The Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), a Patna-based research body, has put India on top in treating its minorities. The CPA says that only India accords special minority rights to its religious minorities, while Western countries provide equal rights to all their citizens. Former Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, released the report that ranks 110 countries based on their approach to their respective religious minorities–inclusiveness of minority religions, religion-oriented discrimination and their attitude towards various sects.
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that India had been a cradle of cosmopolitan culture and a natural melting pot of belief systems, religions, dogmas, ideologies and cults through the centuries. “It is a living example of our ancient belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or humanity is one family, in all its rich diversity. Our ancient society built on Sanatana Dharma accommodated people from all faiths, and in fact, the majority community through centuries has been an insular force in preventing religious conflicts between other groups,” he added. Shri Naidu made these observations at a function where he released the Global Minority Report compiled by Shri Durga Nand Jha in the national capital.
The former Vice President of India quoted Swami Vivekananda, who said in his address to the World Parliament of Religions in 1893, that “India has been a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.” Shri Naidu further added, “It is the same spirit that resonates in the motto chosen by G20 as India assumes the Presidency of G20 in a couple of days- ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.”
Shri Naidu reminded the audience that India has been the world’s most celebrated crossroads of races, religions, languages and cultures for millennia. The former Vice President of India remarked that “Inclusiveness” in the real sense of the term has been an article of faith in the Indian worldview and has been the cornerstone of policy-making and governance for a long time. Shri Naidu said, “Representatives from minority communities have reached the highest positions in all spheres of life in India, which is a reflection of the inclusive nature of its society and model of governance. Moreover, the fact that the Government of India has a Ministry of Minority Affairs with high budgetary support, is perhaps the most important benchmark to gauge this inclusive model of governance we have. Therefore, we find India ranking at the very top in Shri Jha’s State Religion Neutrality Index, as also State Inclusive Index, while it ranks very low conversely, and quite factually, in the State Discrimination Index,” he added.
The former Vice President of India described the Constitution as the most powerful the document, which gives our governments a sound framework to strive towards an egalitarian society. “Accordingly, we see in our country governments designing Pro-minority policies special programmes and schemes all of which demonstrate the inclusive nature of governance in India,” he commented.
Shri Naidu said that the findings and recommendations of Shri Durga Nand Jha’s landmark study should lead to a meaningful debate and serious consideration of how we can create an inclusive, peaceful world in the same way as the Government of India is proceeding on the basic tenet of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas”, leaving no one behind and “ensure that each of us respects diverse religious belief systems.”
The author of the Global Minority Report, Shri Durga Nand Jha, Executive Chairman, Centre for Policy Analysis, Patna, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, President Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Shri Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President ICCR, Shri Uday Mahurkar Central Information Commissioner, Shri Ram Bahadur Rai, President IGNCA and others were present on occasion.