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There was no time in history when a particular section was not ‘Dara Hua’ – Arif Mohammad Khan talks to Gulf News about India and secularism

Arif Mohammad Khan said that he does not like to use term minority because the British introduced it

In an interview with Gulf News, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan spoke on the idea of India and the Indian version of secularism. He was interviewed by senior journalist Sheela Bhatt. The major points of discussion included secularism, communalism, minority status, and the question of Muslim insecurity.

India as a secular nation

When asked about India’s image as a secular nation being questioned for the last few years, Khan responded that those who question the secular image of India have no idea of what India is all about. “Do not forget that world over, societies started becoming plural and accepting diversity only in the last 150 years. This phenomenon of tolerance of pluralism and diversity isn’t new for India,” he stated.

“…Our civilizational journey started with acknowledgment of diversity and pluralism — as the law of nature. India has been pluralistic since the inception of Indian civilization…Indians practiced pluralism much before Jews came to India and much before Christians came to India…So in Indian society, even if you try very hard, acceptance of diversity and pluralism is so deeply embedded that nobody can dilute it,” he added.

Insecure minorities

On the question of insecurity in a section of minorities in India, he firstly repudiated the word “minority”. “I won’t like to use term minority because the British introduced it. The constitutional arrangement was such that these terms were coined — majority and minority,” he stated.

“Britishers refused to recognize India as a nation, they always said that you can only speak only on behalf of your community. Nobody, they felt, had a right to speak on behalf of the country…But as far as the constitution of India is concerned, the building block, the unit is ‘citizen’. It is not community,” he added. Arif Mohammad Khan clarified that community is not an entity in the constitution and it recognizes the right of the individual to have freedom of conscience only.

The Hindu Muslim relationship since 2014

Afterward, Sheela Bhatt questioned whether he believes a substantial shift in the Hindu-Muslim communal relationship has occurred since 2014. Khan reacted to this query adding, “point out a time in history when this particular section did not feel suspicious, did not feel insecure, give me any time in history. Why was this country partitioned?”

Arif Mohammad Khan said that since insecurity was at the heart of the country’s separation, how can this be a new question? And how come these people who have been expressing fear or worry since 2014 have not expressed the same concern regarding Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru?

“There is a certain section who thrives in the sense of victimhood. This mentality continues and sows the seeds of division. I am not making this statement in order to blame the Britishers for our problems because somebody can exploit you only if you are exploitable,” he added.

Future of India

On the question of his worry about the future of India, he stated that he is not at all worried about the future of India. “Nothing worries me about India’s future. India is marching very effectively to emerge as a world power. And the whole world is going to recognize India’s potential,” he said.

“…I am not saying that we have already reached that stage but everybody is recognizing, acknowledging India’s potential. Indians are at the helm in major multinationals in the world today. People trust Indians,” he concluded.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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