secular”, not realizing that pluralism and secularism are at the two ends; pluralism which is all-inclusive while secularism is all-exclusive.
In late 1949, when the constitution, written by Dr Ambedkar, was ratified by the parliament, the word Secular was notably missing. India had come up with a list of “Do’s and Don’ts”; after all, every country around the world had a constitution, why shouldn’t India? Well, a constitution is required where the morality of a citizen is in doubt! Ram Rajya, now known as “Hindu Rashtra” had ensured that EVERYONE in the country had certain morals and civic duty towards, not just the Kingdom, but to each other. That civic responsibility was a constitution in itself; why did India need a new constitution? Did Dr Ambedkar feel that the concept of Ram Rajya was insufficient for a population, primarily comprised of Hindus? Remember, the minorities as defined today didn’t exist during Lord Ram’s existence. However, the 4 Varnas did exist, and contrary to what Nehru’s handpicked historians would have us believe, coexisted harmoniously and as one family. But that’s a discussion that we will get into sometime in the future.
What has transpired, since 1976, has been ANYTHING BUT SECULAR! Far from being disconnected from the religious institutions, the Centre has been involved IN ALL FINANCIAL DEALINGS!
In 1976, with the introduction of the 42nd Amendment to the constitution, the PM at the time, Indira Gandhi brought in the word “Secular”. Indira Gandhi, like her father Jawaharlal Nehru, was a fan of the, now non-existent, USSR. Before we get into the rest of the article, let me explain what I understand from her “form of socialism”.
In the USSR, which comprised Christians, Muslims and other “minorities”, after the revolution, people wanted to be on EQUAL terms, regardless of their social standing, education or status. Most churches were attended by the existing elite. In this regard, the revolutionaries decided to abolish any religious institution that existed; regardless of whether it was a church or a mosque, it was brought down. The state-mandated that there would be NO RELIGION in any state decisions. But, one must remember, that the USSR didn’t exist prior to 1922. It was an amalgamation of various countries and cultures and necessarily needed this kind of a system, in order to survive. They had to be secular to accommodate these various cultures, especially the Turks!!!
Mrs Gandhi’s intentions MIGHT have been good but where was the need to pass this during the, now infamous, Emergency she imposed during that time? Would the opposition have said NO to this? Would Mr Vajpayee or anyone else have objected to this? Let me answer that question with a firm YOU BET! I will be writing another article on why…
What has transpired, since 1976, has been ANYTHING BUT SECULAR! Far from being disconnected from the religious institutions, the Centre has been involved IN ALL FINANCIAL DEALINGS! So much so, that in one panel discussion, I heard a prominent member of the previous government mention that the state was not interested in ALL temples but those, like the TTD, that WERE CASH COWS!!! I couldn’t withhold my laughter, which enraged the aforementioned panellist, who asked me why I was laughing! I had to mention the contradiction in the statement he had just made. The monies being brought in by these temples were to be used to pay for the various “schemes” that the Centre had, for the upliftment of THE MINORITIES! This included Haj trips for those members of minorities, while the trips that the Hindu senior citizens wanted, like a trip to Kashi or Kedarnath, were NOT covered in these schemes. Kashi and a visit to the Holy Mother, Ganga, are as holy to the Hindus as a visit to Mecca is for a Muslim. The salaries for the Maulanas, in mosques, along with their helpers are paid for by the monies collected from temples. Likewise with the Priests at the churches, although no temple is richer than the Vatican. “What about the priests in temples,” you ask? There is the crux of the problem, dear reader! They get to live on their good looks and charms! The governments, around the country, don’t really pay attention to these impoverished people! They have to survive on the charity of people like you and me.
In a Hindu majority country, the Hindus were systematically being marginalized and shamed!! In addition, the books that were published by the NCERT distorted facts to bring it in tune with the “secular” image that the Centre wanted to be portrayed. However, even CBSE schools ask their students to read the NCERT books as most exams are based on the NCERT books! But, that’s for another day.
The truth is, the common Hindu has been a pluralist since time immemorial! Otherwise, a king from the past would NOT have allowed the first mosque in the world to be built in Kerala, nor would the king from western India allow Parsis to settle there, when they were facing persecution. Not only were they allowed to settle in these kingdoms, but they were also allowed to practice their faiths without any hindrances from the “state”. A clearer indication of Hindu plurality can NOT be found.
Was Indira Gandhi trying to prove a point to the hateful West? Or was her concern more towards the parties, within India, that was leaning right of Centre? One will never know. However, if it were towards the West, her concerns were unfounded! The US of A, a country she despised, has never been a “Secular” country (the swearing-in happens with a Bible unless otherwise requested) but is a pluralistic country. The only western country, currently truly secular is France and look at the issues that the country is facing, with all the hate being propagated by the Islamic radicals.
No wonder why the ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN expresses its concerns about “India’s secular fabric”. The irony can’t be lost on any of us.
जय श्रीराम। जय सीयाराम। उत्तिष्ठ भारत। जय माँ भारती
God bless the USA!
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Why did former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi impose Emergency on June 25, 1975 – Jun 25, 2020, Zee News
 AP Explains: Why France sparks such anger in Muslim world – Oct 31, 2020, AP News