The BJP president Rajnath Singh speaking at the party national executive stirred up a hornet'snest by calling for a nation-wide debate on secularism and its aberration. He said the word has lost its meaning in the Indian context and it has to be made redundant. He is right and he could not have chosen a better occasion to raise this issue.
The immediate provocation could have been the Karnataka election results. Commenting on the poll results the Congress and the CPM repeatedly referred to the BJP victory as a victory of communal forces and the defeat of the Congress as that of secular forces. By what definition this prognosis has found currency is not clear. The same electorate when votes for the Congress becomes secular and when votes for the BJP becomes communal. The media largely eating out of the hands of the establishment dutifully parrot this derivation. Is it not an affront to the Indian people? Sitaram Yechuri, who has not so far won any election, has the gall to come on the television and sermonise that the split in secular votes led to the victory of the communal forces.
The communists by their wicked cultural moorings have the indecent habit of always referring to the BJP ?communal? party, without taking it by name. There are not many uncultivated in Indian politics like these Beijing gestapos. With the negligible electoral presence of just six per cent and cornered in two-and-a-half states the CPM harangue need not be taken seriously but for its veto power in the UPA. And if one is to take their cue and start calling them the fifth column, considering their wellknown and shameless kow-towing before Beijing and treacherous antecedents, Yechuris will have no place to hide. It is often the decency of the cultured that makes the scoundrels grow plumes.
The point here is the absurdity secularism has become. Parties like Congress cohabiting with Muslim League, MIM, MQM and PDP are talking of secularism. Even rabidly communal Muslim and Christian outfits call themselves secular. The CPM, which has built its political destiny singing hosannas to terrorists like Madhani, Afzal, SIMI and religious outfits like Jaamaat-e-Islami and Bangladeshi infiltrators and supporting the two-nation theory, calls itself secular. Actually, secularism has become an abuse. It has become a political slogan of the discredited power-hungry lot in India who are bereft of all ideologies and whose only raison d?etre is the common greed for power.
The word has lost its meaning by its abuse. It means radical anti-Hinduism and aggressive Muslim appeasement in India. The word carries no credibility. As a consequence, it will lose its sanctity, like socialism even if it remains in the Constitution. But Rajnath Singh has a point. A debate on the subject is a good education. It will clear many misconceptions and help India define its national identity.
In the nineties the then BJP national president L.K. Advani, in the wake of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, triggered a positive and powerful debate on pseudo-secularism. It became very fruitful in the then political discourse and changed the exposition of contemporary ideological format.
The word secular was brought in by the backdoor during the Emergency through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment. The other word incorporated then was socialism, which the Congress government itself under P.V. Narasimha Rao government by adopting capitalism dictated by the World Bank undermined and left it meaningless. Secularism has also lost much of its relevance in translation, i.e. dharmanirpeksh instead of panthnirpeksh. But let us hope it will herald a healthy dialogue. Organiser will be too happy to promote this debate through our columns.