|VOL. 1 NO. 33 DELHI: SHRAWAN KRISHNA 8, JULY 29, 1948 SIX ANNAS|
There has been much loose talk about the words secular and communal in the past few months. Our Constitution drafting committee has proposed that the state shall be secular and non-communal. It is, therefore, very important to understand the significance of these two terms.
Party politicians, as usual, have tried to exploit these terms for suppressing the voice of their opponents. The unwary public has been misled to a very great extent under the cover of these two words. Let us analyses the idea, implications, possibilities and advantages underlying the words secular states leaving the term communal for treatment at some future time.
The meaning of secular state, as given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is that state which is concerned with the affairs of the world, which is not sacred, not monastic or ecclesiastic, which is temporal and profane.
Reading the meaning and implications of the world secular as given above, one can see that the application of this term for the Indian State is very unhappy. We have to establish a state here in India which is more dignified, respectable and useful than any already existing in the world.
We are the inheritors of a civilization so great that we should feel ashamed of associating our rule with a word that may mean profane and unsacred. …The word secular is a most inappropriate one. If the English language is so poor that it has no proper word to express the idea then the Sanskrit literature is to be probed to find a suitable word.
Leaving aside the use of the word secular, which, as seen above, is not appropriate for the state in India, it will be interesting to note whether anywhere else does such a Government, in the real sense of the word, exist. No first-rate power in the world has been able to confine itself to affairs of the world alone. It is not a fact that England cannot have a Roman Catholic as her king? … In fact, whatever be said about the nature of the state, in most countries of the world not only are people allowed to pursue their religious inclinations but the state itself provides directives in the matter. This being the case, can we in India do away with all these and then benefit by it? Will it be profitable for the people and the state to change the outlook of Indian people from religiousness to worldliness?
…. The word secular has other dangerous implications and interpretations. As stated above, Indians believe in the theory of Karma, which includes the theory of transmigration of soul. The word secular, therefore, is liable to an interpretation which may mean anti-Indian. …If the action of the state comprising Indians is to cut away this basis of life, will they be happy?
Supposing the education scheme run by the secular Government of India includes lessons which narrow down the outlook of the students of this world and the present life and Indian traditions make him look to something above and beyond this world what will be the natural result? There will be an antagonism and conflict between the school life and home life of the student and this is bound to create mental anarchy.
The soul of India is the heritage of its rich civilization which is interwoven with the idea of spirituality, Godliness and the theory of Karma- the work and achievement of centuries. It cannot be sacrificed for the charm of a word, which is playing havoc in European countries.
A secular state, i.e., a state which confines itself to this world alone can only be justified if it takes away its hand from the scheme of education of our children. The education, however elaborate and scientific it may be, if detached from spirituality, will lead the students and the country into the wilderness. .. Scientific knowledge guided by spirituality is the only salvation for the world.
This should be done either by the state or the people. The state that will do it will not be a secular state and if people do it then it will be highly undesirable to have a double set of institutions.
If we are given to understand that the secular state is a state which will not favour a particular community and which will keep open its services and bounties equally for all people, nobody can object to it. It is highly desirable, but then this is not represented by the word secular. This word is capable of quite different and wrong interpretations. -Guru Dutt