SECULARISM AND THE MINORITY VOTE

Guest post by T.R. Ramaswami

With elections just six months away things will begin to get hotter and hotter as this election is in a way a no-hold barred contest. And after the recent 5-state results even more so. The country has arrived at an electoral turning point. It is in this context that some of the balderdash relating to some of the issues that have a knack of sprouting just before elections needs to be clarified.

The first issue is “secularism”. What is secularism? It means that the state does not sponsor or have an official religion and al citizens are allowed to practice any religion of their choice. There is also another important religious choice like NOTA – YOU NEED NOT HAVE A RELIGION OR BELIEVE IN GOD. In fact atheists are the most secular. But secularism has been made political by first introducing the word in the Constitution during a turbulent time – the EMERGENCY. Now were we not secular from 1947-1975? India is not secular because that word is there in the Constitution. It is there because the majority in this country belongs to a secular religion. Show me one country in the world which has a minority religion of more than 10% and is secular.  And show me one home country of a minority religion here which will allow even the majority there to say and do what they can here. Secularism has become a political tool where even God has to deliver an acceptable rate of return during elections. Perhaps the correct spelling should be “SUCKULARISM”.

If we are secular then we need a secular civil code. Let us formulate one and throw it open WITHOUT COMPULSION to all Indians. There are many who want to boot the religious clergy of mullahs, bishops and purohits out of their lives. In one generation religion will cease to be a vote garnering issue.

The next subject is the statement that the minority vote is so important that it will decide the fate of any election. This is an insult to the minority and the majority. It implies that the minority individuals have no will of their own and are no better than a herd of buffaloes. But there is one more angle. If the majority voters are about 65 crores (80% of the voters) and the minority is only 15 crores then how does the majority allow the minority vote to be the deciding factor?

So here is a clarion call for the majority. Register yourself and come out to vote. This call is not to ask you to vote for this or that party but ONLY TO VOTE. After all in a democracy the majority decides and what it wants prevails. Right?

And remember – if the majority does not vote then it has no right to wail or complain that the minority is deciding the polls. They will. And bad netas are elected when good citizens do not vote.

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TERRORIST IDENTITY

Guest post from T.R.Ramaswami

It is intriguing that terrorists are being identified by too many adjectives – “British Muslims of Pakistani origin”. Now should a terrorist be identified by his nationality or religion? And if it is nationality, should it be the present one or the past or even that of his parents, assuming that he held no other citizenship? Why does the media mix nationality with religion – because it suits the western media and even sections of the Indian media to do so. Why not just say that the terrorists were Muslims – regardless of nationality- or that they are British – regardless of his religion or past nationality? That would be really interesting, provided the media has the courage.
In fact if we carry this analogy a little further – are not all Pakistanis and hence the terrorists who come from there of Indian origin?

TERRORISTS AND RELIGION
Remember the often repeated cliché that terrorists have no religion? Then why should the Government have a cease fire agreement during Ramzan, as reported in the media? Let us tell the Hizbul Mujahideen and other groups that there will be no cease-fire as Muslims themselves have said that terrorists have no religion. Hence Ramzan should not matter to them. If we accede to their request then we are hypocrites. Perhaps there may be more attacks on places of worship of other religions but wouldn’t that tell us who the terrorists are? Will the Government show some spunk at least now?
– T.R.Ramaswami