Our great secularists in Indian have, once again, begun their oft-quoted rhetoric for preserving and protecting secularism which, to their eyes, has landed into grave danger with the exit of Congress after decades of rule, and the coming of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power, particularly, the newly elected Narendra Modi, at the centre, because they (Mr. Modi and his party men) are ‘communalists to the core.’
It means, as they assume, that secularism was quite healthy and intact and was flourishing with vigour and vitality in the long spell of Congress rule since independence. If this issue is raised by the crooked and wicked politicians, it means to stand for nothing except for their hidden vested interests for votes of a minority community, which easily gets swayed to favour them, by such popular appeals. But when it is raised by educated and learned people like Mr. Gopal Gandhi, then it pains any conscience seeking Indian or anybody else who really understands the actual meaning and also its implications in a society ridden by the narrow and partisan bonds of caste, language, region, sect and religion or faith.
In fact, secularism has nothing to do with religion because religion is a way of life, the exemplary and core ideals of which are the canon of standards and that must be followed and observed by all the followers of that religion in their personal lives whereas secularism had its origin in Europe during the Middle Ages in the context of church-state supremacy in both the religious and the temporal world.
Why is this vicious kind of mis-information campaign being unleashed by such renowned luminaries against the BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi. Just days ago, Mr. Gopal Gandhi wrote an open letter that appeared in The Hindu to Modi, wherein he emphatically projected his concerns for the minority community which is afraid of Mr. Narendra Modi and his supporters. The concern is that Mr. Modi will destroy secularism in India because he is a hindu nationalist. Many Indians value the constitution because they are free to observe their own values and customs in their own way.
Perhaps, these are things which may not continue in India under the new dispensation led by Mr. Narendra Modi. That is why, the so-called sympathisers like Mr. Gopal Gandhi are concerned about secularism in India. It is now time that muslims and other minorities shed their unjustified fears against the majority community and come forward to work with hindus in a united way to consolidate and strengthen the country and its core ideals viz. truth, peace, liberty, equality, fraternity, secularism, ahimsa, apramad, vasudhaiv kutumbakam etc., that have come down through the ages and that are also enshrined in India’s constitution.