Sunday, February 27, 2005

Secularism in India - a Thought

Secularism has become so a word common in Indian politics that non-secular almost comes synonymous to BJP. Don’t be scared, this is not a political writing.

This word has been corrupted to the core by politicians, that common man confounds and refers to dictionary for the correct meaning. In short, abusing Hindus, taking part in Itfar celebrations, greeting Christians has been construed as it’s meaning by Indian politicians at least. Sadly, even the press has become a part of it and even sad is that they play a mojor role in giving an idea to the common public in India.

Situation in India is so unique. No other country in the world has publicly declared itself as secular. No other country in the world has this much mix of people belonging to various communities. No other country in the world gives special extras for being a part of minority community. As far as the first two are concerned, no Indian citizen regrets. We are broad enough to accept Christians and Muslims as our equals. We are broad enough to accept their different pattern of life. This may sound harsh to most but it is true that it requires some tolerance to accept people from different community as one among us. We did it. But politicians differentiate among equals. There comes the divide.

I am secular. Does it mean that I have to go to mosque or be happy when my poor Hindu brothers are converted to Christians? Secularism means allowing others to practice and preach their own religion within limits. Unfortunately, the whole definition is almost forgotten in India.

The fear is so much among Indian politicians that in Godhra issue where a bogey containing Hindu travelers was burnt, no political party, except BJP and AIADMK condemned it. They feared that their secular image would get spoiled if they condemn this act.

As a Hindu I am concerned about two issues. First is growing cowardice of Indian politicians and second is the rate at which the deprived Hindus are converted into Christians. It is not because of politicians, but because of industrialists and self driven educated youths India has grown to this extent. Politician’s cowardice will create no new damage to our country. Second one is really a major problem. It is sad fact that few Christian missionaries have taken it their major duty to convert Hindus and this act is not condemned to the required extent. When few like Jayalalitha pass anti conversion law, again these bone less politicians shout just to show that they are secular. It is miserable that she was not brave enough to ignore this barking. She repealed the law fearing that this could bring her political crush.

In short an anti Hindu is secular in India. Press emphasizes the same fact. More than half the Hindus believe this campaign. The more educated and more sophisticated they are, less religious they become. They think twice before wearing a religious mark. Not that their belief is vanished. But they have started thinking that being religious is not fashionable. They have started doing religious duties discreetly.

I am one among few Indian citizens who hope that things will change shortly and Hindus will be happy for being one. I still honestly believe that politicians will change and will make India truly a secular country. I still believe that being Hindu will not be seen as blight. May be this blog is a slight exaggeration, but not untrue.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Life in Chennai

West Mambalam.

I was a bit late for the office as I started only by 9 AM today. Knew pretty clear that state transport will not be fast enough to suit my urgency. Hence took a private auto so as to avoid being labeled late.

When auto man agreed for 50 bucks without arguments, thought it was by luckiest day, and got in thanking God. But alas, I never knew God had different plan. Auto just took a left from my house to reach the main road, and I was amazed to see lines of vehicles, locked to their places.

There stood a gigantic metro water lorry, dutifully filling the water tank, and the driver seemed to notice none of the happenings. He was busy cleaning his ear, watching the tank filling. An impatient young man by the side of my auto was under thorough misconception that the lorrywala will budge for a heavy horn. But poor guy was chided by fellow travelers and ultimately stopped the horn.

Even the little gap available was blocked by a car. The autowala was responsible enough and got down to clear the traffic. The two wheelers started moving, slowly though, but I was stranded, waiting behind the lorry.

It was already 9.15AM and I was worried. To our relief, the lorry moved and the vehicles followed it faithfully and my joy knew no bounds. But it was short-lived. The movement was only to fill another tanker just a few feet away.

After patient waiting of 10 more minutes, our corporation staff looked back to get a clear view of waiting vehicles, giggled gleefully, and took the vehicle.

The usual traffic and difficulty with signals in Anna Salai need not be explained to Chennaities . Passing all these hurdles I successfully landed near Raheja Towers, only to find my auto driver in a bolshie mood to ask more. I ended up paying ten bucks more and managed to reach office at exactly 9.55 AM. Labelled as late once again. (Ah! Who cares)