We are a strange bunch! We make noise at the slightest of provocation, but when the big battle draws near, we cower…either in plain fear or simple apathy. We don’t even pause to think for a moment that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. Hence, moral cowards across the nation…beware! Dante was dead right when he penned the Inferno!
But why is the nation silent even as we witness the staging of a spectacular secular spectacle, which is being used to shroud-and-cloak the anti-nationals in the very name of our precious democracy?!? In my opinion (and I am known to be rather opinionated), this silence stems from the distorted definition that has been force-fed to an entire nation about what ‘secularism’ stands for.
Go ahead…if you have the time and patience (and if you have ever felt the need for answers), stop the idle bystander on the road. Ask him or her as to what is the meaning of the oft-used term ‘secularism’, which was in fact, added much later to the Indian constitution through the 42nd amendment in 1976 (that’s right, we weren’t secular when we adopted the original constitution in 1950).
Well, if you do carry out this exercise in earnest (as I did when I was teaching a term), the phrase that will ring eternally in your tired ears is – ‘religious tolerance’, which in other words translates into ‘protecting and safeguarding the religious rights of religious minorities’. That of course, is plain-and-simple BS! I do apologize for the expletive but maybe that ought to break the deafening silence of the mute spectators.
In fact, if you are feeling up to the challenge, go ahead and ask the same people as to why does the state need to interfere in the religion of its “subjects”? Are we a theocracy or a democracy? [Note: I know we are not a monarchy, but till the time we get over our “surname” fascination and dynastic politics, we are only fit to be called “subjects”.]
‘Secularism’ as it originated in the year 1846 from the Latin term ’saecularis’ simply means “worldly” or “temporal” – that is, “relating to worldly affairs as opposed to spiritual affairs”. So, what does it really mean? Well…what it actually means — and rather, ironically! — is that the moment you so much as even utter the word ‘religion’, you are no longer secular. So why are our politicians, who theoretically are supposed to work for the upliftment of the people, disregarding the dictionary as they mimic their British masters (and their distasteful policy of ‘divide-and-rule’)?
Well, if you were to put yourself in the politician’s “chappals” (that’s right, RaGa and his political comrades hate the suited-booted sarkar and probably only don the Kolhapuri chappals), you will see a method to their madness. The reason they distort the very denotative meaning of the word ‘secularism’ and give it their own colourful connotations is simple – they play the religious card to divert our attention from a burning issue – (their) corruption! [Not surprising, if you start preparing the bucket-list of Indian scams – 2G Spectrum Scam, Bofors, Coal Allocation Scam, Fodder Scam (or “Chara Ghotala” as it was endearingly called), Wakf Board Land Scam, Commonwealth Games Scam, Adarsh Scam, Telgi Scam, Hawala Scandal, etc. and the latest being the “Augusta Westland Scam”).
Truth is, we have stayed silent for far too long. We stayed silent when the puerile politicians sold the suffering of half-a-million victims of the dreadful Bhopal Gas Tragedy by allowing Warren Anderson to go scot-free. [If you want to know the role the politicians played during that 1984-85 infamous winter, all you need to do is grab the autobiography ‘A Grain Of Sand in the Hourglass of Time’ of the senior Congress leader, Arjun Singh, who was then the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.
The saddest thing is we have become the children who are blindly following the political bagpipers as they lead us straight into the hells of eternal damnation. And we are so busy playing mute spectator in the name of secularism that we no longer see/hear/talk about corruption. But don’t worry, even an eternity in eternal purgatory will not purge us of our collective ‘silent’ sin!