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India.Growth.9.Thmb.jpg Secularism: Time to mend the trust

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Bikky Khosla | 03 Nov, 2015
Multiple incidents of religious intolerance were reported in recent days, and unfortunately they attracted far less attention from the Government than they deserve. It sparked protest -- first by writers, followed by artists, filmmakers, historians and scientists. At least 35 leading authors and poets have returned coveted awards; more than 100 distinguished scientists and 50 leading historians came out strongly against the government. The row took on an international dimension soon, particularly with Salman Rushdie's "thuggish violence" comment, and a section of international media made no delay in coming out with generalized views on "growing religious intolerance of the Indian society".

I think the spark could have been prevented from turning into a fire, but some ministers instead fanned it, giving comments, as reported by the media, like "manufactured dissent", "isolated incidents", "let them first stop writing", and so on. Will such blame games and quarrels do anything good? It is beyond any question that incidents like the recent ones -- no matter whether they are isolated incidents or not -- whether the writers' returning awards is a wrong move or not -- whether the incidents took place in a BJP-ruled state or not -- are severely condemnable and against the spirit of tolerance and freedom of expression. The responsibility of maintaining law and order rests with the state governments, but the Centre should pay adequate attention to the question why this nature of incidents are taking place with such regularity.

Meanwhile, Moody's Analytics, commenting on the recent political controversies, cautioned that unless our PM reined in members of his party, India ran the risk of losing domestic and global credibility. It also expressed concern over the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities, adding that the controversial comments could end up stalling reforms by generating stiff opposition for the government in the Upper House where it lacks majority. Such possibilities cannot be ruled out. It is also unfortunate that the controversies have put the Modi administration, which is acclaimed globally as modernizing and progressive one, in a bad light.

"In today's India, secular liberals face a challenge: how to stay alive" -- an article published recently in a leading US daily begins like this. Is the current situation really so bad! It is difficult to believe. But the fear of what might happen in the future if such incidents keep continuing to happen seems quite real, and the onus is on the government to abate this suspicion and correct the perception about itself. This can be done not by making over-blown counter attacks on criticism, but by sending out an unequivocal message that all religions and religious beliefs have the same status and support from the state.

I invite your opinions.

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Balanced view
Rituparno | Thu Nov 5 09:56:49 2015

I found that some people are giving comments as if the author has taken someone's side, but I find it balanced. There is writers' protest and its true - they may be right/wrong in doing that. Similarly, he lamented the comments, but not delivering judgement about the Govt being/not being secular. Experience shows that religious issues are sensitive ... what's wrong if the govt is told to come strongly against any such unconstitutional acts, no matter by whom believing in whichever religion. This will prevent spread of misunderstanding among citizens. This will also prevent political opportunists from taking undue potential advantage. And the economic concerns are also real. Peace is must for growth. So, the govt should try to stop this situation from continuing and focus on the economy. When he says that international media gave generalized views and questions whether the situation is as bad as reflected by international media, he is only talking about the wrong highlight the country is placed unnecessarily. I support the views. He is more concerned about law and order situation, better political governance, unity and economy; not anything else. He could have chose to neglect the topic fearing its sensitivity, but he instead showed courage and gave a good message.

Shivu | Thu Nov 5 09:54:01 2015
Sad that intellectuals are making penny issues to headlines with media hype. Please understand that majority section in this country are secular by birth and it is impossible for them to be insecular as the very family system and social bonding itself preach them the importance of vasudiva kutumbakam a country with a billion population do have these types of small disturbances occur with different cultures and life style. Please for god sake don't make it a big issue for political or personal gains. Even minorities need to be tolerant and respect the feelings of the majorities and have to compromise and love the hearts of the majority community. Tthe welfare of the minorities definitely lies with their love and cordial relationship with majority community let it be personally, economically or financially. Please understand that if u r in business look for global business but start with regional. Majority community are your greater client if the relationships are cordial. Hence give up ego and live like a brothers and sisters . This should be applicable to every communities anywhere globally. Hence pl don't enlarge the issue. The Indian major community people are very very flexible and tolerant down to earth and please don't make them impotent by still preaching about tolerance thanking you

Don't spread problems
Anand | Thu Nov 5 09:24:24 2015
Sirs, Dissents, protests are there in India from days immemorial. Please be generous to allow one Government to function for it's full period Stop mud slinging Do not create problems and fan them for some other's political benefits.

