Prevention is better than cure

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
03 July 2012 19:38 IST

We all remember the night when a bomb exploded behind the Grace Church, Margao on the night of Narkasur Vadh festival. Lucky the bomb went off earlier than intended and therefore only two people who were involved in planting the bomb, both activists of Sanatan Saunstha, were affected. Were the bomb to explode, as probably intended, in the crowded street near the Margao municipality, just imagine what a catastrophe this could have been.

The reason why Sanatan Saunstha has apparently shifted all its operations to its Ramnath Ashram in Goa today is because Government of Maharashtra has recommended to the central Government that a ban be imposed on Sanatan in Maharashtra. Despite this, Government of Goa did not recommend a ban on Sanatan.  Congress party was in power in Goa then.

Today we have Congress leaders like Mr Francisco Sardinha recommending entry of Ram Sene in Goa and even hoping they would do social work in Goa. Question is how much social work has been done by the Sanatan Saunstha so far in Goa that we expect a fanatic organization with past record of violence in various parts of India – Ram Sene to do.

Our Chief Minister Mr Manohar Parrikar probably feels that anyone is free to open offices in any part of Goa and this includes Ram Sene. Because he has not commented on Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik’s public announcement that CM of Goa will be invited to inaugurate their office. He has either said he will break hands of those who take law in their hands or called Muthalim Altu Faltu, but has conveniently not commented on Ram Sene entering Goa.

In a similar fashion, if a Muslim militant organization like SIMI or Indian Mujahedeen were to propose setting up office in Goa, would our CM allow them? If Indian Mujahedeen can be outlawed, why not Ram Sene?

Is this ostrich mentality of our great leaders or sheer disregard for safety of the average Goan?

What is secularism? How is it defined in the Indian context?

During the judgment of the case of S R Bommai v. Union of India, 1994, the Supreme Court discussed at length the concept of Secularism. The Court held that “Secularism is one of the basic features of the Constitution. Secularism is a positive concept of equal treatment of all religions. This attitude is described by some as one of neutrality towards religion or as one of benevolent neutrality. While freedom of religion is guaranteed to all persons in India, from the point of view of the State, the religion, faith or belief of a person is immaterial. To the state, all are equal and are entitled to be treated equally. In the matters of the State, religion has no place. And if the constitution requires the State to be secular in thought and action, the same requirement attaches to political parties as well. The constitution does not recognize, it does not permit, mixing religion and State power. Both must be kept apart. That is the constitutional injunction. None can say otherwise so long as this Constitution governs this country. Politics and religion cannot be mixed. Any State government, which pursues non-secular policies or non-secular course of action, acts contrary to the constitutional mandate and renders itself amenable to action under Article 356. Given the above position, it is clear that if any party or organization seeks to fight the elections on the basis of a plank which has the proximate effect of eroding the secular philosophy of the Constitution would certainly be guilty of following an unconstitutional course of action.”

In this guideline laid down by the Supreme Court, where is the space for religious fundamentalism, either Hindu or Muslim? Or for that matter for political parties with religion-based agenda?

Why should no legal action be taken by the State of Goa against those who gathered in Ramnathi and have gone on record to demand Hindu Rashtra?

It is our appeal to the Chief Minister of Goa to honour the Supreme Court guideline on Secularism in letter and spirit so that Goa remains a peaceful State where all religions live hand in hand in the true spirit of nationalism.

Now let us see what Hindutwa is. In a 1995 judgment the Supreme Court ruled that “Hindutwa is a way of life or a state of mind and is not to be equated with religious Hindu fundamentalism. Hindutwa is a way of life of Indian people and the Indian culture or ethos.” This is also the concept propounded in Veer Savarkar’s book Hindutwa. Then what goes wrong? Why are there riots whenever the agenda of Hindutwa is trumped up?

Hinduism is not an organized religion. It is the state of mind of an INDIVIDUAL. Hinduism does not support organization based on it. It does not seek to propagate itself. It is the religion of the highest order. You may never go to a temple and yet you are a Hindu. You may not do idol worship or even believe in the existence of the divine, yet you are a Hindu.

This being the case, Hinduism ends where organization begins. It is therefore contended that all political and quasi political organization like RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and of late the BJP are not Hindutwawadi at all. They have no right to call themselves Hindutwawadi for the simple reason that they are organizations and not individuals. They do not fulfill Veer Savarkar’s definition of Hindutwa nor do they fit in the Supreme Court’s 1995 ruling on Hindutwa. These organizations are using to Hindutwa ideology as a euphemistic effort to conceal their own communal beliefs and practices. They are using Hindutwa for vote bank politics and thus violating the 1994 Supreme Court guideline on Secularism.

The solution to this problem may be available if the Indian judiciary is open to a high level of judicial activism thereby effectively preventing the misuse of religious philosophies to achieve political, socio-cultural or economic objectives.

From a practical point of view, there are more Muslims in India than there are in Pakistan. They can easily run a nation of their own if one goes ahead with a demand of Hindu Rashtra.

It is a painful to see that India has not been able to get rid of its thinking based on religion and caste despite all its progress. All religious philosophies are inherently divisive except when pursued strictly at the level of individual consciousness for one’s own well being. It is up to each individual to question his own thinking honestly and find answers to a large number of social and political problems we face.

When religious philosophy is used to propagate a political objective, it is not possible to draw a line between nationalism and extremism. What is nationalist to one is extremist to another. Is it not safer to stop the use of religion in politics altogether? This would also honour the 1994 Supreme Court ruling and pave the way for an honest approach to secularism in a country like India which survives on unity in diversity.

After all prevention is better than cure!

Blogger's Profile

Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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Previous Comments

What is personal attacks on reporters such as sandesh prabhudessai who raise issues?

- Vinay, Dubai | 05 th July 2012 00:52


I am a reader of Goa News for a long time. In last election i voted for BJP because of the currupt family raj of Congress. We had very high hopes from the new Govt. But from day one this Govt going in wrong direction. Just glancing through Goa News following wrongdoings of parrikar galore. 1. No action against Ram Sene. 2. No action against Sanatan. 3. Mess of Regional Plan. 4. Mess of Education Policy. 5. Mess of language policy. 6.Mess of medium of instruction. 7. illegal panchayat policy. 8. improper induction of ministers in cabinet. 9. unproductive populist measures. 9. wrong ladli lakshmi scheme. 10. issue of employment. 11. flowed tourism policy. 12. auction of ore reject which may turn opportunity to curruption. 13. filling of pending ST post. 14. appointment of Pandurang Nadkarni. 15. non appointment of valid candidates. 16. exams for govt jobs. 17. attack on freedom of press. 18. lack of transperacy in decisions. 19. unilateral decision making. 20. appointment of incompetent ministers. 21 appointment of currupt people as ministers. 22. personal attack on critics. 23. nepotism. 24. personal attacks on reporters such as sandesh prabhudessai who raise issues. 25 CHAMCHAGIRI

25 mistakes in 100 days.

All these are are personal policy faliours of parrikar which he cannot blame on others. No one has alleged curruption on him as yet but how far is it? Where is this Govt. going? It seems the CM is surrounded only by chamchas who praise him for everything and those who differ, instead of listneing to them and trying to create better decision the people with different opinion are attacked.

Parrikar should immediately throw out all the chamchas surrounding him, tell publicly to stop all those attacking the critics and appoint better policy advisors. Or else all our hopes will be dashed.

- Jayesh Nayak, Porvorim | 04 th July 2012 13:43


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