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Hinduism and Secularism

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The word ‘secularism’ is a western concept. The word and its meaning were crafted to tackle a crisis in the west where churches would have dogmatic control over state laws. During the dissemination of Christianity in the west, the belief that God bestowed ‘truth’ to the church was being propagated. People were made to believe that Christianity is the only vehicle that will enable a person to achieve God, defying which will propel them towards hell.

Similar to Islamic beliefs…

So, churches began enforcing their laws. Anybody who questioned laws of the Church was deemed as heretic and the viewpoints as blasphemous, thereby deserving punishment. Hence, the church became the supreme power and started conducting affairs of the state-level administration. During this time period, people did not have freedom to question; therefore, inventing something or putting forth new ideas that went contrary to the beliefs of the Church were dealt in a severe hand. Due to this, western countries suffered a lot, and significantly this era is called the ‘Dark Ages’.

Eventually, such irrational laws were not accepted by the heterodox faction, and it was doing no good to the masses. People started revolting and this period is known as ‘Enlightenment’. This is when the church started losing its control from state level administration and hence, the western countries became ‘SECULAR’.

Communal means belonging to a community and community can be a composition of any kind of combination. Hence, we can conclude that communal is not opposite to secular.

I would like to put forth the concept of Hinduism and secularism. People often connect Hinduism with anti-secularism.

First of all, Hinduism is not at all a religion. It is a territorial word. People living alongside of river Indus were known as Hindu. Hence, Hinduism being a communal word; is a combination of multiple beliefs, thoughts and lifestyles. The tolerance level in Hinduism is vast, as it can be seen that migrants from Israel settled down in India, Parsees joined the community, Greeks stayed with the Hindus, Huns merged with the followers of this faith, migrants from Central Asia settled down in the community, and all this happened without any repulsion and violence. Sects having completely different practices and beliefs amalgamated into a community known as Hinduism.

The religion and its practices were not at all dogmatic and rigid. It is so plural in its principles that it has embraced every belief in its canopy. This is visible today as well, when in the same day of celebrating Diwali, few Hindus worship Goddess Lakshmi and few worship Goddess Kali. And both are Hindus. Even atheism has its place in Hinduism, which is an absolutely unthinkable concept in Christianity and Islam.

Pluralism in Hindu religion can also be understood from the fact that Hinduism has given the world 3 prominent religion – Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Due to this plurality and heterogeneity in the nature of the Indian religion, there was no need to propagate these across borders or enforce religion to the masses from an administration level. Therefore, no crisis ever rose to bring in a concept like Secularism.

India has culturally dominated the whole of Asia for centuries without sending a single soldier and shedding a drop of blood.

There’s no other religion in the world that is so dynamic and plural in its ethics and policies. So connecting Hinduism with being anti-secular by the politicians and so called secularists does not stand with any logic at all.

Non-believers in Islamic countries do not have voting rights, that’s UNSECULAR.

Enlightenment has helped western countries to become radical and has freed them from religious dogmas, but till date no Islamic country is secular.

Those who can make you believe absurdities; can make you commit atrocities” – Voltaire

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