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‘India is Secular despite Hindus,’ Aakar Patel claims in Congress mouthpiece National Herald but is India really secular?

People like Aakar Patel have a very twisted notion of their own superiority and poor understanding of Hinduism.

In an article for the National Herald, Congress party’s mouthpiece, Executive Director of Amnesty International India, Aakar Patel, makes a rather bold assertion. “India still secular despite Hindus, not because of them,” he says. In the article, he makes several factual errors and quite a few arrogant admissions.

Before going any further, let us examine whether the Indian Constitution is truly secular. The greatest myth of our time, perhaps, is the notion that the Indian Constitution is liberal and secular. It has been so ingrained in the public mind that even registering a minor dissent against the popular narrative is regarded as blasphemy and worthy of great contempt.

However, as Orwell once said, in an era of universal deceit, speaking the truth becomes a revolutionary act. The truth of the matter is, the Indian Constitution institutionalizes discrimination against those who practice the majority faith. The truth is, the elites of the country and the top rung of the state machinery, including the Judiciary, have used the Indian Constitution to condemn the Hindus of the country to the status of second class citizens in their own motherland.

To be clear, India was not officially recognized as a ‘secular’ country in 1950 when our country became a republic. The word ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ was inserted by the later Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the Emergency. Thus, the word was incorporated officially into the Constitution at a time when Democracy was in a state of suspension.

At the core of the matter, however, are laws which institutionalize discrimination against Hindus. For instance, Articles 29 and 30 empower the minority communities with the right to protect their language, their script and their culture and to establish and administer their own educational institutions. However, the same rights are not extended to Hindus.

Article 27 forbids the state from levying taxes on its citizens for the promotion of any particular religion or religious denomination. And yet, every political party utilizes taxes to fund minority specific schemes. There are plenty of politicians who even boast about the number of mosques that have been built by their government.

If all of this wasn’t enough, we have the Hindu Charitable and Religious Endowments Act which grants the ‘secular’ government of India the right to administer and control Hindu Temples. As a consequence, our Temples are in total disarray, the funds are being used for the propagation of other faiths in some cases, the encroachment of Temple Land is rampant, corruption is the norm and theft of ancient idols is reported regularly. However, it’s only Hindu Temples that the ‘secular’ state can and does control, completely in compliance with the ‘secular’ constitution. What kind of secularism is this?

Then, we have the Right to Education Act which discriminates against Hindu-run schools and makes them unable to compete effectively against minority-run institutions. As a consequence, minority-run institutions have an advantage in the competitive market from the very outset.

Now, let us examine how the Judiciary interprets the Constitution to constantly discriminate against Hindus. The highest court of the country doesn’t have enough time and is completely unwilling to deliver a verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case and yet, it doesn’t hesitate to legalize the desecration of the Sabarimala Temple.

While the judges are scared out of their wits when it comes to interfering with the oppressive practices of a certain community, and I can sympathize with their concerns entirely, they deliberately set in motion a chain of events that led to the persecution of thousands of Hindus who wanted nothing more than to be left alone to practice their faith.

It’s not just the Sabarimala Temple. Firecrackers during Diwali was banned as well by the Judiciary despite the fact that there was no evidence that they were the highest contributors to pollution, it was admitted as much by the Supreme Court itself, months after they banned it in the first place. Is this how institutions in a ‘secular’ state functions?

We are told constantly that we were immensely lucky to have Jawaharlal Nehru who had the vision to change India into a secular state and instil in the country the principles of liberalism, secularism and democracy. In reality, the Constitution that institutionalized discrimination against Hindus was not the handiwork of a single man.

The people who created the Constitution and those who subsequently changed it according to their personal whims and to secure their own political power, their goal was never to create a document that would serve as a contract every Indian would choose to swear by to ensure peaceful coexistence.

Aakar Patel says, “Only India has been secular constitutionally. Why? This is not because India is a Hindu majority. Nepal is also a Hindu majority. Nobody asked Indians as the British were leaving to vote on whether we wanted a Hindu Rashtra or whether we should include religious aspects in our Constitution.”

He adds, “It is only because of the Congress that we became a secular republic. It will be interesting to see, as we enter a period where another political force has become dominant, whether this legacy of Nehru and the Congress is sustained or we are taken to a new direction.”

Thus, it’s amply clear that the goal of the Constitution was always to ‘civilize’ Hindus who were believed to be an ‘inferior people’ and the Elites perceived their the values of their colonial masters to be superior and were deeply ashamed of our own ancient roots. The Constitution is merely a reflection of the inferiority complex our elites suffer from and their desperate desire to earn the approval of their White Masters.

Patel rejoices over the fact that Hindus were not given the option to decide whether they wanted to live in a Hindu Rashtra or a Secular-Liberal Democracy. Is this how people who love democracy behave? The greatest tragedy that befell the great Hindu Civilization was that we were governed at the time of Independence by rulers who had no respect for the will of the people.

This is exactly why liberals are so scared of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath. They are perceived to be the embodiment of Hindu aspirations and symbols of Hindu Assertiveness. They know in their heart of hearts that Hindus were denied the right to decide their fate when India won its independence. And at the core of the hearts, they still believe that given an opportunity, Hindus would unhesitatingly choose a Hindu Rashtra over the SecLib monstrosity that we currently live in. And why wouldn’t they?

The latter has only treated them with disrespect and disdain, demonizing them all the while as it fed off their kindness. It has denied them their rights, their dignity, the cultural heritage of this ancient civilization suffered horrible neglect, festivals are banned with impunity while a particular community is awarded special rights. The SecLib monstrosity failed to protect Hindus from a genocide and Hindus in the northeast are currently suffering a demographic invasion through illegal immigration. Can you really blame them if they are sick of it and would rather have a Hindu Rashtra?

And then, he has the audacity to claim that India is secular despite Hindus and not because of them. To rejoice over the subversion of the will of the people, that is how liberals, who claim to cherish Democracy, behave.

People like Aakar Patel have a very twisted notion of their own superiority and poor understanding of Hinduism. They claim by preventing the formation of India as a Hindu Rashtra, they have done us a great favour as otherwise, India would have now been a Hindu version of Pakistan. It only demonstrates how little they understand the core principles of Hinduism and how lowly they think of Hindus.

A Hindu Rashtra could never be a mirror image of an Islamic or a Christian theocracy. Because the fundamentals of Hinduism and Abrahamic faiths are completely different. There is scriptural sanction for inflicting discrimination against followers of other religions and persecuting them in Abrahamic faiths. No such sanctions exist in Hinduism.

One of the clearest manifestations of a Hindu Rashtra was in Nepal. And people from every community thrived in it. The situation has become so bad under a secular state that even Muslims in Nepal are demanding that Nepal be reconstituted into a Hindu Rashtra. They claim that they were much more secure under a Hindu state than the current secular one. Therefore, Aakar Patel’s assertion is preposterous and ignorant.

Thanks to Aakar Patel and the National Herald, we now know what the Congress Party considers Secularism to be. According to them, Secularism is the institutional discrimination of Hindus in their own land. It is the means through which an ancient culture and traditions and festivals that have been celebrated with continuity for centuries are relegated to the museums of history. It is the means for the obliteration of the ancient ways of our ancestors.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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