|God and the Constitution of India|
14th January, 2014
We Indians claim to be a secular democratic republic, governed by a Constitution of India we have given ourselves. If indeed we are secular, why do we recognize “god” in our Constitution? No, the Constitution does not use that word itself, but the “god” is very much there. Many of us believe “god” can take different forms, so which form has god taken in our Constitution? More topically, whose is this “god” and what divine providence do this god’s faithful have in store for us who do not believe?
It is in the Preamble to the Constitution of India that we, the people of India, proclaim ourselves to be “secular”. However, nowhere in the Constitution in its English version do we the people define “secularism”. As it happens, there is an official text of the Constitution in Hindi, and its Preamble uses the word panthanirapekshata. This word is quite unambiguous in its meaning. Monier-Williams gives nir-apeksha as “regardless of, indifferent to, independent of, disinterested”, so panthanirapeksha is that our Republic is indifferent to, independent of religion. (Editor's note : 'Pantha' means 'path' - obviously chosen for spiritual attainment)
Therefore, by the principle of harmonious construction, given that there are two official versions of the Constitution of India and that one uses a word that is unambiguous in its meaning and the other is silent in regard to it, we the people have resolved that our secularism means that our State must be disinterested in, must be neutral to religion. In other words, the State must disregard religion – a negative concept.
However, in 1994, in S.R. Bommai vs Union of India, the Supreme Court of India ruled that “secularism is a positive concept of equal treatment of all religions…..To the state, all are equal and are entitled to be treated equally”. In other words, for the Supreme Court, panthanirapekshata is really sarvadharma samabhava?
Sarvadharma samabhava is the mealy-mouthed Gandhian and patently false “equality of all religions” (with unwillingness to clarify the truth or covering up the less than noble intent and practice behind the professed noble words). Monotheisms by their own definition can never agree that any paganism is “equal” to their theism, that pagan divinities are “equal” to their “God”. Yet, the Indian State foolishly persists with “all faiths are equal” both as its belief and its ideal, mouthed by its various authorities, even its unofficial ones. For example, when the abrahamist Sonia Gandhi, was our de facto prime minister, gave it a clever twist with “secularism means equal respect for all religions” (note the intangible "respect", not the actionable "treatment"), and that Nehru-Gandhi camp follower Pranab Mukherjee, shortly before he became our President, went the whole hog by declaring that sarvadharma samabhava “constitute(s) the essence and spirit of our Constitution”. (Editor's comment : the original intent of "secularism" was to effect a clean separation between the Church and the State, to keep each institution from meddling in the affairs of each other. That meaning is totally irrelevant for India where religion was never directly involved in ruling and governing the people. There was no time in India when an organized religion formed a government or ruled over the people.)
There are, therefore, two streams in the Indian construction of Constitutional secularism – that the State is independent of religion (the Preamble) and that for the State all religions are equal (the Supreme Court). The first stream is all but dry, and the second is now a river in spate. The name of this overflowing river is “Nehruvian secularism” (or, if you prefer, minorityism / minority appeasement / pseudo-secularism), and to try and dam it or even embank it is to be a "Hindu communalist" (for Nehruvian secularism there is no other kind of communalism).
The wellsprings of this river lie in the Constitution itself. While it is true that, in theory, the Republic of India does not recognize a State religion, the practice the Republic of India follows is certainly not panthanirpekshata (nor, for that matter, dharmanirapekshata). The Republic of India, while preaching sarvadharma samabhava to the abrahamists, in practice accepts the abrahamic definition that their belief-system is not samabhava with our indigenous ones. The abrahamic god by self-definition is "true" and therefore our indigenous gods are "false" (e.g., Isaiah 43.11, 44.6, 46.9). And the State accepts this on the authority of an "abrahamic communalism" that the Constitution itself sanctions. (Editor's comment : While Hinduism is pluralistic and all inclusive in its ideal of "sarvadharma samabhava" a principle acceptable to all Hindus, this principle is not at all acceptable nor compatible with the abrahamic exclusivism which must be interpreted as historically the worst form of communalism practiced for two millennia all over the world decimating many "non-believer" cultures. So a constitution that makes room for such worse form of communalism and treats and dubs the Hindu solidarity that welcomes other cultures as the only "communalism" is absurd)
With that background, let us look at the Constitutional provisions that belong to the first stream (panthanirpekshata) -
Article 14. Equality before law - The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 15(1). Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth - The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
Articles 16(1) and (2). Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment -
(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of any employment or office under the State.
