‘The word secular does not exist in the Muslim world’



CowSanjeev Nayyar

The concept of secularism imported into India by the British. It was a strategic tool to suppress and deny India’s quest for independence by repeatedly asking the Indian National Congress that was predominantly Hindu, to address the concerns of the minorities (Muslims).

Ok: but how does secularism operate in other parts of the world?

When Barack Obama took oath of office (first term) as President of the United States of America, he kept one hand on the Holy Bible.

Can you visualise the furore if A B Vaypayee had taken oath as prime minister keeping his hand on the Bhagavad Gita? All of Macaulay’s children and the secularists would have taken to the streets and asked him to apologise for insulting the Indian Constitution.

In England the queen is head of state and the church.

Since being head of state is the equivalent of the India President it is like saying that President Pranab Mukherjee is head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Christians in Germany and some other European nations pay a tax on their income to the church. This is akin to Hindus paying a tax to the Shankaracharya or the sadhu akhadas, the sant samaj!

Yet the secular credentials of these countries are never questioned! This, however, does not prevent them from giving India sermons on secularism.

The word secular does not exist in the Muslim world. The condition of non-Muslims in those countries is well known and does not merit comment. Moreover, there would be discrimination even if you are Muslim but belong to a sect i.e. a minority in that country for e.g. Shias and Ahmediyas in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. Secularism enters the Muslim discourse in countries where they are in a minority.


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