By Dr Jay Dubashi
You do not expect the Prime Minister of a “secular” country like Britain to stand up and say that Britain is a Christian country. But this is exactly what British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week in, of all places, Oxford, during a speech on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the standard Bible used in protestant churches throughout Britain.
Can you imagine the President of India declare in a Hindu temple anywhere in India that India is a Hindu country? Our leaders are tongue-tied when it comes to religion, particularly Hindu religion. You get up in the Parliament and say you are a Hindu and the entire “secular” crowd will pounce on you and ask the Speaker to give you a spanking. To be secular is to be Godless, and that is what we have become – a Godless country that takes pride in being “secular.”
If Britain is a Christian country, then we are a Hindu country, ten times over. We should shout it from every rooftop in the country, but we are scared to do so. The Europeans are not afraid to do so. There are Christian Democratic parties in almost every country in Europe, and nobody says that they are unconstitutional. France, for instance, is a deeply Catholic country and every village has a church. It is not a dead church; all churches are very active and so are the villagers who gather for a mass every Sunday. This is true also of Germany where, as in England, there are protestants too. But they are all Christian, and the moral values of Christians are the same everywhere.
When David Cameron, British Prime Minister, said from a pulpit in Oxford that England is a Christian country, nobody said that he was saying something that was against the Constitution, because the Constitution itself is based on Christian values. Political processes in the West are so deeply embodied in Christian values, it is difficult to say where one begins and the other ends. The Parliament, itself is a Christian entity. At the opening of the Parliament the first thing British MPs do is to go to Westminster Abbey across the road and pray. The bishop blesses the MPs and asks for divine benediction before the session begins. Then the MPs troop into the Parliament and start the work. The main hall of the House of Commons actually looks like a church. In fact, there is a church inside the Parliamentary complex, probably more than one. And, apart from the Abbey, there are other churches nearby, including a catholic abbey.
Nobody can say that England is not a secular country, but secular does not mean non-religious, as it does in India. Nehru was the first individual to pour scorn on Hindus and Hinduism, though, as long as Gandhiji was alive, he kept his hatred for Hindus under wraps. He once said that he was a Hindu by accident, as if his birth was also an accident. Perhaps it was, but it is shameful that a man, whose parents were Hindus, should be so contemptuous of Hindus as to shout from the rooftops that he was not a Hindu, as if not being a Hindu was a mark of honour.
All our troubles flow from this schism in our indentity. We are a Hindu country whose leader says that he is ashamed to call himself a Hindu. We are Hindus but our political leaders are something else. If Jawaharlal Nehru was not a Hindu, what was he? Was he a Muslim? If he was, why didn’t he say so? Perhaps he was, for Islam too is a religion, and Nehru was ashamed or afraid to admit that he was a religious man. It is this duality that pervades the actions of the party called Indian National Congress, a party that has cleverly used the schism created by the likes of Nehru to give the country a complex that has damaged and crippled us, though it is only now that we have realised that we have been betrayed by the likes of Nehru all these years.
Nehru studied – if that is the right word – in Cambridge. Did he ever attend the services in his college? All colleges in Cambridge and Oxford have their chapels – the one in King’s college in Cambridge is so famous that people come from all over the world to see it. During my first visit to Cambridge, I called on the famous writer EM Forster, who had just published A Passage to India. Forster was very friendly with Indian students – he had himself spent a year in India as a tutor to the Raja of Dewas, MP – and we always treated him with great respect, if not affection. The first thing Forster did was to take me to King’s College Chapel. I was not impressed. I am, after all, a Hindu, and there are far more beautiful temples in India than all the chapels in Britain put together. Forster was not much of a Christian, but the fact that he chose to take me to a church than to a library, of which there are hundreds in Cambridge, speaks volumes for the peculiar “secularism” of people like Forster.
Cameron called for a revival of traditional Christian values to counter Britain’s “moral collapse.” Religion is not just a matter of faith but a question of morality. When you disdain religion, you disdain morality. Take a man like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who used to be chief of International Monetary Fund, a powerful international agency, before he succumbed to his darkest instincts and made a fool of himself in a New York hotel. The man had married several times before, had mistresses everywhere, but France being that kind of country, even his current wife said he had done nothing wrong. People like Strauss – Kahn rule Europe. Has the current plight of Europe anything to do with people like Strauss – Kahn?
Take India. We have acquired a dubious reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. I am firmly of the belief that corruption in India is closely linked with its acquired “secularism.” When you shout from the rooftops that you are secular, you are saying that you do not believe in the moral values associated with religion and faith. This is precisely what David Cameron is saying when he refers to his country’s moral collapse and the need for revival of traditional Christian values to counter it.
When you insist, as Nehru and his acolytes do, that a Hindu country is not Hindu, you are not only going back on history, you are also going back on your own identity. You are actually telling Hindus that they are not Hindus. This is tantamount to telling men that they are only animals, not human beings. A country has a soul, just as a human being does. And our soul is Hindu, just as Britain’s soul is Christian. The so-called “secular” people don’t understand this, because they have lost their souls and have ceased to be human beings.