Secularism in India is under grave threat. The fact is evident in the manner the political parties are seeking votes in the ongoing Assembly elections in a number of states by raising communal issues. The leaders are not talking about ideologies, principles or manifestoes. Even the issue of good governance has taken a back seat. The political parties are only talking about Ram Temple, protection of cows or quota for minorities. In the name of alliance, parties are choosing strange bedfellows. All in all, to grab power, our leaders are doing everything possible to destroy the age-old secular tradition of India.
As per the Indian Constitution, seeking votes in the name of religion is an offence. But more often than not, it has been seen that political parties and their leaders use communally sensitive issues to garner votes. No political party in India can claim that it is free from this communicable disease. Be it the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena or self-claimed believers of socialism like the Communists or the Samajwadis, all have indulged in using communal issues to their benefits. For example, Congress fiddled with the Shah Banoo judgement to appease a particular minority community. Ram Temple, Cows or Sabrimala, BJP calculates political gains from all such controversies. Shiv Sena, Akalis are totally dependent on communal issues. Even while not campaigning for elections, leaders of these two parties often try to ignite communal passion.
Clearly, the law which was framed to prevent the use of religion in politics has proved to be inadequate and toothless. The need of the hour is to bring a stringent law to stop such practice for good. But the million dollar question here is who will bell the cat? As all the political parties are indulging in such practice, do they have courage to raise voice to protect secularism?
There is no gainsaying that these leaders are fuelling communal frenzy in the country with the silent support from country’s top leaders. So the questions that have to be raised here are these leaders really committed to protect secularism in the country or only interested in getting votes by using the same? India is a multi ethnic, multi religion, multi lingual country for ages. India is a country of love and compassion. Any attempt to harm the very foundation of the nation should be dealt with firmly. Otherwise, the very existence of India will be in danger as India’s strength is ‘unity in diversity.’