India is the largest secular sovereign republic in the world. What does that mean? It means an independent nation that does not discriminate on the basis of religion; it is earthy, worldly wise tolerating every religion in its state. Positions and recognition is given to the citizens on the basis of capabilities and not because they belong to a particular group or hail from any religious ethnicity.
If anyone questions it like now when the Prime Minister went to Ayodhya to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Ram Mandir, my blood boils. What is wrong in what PM Modi did? As the head of a state, it’s his moral duty to honour a big event of this magnitude with his presence. This issue of the Ram Janmabhoomi has been lying in limbo for years. After the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the issue in favour of building a temple and a separate land allotted to build a mosque elsewhere, the legality of the matter was taken care of and the issue was put to rest amiably. Then, why this entire hullabaloo at the time of laying the foundation stone?
Politics take an ugly turn when it becomes antinational. When we call a nation unsecular, we are pointing fingers at ourselves as we the people are the most integral part of this fabric. How does a nation become unsecular if the Prime Minister inaugurates a religious place? How do we forget that we are the same country that has had a Muslim and Sikh Presidents and Prime Ministers? We have had Heads of the Navy, Air Force and the Army leading our country selected on their capabilities irrespective of their religious affinities. Our most popular sport cricket has had Captains from the minorities way back from Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi to Mohammad Azharuddin. India is proud to honour top musicians like Amjad Ali Khan, Bismillah Khan, A R Rahman, Zakir Hussain, all hailing from the minorities’ section. The heartthrobs of Indian cinema the Khans are loved and idolized in our amazing country.
When the Kartarpur corridor was opened between India and its sworn enemy Pakistan, our government welcomed it with an open heart. The state machinery got active in ensuring the safety of the people visiting the holy site from both sides. It was a very sensitive move given the history of India and Pakistan, but the state did not leave a single stone unturned to ensure smooth operations of this manoeuvre. A lot of money was spent. The Prime Minister was one of the first citizens to cross over the LOC to pay his respects to the spiritual destination. At that time, no questions were raised.
How are we not a secular country? We have universities that have reservations for the minority communities but the Hindus who are in a majority have to sweat out and perform to gain admission. If the government machinery is mobilized to put order for inaugurating a temple construction for the safety of people, we are called unsecular. But another community can hold large gatherings flouting social distancing norms enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic and eventually become instrumental in the initial spike of Covid positive cases.
Does secular indicate victimizing the majority communities? Does it mean exploitation and injustice for its own people? How are we unsecular? Secular does not mean pampering the minorities for your vested interest, let them get away with murder and demean your own people to create unrest and disorder in your own country. We should be ashamed of ourselves for behaving in this atrocious manner and be more national for the greater good of the country.
This independence day, we should take a pledge to join together as a nation to fight this common enemy, Covid-19 that has hit us all. We should put our petty issues aside and work together to combat and overcome this menace and build our economy as a secular democratic country that we are. Our combined efforts will bear fruit and make us proud of our country, showing unity in diversity.