A White Paper on the oppression faced by Muslims in India (Muslim Mirror)

Mob lynching of Muslims by Hindutva militants

By Aariz Imam MuslimMirror

Religion has public value as a regulator which channelizes public energy for the common good. Religious values irrespective of faith are public in their very nature. All religions are born out of common value systems. To say that religion is a personal matter is a very narrow interpretation of theology. This calls for a need for a clear division of religion’s scope between personal and public. This leads to two initial arguments. Religion has both public and private roles which goes against the popular secular definition of religion as being personal. And secondly, there should be no conflict and interference between religion’s public and personal roles and neither there should be any over reach of the personal over public or vice versa both within the religion and between them. In its very construct, the public religion flows from the personal and given the ingrained public value it serves public good. This approach negates the secular approach which tries to homogenize religion in the name of reconciling it’s diverse public values, where the need was to develop the polity to live with it and trust the public value brought by the participant religion to serve the common good.

The Failure of Secularism in Recognizing Religious Differences

Since forever in India the predominant nationalist secular approach has been to brush away the religious differences as some kind of abnormality without even recognizing them as a value stream. This despite the constitution says otherwise. The Article 25 of the Indian Constitution provides for the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. While the constitution provided for living with the differences, it assumed that people would identify them in the first place. However, the popular imagination took a totally different view of this constitutional intention. In the mad rush to adopt western ideals of secularism the country in nationalist frenzy skipped the step of identifying the differences and jumped to the reconciliation to bring to life Article 25. This approach adopted by the forefathers of Indian democracy reveals that they not just failed to identify the differences and the source of their origin but even when they did, they shied away. Politicians feared that the reconciliation necessary to perpetuate the rule after the transfer of power may not be possible if the differences were brought forth on the table of discussion where given the circumstances new political forces will spring up challenging their supremacy. Politicians swept this problem under the carpet by adopting nationalism and secularism as the new fancy clothes. And since this fear was never addressed the Indian body polity ultimately failed to get training on identifying the differences and a peaceful coexistence.

This political bypass may have sustained the polity for so long but at what cost?

This story was originally published in muslimmirror.com. Read the full story here.

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