The original Indian way of understanding the cosmos is to get to the very essence. This process of discovery was developed and refined by our Rishis to try and comprehend the ultimate truth that is Satya, by transcending sensory limitations. If the language of this discovery was Sanskrit, and Sanskriti, this culture of discovery, then the Sanskrit word 'dharma' that robustly sustains and upholds is the essential. On the other hand, one has English, the vehicle of synthesized science, in which this blog is written in, that can, at best, convey an limited understanding of Satya and Mitya, invariably leaving the remainder as 'an exercise to the reader's imagination'. It is this colonial inheritance that India's post-colonial intellectuals have chosen as their vehicle for propagating their half-baked theories. And this is exactly what Indian secularism is: a slogan of half-truth of, by, and for half-wits.
Rajiv Malhotra's path-breaking book 'Being Different' encourages us to rediscover for ourselves the Sanskrit way of getting to the essential and then contrast it with the synthesized approximations employed in the west. The essence of 'secularism' that can be obtained by doing a rigorous 'Purva Paksha', is summarized in his tweet:
"Secularism is dharma-nirapeksha (without dharma), leading to corruption. We need a dharma-sapeksha society & governance".
Secularism, as distilled above, is at best a band-aid, a temporary ceasefire that can hardly be expected to sustain a nation of 1.2 Billion people. The situation has reached such a farcical level that even as Indian secularism 1.0 (1947-2014) is being exposed on various fronts (e.g., read "Breaking India'), a Hassan Suroor, while being totally ignorant about dharma, challenges the so-called "right wing Indians" on:
(a) their weak intellectual roots unlike their western counterparts, and
(b) their disloyalty to this west-imported secularism.
The world of post-colonialists involves a rite of passage to peer-recognition and reward that requires Indians to first repudiate their Sanskriti and profound dharmic thought systems. Thereafter, rather than gazing at themselves and/or reversing the gaze at the west from such refreshing dharmic points of view, Indians are required to compete on how well one has internalized and is able to regurgitate and apply relatively stale, largely irrelevant, and homogeneous "modern" and "post-modern" techniques to solve a variety of India's problems. Such cookie-cutter models, when taken out of their western context and force-fitted into adharmic "idea of India", virtually guarantee findings that have a very poor signal-to-noise ratio, leading to all kinds of erroneous conclusions and poor approximations of reality that cause Himsa when applied - they harm far more than they help. Thus, 'dharma-sapeksha' is replaced with a far weaker band-aid of secularism that at least made temporary sense in the western world of organized religion. Such a secularism is practically silly in the Indian context at best, and downright harmful, at worst. Tragic too is the terminological violence employed by this self-serving ecosystem of post-colonialists, and the browbeating of the Indian public and the force-feeding of this secular diet. A wanton cultural genocide of a pluralistic, dharmic India.
"Secularism leads to corruption". A Tejpal is not using secularism
as a last resort. That charge is quite absurd. A rejection of secularism, and adherence to dharma would have saved him and his victims. No, secularism has always been his willing and faithful companion and accompanied him in every 'penance' he has performed. Tejpal's track record based on his Tehelka and Thinkfest activities shows his devotion to secularism. Secularism's track record shows its devotion to Tejpal. He, who
served secularism loyally, anticipates nothing more and nothing less than
for secularism to bail him out in this hour of need. To the bitter end, Tejpal was faithful only to Secularism and it is precisely his successful internalization of secularism that has lead him to this state.
Secularism, Tejpal's accomplice in his every act, gave him remarkable wealth and
power, but also corrupted him, just as it has corrupted the hundreds of so-called
Indian intellectuals haunting the humanities departments around the world. His plea in the name of secularism has resonated with some of these
intellects, while the more pragmatic ones in India who do not have ready access to
western funds, have since deserted this sinking ship to find new shores. Some even exhort people to ignore the adharma in Goa, and instead look at the abstract principles that they claim is what really matters in the long run. This is a classic leftist three-card trick: get you to ignore both the trees and the forest, and focus instead on the mirage of a theoretical, feel-good idea - secularism in this case, that the linked article claims, is causing a "remarkable awakening in India towards crimes against women". Ground reality in India suggests the opposite is more likely to be true, and this should not be surprising. Genuine mutual respect between man and woman can be expected in a dharma-sapeksha society, and has not and cannot emerge from some dharma-nirpeksha secularism that offers the truce of tolerance at best. Men and women internalizing such artifacts are stuck in the infinite loop of a porcupine's dilemma, and thus you can see their feminists barely tolerating men, and their Tejpals contemptuously tolerating their own women.
Do dharma a service. When Secularism 1.0 is digging its own grave, lend a helping hand, and then prepare for v2.0.