Nice editorial in an Assamese newspaper.
It is very important not to forget that the elections that we are now going through are the parliamentary elections of a secular democratic republic and the size and complexion of the majority in this democracy. It is also useful to bear in mind that when we became a republic on January 26, 1950, we were just a democratic republic without the “secular” prefix which came only as a result of minority pressures in the year 1976.
Thus, unlike many other sovereign states of the world that are democratic as well as secular (but that do not proclaim their secular credentials from housetops), we were obliged also to proclaim the fact that we were secular at the bidding of such minority groups that did not have the means to be secular within the framework of their respective faiths.
No wonder, for all practical purposes, our so-called secularism has degenerated into a kind of pseudo-secularism that has one characteristic feature: it is vehemently anti-majority by being rabidly anti-Hindu. To be a dyed-in-the-wool secularist in India, even the Hindu must spew objectionable untruths about his own religion.
Some of the recent statements of the Prime Minister and the actions of Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi have demonstrated only too clearly how hollow our claims of being democratic and secular can be. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi that the “secular-communal divide” was important in the country. “I do not see (that) this country has any future except by staying with secular values,” he added.
The pertinent questions that arise are: What secular-communal divide does he have in mind? And what kind of secular values does he envisage? The kind of anti-majority values that pass for secularism with the Congress? For the Congress, the terms communal and secular are merely tokens of convenience. According to the Congress’ warped notions of secularism, anything that goes against the majority Hindus of the country is secular.
When the Congress goes in for a coalition with the Muslim League either in Kerala or at the Centre, this is an alliance with a secular party. But whenever any political party forges an alliance with the BJP, both parties are communal. The Congress has sought to perpetuate this brand of pseudo-secularism long enough. Today the people are much wiser. They may nod their heads in agreement, but not many people will swallow this kind of perverse logic much longer.
In fact, we may get a taste of the people’s growing awareness of the total fraud that this much-touted ‘secularism’ is sooner than the Congress thinks this will happen. Is the failure to conclude the trial of the SIMI activists who carried out serial blasts in several Indian cities due to secular tolerance or electoral pragmatism masquerading as secularism? One cannot fool all the people all the time.
Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was so concerned about the emergence of the AUDF causing a split in the Muslim votes for the Congress that he deemed it proper even to invite a Muslim religious leader to speak to the Muslim electorate in the State to prevent such a split. And this is called a secular republic! In which other secular republic of the world has one heard of the head of a State inviting a religious leader to address election gatherings?
If he is so concerned about the split in the Muslim votes, why is he not concerned about the split in the Hindu votes? After all, despite a Muslim majority in eight districts of Asom, they do not constitute the majority in the remaining 19 districts. Has the Chief Minister not indicated very clearly (a) that he is counting only on the votes of the Bangladeshis who have swelled the list of illegal voters in the last few months and (b) that winning by resorting to communal practices is all right for the Congress even if it is not all right for other political parties? Obviously, what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And we still pretend that this is a democratic country and that we practise genuine secular values!