Article 29(2). No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Article 44. Uniform civil code for the citizens - The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.(Editor's note: this has not become a reality in practice nor legislated at the central or state government level)
Article 51A. Fundamental duties -
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India -
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
Now let us look at the Constitutional provisions that treat all religions equally (note that this is not at all the same as saying that all religions are equal) –
Article 25(1). Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion - Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.
Article 26. Freedom to manage religious affairs -
Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right-
(a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
(c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
(d) to administer such property in accordance with law.
Finally, let us look at the Constitutional provisions that violate panthanirpekshata, provisions which enable or require the State to involve itself in religious matters, or that privilege extended to the abrahamic religions which by definition are communalistic –
Article 16(5). Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination. (Editor's Note: This
provision is a violation of the principle of separation of the Church and the State
and is a direct intrusion or interference into the internal matter of any religious group)
Article 25(2). Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus...
Explanation II.- In sub-clause (b) of clause (2) the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly. (Editor's note:
what this means is that the Abrahamic religions and also Zorashtrian or Parsee
religious institutions may prohibit non-blievers from entering their places of worship
or enter into the governing boards of such places of worship or their institutions,
while the Indian government reserves the right to force the Hindu temples and institutions to accept "others" on the governing boards of their places of worship or religious institutions.)
Article 30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions -
(1)All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(1A) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause (1), the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause.
(2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
The Constitution does not define “minorities” except in explanation that Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are Hindus for purpose of socioreligious reform. However, the then government in its divide-and-rule wisdom took these “Hindus” out of the pluralistic fold and clubbed them with the abrahamic monotheisms under the National Commission of Minorities Act.
Articles 14, 15(1), 16(1) and (2), 44 and 51A require not only that religion be irrelevant in and to public policy but they encourage and, indeed, expect citizens to be rational, to act rationally, to ask questions, to seek rational answers. They want “thinking” citizens, all equal qua citizens, of a democracy governed by reason rather than by faith, a democracy of humanists, not religionists. They want religious diversities to be transcended – and this is anathema to the abrahamisms. The very existence of the abrahamic “God” is predicated on the retention of his exclusiveness, and therefore the abrahamism must remain an exclusivism. An abrahamism can never allow even the conceptual possibility of there being other gods (hence the faux pas evident in the optimism of pagans for “inter-faith dialogues” with abrahamists).
Articles 25(1) and 26 accept the place of religion in the lives of people, accept that all religionists have the same rights, and that the State has no role here except in the limited sense of ensuring that “your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man´s nose begins”.
Articles 16(5), 25(2) and 30 very clearly make a mockery of the panthanirpeksha Articles. They make a mockery of “all Indians are equal” by proclaiming that some Indians are more equal than others because of their religion. And which are these religions? The two primary ones are the grasping tentacles in India of foreign world-conquering octopoid monotheisms that together constitute about 55% of the global population and openly declare their global ambitions through means ordained or ordered by their defining texts.
Articles 16(5), 25(2) and 30 make a mockery of scientific enquiry, of rationalism, of humanism, of the spirit of enquiry and reform. They discourage questioning, they encourage blind faith. They exclude the State from attempting socioreligious reform within Christianity and Islam. The State intervenes politically but professedly for socioreligious reform only within Hinduism and the Constitution implicitly accepts that Christianity and Islam, being faiths of the “One True God”, requiring no reform in their social practices or their governing of their palces of worship or their religious institutions.
Articles 16(5), 25(2) and 30 make a mockery of equal opportunities for and equal rights of citizens. Scholarships, vocational / professional training, reservations in admissions to academic institutions, free coaching for private jobs, free coaching for and reservations in government jobs (including the IAS, IFS, IPS), money for higher study abroad, money for business......the State, at the taxpayer's cost, extends a whole and now rapidly growing slew of preferential schemes for Indian citizens based on religion as long as they are not Hindu. State policy is expanding, in gross violation of panthanirpekshata, to give certain citizens (overwhelmingly Muslim) first claim on national resources because of their religion. As just one example, the Jamia Millia Islamia, which receives substantial State aid both as a Central university and for its free coaching scheme for the civil services, denies admission in this free coaching scheme to all Hindu women unless they are from J&K only (ask yourself why) and it denies admission to all mainstream Hindu men (even if they are from J&K – again, ask yourself why). Article 29(2), anyone?
