Dr. G. Shreekumar Menon
“Secularism”- no other English term has caused so much acrimony, disenchantment and resentment in the minds of millions of right-thinking Indians. 966.3 million Hindus are abused, discriminated against, and castigated by politicians, media and intelligentsia using only the term – “secularism”.
Every iniquity perpetrated in independent India against Hindus, every sour internal debate, dialogue, interaction, is done relying on the term “secularism”. Every debilitating experience, disempowering actions, and depreciative assumptions, against Hindus, are justified by the term “secularism”. This opprobrious term “secularism” has negatively affected national success, performance, productivity, and workplace engagement. In today’s context, ‘secularism’ as practiced and preached in India denotes bullying, commanding and controlling the Hindu community, and giving freebies and largesse to practitioners of foreign religions.The term “secularism” is only of recent origin, having been coined in 1851 by George Jacob Holyoake, an English newspaper editor. The term was coined for use in the larger fight against, English blasphemy laws. His struggle made him a hero for English radicals of all types, even those who were not members of freethought organizations. Europe was battered by orthodox Christianity and people suffered constantly the interference of the Church in political administration. For centuries, Europe had witnessed constant struggle for power between royalty and the church, and the new concept of ‘secularism’ emerged to check the deleterious influence of the church. “The concept of secularism was originally developed as a non-religious philosophy focused on the needs and concerns of humanity in this life, not the possible needs and concerns associated with any possible afterlife. Secularism was also designed as a materialistic philosophy, both in terms of the means by which human life was to be improved and in its understanding of the nature of the universe“ ( Defining Secularists: George Jacob Holyoake Coined the Term Secularism – Origins of Secularism as a Non-Religious, Humanistic, Atheistic Philosophy). However, as the term evolved it came to denote non-interference by the State in religious affairs and vice versa.
On November 15, 1948, when the newly independent dominion of India was in the midst of a heated debate in the Constituent Assembly, on the nature of the Constitution, an attempt was made by Prof K.T Shah from Bihar who moved an Amendment to the original Preamble statement. He insisted that the words, “Secular, Federal, Socialist” be inserted into the statement. But, notably Jawaharlal Nehru along with the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution, B R Ambedkar, opposed the idea of including the word ‘secular’ in the preamble of the constitution, as they were of the view that it was a European concept and not suitable in the Indian context.
However, Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi during her premiership brought in the 42nd Amendment in 1975 by which an undefined term “Secular” was inserted in the Constitution. Her Congress party, which dominated the then Rajya Sabha in 1978, foiled an attempt to actually define secularism as “equal respect to all religions” by defeating an amendment bill that had already been cleared in the Lok Sabha during the Janata regime of Morarji Desai. From this it can be safely inferred that the undefined term ‘secularism’ was inserted with a malafide motive.
Predictably, “Secularism” in India has evolved into a Frankenstein, hounding the Hindus everyday in every possible manner by all kinds of politicians, journalists, imported religions, and pseudo-intellectuals. It has been twisted, warped, and deformed without any parallel elsewhere in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015, one-in-five countries around the world (22%) had declared a single state religion, typically enshrined in the constitution or basic law of the country. More than 80 countries favour a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data covering 199 countries and territories around the world. While Islam is the most common government endorsed faith, around 13 countries, including nine European nations designate Christianity or a particular Christian denomination (caste) as their state religion. Also, an additional 40 governments around the globe unofficially favour a particular religion, and in most cases the preferred faith is a branch (Denomination or caste) of Christianity. Indeed, Christian churches receive preferential treatment in more countries – 28 – than any other unofficial but favoured faith. But often the distinction comes with tangible advantages in terms of legal or tax status, ownership of real estate or other property, and access to financial support from the state. In addition, countries with state-endorsed faiths tend to more severely regulate religious practice, including placing restrictions or bans on minority religious groups.
In 10 countries, the state either tightly regulates all religious institutions or is actively hostile to religion in general. These countries include China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and several former Soviet republics – places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups.
