Narendra Modi on his tour of Ireland saw children reciting Sanskrit shlokas and he had this to say – “Irish children here sang Sanskrit Shlokas to welcome me… In India, this would have raised questions about secularism”.
This is not the first time. Earlier too he had berated secularism during his tour to Japan. I am sure this is not the last time either.
What Modi is implying here is that seculars of India hate Hindus and they are against anything related to Hinduism. He is not alone in having such a myopic view of secularism. It’s an idea of the RSS. Modi being sanghi to the core is just rattling off what he has been taught.
In the west secularism means separation of church and state. That the government be separate from the religion and government has to be neutral in the matters of religion. In India though secularism has a slightly different meaning – the state is not completely indifferent to religion. India has different personal laws that apply to citizens based on their religion (something that creates a problem for us atheists). Indian secularism means giving equal space to each religion. Indian constitution treats all religions equally vs giving special treatment to one specific religion. That is where RSS has an issue with secularism.
RSS wants a Hindu Rashtra. A nation of Hindus, for Hindus, by Hindus. In 1947 Muslim League got its Pakistan, but RSS could not get its Hindu Rashtra. Instead what it got was a secular government headed by an atheist Nehru. RSS hates Nehru to the core to this day. However Nehru wasn’t the only secular in India. Majority of Indians are seculars. Live and let live is the mantra of majority of the Indians. That is another thing that RSS is not able to digest.
Hindutva is the guiding principal of RSS and their raison d’être. But RSS knows fully well they cannot win elections in the name of Hindutva. So they have to pay token lip service to secularism and ask for votes in the name of development and achchhe din. But in reality they hate secularism. They cannot see other religions being treated equally. They perceive any steps taken for betterment of religious minorities as anti-Hindu and try to paint it as such.
It’s a strategy of the Sangh to declare anyone who does not subscribe to their narrow ideology as being anti-Hindu, anti-India – a traitor. It’s a concerted effort by RSS and BJP to propagate the idea of secularism being anti majority. The term they have coined – sickukars – shows their mindset. According to them secularism is a decease. Another favourite term used by them is pseudo-seculars, although that term applies more to Sanghis themselves.
The term pseudo is used to describe something which pretends to be something but it’s actually not. For instance pseudo-science. Something which claims to be science but is not – like astrology or homeopathy. So Sanghis who claim to be seculars but in reality are not should be called pseudo-seculars. Narendra Modi is one of them.
I tried to engage with some of BJP’s Twitter human-bots to see what they reply. The stock copy pasted replies are an indicator of what RSS intends to convey.
RSS’s ideology is a poison, and to sell that ideology they mix it with nationalism. Message is clear – you can be a true patriot only if you are a Hindu, a vegetarian, worship cow, hate Muslims and Christians, recite Sanskrit Shlokas, perform yoga and do whatever else RSS thinks makes an ideal Hindu. If you happen to disagree with them – straightaway you are a traitor, anti-Hindu and the only place for you to be is Pakistan.