These privileged citizens are primarily the abrahamisms, who claim to be created by their god in his own likeness (e.g., Genesis 1.26-27). Since their god is the only true god, he must be privileged and, it follows as being created by him in his likeness, that the followers are to be privileged too. They, as their theocracies demonstrate, consider themselves in their very existence to be superior to the pagan. And, as inferiors, we pagans accord the Christian / Muslim god – Jehovah / Allah – and his followers special protection, special rights in our supposedly secular Constitution. Hindu gods, declared false by abrahamists, are given no such protections, no such rights. Our gods are the objects of politics. Our gods and their temples can be investigated, can be reformed, can be subjected to temporal jurisdictions enforced by governments through officials who are non-believers who appropriate temple wealth for “secular” purposes. The abrahamic god and his places of worship and his wealth are holy, are sacred; the State dare not desecrate them as it does ours.
No Christian or Islamic theocracy anywhere in the world treats its minorities as equal citizens yet, in India, Christianity and Islam demand and a pusillanimous State extends to them rights and advantages that are historically and demonstrably destructive to indigenous belief-systems and that make the "pagan" majority less equal than the abrahamic minorities.
Why do we pagans believe we are inferior and act so inferior to these abrahamists? The hegemonic influence of dhimmitude / macaulayanism? A. Surya Prakash summarizes how pagan leaders in the Constituent Assembly buckled before the aggressiveness of the Christian members who insisted that “religious propagation was central to Christianity”. Six decades later, very recently, the Hindus beginning “to leverage Article 25(1)”, abrahamists and Nehruvian-secularists protest vehemently that what’s sauce for the abrahamic goose cannot be sauce for the pagan gander!
If the Republic of India is to evolve into a really secular democracy, how can this be done? Four measures are needed -
1. “To renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women” - Art 51A(e). The most effective and rational way to do this – and it has the support of the Supreme Court – is to begin the process to enact a uniform civil code – Art 44, so that all Indian women are emancipated and all citizens enjoy uniform civil rights irrespective of religion.
2. To enact legislation furthering the Supreme Court ruling that there is no Constitutional right to conversion. This will shift religion firmly into the personal domain – no really secular Indian can object to this and no really secular Indian can have any difficulty in their private lives of worshipping any form of divinity that appeals to them.
3. To extend Art 25 (2)(b) to all religions, or to repeal it. It is grossly discriminatory that only Hinduism is subjected to socioreligious reform, and the abrahamisms are noli-me-tangere (only the abrahamists have the right to warn the government not to touch, meddle or interfere in their affairs.)
4. To do likewise with the grossly discriminatory and pernicious Art 30 – apply it to all, or none. The equal treatment of all religions, remember?
(Tangentially, there is a fifth, the repeal of the “temporary” Art 370, an Article stoutly opposed by Ambedkar.)
The underlying ethical principle is The Golden Rule of Reciprocity, which goes all the way back at least to the Mahabharata, is found “in a wide range of world cultures, is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts” and that the abrahamisms themselves in their own characteristic way sanction in their Holy Koran (2.178, 5.45) and their Holy Bible (Exodus 21.23-25; Leviticus 24.17-21; Deuteronomy 19.19; indeed, practised by their god himself – Judges 1.7).
In its most evocative – and instructive – form, it is Shylock’s speech in The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Sc.1 -
Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
Dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
The same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
To the same diseases, heal´d by the same means,
Warm´d and cool´d by the same winter and summer
As a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
Do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
Sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.
The villainy you teach me, I will execute,
And it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
It is pertinent that through the two millennia of their persecution and slaughter by their fellow-abrahamists, “if there is one place in the world which has been a safe haven for Jews, it is India”. Ask yourself why India even now remains a haven for them, though they are an abrahamism, and though the Indian State does not choose to recognize them as a minority.
In conclusion, it should be amply clear that neither our Constitution nor our State are de facto secular –panthanirapeksha, not even practicing the inane sarvadharma samabhava. There can be no doubt that the form “god” has taken in our Constitution is that of the abrahamic god, the god of the Christians / Muslims. Therefore, what divine providence do Christians / Muslims have in store for us who do not believe in Jehovah / Allah? Their histories will tell you. Their defining texts will tell you. Jehovah-Jesus / Allah-Mohammad do not mince words in telling you the fate in store for you. And every true Christian, every true Muslim is faith-bound to make those words come true.