While Islam is the most common state religion, Christianity is the most commonly “favoured” religion in the world. No countries in Europe or the Americas have Islam as their official religion. Buddhism is the official religion in two countries, Bhutan and Cambodia. Israel is the only country in the world with Judaism as its official state religion, and no country names Hinduism as its official state religion. India, despite an awesome population of 966.3 million Hindus according to the 2011 Census, stoutly refuses to proclaim India as a Hindu Country, because of machinations, ironically by Hindu politicians. The spinelessness and lack of great vision of the Hindu politicians began when the country was cracked into two pieces to satisfy the craving of the Muslims. Despite the Hindu Holocaust that engulfed the Sub-Continent, misguided and self-seeking Hindu politicians, failed to declare Hinduism as the State religion. Seeds of future conflict was sown by introducing Article 30 of the Constitution of India which recognised ‘minorities’ on the basis of religion and language. The Hindu politician’s penchant for muddling up was evident from their failure to define as to what constitutes ‘Minority’. Six religions in India were arbitrarily awarded “National minority” status – three foreign faiths namely Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrians (Parsees) and three indigenous faiths Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. All Hindus whether belonging to any sect or community, language or State were all unscientifically clubbed together and deliberately classified as ‘Majority’, and deprived of any kind of privileges granted to the so called ‘Minorities’.
The inglorious special brand of ‘Indian secularism’ commenced from the day we got Independence from the British.
Minority rights, in all countries, cover protection of existence, protection from discrimination and persecution, protection and promotion of identity, and participation in political life, whereas in India many unique privileges have been accorded and continues to be accorded, unheard of in any other country: The Government of India has an exclusive Ministry of Minority Affairs, a National Commission for Minorities, in addition, every State has set up State Minorities Commissions. Very strangely and illogically, though Hindus are a minority in six states: Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, and in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep, they are denied Minority status, and denied Minority benefits like reservations in educational institutions, government employment, and scholarships. Minorities have a bouquet of special Scholarship Schemes notably:
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF)
- Padho Pardesh – Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies for the Students Belonging to the Minority Communities.
- Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied Scheme.
- Pre-matric Scholarship Scheme • Post-matric Scholarship Scheme, • Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship Scheme
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship. Online Scholarship Management System (OSMS) • Residential Academies for Minority Students
- Minority-run educational and professional institutions can offer admission to members of their own communities even if they do not qualify on merit.
- Minority institutions are not subject to government scrutiny and can follow their own procedures.
- Various departments of state and Central governments offer special welfare schemes to minorities.
- Most of the states provide reservation in government jobs for minorities.
- Nai Udaan – Support for students clearing Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), State Public Service Commission (SPSC) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) etc.
- Nai Roshni – Leadership development of women belonging to minority communities. • Seekho Aur Kamao – Skill development scheme for youth of 14 – 35 years age group and aiming at improving the employability of existing workers, school dropouts etc.
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) – Implemented for the benefit of the people from all sections of the society in identified Areas for development of infrastructure projects with emphasis on education, skill, health sectors etc.
- USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) aims to preserve heritage of traditional skills of indigenous artisans/craftsmen. Under this scheme Hunnar Haats are also held all over the country to provide nation-wide marketing platform to Minority artisans & entrepreneurs and to create employment opportunities.
- Nai Manzil – A scheme for formal school education & skilling of school dropouts • Hamari Dharohar- A scheme to preserve heritage of minority communities
- Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) implements education and employment oriented related programmes as follows (a) Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious Girls belonging to the economically weaker sections of Minorities under which scholarship is awarded to minority girl students (b) Gharib Nawaz Employment Scheme started in 2017-18 for providing short term job-oriented skill development training to youth. (c) Bridge Course for madrassa students & school dropouts.
- Equity to National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) for providing concessional loans to minorities for self-employment and income generating ventures.
In addition to the above, the Ministry also implements schemes for strengthening State Waqf Boards and coordinates arrangements for annual Haj pilgrimage.
Hindus are totally excluded and have no kind of compensatory schemes, even the poorest Hindus are denied any kind of relief.
