Here is something to think about seriously. It can directly affect our children and grandchildren. It is instructive to see what is happening in
It was demanded on the basis of a religious
identity. That is, people of a particular
religion need a country of their own.
When they got the country they lost no time
in declaring it as the Islamic Republic of
By definition a republic means a country that is governed by the will of the
citizens as expressed from time to time, directly or through elected
representatives. Whereas Islam, a religion, codifies the Shariat Law in the Koran Sharif and it
is unalterable., meaning the wishes of the citizens are not relevant at all to the laws that will govern them. It is immaterial that the conditions that
dictated the provisions of the Shariat no longer exist in a large measure. It is also not region or country or society
or community specific and ignores local requirements that change from time to
Being based on a specific religion the state
is obliged to give predominant importance to that religion and all that goes
It also means that the non-Islamic religions
need to be marginalised in order to maintain and keep up the primary position
of Islam in the country. As a
consequence non-Muslims, such as the Hindus, Sikhs and Christians had to be made irrelevant by
conversions to Islam, driving them out of the country or persecuting them on
various counts. Now the non-Muslim
population in Pakistan is next to nothing and the few Christians still in the
country are being persecuted regularly.
Since it is declared a theocratic state,
enhanced importance had to be given to the Islamic clergy and religious
schools, the madrassas controlled by
the orthodox elements.
inevitable stage that followed was the emergence of fundamentalist militant
groups committed to enforce their narrow, self-serving interpretation of the
Today, Pakistan is suffering the consequences of declaring itself a
theocratic state and conducting its governance as a theocratic state where
religion - as interpreted by clerics
whose knowledge and vision does not go beyond their limited understanding of their
religion - rules the roost. There is
nothing to be happy about it.
It has not stopped with the marginalization of the non-Muslim
the kaafirs were made irrelevant, the
by-now powerful and power hungry religious bigots needed further targets. They can be found only among fellow Muslims.
The first targets were the Ahmediyas.
Now it is Shia versus Sunni. Where does it stop?
short answer is: IT NEVER
STOPS. Inter and intra religious warfare
will continue to weaken the theocratic state of Pakistan.
Islam only. We can look at the theocratic
states across the world. The material
and emotional progress of countries whose policies are largely dictated by
religion - be it Catholic Christianity, Islam or Buddhism is either low, poor
or bad in parts. The difference between
the Catholic southern European counties and the Protestant European countries
is highly perceivable. The more liberal
Protestant populations are relatively better off in all the indices of
development. The largely Catholic South
American countries are relatively less prosperous compared to the United States
and Canada where religion plays a less intrusive part in the psyche of the
citizens. Think of what the Middle East
was before oil wealth put them on an artificially different plane. Iran was a liberal state with individual
freedoms largely untouched under the rule of Shah. The arrival of the mullahs changed things
radically in Iran. Taliban is taking
Afghanistan back to the dark ages. The
inability of the Buddhists to accept pluralism in Sri Lanka created the Eelam
problem. After they marginalised the
Tamils, the powerful Buddhist clergy is pressurising their government to turn
its wrath against the Muslim minority.
Perhaps the Christians could well be the next. These examples should be
enough to bring out the harm in letting
religion and religious sentiments dictate state policy.
Where do we stand? There are many Hindus in our country who have
an emotional connect with the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, BJP and similar
organisations in the belief they articulate Hindu supremacy. They do so unabashedly. They want a religion based Hindu
Rashtra. It gives a genuine sense of
being led to a path that will correct the “wrongs of the past”. In reality what it ULTIMATELY leads to is a
theocratic state. More than the Hindu
state or rather through the Hindu state the RSS et al want the power that comes with it.
foregoing discussion on the effects of theocratic states will apply equally
well to any and every religion. By itself
every single action of a religion based/inspired organisation will seem to be
innocuous. But all such organisations
have a well thought out plan to achieve their final goal. What is not
unlikely is something like this: After
marginalizing all the non-Hindus the theocratic warriors will look for
fresh pastures to flex their muscle – just as the Taliban and Jehadis are doing
now in Pakistan. We already have a long
history of one caste fighting another caste and seeking dominance on what are
considered lower/weaker castes or groups.
The intra Hindu struggles can become a frightening reality with each
subgroup seeking its own supremacy. The
current chaos in Karnataka is the result of one Hindu group seeking dominance
over the other Hindu groups. Luckily, it
has remained bloodless, so far. Our own equivalent of the Pakistan created
Talban was the Indira Gandhi created Bhindrawala, a Frankenstein which could be
putdown only after a near war.
One needs to be extremely careful in
giving importance to religious fundamentalism, no matter of what hue.
The best option any society has is
an open and pluralistic society that
learns to respect different points of
view. European countries have learnt
the hard way the need to separate governance from religion before they really
got on the prosperity curve. They have
also become far more tolerant as compared to what they were in their dark, middle
ages in the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries, though admittedly there are
small numbers of extremists even today.
The majority community in our
country needs to take a well thought out call on whether we want to be a truly
tolerant and secular state or go for the deceptive myth of a theocratic Hindu
Rashtra that is expected to bring back the lost glory of the Hindus.
Think about it. Your
choice decides the future of our country.
Pune, 2013 Mar 28. DVR Rao