The very utterance of the term ‘secularism’ may evoke myriad conclusions in ones mind in today’s context. Does it mean tolerance for all religions? Does it mean sympathizing with the minorities? Is it just a publicity gimmick? Is it a false propaganda to disharmonize the rich Indian culture and heritage that dates back to thousands of years?
Going by the incidents during the last couple of months, and not by the dictionary, my definition of secularism is nurturing communism and sympathizing with the minorities. My conclusion may induce people to either hate me or support me. Whatever the reactions, this is but a fact! Today, if you say you are a Hindu and proudly flaunt your cultural roots pertaining to Hinduism, you are deemed a Sanghi, a BJP supporter, an intolerant citizen, and the list goes on. If you speak up or involve in action that is not even violence, you are branded a Hindu terrorist!
An Akhlaq of Dadri stirred the whole nation with print, TV, and digital media highlighting the incident for days together. Politicians from across states visited the site to show their sympathy and remain in the limelight. For TRP, the media sold this news, ignoring other issues. Eventually, Akhlaq’s family received an ex-gratia of Rs. 2,000,000, flats, and police protection. The so-called secular gentry across the country deemed the situation as intolerant. Even Amir Khan said that his wife did not feel safe in India. All because Akhlaq was a minority!
Compare Akhlaq’s case with a very recent incident from Ghaziabad where Singhasan Yadav was murdered by the minority in the middle of the night in his sleep. His only fault was that he opposed to eve-teasing by the culprits. There was no media coverage. His story did not hit any headlines. No politicians visited his house. There was no help from the government. Like many other similar incidents, this incident became a hush-hush affair. All because the culprits were from the minority!? It is no exaggeration to say that secularism and intolerance are two sides of the same coin with similar features!
During the most recent clashes at Ramjas College in Delhi over cancellation of invite to Umar Khalid, a girl shouted slogans of Azadi, Azadi. What Azadi was she referring about? I wonder what Azadi meant to her! Her utterance of this term is an insult to all freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India from British rule. Think about Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Netaji Bose, Rani Lakshmibai, and uncountable others what Azadi meant to them! Today, we are Azad because of their sacrifice!
The current state of affairs in the context of ‘secularism’ and ‘intolerance’ is a worrying factor. If this continues, the thousands of year-old rich culture and heritage we, as Indians, boast of shall be at stake.