Apart from the above schemes of the Central Government, each and every State Government has a plethora of schemes only to pamper religious minorities especially Muslims and Christians. For example, the Kerala Government has started a new corporation called Kerala State Development Corporation for Christian Converts from Scheduled Castes. States like Tamilnadu have schemes like i) Award of Prizes for State & District levels ii) Urdu Award iii) Maintenance of Minorities School / College Hostels iv) Muslim Women Aid Societies v) Jerusalem Pilgrimage vi) Ulema & Other Employees Welfare Board vii) Rehabilitation Assistance to the victims of communal riots.
Andhra Pradesh government headed by Jagan Mohan Reddy government had issued an order dated May 14, 2021 to introduce payment of monthly honorarium for Christian Pastors, Muslim Imams and Mouzzans. A total of 948.72 crores is allocated for this scheme in 2019-20. Hindu Pujaris/Pandits do not find any mention in this scheme.
Bengal has a scheme called Aikyashree – a scholarship for Minority students. There are Muslim Girls hostels in every district. In January 2022, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated over 620 projects, including schools, hostels, drinking water and healthcare facilities and shopping complexes, in blocks with high concentration of Muslims.
Similarly, every State Government has put in place a package of schemes benefiting only Muslims and Christians. The above schemes targeted at benefiting only two communities, is a direct mockery of our Constitutional claims of equality. Why are only two communities being pampered excessively and other communities especially Hindus totally excluded?
The answer lies in the voting strategy adopted by these two West Asian religions. The iron grip of the clergy of these two religions on their respective communities resembles dictatorship. Both the communities vote only for the candidature endorsed by their clergy. Every man, woman and youth vote only as directed by the clergy, nobody enjoys any right to dissent or question. If their community is in numerical strength, then the candidate should necessarily be only from their religion and denomination (euphemism for ‘caste’). Political parties and candidates supplicate before these religious heads, promise them unquestioned obedience and allegiance in exchange for votes. In the name of democracy there is a barter exchange happening. The religious heads make full use of the opportunity to demand exclusive benefits like job reservation, educational benefits, total non-interference in their affairs and the full freedom to convert the Hindus by hook or crook. Political blackmail is another continuous weapon to keep interfering in government administration by demanding sensitive portfolios and key positions are given for their community people, who in turn will leak sensitive information to the clergy as also further the cause of their community only.
In this process, both the West Asian religions have made India into a playground of devious conversion tactics. While one West Asian religion whose hallmark is violence and rioting keep indulging in laying love traps and luring young girls into their dragnet using narcotics and social media blackmail, the other West Asian import has an elaborate network of schools, colleges and hospitals which are used for mass conversions by promising jobs, education and treatment for illnesses.
These two West Asian religions are elaborately and lavishly funded by foreign countries, intelligence agencies masquerading as relief agencies, religious organizations and even multinational organizations.
As a result of the above modus operandi large number of electorates are not casting votes on democratic principles but exercising their franchise by complying with the dictates of their clergy. Invariably, the voters cast votes for candidates belonging to their faith or their faith based political outfits. The Hindu clergy have absolutely no kind of clout or authority that the West Asian religions have. The Hindu votes get split among different political parties, as they are unable to vote en bloc like the followers of West Asian faiths. Political parties keep hobnobbing with the clergy of the West Asian faiths, promising a plethora of benefits. This practice has made the fractured Hindu votes of little value and immaterial to have any electoral bearing, in many States like Kerala, Bengal, Tamil nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and in the North East. This has resulted in serious issues relating to internal security, functioning of Central Government departments and agencies, utilization of government funds and tax payers’ money, Hindu Temple administration, education and job reservation, and huge religious conversion rackets run with tacit State government support and connivance.