Pradeep Kumar Jain | Thu Nov 5 08:00:49 2015
LET NO DISPARITY be there in enforcing UNIFORM LAW. I am sure this subject will not be there any more.

Fanatic powers will be defeated
Ghaffar El-Asad (Lahore-Pakistan) | Thu Nov 5 07:55:06 2015
Albeit the recent incidents have made the sane and rational people in a miserable state, but the ray of hope is there. The ideas of secularism and liberalism are deep rooted in in Indian society, come-what-may the major segment of the society cannot leave it's path of enlightenment. We foresee unequivocal stance of secular, liberal, broadminded people and humanitarians of India against this political controversy. Ultimately and shortly the intolerant and fanatic powers will be defeated and the trust on secularism will be mended by the sane and rational great people of the society. We must be optimist.

"Secularism in danger " a hype
Anoop K | Thu Nov 5 07:44:13 2015
I think most people can see through the Hype about " secular India under threat ". There were no such concerns earlier when truly horrendous incidents took place. Now when the left controlled media and some self proclaimed intellectuals feel they no longer are the movers and shakers in India, they are trying to create situations whereby they retain their relevance.

I Refuce the argument
Jagan Mohan | Thu Nov 5 07:44:06 2015
The story that was written was false, because the persons who gave back their awards were political driven, the writers should have given their awards back when TASLIMA NASRIN was beaten by our beloved MLAs, did any one of the so called great writers , scientists ,etc speak out at least once when UPA was in power and such bad incidents like killing dalits in Bihar,When sriram sena did bad incidents in Karnataka and so many incidents took place in the UPA rule. In order to face MODI the opposition took opportunity to save the congress party and its allies. What is the difference between Congress and BJP in Their policy making , i think that there is no difference between them then why are communists who have a different ideology supporting the Congress just think once and you will get the answer for the AWARD GIVING BACK CEREMONY

Chandrakant Joshi | Thu Nov 5 07:20:37 2015
It seems that, a non issue is getting prime focus and derailing our development journey. The peoples who are running this are lost their faith on their influencing power over the society because they have already exposed in many cases. It is possible that, the peoples who have lost their business model of influencing Government agencies and looting national wealth, so called abroad sponsored NGO who are here to create obstacles in development process are pouring the money to run this campaign. The peoples who are blessed by this group earlier is in front runner. Neither they are secular nor tolerant. They are the self made prisoners of ideology. Secularism, tolerance is DNA of India and no once can change it. If all the secular intellectuals are real interested, they should start campaign for asking to put religion as Indian and Cast Humanitarian and push the community and Government to register cast ,religion wise census.

Concern over the State Affairs
Indian | Thu Nov 5 07:17:14 2015
It is quite generous and appreciable effort of yours for taking out time to discuss Nation's issue. I really would like all nationals to show concerns upon this silently burning issue which started with a spark and if not stopped on time could soon turn into a bright fire whose causalities would be not only life and property but also the trust, faith and beliefs upon each other. Making us all go unreliable and isolated from each other. We, Indians never wanted such future. We never voted for such government. We had chosen government on just one agenda which was "Unconditional Development for All". We all voted for the leading man who is PM by showing our faith on his development manifesto and we all want that only; nothing else,but nothing less as well. Some so called ministers and leaders in this government are misusing their power and public money for doing cheap antics and generating quick publicity for them, by giving lame comments which are not good for anyone. They should understand whether they are reacting to opposition(which we all have seen what it did and how much capable it was during it's own reign, all those years) comments or trying to show their interest upon anything, are only letting their government down, its image and their own image and nothing else. We never voted for such people they just got elected on the name of PM and now are not able to digest being in power. So now it's our PM's duty to stop such people from spreading hatred in any form.

