Is India SECULAR?

By separating the state from the church and advocating tolerance for other faiths, the West is accredited for gifting secularism to the world. The fact is that what it introduced is pseudo secularism while Indian ethos is of true secularism.

Religions such as Christianity and Islam are monotheistic in as much as those who do not profess them are regarded as non-believers. Indian ethos is of henotheism, that is, oneness of various manifestations of a supreme super-consciousness. It thus totally accepts, not merely tolerates other faiths.

Krishna says in Gita that he comes again and again whenever injustice becomes unbearable. Thus in the Hindu psyche, Christ, Mohammad and such other great souls, all are manifestations of god. Self-seeking priesthood however fostered social ills, and subjugation and religious intolerance by invaders created a backlash of intolerance in some sections of the Hindu society. All these distortions have got frozen in time and space because of subjugation of the human spirit first under colonial rule, and now under abusive "colonial self-rule".

As and when empowerment is restored to local entities, the society will get reconnected with its glorious past. This is what Gandhiji believed and advocated.

REDEFINING SECULARISM

Religion is the science of ethics. It cannot be jettisoned and then society expected to be ethical. We need to redefine secularism. First, it should mean total acceptance, not mere tolerance, of other faiths. Secondly, being a social issue, religion should be, along with all other social issues, in exclusive local jurisdictions. The national and state governments should have no jurisdiction over the administration of religions. Finally, at the grassroots level, where there is a confluence of community and governance, grassroots assemblies may decide how religions may be practised and education in them imparted. Social discords, if any, should be dealt with and settled within the local level, first by the sub city or sub district, and finally the city or district government.

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