Secularism: Changing definition over changing times

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, have solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens….”. This is how preamble of Indian Constitution begins. Our forefathers after having fought a long impending war with the British gave careful thought to the exact verbiage of the written Constitution. Through 42nd amendment, the Preamble was amended to include the word ‘Secular’. This word has been the most widely abused word in Indian Politics. Both, political parties and media are equally responsible for this bastardization, more so, political parties.

Ever since, Yogi Adityanath has been made Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the two words ‘Secular’ and ‘Communal’ came to surface. Technically, both secularism and communalism can coexist. To an unbiased eye, communalism would be an essential ingredient to secularism. Communalism when implemented evenly across the board would lead to best form of Secularism. If it comes to that, Communalism is and should be essential ingredient of secularism, for, it is only communalism which promotes secularism. Every being is communal at some point in time. When a parent thinks of his/her family, the parent tentatively has the mask of communalism, since he puts other families second. When a patriot puts his country first, he is communal, since he doesn’t love other countries equally. When a mother loves her child the most, she is communal, since she doesn’t love other children more, if not equally. Communalism is innately burnt into the chip of human minds.

Now, coming to pragmatic electoral communalism and secularism. The definition of Secularism has continually evolved over time, which technically is a shame since definitions are supported to be absolute and not relative. During Vajpayee era, LK Advani was branded as communal and Vajpayee automatically became secular, owing to binary nature of politics. In the initial phase of Narendra Modi era, Modi was labeled as communal, which automatically branded Advani as secular. Going by above theory, in the current Yogi Adityanath era, Modi automatically became secular.

Secularism should be absolute in its truest sense of the word. There cannot be someone who is less or more secular than others. After all, what do we mean by more secular, or less secular? Secularism has been used more as a poll plank, than in an allegorical sense. Going by the rate at which the word has been abused time and again, if secularism were a person, she would have died a thousand deaths. And yet, every 5 years, a certain section of voters constantly fall for it.

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