Lately, during the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, I observed that, at many places, particularly in the student protests at Jamia at the beginning of the movement, some of them were using religious slogans.
Is this is aligned with the idea of the plural and secular India, which most of us are aspiring for? These kinds of slogans are being used by many protests or by political parties to attract the masses, but that doesn’t mean, one should copy that idea, as these kinds of action will only appropriate the idea of the far-rights on both sides. We will have to be careful with all kinds of fundamentalists or bigots.
In a secular country, religion or religious practices should be kept within the private sphere. I am of the opinion that you can not, or should not, bring it to the protest or any public spheres we know. There have been various practices in the county, even in the government programs like performing puja or breaking coconuts or citation of religious texts.
We have seen many times, our political leaders inaugurating religions places, or sometimes performing Puja or Namaj. One extreme moment was when our newly elected members of the parliament used religious slogans at the beginning of the parliament session of 2019. Many leaders, from various political parties, use religious slogans or appropriated slogans, which are against the ethos of the parliament democracy.
It’s been evident for quite some time, that the Chief Justice of Supreme Court was going to religious places with media bandwagon. Here, no one is suggesting to anybody who is in the public sphere that they should stop going to religious places, or not perform rituals. But, that should be individual acts. They should keep that private.
The recent verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi matter, given by the Supreme court, India’s highest court, was a problematic one in the face of the justice system. The role of the highest court is to give justice, instead, they directed a secular government to form a trust that will construct a temple for Lord Ram while Muslims will be given alternative land.
I am reiterating, this that the CAA, NRC or NPR are not against the Muslims only, but will dismantle the idea of India, by the far-right central government in the Delhi, which was imagined by our social reformers, freedom fighters, and the people, who conceptualised the great Indian Constitution which was drafted by Babasaheb Ambedkar.
There was always scope for people, who were persecuted in our neighboring countries due to regressive governments from time-to-time, but how can one distinguish persecution based on religion? We know that Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasrin, had lived in India for a long time due to persecution in her own country.
No one should oppose any person, who faced harassment in their own county, without any distinction based on religion or races, from taking shelter or citizenship for that matter. We have a strong philosophy that welcomes anyone from anywhere in the world. So, why is our current dispensation desperate to give citizenship based on religion?
Yes, our constitution has promised to provide equal opportunities for all. We all are resisting to save the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution, which has been ignored or deliberately being pushed aside in the legislation, pertaining to the Citizenship Act.