Secularism, once inextricably tied to the social fabric of India, is now showing some signs of slackness (March 25). The seeds of communalism are sown everywhere in a clandestine manner by misinterpreting nationalism to be secularism. This will adversely affect the secular fabric of a nation. For right-wing forces, the idea of nationalism is deeply rooted in prejudice. Society should be aware of this and try to grasp the true meaning of secularism and nationalism.
The great debate on the secular-communal divide will persist as long as caste, religion and ethnicity play a dominant role in the lives of people. People have to realise that religion and caste identities will continue to be misused by the politicians to fulfil their ambitions.
The article has dared to speak some unpalatable truths about the real significance of secularism in the Indian context. It suited parties like the Congress that the Constitution did not define secularism. Minority welfare has to be achieved not by targeting the majority or keeping the minorities in a perpetual state of victimhood. The socio-economic advancement of Muslims has to be pursued by empowering and equipping the community with opportunities to acquire the skills to compete with others in the knowledge economy. History tells us that Germans, Chinese and Jews, wherever they settled, outshone the majority community in education, business and entrepreneurship by adopting a policy of self-reliance. The Muslim community needs leaders who will shepherd them with a vision for self-sufficiency and dignified citizenship.
How can one wrong lead to the correction of another wrong? Reservation provided to the lower castes in this country is based on the flawed concept that only the lower castes need reservation. The benefit of reservation only goes to the “creamy layer” of the lower caste. It is time to do away with the system of reservation on the basis of caste and choose a better alternative — a quota on the basis of economic realities.