Consequently, nowhere, but nowhere, in the world where these two abrahamisms have conquered have they allowed significant non-abrahamic populations to survive. Nowhere in the territories of these two abrahamisms is there a meaningful self-sustaining survival of a pre-abrahamic belief-sytem. There is not one significant exception to this worldwide historical fact. We are the world’s last pagans and our time has come, as momins and missionaries and the Pope of Rome and enormous amounts of foreign money openly target us. There are pagans with a consciousness of a millennium of our slavery to these abrahamisms and there is George Santayana’s lesson of history - “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - yet we continue headlong the pagan-destroying Nehruvian-secular political pandering to and appeasement of the abrahamisms.
Therefore, where is the safe haven for pagans in a land and its polity that propitiates those with a carnivorous history for both the land and its polity.
Dharmo rakshiti rakshitah.
1. http://lawmin.nic.in/olwing/coi/coi-english/coi-indexenglish.htm ;
Monier-Williams, p.539, col. 3 -http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/ebooks/mw/0500/mw__0572.html. Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister approved it - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/akandabaratam/conversations/topics/34430. “A state ispanthnirpeksha when it does not allow its policy decisions to be swayed by religious beliefs of any kind. This attitude entails no respect, or lack of respect; just a determination to keep religious beliefs at bay.” (Rohit Dhankar, “On Curriculum Framework”, Seminar, Sept 2000). The Constitution of India, in Hindi, makes clear that “religion” is “pantha”. How “religion” in English became “dharma” in our own languages and then dharma became “religion” is another story.
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._R._Bommai_v._Union_of_India#Secularism, emphasis added; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarva_Dharma_Sama_Bhava ;http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Members-Rake-Up-Issue-of-Modis-Eid-Greeting/2014/08/05/article2365933.ece ; http://www.mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?20639/ along with vasudhaiva kutumbakam, about which http://blogs.ivarta.com/Hoax-Called-Vasudhaiva-Kutumbakam-I-Hitopadesha/blog-148.htm is educative; https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/akandabaratam/conversations/topics/34430 ;http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/president-poll-pranab-mukherjee-writes-to-mamata-banerjee-asking-for-support-243651. The Supreme Court itself reasons quite tortuously about the meaning of Indian secularism - http://www.ebc-india.com/lawyer/articles/9807a1.htm
3. The abrahamisms are the religions that acknowledge the biblical patriarch Abraham - in our context these are the monotheisms Christianity and Islam. It was only in 1976, during the Emergency, that Indira Gandhi decided that we the people of India should announce ourselves to be “secular”- and added panthanirapeksh in the Preamble through the 42nd Amendment. But she did nothing to remove the abrahamic communalism that is entrenched in the Constitution.
4. They were very much part of the dharmic fold, see Koenraad Elst, “Who is a Hindu?” -http://voiceofdharma.org/books/wiah/ch12.htm. Their evolution into “religion” of the abrahamic kind is partly the Nehruvian-secular adaptation through vote-bank politics of the missionary-colonial strategy of divide-and-rule. The Jains were in 2014 (http://ncm.nic.in/pdf/jains_minorities.pdf) despite the Supreme Court rejecting “a petition to give minority status to the Jain community”, opining that multiplying religious minorities “would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy”, and “urging the National Commission for Minorities to suggest ways to create social conditions so that the list of notified minorities `is gradually reduced and done away with altogether’” -http://www.hvk.org/2014/0114/16.html.
7. “Ban conversions to end controversies” - http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/edit/ban-conversions-to-end-controversies.html.
10. http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=55 ;http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=55.
11. http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=970&Itemid=1&limit=1&limitstart=10 ;http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/modi-meets-the-world/article6568121.ece. The most dangerous of these is the new State goal for Muslims of “Koran-in-one hand-computer-in-the-other” (http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/would-like-to-see-computer-in-one-hand-quran-in-other/) turning a blind eye to the irrefutable evidence from the West, the Middle East and our own country of how increasing numbers of modern-educated computer-savvy Muslims are using the one (computer) extremely effectively to propagate the violent other (the Koran). Why are madrasas not using their own money to reform their syllabi? Why is public money being used for this, even as madrasas use their own money to promote Koranic Islam? And why only madrasas? Why not State aid for pathshalas and vidyalayas too? Given sarvadharma samabhava, why then not a State objective too of the Gita in one hand and the computer in the other?