Sumit Paul, New Age Islam
3 June 2022
and More Countries Are Constitutionally Becoming either Religion-Neutral or
Nonreligious At Least as an Ostensible Identity, India Becoming a Hindu Rashtra
Will Be a Regressive Move
turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot
hear the falconer;
apart; the centre cannot hold;
anarchy is loosed upon the world,
blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
ceremony of innocence is drowned;
lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of
say in Persian, ' Sukhanvari Payambari Ast ' (Poetry is Prophethood).
The abovementioned lines from the Irish poet and Nobel laureate William Butler
Yeats' most plundered poem, ' The Second Coming ' seem and sound so prophetic
in the current scenario when the Hindu-Muslim differences have hit the nadir
and led to the state of anomie, which's far worse than anarchy.
become so execrable that one thinks with Ghalib, ' Koi Ummeed Bar Nahin
Aati, Koi Soorat Nazar Nahin Aati ' (None of the hopes is fulfilled, no
hope of fulfilment is in sight). So, what could be the solution in such a
dismal situation? Recently, Britain-based Muslim writer Hasan Suroor suggested
in TOI that India should be declared a Hindu Rashtra the way England is a
Christian state but secular in spirit.
this couldn't be a sagacious solution in the Indian context. First of all,
changing the word' Secular' and replacing it with ' Hindu' is not feasible.
Agreed, 'Secular' is a misnomer in the current context. It's sheer tokenism and
a complete sham, but declaring Hindu Rashtra also has pitfalls of French
philosopher Michel Foucault's ' Fallacy of Nomenclature.' Mind you, Britain has
always been a constitutionally Christian country and that identity was never
changed. But here in India, by declaring India as a Hindu Rashtra, you're
changing its character, fabric and spirit of many decades. You're relegating
yourself from being ' Secular' to being ' Specifically Religious' (Read, Hindu).
‘Secular’ suggests evolution, whereas Hindu will suggest ossification.
If India is
rechristened a Hindu Rashtra, it'll be seen as a blatant vindication of the
State's stand and stance towards the minorities, precisely, Muslims. They
(Muslims) will lose their faith, whatever little that may be, in the system.
The officially declared Hindu Rashtra will be seen as an attempt to embolden
the majority and a step to undermine Muslims. The purpose of State
egalitarianism will peter out. Muslims will feel cheated and humiliated. The
very idea of a democracy will be shattered. Then, what'll be the difference
between India and its neighbouring Banana Republics?
world will ask why after 75 years of Independence, Indian society couldn't
learn and imbibe the essence of peaceful coexistence.
the new identity of Hindu be more of a dead albatross around the necks of all
Indians, not just of Hindus?
and more countries are constitutionally becoming either religion-neutral or
nonreligious at least as an ostensible identity, India becoming a Hindu Rashtra
will be a regressive move. I'm an audaciously Panglossian person and I believe
that all is not lost. The situation will get better, albeit at a snail's pace.
Muslims have been coexisting for centuries. A few lumpen elements in both the
religions cannot hold the country to ransom. This euphoric religious frenzy
will eventually subside. ‘Be still a sad heart, cease repining/ behind the
clouds is the sun, still shining.' What's required at this stage is bringing
back that estranged bonhomie between the two communities. We need bridging, not
bickering. What happened in the past must be entombed with the bygone era. Look
ahead and look forward with no rancour. Sanity and sanctity of faiths must be
protected and preserved.
the words of the legendary Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, " Raat Kitna Bhi
Kare Apni Faseelon Ko Buland/Subha Hogi Toh Har Ghar Mein Ujala Hoga"
(Let night erect a tall rampart/ When sun will rise, every home shall witness
the brightness). There's still a sliver of hope and scope for rapprochement.
Don't you concur with me?
occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in
comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed
articles to world's premier publications in several languages including
New Age Islam, Islam
Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism