Thursday, Dec 01, 2022
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Has Secularism Caved In To Political Opportunism In India?

Has Secularism Caved In To Political Opportunism In India?

Political parties, barring no exceptions, have taken upon themselves to forsake secularism for electoral gains

Composite Heritage: Photos, posters and other materials put together to celebrate Indian religious diversity
Composite Heritage: Photos, posters and other materials put together to celebrate Indian religious diversity Photo: Getty Images

Abhishek has spent the last two years studying for the Union Public Service Commission exam. He has a great interest in reading about Indian politics and has strong views on it. Although he is not particularly religious, he feels that Hinduism should be promoted by the Indian state, because it is “a way of life for all Indians”. Therefore, he objects to those who stand for secularism. He thinks they indulge in what has come to be known as appeasement politics. “These people are pro-Muslim.” According to Abhishek, the term ‘sickular’ aptly defines those who “are anti-Hindu in the closet” but call themselves secular.

The young civil services aspirant is, however, not alone who thinks this way. Many, especially Hindu nationalists, believe that those who call themselves secular have always been biased towards Hindus. Many journalists and academicians question those who propagate secularism but fail to practise it; therefore, such secularists are often accused of and ridiculed for being ‘opportunistic’. A commonly used expression is pseudo-secular, which in the age of social media is interchangeably used with the word ‘sickular’—a pejorative expression intended to insult.

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