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Re: Why India should not be Secular



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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 )

regards
prakash

"Raju Agarwal" <krantikari@hotmail.com> wrote on Friday December 22, 
2000 at  9:21pm:
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>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate 
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>Why India Should Not Be Secular
>
>The proponents of Secularism argue that this construct is essential 
in 
>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 
one 
>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 
and 
>therefore should not be labeled with the same brush.  Moreover, the 
very 
>concept of (organized) religion is alien to India.  There is no 
equivalent 
>of the English word religion in any Indian language.   The closest 
Indian 
>word is Dharma which does not connote exclusivity.  Even the term 
Hindu 
>is a Persian word that refers to people living east of the Indus 
(Sindhu) 
>river.  That is, the term Hindu in its original sense refers to all 
Indians. 
>  Hinduism therefore, is just the ism of the Indian people.  
Hinduism 
>has no Church, no Pope nor even a common Bible.  As noted 
previously, 
>Hinduism is not a religion.  It is a paradigm like religion and 
>Secularism itself, which has proved to be more successful in 
bringing 
>about the peaceful coexistence of diverse spiritual traditions.  For 
>example, despite Indias spiritual diversity, there was no equivalent 
of 
>The Crusades in India.  There was no war between the Vaishnavites 
and 
>Shaivites or between the Advaitists and Dvaitists.  There was no war 
between 
>the followers of this Prophet and that Prophet, this God and that 
God.  
>Whenever a new Prophet gained prominence in India, the message was 
spread 
>through peaceful means and there was no religious persecution from 
the 
>established order.   Shankara did not raise an army to spread his 
message 
>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 
succinctly: 
>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 
fight, 
>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.  
Hinduism 
>remarkably reconciles seemingly irreconcilable religious 
differences.  Just 
>as light is known to have both wave-like and particle-like 
characteristics, 
>in Hinduism God is considered to be both without form and attributes 
>(nirguna) and with form and attributes (saguna).  The one does not 
negate 
>the other.  Consequently there is no compulsion for believers in the 
>impersonal form of God (Brahman) to feel any antagonism toward those 
that 
>worship idols and believe in the saguna view of God (i.e. Lord Ram, 
Lord 
>Krishna).
>
>In Hinduism, believers in one spiritual tradition do not see 
themselves as 
>having exclusive knowledge of Gods true nature or His word.  They do 
not 
>consider themselves to be the chosen race anointed by God to spread 
His 
>Word.  They do not think that all non-believers have been misled by 
Satan 
>and will be damned to spend eternity in Hell.  In fact, just as the 
concept 
>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 
into 
>the sea, so do all paths of worship lead to Me.  He also shows His 
disciple 
>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 
be 
>manifestations of the same Divinity, Jesus and Allah may also be 
viewed as 
>manifestations of that Divinity. The God realized soul, Shri 
Ramakrishna 
>Paramhansa, used the analogy of three men, Hindu, Muslim and 
Christian, 
>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 
>quenched.
>
>The fundamental problem with the idea of Secularism is that it does 
not 
>address the root problem of religious violence  religious bigotry.  
Mahatma 
>Gandhi described violence as consisting of three forms: violent 
actions, 
>violent words, and violent thoughts.   While the concept of 
Secularism 
>successfully put an end to the era of religious warfare (i.e. The 
Crusades), 
>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 
to 
>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 
visit 
>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, 
Secularism 
>has not been successful in creating a society in which all religions 
can 
>truly peacefully coexist.  In order for this to happen, adherents of 
a 
>particular religion must think beyond merely tolerating another 
religion, 
>they must accept its divinity.  This may be difficult but it is not 
>impossible.  There is no verse in the Bible for instance that 
specifically 
>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 
mankind 
>(whatever religion means).
>
>In some sense, Hinduism is the evolution of Secularism.
>
>_________________________________________________________________
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>
>
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