While secularism is recognized as a basic structure of Indian constitution, it goes without saying that India has been a secular society embracing diversity of faiths, cultures, beliefs and traditions since time immemorial. Progressive and liberal Indians have displayed remarkable tolerance integrating this diverse cultural matrix in their personal and professional lives all these years.
Undoubtedly, the majority community, i.e. the Hindus have been more than sensitive towards the cause of secularism and have diligently shouldered the responsibility to uphold the culture of communal amity despite various aberrations in the past. Nonetheless, secularism as a principle and as an ideology has never been free from political machinations and over the years, secularism has been distorted as ‘’minoritism’’ or ‘’pseudo secularism’’ by some noxious political parties, leaders and orthodox religious leaders to stoke the flames of communal-ism to reap political benefits and secure vote banks. Unfortunately, Hindus being the so called majority community are at the receiving end of this brazen political misuse of the principle of secularism. A latest case of Kerala is a glaring example of this unjust practice of secularism.
Kerala has a dedicated government department to favour those who have converted from Hinduism to a particular religion. Shocking, isn’t it? But its true. Although India has no official state religion and prohibits any state within the union to indulge in discriminatory practices based on religious identities of its citizens, it is shocking that Kerala, the most literate state of India and a pioneer in various socio-economic indicators blatantly follows such discriminatory policies which seek to favor one particular community over the other in matters of education, employment and availing other benefits. Thus, it clearly defies our constitutional norms and indulges in something which is not only illegal but also notoriously criminal.
The state notification specifically reads that those who convert to a particular religion be taken care of their educational and economic needs, given the benefits of reservation by including them under a separate religion. How can a state which is a part of Indian territory and governed by constitutional laws of India offer such privileges to religious converts going out of its way? Does it stand legal scrutiny? The law is in force since 1980 and it is perplexing how come it has remained elusive from the eyes of successive governments, both central and the state. It amounts to openly enticing people from a particular religion to convert into another by promising them a plethora of goodies. Who will bear the brunt of this? Obviously, the Hindus whose numbers are already dwindling.
This is a sinister plan to systematically subdue the Hindus and render them stateless and minority in their own land. This is a propagandist onslaught to ideologically brainwash the Hindus by sowing the seeds of inferiority in their minds to hate their own religion and falling into the trap of conversion mafias.
The unholy nexus between state and religious conversion mafias is taking a heavy toll on the poor Hindus who are being lured and at times also forced to convert themselves. This has bruised and shaken the conscience of Hindu community not just in Kerala but all over India. Our great Sanatana Dharma doesn’t teach us to exploit people professing and practising other religions to convert into Hinduism for commercial gain. For us, religion is a matter of faith, divinity and a pillar of moral strength not a tool to exploit and demean others.
The Communists ruling Kerala, under the pretext of atheism which is their official stand on religion have resorted to crude forms of anti Hindusim in a cunning manner and innocent Hindus are not able to see through their designs.
But the moot question remains unanswered, ‘Is this the price that Hindus have to pay for remaining tolerant and ‘’secular’’ in their conduct with regard to other religions’? Does secularism imply surrendering oneself to the whims and fancies of communal politics and discriminatory practices of state machinery executed to retain the secular credentials of Indian society?