Secularism: Time to mend the trust.
Naresh Kaushik | Thu Nov 5 07:01:54 2015
In BJP Government everything is going on very well. In fact the Congress is unable to tolerate and digest the truth that why the People of India mandated BJP and kept Congress out of Power. Secularism means to honour all cultures prevailing in a nation. Secularism not means that the people belonging to a culture in minority continue to hurt the sentiments of the people belonging to a culture in majority and the people of a culture in majority should tolerate insult every time. Secularism not means that there should be different laws on the basis of culture or castes. In secularism, first it is the duty of people belonging to minority culture to honour the sentiments of the people belonging to majority culture. Toleration means to tolerate other cultures' people in our neighborhood and toleration not means to tolerate wrong doings of other cultures' people in our neighborhood. The writers, scientists and artists may be politically or culturally motivated by a rich political party to create such situation in our nation. It is quite quite bad to return awards for this type of happenings and the educated people should try to understand the root of problem very well instead of returning awards.

Stop dirty politics
Anonymous | Thu Nov 5 06:48:07 2015
Just stop all this nonsense of dirty politics by some political parties who have used to sit on ruling benches and cannot sit quietly on opposition benches.

Ashok Rao K | Thu Nov 5 06:22:34 2015
I do not think that there is any other country like India, where Secularism is at its best. Religious intolerance has existed under all Governments, and they will increase as population pressure increases, whichever Government comes to power in the center.

Secularism in danger
Mohammad Ausaf | Thu Nov 5 05:41:39 2015
The current situation bad, this is first time the Pakistan global rating is better than INDIA, it is all because of current govt.policies, if such incidents keep continuing to happen the day are not far to divide India more parts...

Blown out of proportion
Umesh Kankani | Thu Nov 5 05:26:26 2015
I feel this entire subject has been blown out of proportion for reasons unknown or vested interests. It is manufactured Dissent and you should read the confirmation from Moody's which is self explanatory. We need to look at the data of the past 5 years related to this subject and you would be surprised to find that things have improved. However since the Government is in power, it has the moral obligation to do what is necessary and control the motor mouths in its party to set an example.

Chandra Shekar kgf | Thu Nov 5 05:16:28 2015
India's strength is its diversity and multiculturalism. As nature has given bio - diversity, India has given human diversity and cultural variety. No other country has the moral and cultural muscle that India has. The world today is dominated by mono - culturalism . Countries want to standardise thinking as they standardise products. India nurtures free thinking and practice of a variety of ideas and ideologies. No one culture or ideology should dominate. There should be space for everyone. India is united with common goals set by the Constitution. There should be camaraderie and fellowship amongst all. In a crisis all should stand up and support each other. Our motto should be One for all and All for one. That is India, our great country and motherland. I have visited and spent time in South Africa in 1967 during the height of Apartheid. I have seen oppression and segregation. India is free, should remain free and support freedom. Let us not bother about Governments and Politicians. The common people matter and as long as the common man is morally strong, the country will be free. Let each one of us practice secularism and camaraderie. In our daily tasks let us think freely and not have reservations about anybody or anything. We are born free in India and let us stay free. Make a resolve to do a good turn to someone. Who the person is and to which religion, region, state or language he or she belongs to is immaterial. All people are citizens of world. Be good Do good .

Intolerance ?
Rajesh Kumar | Thu Nov 5 05:09:47 2015
Dear Sir, It is totally incorrect to blame present Govt on increasing intolerance in this country. It is all well organized by some political parties who always intended to favor religion based vote capturing. Why so called sentimentally hurt ,innocent and award winners donate all their properties earned in India in protest ?

