How to rescue genuine secularism - By Rajeev Bhargava - IAMC
no-image IAMC

How to rescue genuine secularism – By Rajeev Bhargava

One word conspicuous by its absence not only from the election campaign but perhaps from the entire political discourse in recent times was secularism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought it back in his victory speech. Most political parties in the last 30 years had practised a naqli(fake) secularism, he said.… So, what, according to Mr. Modi, is asli (genuine) secularism? The answer he gives is the inclusion of minorities in ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’, which is translated by his party as ‘justice to all, appeasement to none’. To this he added ‘sabka vishwas’, winning the trust of all.

On the treatment of minorities by other parties, the Prime Minister is partly right and partly wrong. Wrong, because the insecurity amongst minorities is created largely by Mr. Modi’s own political supporters. Lynchings in the past few years and the fear such random violence creates are only the tip of this gigantic iceberg. Right, because when in power, most non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parties have done little more than provide security.

Now, the condition of feeling safe and secure must not be underestimated. Freedom from fear is important, and to live in the fear of being lynched only because you are a Muslim is a very real unfreedom indeed. Yet, political parties have not helped Muslims with their vikas. Some have even pampered the orthodoxy within their communities and have done little to bring them out of their ghettos. … What then must be expected from real, genuine secularism?…