I was quite astonished when I read this. Surprised that an Indian would admit so much -
"National Cohesion" implies national unity and national sense of purpose emerging from a strong sense of national pride.
Dr. Subhash Kapila
India after sixty years of "political secularism" practiced by the Congress Party and its regional casteist political allies today stands dismally divided because of a fundamental flaw that these political parties did not accord importance to incorporating Hinduism as the majority religion its due political space in their scheme of "political secularism". It stands pointed out in this Columnist's earlier Columns that "existential secularism" for centuries prevailed in India before 1947 and there was no need to invent a new breed of 'political secularism" by Nehru and the Congress Party. It was done for political gains by a contrived projection that the millions of Indian Muslims who elected to stay back in India on Partition could be safe only behind this new political contrivance of the Congress Party.
Implicit in this new political contrivance was that somehow in the new Indian Republic the majority Hindu population could emerge as a source of concern for minorities. Not only this was a negation of the centuries old "existential secularism" that provided the mainstay of the social fabric of India for centuries but the past sixty years of the political history of the Indian Republic also negates the 'political secularism" precept aimed at creating captive vote-banks.
This Columnist does not need any lessons or sermons from any "political secularist" that abound in India's rotten polity or from Indian media secular sermonists or secular pseudo-intellectuals preaching secularism. In this Columnist's family every Indian religion stands represented by ties of marriage. When I write this I write out of pain and anguish as to how India stands deeply divided by sixty years of "political secularism"
India stands nearly poised today to acquire a global power status not because of its political leaders but by a global recognition that India's national attributes of power as commonly endorsed in international relations equip her for this role. In the national attributes of power, one on which I shall only dwell today is "National Cohesion"
"National Cohesion" implies national unity and national sense of purpose emerging from a strong sense of national pride. In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation like India it also implies that all the disparate groups combine together and subsume their respective identities into a greater Indian national identity.
India's "political secularism" regrettably, instead of fostering a greater Indian national identity has by virtue of its inherent disabilities has resulted in India today standing dismally divided on grounds of religion, regions, castes and sub-castes for reasons of vote-banks politics. Even in non-casteist religions of the Indian Muslims and the Indian Christians political divides have now surfaced on terms of reservations based on backward segmentation which basically boils down to their earlier castes.
India's protagonists of "political secularism" have gone steps ahead in dividing India between "We" and "They". By "We" they imply the political secularists along with their handful of regional casteist political leaders, the Leftists and media camp followers depending upon a combined vote-bank of 30% of India. By 'They' these political secularists imply the rest of 70% India predominantly Hindu majority and whom the Congress Party and its allies like to dub as "communal forces", "Right-wing fundamentalists", "Hindu Fundamentalists" and now the latest coinage in their vocabulary "Hindu Terrorism"
The battle today in India is basically political with the "political secularists" trying their best to retain their captive vote-banks against the rising tide of dissatisfaction within those vote-banks for having been taken for a ride all these last sixty years and who would not be averse for a political switchover. O the other side of the battle is the main Opposition Party which probably senses that the mood in the Hindu majority population is changing after sixty years of being short-changed by the "political secularist" parties with their Indian Muslim vote bank politics and the politics of backward classes' reservations.
Having crossed into the seventies in terms of age and keenly studying India's political trends so long I would not be too wrong in asserting that "Political Secularism" has not only failed in India but has resulted in India being deeply divided. The Indian Christians and the Sikhs as the other sizeable minorities of India got assimilated in mainstream India whereas the Indian Muslims as the largest Indian minority could not do likewise because the Indian "political secularists" fostered and encouraged their separateness for narrow political gains.
If rabidity in public debates is the hallmark of religious demagogues and fundamentalists then how does one brand and label the political secularists on TV debates and interviews going wild with their diatribes against those who want to assert their Hinduness?
India's national security interests demand that India's national security not be compromised by India's political leaders with their contemptible divisive policies to sustain themselves in political power. The minorities and the majority must not be pitted against each other for narrow political gains.
India would be better served not by hollow and rhetorical self-professions of "political secularism" but by following the centuries old "existential secularism" which fostered peace and harmony without any political fiats and where the minorities and the majorities recognized each others respective social and political space without political slogans and political labeling.