With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India in 1976, the word “secular” was incorporated in the Preamble. The state will respect all the religions and every Indians will be treated equally irrespective of their religious beliefs.
However in due course of time, a very alarming and disturbing trend begun wherein it became very common to denigrate the religious beliefs of Hindus and that too in the garb of secularism and freedom of expression. If the Hindus protested then immediately they were labelled as fascists and intolerant.
Now the practice of defaming Hindu religious icons have become so common that anyone can do it and get away with it very easily. In fact for those who aspire to be counted as “secular” and “liberals” it is mandatory for them to vilify Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Teesta Setalvad compared Hindu Gods with ISIS. She posted a photoshopped image of Goddess Kali with the face of an ISIS terrorist on twitter. The Hindu published a cartoon on JNU row insulting Hanuman and Lord Rama. The cartoon shows Hanuman setting ablaze JNU on the order of Narendra Modi. In the cartoon Hanuman is uncouth, have wicked smile and is carrying a weapon which generally demons use. Modi depicted as Lord Rama is happy to see Hanuman fulfilling his divisive agenda. This cartoon was shared by Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, on his twitter account. The purpose of such depiction is to show that the Hindu religious icons are terrorists and hooligans. There was no outcry, no condemnation by mainstream politicians and reputed journalist and columnists – the torchbearers and upholders of Indian secularism.
Compare this with Kamlesh Tiwari incident who made derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad. He was immediately arrested under NSA and put behind bars. But certain sections of Muslims were not satisfied with this and they demanded death penalty for him. Lakhs of Muslims protested in several parts of India. In West Bengal’s Malda district around 2.5 lakhs Muslims while protesting turned violent, they burned local police station, shops and houses belonging to Hindu community. India’s secularists looked the other way and some justified saying that Muslims have been hurt so the violence.
It’s not that the Hindus should also start using violence against the blasphemers but at least as per the laws those who insult Hindu religion and tradition should be dealt with. Hinduism is a peaceful religion, it teaches people to accommodate others faith too and this is why we see in India both Islam and Christianity have not just thrived but there adherents are free to practice their faith without any fear. But contrast this with the condition of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh; they have been virtually wiped out. Those Hindus who have fled Bangladesh recounts many horrific incidents which forced them to leave the country. However the tolerance of Hindus should not be taken for granted or else we may reach to a point where Hindus may retaliate which will destroy peace and harmony of this country.
Teesta Setalvad and her ilks and the leftist newspapers like The Hindu are known to abhor Hinduism and so nothing much better can be expected from them. But Arvind Kejriwal, being a responsible politician, should uphold the dignity of his chair and refrain from supporting those who insults Hinduism and tries to sow the seed of hatred.
India will flourish only when all Indians respect each other’s faith and belief and live together in harmony. India will not become more secular by insulting Hanuman and Goddess Kali but it will become a vibrant secular republic when Hindu religion is also treasured.
By Purushottam Kumar