North Indian States are being now targeted aggressively by West Asian conversion gangs from the South. It is a common sight to see huge groups proceeding by train to various North Indian destinations for religious conversions. The whole exercise is a well-planned assault on Hindus by misusing the Constitutional provision of right to religion. Two undefined terms that are abused indiscriminately in the process are ‘propagate’ and ‘secular’. A sober reading of the term ‘propagate’ as used in the Constitution means that within their community their religious functions, ceremonies, teachings and writings can be freely practised and preached. The West Asian religions mischievously interpret ‘propagate’ as ‘Right to Convert’. For this purpose, they also place reliance on the undefined term ‘secularism’, which they interpret as total and unrestricted freedom to convert Hindus. Thus, ‘secularism’ in India means that Hindus cannot protect themselves from conversion by asking for Anti-Conversion laws, Hindus cannot protest against any conversion activities in their area, Hindus cannot protest if their religion is ridiculed, vilified and condemned, Hindus cannot protest if their girls are lured, trapped and converted through dubious marriages, Hindus cannot be granted privileges like Minority rights, Hindus should not protest if non-Hindus are given charge of Temple administration portfolios, Hindus should not protest if places of worship of West Asian religions are given concessional rates for electricity, water, property tax, building tax, Hindus should not protest if their money offerings deposited in Temple Hundis are taken over by the government, Hindus should not protest if Temple gold, silver and even utensils are sold off, Hindus cannot protest if government funds are given to followers of West Asian religions to visit their religious places in foreign lands, the list is endless, as the term ‘secularism’ has been mutilated and distorted to mean unrestricted rights and privileges for only the followers of the two West Asian religions.
Since both the West Asian religions have a full-fledged external control and monitoring by foreign religious organizations and entities, any measures taken to protect Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, like for example anti-conversion laws, the international press and media can be manipulated to give bad publicity. A ruckus is created very often in the foreign media and by foreigners in various international forums, think-tanks, universities and even in their parliaments alleging and accusing that religious freedom is being curtailed. Pejorative and derogatory terms are used against Hindus like idolators, kafirs, Right wing extremists, Hindu supremacists and so on. Don’t Hindus have a right to protect themselves from foreign funded religious marauders?
The nation has been completely emasculated by just one term ‘secularism’. No West Asian country uses the term ‘secularism’ in their constitution, the Vatican abhors this term and it is unthinkable for them to incorporate it in their constitution, yet they expect that India should be secular so that they can freely convert Hindus. Notorious projects by fanatic organizations like Joshua Project, Unfolding Word, Reach All Nations, Ayana Charitable Trust @ Gospel for Asia, Believers Church India, Missionaries of Charity, World Vision India, Evangelical Fellowship of India, Salvation Army and hundreds of other foreign funded missionary organizations are running amok converting Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Ayana’s FCRA returns, declares its total foreign funding in 2015-16 at a whopping Rs.826 crores! This massive funding is just for converting Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Since the money has come from abroad, there is no question of any kind of taxes to be paid.
The International Mission Board (IMB), an American Christian organization, has set aside $175 billion to convert Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains in India to Christianity. This missionary organization has openly stated on their website that they are recruiting converted Hindus and training them to convert other Hindus. They have around 3,535 missionary families working on the payroll of IMB to carry out mass conversions in India. The members of this organization are engaged in religious conversion targeting every sect of people living in India including Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. There are over 110 Evangelical organizations with a ‘Church Planting’ mission running steadily in India. Every organization has maps, targets and objectives for conversions and the creation of new churches set for every year. Joshua Project, an organization that claims to give definition to the ‘unfinished business’ maintains ethnological data of every community of India mapped along with its population, occupation, obstacles and a roadmap to convert them.
“The year 2020, when the entire world was trying to fight an unknown disease and effectively went into stringent lockdown – Christian missionaries were very sorted in their goals. In fact, they manipulated people and lured weaker sections of society into their fold. While India was battling the Chinese pandemic, such missionaries initiated a wave of proselytization previously unheard of in India. Reports suggest that missionaries were able to convert as many as 1,00,000 people to Christianity amidst the lockdown last year. Further, missionaries also planted several churches all across India, using them as a shot in the arm for their predatory proselytization.” (TFI Post, April 2021)
USA based fanatic Christian organizations lavishly fund proselytization organizations in India, as also European organizations. The American and European governments do not get directly involved in funding missionary conversions in India, but they are fully aware of which donor is giving how much to whom. No government restraints are there on these organizations that continually keep funding conversion activities. These Western nations make a hue and cry over ‘terror-funding’ but maintain total silence over ‘religious conversion funding’. Their media which goes into an overdrive about even a minor religious scuffle in India, is deaf and dumb about the massive budgets and funds flowing out of their countries for religious-conversions. The source of these funds is also not being probed, are these drug-money, money laundering proceeds, proceeds of human-trafficking or cash being printed clandestinely? There is no talk of secularism, in the sense of religion-neutrality, by these governments nor by the plethora of organizations that fund large-scale conversions in India.
