Friday, 25 September 2015

PM Modi's comment on Sanskrit and secularism jibe in Ireland: Is it unconstitutional??

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at Dublin, the capital of Ireland on September 23, 2015 for a day long official visit. This visit by Modi to Ireland was the first one in last 60 years by any Indian PM. As usual he got a grand reception from Irish government as well as the country's Indian Diasporas.

When he was received by the Indian community of Ireland, Irish children (of Indian origin) chanted Sanskrit Shlokas to welcome Narendra Modi. Definitely it was an emotional moment for Narendra Modi. While addressing the Indian community he praised this Sanskrit recitation. He also took a dig at secular forces back in India while saying that, 'It's Ireland, that's why the children can sang Sanskrit recitation, had it been India there would be chaos by so called secularists in India.'

The Congress was quick in its action to criticize the dig in the harshest possible language. Manish Tewari, a senior Congress leader, while participating in TV debates immediately attacked Narendra Modi saying that Prime Minister has insulted the Constitution. The secularism of India is undermined in a foreign state. Narendra Modi is trying to create another Pakistan in India, said Tewari.

Now the question which surfaces here, "Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Sanskrit comment and secularism jibe unconstitutional?"
Before considering this question let's understand the Sanskrit, its controversy and link with secularism. Sanskrit is an ancient language of Indian civilization dating back to as early as the early second millennium BCE. It's the primary sacred language of Hinduism, a philosophical language in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism and a literal language that was in use as a lingua franca in greater India. It's a standardized dialect of old Indo-Aryan, originating as Vedic Sanskrit and tracing it's linguistic back to Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-European. (Source-Wikipedia).

If you want to respect ancient Indian civilization/culture, you need to also respect Sanskrit language. Some claim that Sanskrit is a language of Hinduism. Well ancient Indian culture is Hinduism, thus Sanskrit may be defined that way, but it should be noted that Sanskrit is not exactly a spoken language like vernacular languages and more clearly it can be considered as a literature language in which very rich quality written materials were recorded. 95 per cent of Sanskrit has no relation with religion rather it's related to scholarly work.

Now let's consider the term secular. It's a western term, whose exact dictionary meaning is 'no relation with religion. This term is coined to stop the influence/intervention of Christian churches in to governance of political establishment. Clearly the term secular or secularism defines that politics has no relation with politics.

Indian Constitution is truly secular even when the term 'Secular' was not included in the Constitution by the founding fathers. The constitution didn't give any concession to any religion nor allowed any intervention from religion or religious commands. All are equal in the eyes of Constitution irrespective of religion, caste, creed or race. The fundamentals of the Constitution have no relation with any religion.

Now how the Indian Secular Industry defines secularism in India? Anything that belongs to majority religion (Hinduism) is not secular. If government (generally BJP) intends to promote ancient Indian language Sanskrit, it's not secular (or communal) because it belongs to Hinduism. You can promote Urdu, English even German that's acceptable as secular. But Sanskrit, it's just saffronising.

Everybody can wear the skull cap during Muslim festivals to prove themselves as secular. But when a Hindu put a teeka on his forehead, he appears to be a communal. Interestingly a Muslim or Christian never to need wear any Hindu symbol to prove himself as a secular. Their religious attire is sufficient to prove them as secular.

More specifically according to Indian Secular industry people belonging to minority communities are automatically secular and only those from majority community who talk about minority's interest (through political voice) belong to secular groups. Any one from majority community if speaks, practices or supports own religion is purely communal.

Frankly the definition of secularism as per Constitution and as per secular industry is very different. Constitution speaks with true spirit where as the secular industry speaks with spirit of petty vote bank politics. If you attend an Iftar party you are secular, but if you do a Saraswati Vandana, you are communal!

Ireland too is a democratic country. Reciting Sanskrit song is no problem for their secular values. The Prime Minister didn't take the dig at a foreign forum (bilateral or multilateral), in front of foreign dignitaries or in course of foreign level discussions. He was talking to Indian community that was present in thousands to greet the Prime Minister of the country of their origin. Prime Minister was talking to Indians on foreign soil.
Thus Manish Tewari and Congress's criticism is merely a cynicism. Don't forget, it's the same Congress which once accused that BJP is mobilizing Indian crowd on foreign soils to chant Modi-Modi. Now they have realized that these are spontaneous Indian communities living in foreign countries who feel proud to have a strong Indian Prime Minister (not a BJP Prime Minister).

However, if Congress feels that Prime Minister has really insulted Indian Constitution, I urge the Congress party to knock the door of Supreme Court with all their arguments. If the Congress is right in its argument, I would like to see action against the Prime Minister for undermining the Constitutional spirit.

But will the Congress dare to file a case in the court. I guess they will not, because in the process Court may clearly define the true meaning of secularism ending the business of vote bank politics of this pseudo secular brigade!

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