Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Home Variety Culture and History The stark similarity between Abrahamic faiths and fundamental secularism practiced by Nehruvians

The stark similarity between Abrahamic faiths and fundamental secularism practiced by Nehruvians

Historian and Nehruvian Sri Ramchandra Guha categorically tweeted that he wanted the channel Times Now to be closed on account of their deviation from “Truth”. There is no equivalent word for ‘Truth’ in Indian languages. The usual suspect Satya does not convey the idea of truth (a theory based understanding) but rather the idea of real (an empirics based understanding). The concept of the theoretical understanding of truth comes from religion (discussed in Balagangadhara’s scholarly work The Heathen in His Blindness of which a brief synopsis is presented on Pragyata. An irreligious person does not have any absolute truth or falsehood but merely real and unreal things.

Sri Guha might have not thought so much before using the word truth in his tweet, but his use of the term summarises the central idea of secularism in India. It is primarily a belief system. It is often found that the secularist discards the logical argument from a ‘communal person’ on the ground that the argument has not put forth by a secular person. As a matter of fact, Sri Guha also rejects the right of Times Now to have their opinion on the ground that it deviates from some absolute version of Truth that he has. This is exactly a religious idea.

Let me illustrate. On perusal of the Book of Abrahamic religions, we understand the Creator is far less concerned about the idea of karma (actions) of a human being but chiefly concerned about whether that person-in-question acknowledges the Creator. On having that acknowledgement, called Faith, the concerned person receives eternal heaven in his afterlife. Otherwise, his destiny would be eternal hell, what else? Abrahamic religions do not much care about karma (an empirical idea; reality) but on Faith (a theoretical idea; Truth). Therefore, fundamentalist religious organisations whether ISIS of modern Iraq or Church practising Inquisition in medieval Goa, are not concerned about nature of a person but offer bullet or fire for lack of Faith of a person in their codified religion.

In the same vein, people like Guha do not insist on karma but believe in Faith in the secular system. Ones who they call non-secular or communal, are despicable irrespective of their good work/karma. On the contrary, they insist that those who label themselves as secular must be respected only on account of their secular faith. This simile with an Abrahamic religion is quite stark and non-ignorable.

Can secularism be a candidate for a religion? And, can the faith in secularism be a candidate for a Faith in a religion?

Affirmative. Let’s come to the celebrated bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind (2011). There, historian Yuval Noah Harari writes (Chapter 12):

“The modern age has witnessed the rise of a number of new natural-law religions, such as liberalism, Communism, capitalism, nationalism and Nazism. These creeds do not like to be called religions and refer to themselves as ideologies. But this is just a semantic exercise. If a religion is a system of human norms and values that is founded on the belief in a superhuman order, then Soviet Communism was no less a religion than Islam.”

Liberalism or secular liberalism is akin to a faith, in Harari’s scholarly observation. He provided his solid arguments in the book. I desist from repeating them here.

This is not the first time that such words are spoken. Reputed Bengali scholar Syed Mujtaba Ali said the same thing long ago (“Vacuum” of his book “Tuni Mem” in Bengali). He showed, point by point, that Communism and Nazism are very much akin to religious Faith. I will walk on his path only now to show the similarities between secular fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism.

The beginning of Secularism is with the Faith that all religions are exactly symmetric (perfectly equivalent). This is the Kalimah of secularism. Any opinion on any matter comes from this Faith. For them, all religions are exactly equivalent irrespective of their origin, history and idea.

There are two schools of seculars who though believe in the fundamental truth of their belief system, differ otherwise. One school is the cultural Marxist school who feel that all religions are equally false. The other school is Sarva-Dharma school who feel that all religions are equivalent and true in the exact same manner.

Within a religion, these kinds of schools whose beliefs contradict each other, are also quite common. For example, Catholics and Protestants are two branches of the Christians. The former ones believe in the authority of the papal church whereas the latter ones do not believe in papal authority.  Similarly, Shias believe in the inheritance of the sons of Ali to caliphate whereas Sunnis do not subscribe to such a belief.

Any faith has a Holy Book such as the Bible of Christianity, the Quran of Islam. Syed Mujtaba Ali noted Das Kapital of Communism and Mein Kampf of Nazism. Likewise, the Holy Book for Indian secularism is the Indian Constitution. Instead of viewing it as a set of rules created by us in some point which may suffer from human fallibility, secular fundamentalists view it as a Holy Book which can neither be questioned nor be changed.

Religions have Prophets. Jesus Christ (son of God and Virgin Mary) for Christians; Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) for Muslims. For secular fundamentalists, it is Gandhi and Nehru. They were infallible men for a secular fundamentalist. As no Muslim fundamentalist entertains any criticism of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), no secular fundamentalist tolerates any criticism of Gandhi or Nehru. Books or movies exposing any dark side of their character are greeted with demands for their ban.

Religions have own festivals. Secularism has its festival which is the birthdays of their prophets.

Religions have pilgrimage sites. In the Soviet land, the mummy of the Lenin or Stalin was the pilgrimage site. Crowds of people used to visit them. In Delhi, Rajghat or Teen Murti Bhavan is the secular sites of pilgrimage. Any proposal to make such sites for other prime ministers makes the secular fundamentalist angry for the holiness of the site would diminish.

Faiths discourage contrary opinions to rise. In an Islamic country, criticism of the Quran is prohibited. In seminaries, criticism of the Bible is not encouraged. Under secular fundamentalism too, comparative study of religions is not allowed in India lest it exposes the hollowness of the equivalence of all religions – the faith of secular fundamentalism.

