An average Muslim is affected by events happening around him and not by abstract notions of secularism (“Sins in the name of secularism,” April 30). How can he have faith in secularism when forced to retreat to ghettos on account of his religion? Unless the rapidly shrinking secular space in the country, where people of different religious faiths can meet and interact, is retrieved, the influence of both the Hindu Right and Muslim Right is bound to increase, forcing the idea of a secular India to retreat further.
The architects of the Constitution envisaged secularism to be an adhesive force for a multi-religious and pluralistic Indian society. But today it has become the most misused term, especially in the context of politics, where the constitutional definition of secularism is thwarted to polarise the masses for political gains. It is a matter of fact that many people do not know what Indian secularism is and often go by the western model of secularism. As a result, secularism is used by power- seekers of society to fulfil their vested interests. Instead of politicising religious identity, our politicians need to stick to the constitutional explanation of secularism and work for the welfare of all communities.
The brand of secularism practised by self-styled progressive political parties like the Congress is itself a sin. “Secularism, perhaps after poverty and casteism, is the most exploited expression in India.” For this party, “secularism is only a euphemism for vote-bank politics.” Unfortunately, the so-called Indian intellectuals who swear by secularism espouse that ideology only when their plans run into foul weather.