I am writing this post after tolerating a lot of remarks on dying secularism in India. With the rise of the Modi government, I witness the rise of a new kind of fanaticism in India which the world has yet to see. India did not become secular after the word “Secular” was written in our Preamble. Rather, India has been secular since the ancient times. It is the land which has commanded respect in the world, especially in the eyes of minorities like Parsis and Jews who took refuge in India. Never did India hyped this word “secularism” to gain the confidence of minorities and to demand it’s respect. From ancient to modern, Indians have always been tolerant and respectful towards everyone.
But with Modi government coming to power, I see the frequent use of this term “secularism”. It’s use is so frequent these days that I fear that one day we will witness secularism fanaticism. I hope that day never comes. Fanaticism has never done good to anybody. The so called saviours of secularism ha’ve used this word “secularism” so many times that secularism has lost it’s original meaning.
Let me give you the first incident of “secularism” fanaticism in India. The revolt of 1857 was the revolt in which the Indians untidily fought. They fought against the foreign invasion. Their aim was to fight the foreign invasion and protect their motherland. After 1857, the fight of Independence started with the aim to free our motherland from the clutches of foreign rule. But it ended in partitioning our motherland into three pieces. Why this disastrous shift in the history of India? I would say that the credit goes to “secularism” fanaticism of Gandhi which was later continued by Nehru.
I felt proud whenever I used to read about non-cooperation movement tied up with Khilafat movement (started to protest against the attack on Ottomon Empire by British, where the Caliph or the religious head of Muslims resided) that took place in 1919-1922. In the history books it was said that during this time India saw the Hindu-Muslim unity which was tarnished due to the seeds of communalism sown by the Britishers after 1857.When one reads the book named “History of Modern India” by Bipin Chandra, one’s feel tremendously proud of this movement as it was a mark of unity. This book is the most important and highly recommended for those who are preparing for the civil services.
Now there is a twist. In 1922, Khilafat movement was over as their cause was over. The non-cooperation movement also failed. But with this nation saw such a rise of communalism that did not exist before this movement started. The problem was that khilafatist were not fighting for the nationalist cause. They did not join the Congress to fight for the freedom of India. Such unity between Congress and Khilafatists was on shifting stand.
M.C Chagla, the most respected Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and a true nationalist, was the member of the Muslim League during this time. He wrote in his autobiography, Roses in December (I recommend every Indian must read this to different side of history) :
“The Muslim League in those days believed in the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity and was entirely a secular institution, except for the name. People Like Jinnah and Mazrul Huq, who belonged to the League, had no truck with the fanatical Muslims whom the Khilafat movement had thrown up. I have always felt Gandhiji was wrong in trying to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity by suppoting the cause of Khilafat. So long as the religious cause survived, the unity was there; but once that cause was removed the unity showed its weakness. All the khilafatists who had been attracted to the congress came out in their true colours, that is, as more devoted to their religion than to their country. The Muslim League wanted to fight this element and to make common cause with the secular Congress.”
Why did Gandhi took this stand? He knew very well it was dangerous to mix religion with politics. We still suffer from it. The vote bank politics is the best example of this. Gandhi only wanted Hindu-Muslim unity but in order to achieve it he made a wrong choice by mixing politics with religion thus giving fanatics a chance to rise and jeopardising the loyalty of a Muslim towards his country and religion. Gandhi did all this in the name of secularism but what shaped the partition was “secularism” fanaticism.