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Re: Why India should not be Secular

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
Dear Raju,

what did you exactly want to convey thro the roller coaster ride of 
an essay of yours ? You started by saying india should not be secular 
and then go on to extoll pluralism and end by saying that hinduism is 
the spiritual ancestor of pluralism. 

IPI is a forum for a debate on the system. Now what changes would 
your ideas bring into the SYSTEM of indian laws and polity ?
i.e. How will india declaring itself as a "pluralist" state, instead 
of a "secular" state make a difference to the average man and his/her 
interaction with the government ?
please elaborate (we can take this debate outside the forum as hte 
other members seem to be overwhelmed by the whole topic )


"Raju Agarwal" <krantikari@hotmail.com> wrote on Friday December 22, 
2000 at  9:21pm:
>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate 
>Why India Should Not Be Secular
>The proponents of Secularism argue that this construct is essential 
>order for different religions to peacefully coexist with each 
other.  The 
>problem with this argument is that it falsely assumes that all 
religions are 
>based on the idea of exclusivity and therefore will be hostile to 
>another.  The truth is, that while this may be a valid supposition 
in the 
>case of the Abrahamic religions, it is certainly not true in the 
case of 
>Eastern religions in general and Indian religions in particular.
>All religions are not based on the same philosophical underpinnings 
>therefore should not be labeled with the same brush.  Moreover, the 
>concept of (organized) religion is alien to India.  There is no 
>of the English word religion in any Indian language.   The closest 
>word is Dharma which does not connote exclusivity.  Even the term 
>is a Persian word that refers to people living east of the Indus 
>river.  That is, the term Hindu in its original sense refers to all 
>  Hinduism therefore, is just the ism of the Indian people.  
>has no Church, no Pope nor even a common Bible.  As noted 
>Hinduism is not a religion.  It is a paradigm like religion and 
>Secularism itself, which has proved to be more successful in 
>about the peaceful coexistence of diverse spiritual traditions.  For 
>example, despite Indias spiritual diversity, there was no equivalent 
>The Crusades in India.  There was no war between the Vaishnavites 
>Shaivites or between the Advaitists and Dvaitists.  There was no war 
>the followers of this Prophet and that Prophet, this God and that 
>Whenever a new Prophet gained prominence in India, the message was 
>through peaceful means and there was no religious persecution from 
>established order.   Shankara did not raise an army to spread his 
>and his first devotee was the head of the Dvaitist school of 
thought, which 
>was the prevailing philosophy at that time.  Al-Biruni put it 
>They (the Hindus) are opposite us in every respect.  They do not 
give their 
>life or their property to defend their religious beliefs.  If they 
>they fight only with words.
>Unlike the Judeo-Christian concept of religious exclusivity, Indian 
>spiritual traditions are based on the idea of Unity in Diversity.  
>remarkably reconciles seemingly irreconcilable religious 
differences.  Just 
>as light is known to have both wave-like and particle-like 
>in Hinduism God is considered to be both without form and attributes 
>(nirguna) and with form and attributes (saguna).  The one does not 
>the other.  Consequently there is no compulsion for believers in the 
>impersonal form of God (Brahman) to feel any antagonism toward those 
>worship idols and believe in the saguna view of God (i.e. Lord Ram, 
>In Hinduism, believers in one spiritual tradition do not see 
themselves as 
>having exclusive knowledge of Gods true nature or His word.  They do 
>consider themselves to be the chosen race anointed by God to spread 
>Word.  They do not think that all non-believers have been misled by 
>and will be damned to spend eternity in Hell.  In fact, just as the 
>of religion is alien to India, so too is the concept of Satan.
>By contrast, Lord Krishna says in the Gita Just as all streams flow 
>the sea, so do all paths of worship lead to Me.  He also shows His 
>Arjuna His cosmic form (vishwa roop) within which Arjuna not only 
sees all 
>of the forms of God known to him but many more forms (i.e. Gods) 
that he has 
>never seen before.   Hinduism believes in One God that manifests 
itself in 
>infinite forms.  Just as Lord Ram and Lord Shiva are considered to 
>manifestations of the same Divinity, Jesus and Allah may also be 
viewed as 
>manifestations of that Divinity. The God realized soul, Shri 
>Paramhansa, used the analogy of three men, Hindu, Muslim and 
>standing on opposite sides of a lake.  The Hindu drinks the water 
calling it 
>Jaal, the Muslim drinks calling it Paani and the Christian drinks 
calling it 
>Water, but in each case the taste is the same and the thirst equally 
>The fundamental problem with the idea of Secularism is that it does 
>address the root problem of religious violence  religious bigotry.  
>Gandhi described violence as consisting of three forms: violent 
>violent words, and violent thoughts.   While the concept of 
>successfully put an end to the era of religious warfare (i.e. The 
>it has hardly made a dent in reducing religious bigotry.  For 
example, a 
>prominent American television Evangelist recently called India a 
nation of 
>900 million Satan Worshippers and asked his followers for donations 
>establish a Missionary movement in India that would go to every 
village in 
>the country.  The Pope has frequently stated that all religions are 
not the 
>same and that Christianity is the true religion.  During his recent 
>to India, the Pope said that the mission of the Church in this 
millennium is 
>to bring the masses of Asia into the fold.
>Because of its failure to address the issue of religious bigotry, 
>has not been successful in creating a society in which all religions 
>truly peacefully coexist.  In order for this to happen, adherents of 
>particular religion must think beyond merely tolerating another 
>they must accept its divinity.  This may be difficult but it is not 
>impossible.  There is no verse in the Bible for instance that 
>says that God does not manifest Himself in forms other than Jesus. 
It is 
>only a matter of changing the prevailing interpretation.
>In fact, this idea is the basis of a new paradigm known as 
Pluralism, that 
>is quickly gaining popularity in many academic circles engaged in 
the study 
>of Philosophy and Religion.  Whether you call it Hinduism, 
Pluralism, or any 
>other ism, this idea is destined to become the future religion of 
>(whatever religion means).
>In some sense, Hinduism is the evolution of Secularism.
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>This is the National Debate on System Reform.       
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