Wednesday December 19, 2018
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Why Indianism is the only ‘–ism’ that stands true on the philosophy of our Constitution

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IndiaBy Harshmeet Singh

Earlier this week, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, while announcing a judgment, spelled out the definition of ‘Indianism’ for the masses. According to Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, “Indianism is Hindustaniat, which is akin to Kashmiriat. The expression Indianism also provides that the State shall not deny any person, which means a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christians etc equality before law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India (Article 14).” The Indianism doesn’t and would not mean that citizens/persons do not have right to practice and propagate their religion. The Indianism in the context of the Constitution not only protects but guarantees right to every citizen, which includes Muslims of this country to practice and propagate their religion. No law can be made to prevent the Muslims or any other community to practice and propagate their religion. All the people belonging to different religious denominations including Muslims have the freedom to effectively follow their religion’.

He defined Indianism as an umbrella which covers all the religions and religious activities under it. The decision was pronounced in the light of the fact that Indianism is the only ‘–ism’ that stands true on the philosophy of our Constitution, apart from ‘secularism’, which is a part of the preamble itself. At a time when feelings such as Religious Nationalism, Hinduism, Sikhism and others are running high among the citizens, this verdict takes us back to what our forefathers had in mind while framing the Constitution, and what we have, as a society, become.

In 2013, the same judge had observed that anyone who goes by the identity of ‘Hindu Nationalist’ or ‘Muslim Nationalist’ is working against the true spirit of ‘Indianism’. His previous verdict drew sharp reactions from a number of religious groups who took it as an attack on their patriotism.

The Indian constitution is unique in more ways than one. For instance, we follow a much more favourable definition of secularism as compared to some other secular nations. Our Constitution makers interpreted ‘secularism’ as state’s obligation to provide equal opportunities to everyone, irrespective of his or her religion. In contrast to this, countries such as France follow a different definition of secularism. According to them, secularism means that the state should have no religion. This explains multiple cases where Sikhs have been forced to remove their turbans or Muslims have been asked to take off their taqiyah (cap). It is perhaps this tolerance that has led to a number of ‘religious nationalist’ groups in the country.

Since our childhood, we have been trained to see things ‘relatively’. Someone else’s failure is seen as an essential condition of our success. Slowly but surely, such learning has captured our religious perspective as well. For my religion to be good, others’ religion has to be bad, is what our line of thinking has become. Speeches of these so called religious nationalist leaders seldom talk about the qualities of their own religion but go all out in degrading other religions. Thousands of people listening to their speeches and clapping on every line is a testimony to the fact that these leaders aren’t exclusive in their thinking.

India has seen numerous religions take birth on its land. While every new religion sought to move away from the evils of previously existing religions, none of them despised other religions in order to gain followers. The spirit of ‘Indianism’ takes inspiration from all those great religious reformers who tried to evolve something better without degrading any other religion or faith. Unlike today’s religious leaders, those great souls, about thousands of years ago, fought against social evils, rather than fighting with each other to prove their superiority.

There is absolutely no wrong in propagating one’s religious ideals. After all connection with one’s own roots is what keeps us true to ourselves. But when such propagation despises other faiths, it goes against the true spirit of ‘Indianism’. The word ‘Nationalist’ is powerful enough in itself. Prefixing a word like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian would only dilute its significance.

‘I respect all religions & faith and follow my own religion’ is not such a hard fact to accept after all.

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

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The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)