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S O C I E T Y : S E C U L A R I S M
What??? Minority?..Nah
Secularism and minorityism are mutually exclusive concepts

Can there ever be minorities in a secular country? Well consider this: the definition of secularism according to Webster’s online dictionary is, ‘a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations.’ At the same time it defines theocracy as ‘a political unit governed by a deity or by officials thought to be divinely guided.’ By this standard, Pakistan, which was renamed as Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956, is a theocratic State. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where Shariat laws are in vogue, can have minorities because there, those following Islam are considered to be first class citizens while those following other religions do not have the same rights as first class citizens. But in a secular country, where there is no concept of first class or second class citizens, minorityism is a fallacy or at best the reflection of a distorted secularism based on vote bank politics. Consider this: the website of India’s National Commission for Minorities calls itself as, ‘an organisation to safeguard the constitutional/legal rights of Minorities.’ Such a Commission would have been appropriate in Pakistan but essentially puts a question mark on the very essence of our secularism. More so the polity of this country have always used the term minority to portray Muslims, which according to the National Commission for Minority data is ironically the second largest religious community in India (comprising of 13.4% of the population of India). The recommendations of the Sachar Committee talk only about Muslims. Would anyone tell Mr. Sachar that ideally it is not the second largest religious group but Jains (consisting of 0.4% of total population), Buddhists (0.8%), Sikhs (1.9%), Jews (counting merely 5,100 in India) and Zoroastrians (numbering 69,601 or .006% of the population) who should essentially be the centre of conversation and the subject matter of at all welfare initiatives for minorities in this country?

Well, when was the last time someone started a political campaign in India from a Synagogue? Sigh . . . not as yet.

Pathikrit Payne

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