India’s internal security, law and order, safety of women, demographic profile, religious harmony, governance and administration, are all getting dented severely because of two undefined, mischievous words- ‘secularism’ and ‘propagate’. If these two terms are not deleted, the stability and unity of India will be in peril. The two West Asian religions have already converted large number of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains by devious means. If conversions are not prohibited strictly and forcibly, the political scenario will get transformed. The two West Asian religions, with foreign funds will play havoc with the political processes. If urgent steps are not taken to legally ban religious conversions by amending the Constitution, another Partition crisis will raise its ugly head very soon and the country will be split apart.
The Western nations have set up The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. This inter-governmental body of 200 countries sets international standards that aim to prevent illegal activities and to ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism. They help authorities go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. The FATF also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction. But why is funding of religious conversions not figuring in FATF? India is also a member of FATF. There are now 23 countries in the FATF grey list, officially referred to as “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies”. From India’s, and most of the rest of the world’s perspective, the most important country on the list is Pakistan. Myanmar, and Turkey is also on the list. But, if money for religious conversions is added to FATF agenda, most Western nations including America will figure in FATF Grey List.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) is engaged in addressing issues relating to terrorism, organized crime, drug-trafficking, and criminal justice. Yet, massive financing of religious conversions in third world countries including India is kept out of the agenda. Is it because all the Western nations will be in the dock, sharing seats with rouge countries like Pakistan and Turkey?
The United Nations has a UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, yet, that office maintains total silence about massive funding by Western nations for religious conversions in third world countries including India, why?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), of USA makes much fanfare about what they call ‘Hate Crime’. A hate crime is “a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias, against a given race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin.” Why is funding religious conversions not classified as a ‘hate-crime’?
Europe has a European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) whose Article 9 guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Article 14 of the ECHR prohibits discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property birth or other status. But they maintain a staunch and rigid silence about the hate crime of financing of religious conversions in Third World countries including India, by Western and US based entities and organizations, why? India should raise its voice against the hate crime of financing of religious conversions and specific targeting of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, by Western nations before the United Nations, and demand the inclusion of this kind of financing as an offence and an aggravated hate-crime against humanity.
The Indian Constitution has been amended 104 times; the latest amendment became effective on 25 January 2020. Hence it is imperative that these two terms ‘secularism’ and ‘propagate’ be deleted by bringing in amendments, as these two terms are causing grave injury to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Indian brand of ‘secularism’ has been mauled and battered by both the fundamentalist West Asian religions.
The Constitution of USA does not have any such concept as ‘secularism’, as also the Constitutions of United Kingdom, China, Australia, Japan, and many other developed countries. Why should India put itself in peril, put its people in peril, put its reputation in peril, by clinging to the undefined term ‘secularism’? Let us follow the USA and other countries and delete all references to ‘secularism’ and ‘propagate’ from our Constitution. May the wise words of His Holiness Dalai Lama guide us “India is a great Hindu nation, but secularism is destroying India and its greatness, only Hindutva can save India”.
According to the 2011 Census of India, 966.3 million people identify as Hindu, representing 79.8% of the country's population, yet Hinduism is not declared as the State religion of India.
The author Dr G Shreekumar Menon, IRS (Rtd) Ph. D (Narcotics), is
- Former Director General National Academy of Customs Indirect Taxes and Narcotics, and Multi-Disciplinary School of Economic Intelligence India
- Fellow, James Martin Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies, USA.
- Fellow, Centre for International Trade & Security, University of Georgia, USA
- Public Administration, Maxwell School of Public Administration, Syracuse University, U.S.A.
- AOTS Scholar, Japan
Dr G Shreekumar Menon can be contacted at email@example.com