Forked Tongues Cannot Wish Away SecularismThe feeble apology that Anant Kumar Hedge issued in Parliament for saying that the BJP was there to change the secular nature of the Indian Constitution does not compensate for the mischief he has done. The Indian constitution is not dependant on the cosmetic secular inserted in the preamble in 1976 for its secular nature. Once the founding fathers had decided to make India the home for all people residing in the country at the time of Independence, the secular nature of our society and polity were ensured and locked. The constitution only recognizes and reinforces, in each of its chapters, that there are different religions, castes, communities and tribes living in this country and provides that each of them can maintain their separate identity while entrusting the government with the responsibility to ensure equality and safety of each of these groups, regardless of their number and the strength of each.
By Sunil Garodia
So how does Hegde think his party can change the Constitution? Does he think that the BJP will rewrite the same? For long, ever since K B Hegdewar founded the RSS and propounded a theory of nation-building radically different from that of the Congress, it is the dream of his followers to turn India into a Hindu rashtra. While there is no harm in generating a spirit of nationalism in Hindus by uniting them as a community, telling them that India is just their nation and all others are outsiders and usurpers is not the way this great nation can be built. If Muslims, Christians and all non-Hindus who reside here did not feel India was their country, they would have left at the time of Independence. That they chose to stay here was as much because of their love for the nation as due to the assurance of the founding fathers that India would be a secular nation that would not discriminate against them.
There is a huge mismatch between what Prime Minister Narendra Modi says and what his fawning underlings propound. While Modi beats the drums for sabka saath sabka vikas, his ministers and other party leaders give the impression that sabka means only of all Hindus and minorities are excluded from the grand vision of growth the prime minister has. No one, except for some political parties, wants the minorities to be unnecessarily appeased. But no one, except for some Hindutva hardliners, wants them to be crushed either. The strategy Hedge employed might be good for consolidating Hindu votes (as he was speaking in poll-bound Karnataka), but it is tearing apart the social fabric of India. The BJP must recognize that neither does it have the sanction of all Indians to do whatever it feels like nor has it been elected for eternity. Instead of following party agenda, the government must do what is good for the nation. Spreading hatred is definitely not. Apology is all right, but the likes of Hedge must be told to keep their forked tongues in check and if possible, to rectify their diseased thinking.