As Narendra Modi government has been destroying India’s secular character since it came to power at the Centre, there is a discussion going on among the liberal intellectuals on how the India’s secularism has been destroyed. Who is responsible for its destruction? This has been a topic of fierce discussion when most of the secular parties including Congress have supported the Bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple. The temple is being built at the site where the Babri Masjid was razed by the Hindutva mob under the leadership of the BJP stalwarts like Lal Krishan Advani. The Congress even went on to take credit of laying foundation of the temple by claiming that it’s Rajiv Gandhi who opened the lock of Babri Masjid.
On the other hand, some celebrated liberal intellectuals like Yogendra Yadav claimed that India’s secularism has been destroyed because the secular parties have defended the minorities. In an article published on The Print on 5 August titled ‘Secularism gave up language of religion. Ayodhya bhoomi pujan is a result of that”, Yadav writes “Secularism was defeated because it disavowed our languages, because it failed to connect with the language of traditions, because it refused to learn or speak the language of our religions. Specifically, secularism was defeated because it chose to mock Hinduism instead of developing a new interpretation of Hinduism suitable for our times. The secular ideology was defeated in India because it failed to distinguish itself from knee-jerk pro-minorityism, even as it learnt to turn a blind eye to minority communalism. Secular politics was discredited because it turned from conviction to convenience and then to a conspiracy to keep minority voters hostage”.
Here, Yadav is arguing in line with the Hindutva ideology. He is supporting BJP’s allegations that the secular parties only worked in favor of the minorities. He also used a word pro-minorityism which he describes in his another article published on 30 October 2019 in The Print itself. In the article, he asked the secular parties to support the Bharatiya Janata Party on its majoritarian policies like Anti-Conversion Law, Uniform Civil Code and NRC with Conditions. In his another article on the Secularism, Yadav has put out the similar arguments with the reference to a book written by journalist Abhay Dubey saying that the secularism has weakened because the secular parties favored the minorities and failed to see the minority communalism. Yadav also supported Dubey’s argument that secularism also failed because the secular ideologues failed to see goodness in the Sangh groups and rejected their ideology.
These are not two intellectuals who are advocating for this. There are others two who wrote about it. celebrated historian Rajmohan Gandhi also wrote an article supporting Yadav and Dubey’s arguments. Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai bought the argument of minorityism from Yadav and accused Asaduddin Owaisi of following it. There are others who blamed Indian Muslims’s protest for protection of their personal law responsible for the destruction of the secularism. Mainly, they all agreed that its minority interest which is the prime reason for the destruction of the secularism and the interest of the majority is real secularism.
They are saying that the secularism is the only interest of the majority community and the interest of the minority goes against the spirit of Indian secularism. If a political party talks about the interest of minority, he is destroying secularism. They are also arguing that what the Hindutva groups are claiming is the secularism not the rights of minorities. And the secularism has failed in India because the secular parties did not entertain the majoritarian policies of the Hindtva groups and they always favored the minorities against the Hindutva aggression. The minority interest does not hold any value in the secularism. The Secularism in India should be Hindu, it should follow Hindu traditions and religion and should work according to the Hindu sentiments. If it is not, it is the destruction of secularism.
This crude majoritarianism and anti-minority polices are being projected by these intellectuals as secularism. If this is secularism, then what is the different between the secularism and the Hindutva? If this is secularism, then these intellectuals should not perturbed by Modi’s policies. They should not be concerned about what Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing. Modi is exactly doing what these intellectuals want the secular parties should do. Modi is talking about following Hindu traditions and religion and kept away from “pro-minorityism”. Modi does not give a statement when minorities are attacked and lynched as it will be considered as “pro-minorityism”. If Modi is doing all that what these intellectuals want, they should start supporting the BJP. What is the point of urging the secular parties to do the same thing? Do they just want the change of the party not the policies?
There should be also critical analysis of which minority interest the secular parties have protected. The minorities has been facing massive communal violence since the partition. They have lost their lives and properties. They have faced massacre in Hashimpura, Nellie, Bhagalpur and Kandhamal. There are many more. Most of them happened under secular government. The secular parties failed even to protect thee lives and properties of minorities from the Hidutva rioters. Which interest of the minorities, they have protected? Minorities are marginalized politically, socially and economically in India. According to the sacchar committee report, their situation is worse than the Dalits. This all happened when the secular parties were in power at the Centre and states. Then, how did the secular parties follow the pro-minorityism? These intellectual must explain before blaming the victims for the destruction of the secularism.
Now when the minorities especially Muslims are facing unprecedented persecution at the hand of Sangh groups and the BJP governments whereas the secular parties failed to stand by them, these intellectuals are saying that speaking up for the minorities is the destruction of the secularism.