In every religion, there are some reformers who criticise the adherents of the religion remaining faithful to the religious dogma. For example, Martin Luther was a devout Christian but he criticised the Catholic Church officials. Under secularism too, there are some who call themselves true seculars and call other seculars pseudo-seculars. They vow to bring true secularism.  Who are they? This is an exercise left to the readers of this article.

(Note: This is a slightly modified version of the Bengali article published on Bangodesh.com. It can be read here

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Kausik Gangopadhyay
Economist by training; humanist in yearning. Interested in Dharma, Culture & Civilisation.

Trending now

Despite the negative media attention, RSS forges forward: Here’s why

It was none other than married women who were a part of the RSS that stepped up and made sure surveys were conducted in multiple villages across India.

Mughal descendant Prince Tucy calls Owaisi a ‘joker’, says it is his family’s wish to build the Ram Mandir

The self-proclaimed Mughal heir, Prince Tucy called AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi a joker for objecting to PM Modi's visit to Ayodhya for the bhoomi pujan ceremony of the Ram Mandir

Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister of UP banned the 84-kosi parikrama around the Ram Janmabhoomi. Read details

Akhilesh Yadav tried his best to prevent Hindus from practising their religious faith with regards to Shri Rama at Ayodhya.

Five forms of apartheid that were wiped out when Article 370 was removed

It will be a year since Article 370 was abrogated and Jammu & Kashmir finally became an integral part of India without any riders attached.

Ram Lalla is not ‘Sabke Ram’, such claims are designed to weaken the Hindu claim to their own Gods

Ahead of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan ceremony, a narrative of 'Sabke ram' is being created to deny the Hindu claim to Rama.

Breathtaking visuals of the proposed structure of Bhavya Ram Mandir released by Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra

Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra today released first visuals of the proposed Bhavya Ram Mandir structure.

Recently Popular

Here is why #BabyPenguin is trending on Twitter, and why Aaditya Thackeray is called so by some

Yuva Sena registered complaint against twitter user for calling Aaditya Thackeray "Baby Penguin" and Uddhav Thackeray "Aurangzeb"

How one call from Chief Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi changed my views from ‘Why Ram Mandir’ to ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’

As we get closer to the dream of Bhavya Ram Mandir coming true, my perception of importance of the Ram Mandir underwent a transformation

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has a prolonged meltdown, announces a movie on Arnab Goswami, “Arnab, The News Prostitute”

Ram Gopal Varma vented his spleen against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief in a series of tweets on Twitter.

“Will believe in coronavirus if Amit Shah dies”: Shaheen Bagh ‘activist’ Aiman Rizwi urges Muslims to pray for his death

Rizwi also strongly believes that Coronavirus is a myth and propagated to conceal failures of Modi government.

Delhi Police confirm OpIndia report, say that Tahir Hussain has confessed he had planned the Delhi riots to teach Hindus a lesson

Tahir Hussain confesses before Delhi police that he had planned the Delhi Riots, collected materials in advance for the same

Why it’s wrong to call Aatish Taseer a ‘bastard’ even if he is one

All Amit Shah ever did to Taseer was revoke a privilege that allowed him to circumvent the usual visa application process that common people go through.

On the anniversary of 370 abrogation, Pakistan releases new political map claiming Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat’s Junagadh as its own

Abrogation of Article 370 continues to sting Pakistan as it releases a new political map, laying sovereign claim on Jammu and Kashmir and thereby junking its long-held position of fighting for the self-determination of Kashmiris

Despite the negative media attention, RSS forges forward: Here’s why

It was none other than married women who were a part of the RSS that stepped up and made sure surveys were conducted in multiple villages across India.

‘Naam mita do Babur ka’: BJP leader Vijay Goel recommends renaming ‘Babur road’ in Delhi

The politician superimposed a poster that read '5 August road' on the signboard that earlier carried the name of the Mughal tyrant Babur.

ISIS terrorist from Kerala involved in Afghanistan suicide bombing in Jalalabad: Reports

On Sunday, a terror attack perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS) at a prison complex in Jalalabad in Afghanistan has reportedly led to the escape of 300 inmates.

Meerut: Sohail posed as Hindu, tried to kidnap Dalit girl when exposed, family alleges police of inaction

The family alleged that Sohail was posing as a Hindu to befriend the Dalit girl from Meerut for the last six months.

‘Stones and bottles are not firearms’: Indira Jaising defends Jamia hoodlums in Delhi HC, seeks inquiry on ‘police brutality’

Indira Jaising and other attorneys today submitted their argument in Delhi HC seeking independent inquiry into the alleged police atrocities in the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Delhi: Anwar pretends to be a Hindu, befriends a woman and rapes her for months on pretext of marriage

As per a report by Jagran, Anwar even took lakhs of rupees from the woman under the pretext of marriage.

Mughal descendant Prince Tucy calls Owaisi a ‘joker’, says it is his family’s wish to build the Ram Mandir

The self-proclaimed Mughal heir, Prince Tucy called AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi a joker for objecting to PM Modi's visit to Ayodhya for the bhoomi pujan ceremony of the Ram Mandir

Sushant Singh Rajput case gets murkier: As Maha govt puts hurdles in front of Bihar Police, Bihar govt recommends CBI enquiry

Earlier, the Mumbai Police had claimed that the files of the investigation into Sushant's ex-manager Disha Salian's alleged suicide case have been deleted "accidentally".

Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister of UP banned the 84-kosi parikrama around the Ram Janmabhoomi. Read details

Akhilesh Yadav tried his best to prevent Hindus from practising their religious faith with regards to Shri Rama at Ayodhya.

Related Articles

Connect with us

238,826FansLike
421,305FollowersFollow
289,000SubscribersSubscribe