From one not secular..

secular

[sek-yuh-ler]

adjective

  1. of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal:
  1. the most misundertood and misinterpreted word in India.

I am a worldly thing, religious and spiritual. I do consider myself sacred too though not as much as Asaram and Ram Rahim Insan. Unfortunately therefore, I can have absolutely no claim on being secular. Fortunately though, that rules me out from being pseudo-secular either. Most people in India believe in some religion or another. They too can make no claims of being secular or pseudo-secular for that matter.

Do I aspire to be secular, i.e. not religious, spiritual or sacred? No. I cherish and value being a Hindu, just as my friends following a different religion or faith value being what they are. It is another matter that I also cherish that my friends cherish their beliefs, and that qualifies me to be called sickular by some people, though not quite secular.

Do I think it is a good thing to be secular? No. On the contrary, I think religion and spirituality when adopted in the right form and dose can enrich lives tremendously. Said that, if someone is happy being an atheist and at peace with his being, may God bless him.

It is not for people to be secular (or pseudo-secular). In fact, most people cannot, and are not secular. They don’t have to. It is the state that must be secular, should it have any desire to do well for its people. History is proof; the theocratic states have all failed without exception. Communism, where the state while abolishing religion becomes the religion of sorts itself, has failed too. The countries that have succeeded are the ones where all citizens feel free and empowered. Where everyone’s mind is without fear and the head held high, no matter what their faith, caste, race or creed. That is when society taps the potential of each of its constituents and the total becomes many times more than the sum of its parts. Obvious as it is, states continue to ignore it, and to their own peril.

We in India have the great privilege of having secularism enshrined in the preamble of our constitution. The founding fathers of the country kind of took it for granted, and it took the roving suspicious eyes of Indira Gandhi to realize the dangers lurking round the corner to push it into the constitution and hopefully make it “sanatan” or eternal. Hope springs eternal too…

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