Why does BJP oppose the word secular?


Speaking on Constitution Day in Parliament in 2015, BJP representative Rajnath Singh again reiterated that the inclusion of the word secular in the Constitution is unnecessary and has been misused a lot. He further defined secularism and said that it does not mean secularism but sect neutrality. Even before this BJP and its allies have raised similar objections to this word.

It is known that the words secular and socialist were included in the Preamble of the Constitution in 1976 by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment. It is also noteworthy that under the Right to Equality in Article 14 of the Constitution, discrimination based on religion is prohibited by the state against any citizen. Apart from this, according to the right to freedom of religion in Article 25 of the Constitution, every citizen has the fundamental right to profess, practice and propagate his religion. It is clear from these provisions of the constitution that our state is completely secular. These provisions are so clear that there is no scope for any kind of doubt in them, the BJP wants to keep them confused in the definition.

Being a secular state, all political parties are expected not to use religion in politics, which is also prohibited in the People’s Representation Act. Similarly, it is the constitutional duty of the ministers and officers of the government to behave completely secularly in discharging their duties. But it is unfortunate that since independence till now neither our politics could become secular nor the people sitting on constitutional posts and administrative officers could become completely secular. The biggest example of this was our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The first thing he did on assuming the office of the President was that he had replaced all the Muslim chefs (cooks) working in Rashtrapati Bhavan with Hindu cooks. His second act, which annoyed Nehru very much, was that after becoming the President, he went on a pilgrimage to Kashi and washed the feet of 200 Brahmins there and gave them dakshina. He probably did this because he was a Kayastha by caste, which is considered a Shudra in Bihar. Therefore, he thought it necessary to take blessings from the Vidvatjan Sabha of Kashi for his acceptance. Another act of his was to go for the installation of Shivling in Somnath temple after renovation, with which Nehru was very angry. Nehru’s private secretary John Mathai wrote in his memoirs that the Somnath temple was renovated with the money that the then Agriculture Minister K.K. Munshi by increasing the price of sugar to the sugar mill association by Munshi in connivance with Sardar Patel, a part of it was received as a bribe. This information was received by Nehru when he could not do anything.

Nehru’s personal secretary MO Mathai has also written in his memoirs that when Dr. Rajendra Prasad entered Rashtrapati Bhavan, he had ordered many langurs (Monkeys) because he was a Hanuman devotee. Dr. Rajendra Prasad used to feed the langurs with his own hands. They also used to go to North and South Block near Rashtrapati Bhavan and used to pick up the tiffins of the employees and tear files. When their population grew, they used to reach even the nearby houses and cause damage but they could not complain because they were President’s baboons. Later, when Dr. Rajendra Prasad left the Rashtrapati Bhavan after the completion of his term, all the langurs were caught and sent to the Delhi Zoo.

Similarly, Babu Rajendra Prasad had also threatened to refuse assent to the Hindu Code Bill brought by Nehru and Ambedkar to give rights to Hindu women because he was against it as a Sanatani Hindu. It is also said that Sardar Patel wanted the Somnath temple to be renovated with government money, but Nehru did not allow it. In Nehru’s absence, Sardar Patel had even got the Congress Working Committee to pass a resolution that Congressmen could become members of the RSS, but Nehru got it cancelled after returning from abroad.
Similarly, Madan Mohan Malaviya, who was a staunch Hindu, used to take Gangajal with him whenever he went to England. When an Englishman visited him, he used to purify his room by sprinkling Ganges water on his departure.

It is clear from the conduct of some of the above persons who held high positions that Indian politicians have never been completely secular. Our former Vice President Shankar Dayal Sharma had gone to pilgrimage with full official trappings. Not only this, all our government programs are completed only by Hindu religious rituals and worship of Gods and Goddesses. Whenever and wherever the BJP has come to power, it has introduced RSS for government employees. The doors of membership have been opened. From this, you can get an idea that how secular our governments and administrations have been in practice or are at present. By the way, Congress too has mostly been pretending to be secular. Its behaviour has also mostly been communal. It is known to all that the idols were placed in the Babri Masjid of Ayodhya in 1949 during the Congress rule. It was the Congress government that opened the locks of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and laid the foundation stone of the Ram temple there. Rajiv Gandhi started his election campaign from Ayodhya only after taking the blessings of Ram. In fact, Congress has always been playing the card of soft Hindutva, in which BJP later defeated it because BJP has always been doing politics of Hard Hindutva. Even on the issue of Ram Mandir, it went ahead of the Congress and won the battle by getting the Babri Masjid demolished.

Some time ago in the Parliament, by interpreting the word secular instead of secularism, the BJP has again given the message that it is not ready to accept India as a secular nation because till now it has been doing the politics of religion and wants to make India a Hindu Rashtra. Even if BJP’s definition is accepted that our constitution is only sect neutral but not secular, then it means that India is a religious nation. Now because Hindutva is the biggest sect, then only the Hindu religion can be the religion of the nation. Therefore, BJP is very muchafraid to accept the word secular, because by accepting it, its Hindutva politics will be in danger and its resolve to make India a Hindu Rashtra will remain incomplete.

SR Darapuri National President, All India People’s Front


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