POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 30, 2012 AT 21:45 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 30, 2012 21:45 IST

Shiv Visvanathan does some much-needed plain-speaking in these troubled, politically-correct times and deserves to be quoted at length:

What happened in Mumbai, and is still happening, is atrocious. If Muslims are as rabid as Bal Thackeray, or Raj Thackeray, then one must say so. If Muslims insist on speaking exclusively for Muslims and do not recognise Bodo suffering then theirs is an ethnic of narcissism, and not a secular value. Unless Muslims realise that over a million Bodos have been displaced, the displacement of three million Muslims will make little sense. One man’s suffering cannot be the cause of another man’s celebration. This cannot be the secular way or the secular ethic.

In our society, secularism has to be defined differently. It cannot be a battle between religion and science or separation between state and religion. Secularism is the way we respond to strangers. The stranger is the other who defines us.

The first law of secularism should be hospitality. We welcome the other because he is not us. The other is the reminder that we are not complete as truths, that as fragments we need each other. The second law of secularism can be formulated after the Dalai Lama’s comment that George Bush’s behaviour “brings out the Muslim in him”. Similarly, after the Gujarat carnage I can say that Narendra Modi brings out the Muslim in me. It is a way of giving secular space a meaning where we become the other in their moment of suffering.

Yet, our secularism allows for boundary walls...

I am writing this because I am concerned about the fate of democracy. The situation is tense and let’s not forget that Assam is the state with the second largest Muslim population in India. We need to understand that a coercive minoritarianism is as putrid as bully boy majoritarianism.

The Muslim fanatic and the Hindu fundamentalist both threaten democracy and we need open ended democracy that challenges both.

Read on at the Deccan Chronicle: Confessions of a troubled secularist

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 30, 2012 AT 21:45 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 30, 2012 21:45 IST
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Daily Mail
Sep 07, 2012
12:06 PM


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," was passed in 1791, and the courts are still busy settling disputes about the "separation" clause. It is not easy.

Dallas, United States
Sep 07, 2012
11:51 AM

As per Arun Shourie, Indian secularism consists of branding others communal.

Delhi, India
Sep 07, 2012
11:47 AM

>>but separation of religion and state is the very essence of modern democratic secular countries

Since independence, this was never the essence of our democracy. To implement separation of religion of state in India, first the government has to get out of managing temples. Our seculars will be the first to howl if such a step is even proposed!

Delhi, India
Sep 07, 2012
11:14 AM

In India secularism for some and not for all.Its how practiced by the pseudo seculars.while some sections of the society want others to be secular while they will abide by thier own personal laws and do not want to be guided by the laws of the land.And this has been cleverly put to gains by the people who often ruled the country.

India is not secular because its the only country in the world who shamelessly want to tolerate the traitors and the acts of treason,do not want to punish the convicts simply because they belong to a particular community even when the apex court given its judgement to hang them.Is this because our secular government is not interested to carry the blame that in India a person belonging to a minority is hanged based on his religion instead of his crime.

Secularism is a farce in India.

Bangalore, India
Sep 07, 2012
11:06 AM

But secularism in India is interpretted according to ones own convenience while it should have been a way of life.

The people that are most secular are the people who have most sufferers or victims of non secular forces as secularism if found to nest in people who are tolerant,democratic in nature.

In India secularism has become more of a fashion for the politicans,celebrities and vested interests.The so called learned or "Buddhi Jeevis" are the real trouble makers who for thier personal gains vitiate the atmosphere without them getting involved in constructive or productive work to keep the secularism alive.

Bangalore, India
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