UpWord, a not-for-profit knowledge platform co-founded by Ashish Dhar and Ajaey Sharma, produces well-researched content in the form of short videos. It published a new video on YouTube today, featuring Supreme Court advocate Kanu Agarwal elucidating the manner in which certain articles of the Constitution discriminate against the majority faith in the country.
In the video, Mr Agarwal asks the question, “Is the Indian state really secular?” and the proceeds to answer why it is not really the case. The video concerns the problematic aspects of Articles 26-30 and the manner in which they favour minority faiths over the Hindu religion.
Regarding Article 29 and 30, Mr Agarwal says, “It protects the interests of a section of citizens with a distinctly religious, cultural or linguistic identity by granting them the right to protect their language, their script and their culture. The article intends to preserve and protect the innate pluralism that makes India the fabled land of diversity. In conjunction with it, Article 30 empowers the minorities with the right to establish and administer their own educational institutions. However, there is a catch. While the protection against discrimination under Article 30 is extended to institutions of the minority, it does not say anything about institutions of the majority.”
Mr Agarwal then talks about the disproportionate influence wielded by minority interest groups during the constituent assembly debates and the eagerness of the members to pacify the misplaced insecurities of these groups motivated them to adopt the said provisions. He also ponders upon the inherent problems with declaring certain faiths as ‘minority’ in India due to the immense cultural diversity of our country with thousands of sects and communities which technically makes every single one of them a minority in their own right.
Article 28 of the Indian Constitution that prohibits religious instruction in public institutions is also detrimental towards ensuring the continuity of the Indian Civilization, that is, the Hindu Civilization. As Mr Agarwal says, “By categorizing all the ancient civilizational knowledge of India, whether it is of Mathematics, Psychology, History or Medicine, as religious the modern state has effectively severed the umbilical cord of its citizens with their own priceless heritage. Far from being the custodian of the Indian Civilization, the Indian state has turned into its principal enemy.”
Then there’s Article 27 which forbids the state from levying taxes on its citizens for the promotion of any particular religion or religious denomination. Despite that, every government initiates numerous schemes which are directed towards benefiting only people from the minority. Thus, our taxes are indeed being diverted, albeit indirectly, towards religious purposes.
Mr Agarwal also remarks on the manner on which only Hindu Temples are in direct control of the government and the alleged ‘secular’ state while the minorities are at liberty to manage and administer their own constitution with completely as guaranteed by Article 26 of the Indian Constitution.
Finally, as the learned advocate states, “Articles 26 to 30 of the constitution were meant to give religious freedom to the people of this country but the same articles have been misused to deny that freedom to a vast majority of the Indian population.”
There has been much talk about these various articles of the Indian Constitution actively discriminating against Hindus. Especially regarding the affairs of Hindu Temples and the 93rd amendment that selectively applies to Hindu run educational institutions alone, there has been a rising awareness about the discriminatory nature of certain constitutional provisions.