Secularism has been debased by its perverse patrons in India. Literally, the word secular means worldly as against religious. Historically and politically, secularism implies separation of state and religion, and non-discrimination on grounds of religion. But in India, secularism means ?anti-Hinduism?.
After fighting foreign invaders for centuries, and losing Afghanistan and Pakistan over the years, truncated Bharat was expected to re-assert itself after 1947. But instead, a fake secularism implying anti-Hinduism has seized Bharat.
Apart from anti-secular and discriminatory governmental control of all prominent Hindu temples (whereas no Christian church or Muslim mosque has been touched by such control), another disability is heaped on Hindu society by discriminatory Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
For Hindus, unwarranted and discriminatory government control of their prominent temples and religious and educational institutions spells injustice, despair and deprivation. Articles 26 and 30 of the Indian Constitution have been misused by the government to appropriate Hindu temples, and to deny Hindus the same freedom of running their educational institutions as given to non-Hindu (minority) communities.
As per Article 30 (1) of Constitution, ?All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.? Article 30 (1A) restricts the state'sright to acquire property of a minority educational institution whereas Article 30 (2) prevents state discrimination against a minority educational institution.
During Constituent Assembly'sdeliberations, it was presumed that majority community of Hindus was automatically entitled to the rights stipulated for minorities in Articles 29 and 30. But in actual practice, these rights have been denied to Hindus by the government.
There is no similar provision in the constitution of any other country in the world where majority has been deprived of such a basic right whereas minorities are bestowed special privileges.
Fragmentation of Hindu society
Article 30 giving special privileges to minorities regarding educational institutions is fragmenting Hindu society since various Hindu sects claim non-Hindu status to get benefit of Article 30. As reported in the Supreme Court'sjudgement Brahmachari Sidheswar Shai & Others v. State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 2089), even Ramakrishna Mission, a leading Hindu organisation, claimed a minority (non-Hindu) status to fall under Article 30.
In 1980, Rama Krishna Mission, a Hindu institution, was facing some problems in its educational institutions and apprehended government intervention and takeover. To save itself from looming danger, Rama Krishna Mission claimed a non-Hindu (minority) status before Calcutta High Court to come under protection of Article 30. Though its pioneers like Swami Vivekananda had taken pride in being Hindus, disabilities attached to Hindu institutions in independent India made Rama Krishna Mission disown Hinduism to claim the status of a non-Hindu (minority) religion. Though the High Court allowed its petition, vide its above-cited judgement, the Supreme Court reversed High Court'sdecision and held that Rama Krishna Mission was a Hindu institution, and was not entitled to protection under Article 30.
Besides, as can be seen from the Supreme Court'sjudgements reported as DAV College, Bhatinda v. State of Punjab (AIR 1971 Supreme Court 1731) and DAV College, Jullundur v. State of Punjab (AIR 1971 Supreme Court 1737), a section of Arya Samaj institutions had also claimed minority status for coming under benign protection of Articles 29 and 30.
Likewise, to get benefits of Articles 29 and 30, many other sects of Hindu religion proclaim that they are not Hindu.
It is puzzling that no political party is articulating the inequities brought about by Article 30, and demanding amendment of Article 30 to extend the rights granted thereunder (to minorities) to Hindus also. Hindus cannot survive with their hands and feet tied by state control of their institutions. This is not to suggest that minorities should be deprived of their rights conferred by Article 30. This is only to stress that the rights conferred by Article 30 on minorities must be extended also to Hindus. And being Hindu should not be a disability.
Though Indian Constitution has been amended about 100 times, no one has thought of amending Article 30, and extending the rights given to minorities also to Hindus. Accordingly, it is imperative that a Constitution (Amendment) Bill to suitably amend Article 30 to extend the rights stipulated therein to all the communities including Hindus is introduced in Parliament at the earliest. Even staunch anti-Hindus cannot object to the said amendment since it will just extend the said fundamental right to Hindus without depriving minorities of the same. Anyone opposing this amendment will only expose his anti-Hindu propensity.
With the proposed amendment of Article 30, the state would be debarred from regulating, supervising or interfering with Hindu social, religious and educational institutions as is the case with minority institutions. With this amendment, educational institutions run by Hindus would also be free to propagate and preach Hinduism with the same constitutional protection as given to minority religions.
(The author is former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and his e-mail address is: [email protected])