Saturday, September 11, 2010

Test of secularism

We live in a secular country. And indeed secularism is one of the most noble concepts of humanity – that no policy, system, process or mindset shall be influenced by any cult or notions about religion. The entire concept of secularism is based on the precept of  ’communal harmony’.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a great supporter of ‘communal harmony’. He popularized the bhajan ‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam’ which means that Ishwar and Allah are same. The communally harmonious and secular people of his era used to sing this melodious song in all temples and the trend continues till today. I still recall how we grew up singing this song in school and all public gatherings.
Forces like VHP, RSS and Arya Samaj are often alleged to be fanatic, rightist and hell-bent on destroying ‘communal harmony’. The intelligentsia of the country and world is thoroughly worried with growth of these fundamentalist forces in recent times and how it is disrupting peace and harmony in the sub-continent. Whenever there is a terrorist attack, these fundamentalist forces would term it as Islamic terror and then the secular media has to spend lots of efforts and energies to explain that terrorism has no religion. It has to come up with videos and films of nice Muslims and bad Hindus to compensate for the wrong notions regarding Muslims. It has to blow out of proportion cases like petty bomb-blasts in Malegaon where cow-slaughter is a rampant practice. And then the entire state machinery gears up to catch hold of some rightist forces allegedly behind these attacks.
Its a different matter that some of the larger terrorist attacks are not big enough to awaken the same machinery of state and we keep waiting for Afzal’s sentence for ages. The summary notion that the intellectuals of this country (India) in particular have is that Hindus have become very fundamentalist. They tend to blame all Muslims and specially the clergy for all the terrorism that is happening internationally. It is just a matter of coincidence and conspiracy of western media that most terrorists, terrorist groups or Somalian pirates who come in limelight happen to be Muslim. But the reality is that Hindu terrorism is even more dangerous. And hence curbing this should be number one priority.
We shall evaluate the Hindu and Islamic terrorism and their cause in some of the later posts. But for now, let us propose a very practical solution for all Hindus and Muslims to enhance communal harmony and promote secularism. I am inspired by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to offer this solution. Those who abide by this solution are true secularists and those who refuse to accept it are the real fundamentalists. Because all I offer is an extension of the Gandhian Ishwar Allah Tero Naam.
So here is the solution cum test of secularism:
1. Let all temples recite verses of Quran on loudspeaker every day after prayers and let all mosques recite verses from Geeta and Vedas.
2. Let all temples and mosques announce through loudspeakers and write on their walls that ‘ Ishwar and Allah are same, Ram and Rahim are same, Geeta and Quran are same, Kashi and Kaba are same’
3. Let there be Yajna/ Havan in mosques and Namaz in temples at same time.
To start the process, let the leading temples and mosques come out for this initiative. Agniveer has already discussed this with leading temples of India to do the same. Let now the Muslims come up with list of mosques like Jama Masjid who agree to this.
Agniveer is ready to put ‘ Ishwar and Allah are same, Ram and Rahim are same, Geeta and Quran are same, Kashi and Kaba are same’ prominently on its website on front page. Let IRF also do the same.
Agniveer is ready to come on stage and bring prominent Hindu leaders who would announce this on stage. Let Zakir Naik, Imam Bukhari and other Islamic scholars also announce this on stage.
Agniveer is ready to pronounce and also have other Hindu scholars pronounce that: “Hindu or non-Hindu, all good people will achieve Swarg/ Heaven”. Let Zakir Naik, Imam Bukhari, Deobandis and other Islamic scholars also proclaim that “Muslim or non-Muslim, all good people will achieve Paradise or Zannat.”
Let us now see who really wants communal harmony. Any organization that refuses to agree to above should be banned for being fundamentalist in interest of communal harmony.
This is the real test of secularism. If indeed Zakir Naik can proclaim the above statements on stage and put on his website, Agniveer shall also do the same on his website and remove all articles against Zakir Naik immediately.
But yes, if Zakir Naik, Bukhari and other representatives of Islam refuse to agree to above and Hindus continue to sing ‘Ishwar Allah Tero Naam’, then there would be no community more foolish than Hindus. Because one who continues to offer milk to a cobra and willingly puts it over his head, believing it to be a spiritual Shesh Naag, deserves to be destroyed. Let Zakir Naik and Bukhari prove that they are indeed Shesh Naag and not ‘Aasteen ka Saanp’ through their actions.
And till these Muslim representatives refuse to pass the above test of secularism, so-called intellectuals have no business to term any Hindu organization or force as fundamentalist or extremist.
Mohandas could convince only the Hindus to sing “Ishwar Allah Tero Naam” in temples and they continue to sing till today. Let this glorious song now reverberate in mosques and IRF shows and bring true communal harmony in country and world.

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