Media should report carefully
UG | Thu Nov 5 04:59:43 2015
The way your story is described it's not even worth commenting.. Is idea of India so small! and can we let state governments be free of their responsibility: Law and order being state subject. Now, asking about intolerance - Why any incident is always portrayed by Indian media to be either religion based or caste based. If sufferer is from minority or dalit, it is described as attack on muslim/ cristian/ dalit....but if suffer is from majority or non-dalit, then it is either not provided that much coverage else there is some effort to find the real reasoning rather than branding it religion/ caste specific. I am not belittling any community or social segment, but trying to raise valid question about role of Indian media for contributing towards meaningful debate in society.

No failure of Govt
Mukesh Kumar Puri | Thu Nov 5 04:59:33 2015
It is wonderful to say that Modi Govt is in bad light. When Modi came into power it was clear that it is Hindu Mandate. The demands made across India to ban Cow slaughter is well known Hindu agenda. How these Moody and other says this is failure of Govt. On the aspect of govt working they are doing all necessary good to make India Prosperous. Till date all the award selection committees were controversial. For example Akshey Kumar, film actor, always said that he never got an award because the award giving committee asked him to play for them free. Same is the case with theses awardee. There is no dent on great image of India but it removes the previous dents made by the so called secular states.

Ravi Pani | Thu Nov 5 04:49:11 2015
This is Political Intolerance and not Religious.......

No reason to panic
Santhosh | Thu Nov 5 04:44:04 2015
Sir, Indian Common Man is still the best secular in the world. But, few who, for various reasons with hidden agenda, treat secularism as a mask in their daily lives. So, i do not see any reason to panic.

M.KTHIPPESWAMY. | Thu Nov 5 04:38:15 2015
Actually it is really a pity that these so called intellectuals who were awarded the awards for their intellectual capacity to return the awards. they should take this as their responsibility & help the society & the Government to act better & we all together can bring secularism. Won't it is their moral responsibility when they accepted the award?? is there there is no value to the award just a photo session & keep it in the show case in the home?? They should have some value. I am really ashamed for these people. Now one more view that these awards were political based supported by the politicians in their area. because they do not have any moral responsibility they have returned the awards.SHAME ON THEIR PART.

Pradeep Kumar Jain | Thu Nov 5 08:06:31 2015
The whole issue is blown out of proportion by non other then MEDIA, It is manufactured, spread by them. Nobody bothered to even show the funeral of the Military JAWAN died in Kashmir. And why not, most of the TV Channels are owned by foreign companies.

Increased Intolerance or Bankruptcy of Issues
Abhinav Kaushik | Thu Nov 5 04:25:08 2015
Such incidents have happened in past also, and incidents involving a large scale of destruction. Then why these so called liberal secularists were not shaken and not spoken on the events. Worldwide India's reputation has increased and everybody outside India is accepting and appreciating the foreign policies of India. In my opinion it is a pre planned activity to destabilize the good atmosphere of development and divert attention to non issue things.

Secularism: Time to mend the trust
Girish | Thu Nov 5 04:22:12 2015
If the writers and so called Pseudo - Secularist feel so much let them first return the cash which they received with their reward/ award with 10% compound interest from the date they received to date they return the award. Just because government is stopped supporting them to write on their behalf they have lost substantial income. So called opinion writers need to be send to dustbin of time. Where were they when Sikh riots took place? Why communal riots take place in congress/ UPA ruled governments when ever government was under pressure to perform? Which party gains post these riots? How long will law and order issues be given colour of religion by political parties? why did they not return award when corruption was reaching new heights with coal scam, 2G, 3G, commonwealth games etc. ?

PRADEEP.T.SETHI. | Thu Nov 5 04:21:31 2015
Incidents like these have been happening from last 65 years, during congress rule, nNow they have been routed hence the stooges and sycophant brawling. first they had the resignation issue, now intolerance issue solve this and they will find another issue to cry. come to terms with your loss. and try to do something in the state where you are in power, like Karnataka, and show the people what Congress and Rahul Gandhi can do when they are in power.

Appan Menon | Thu Nov 5 04:07:15 2015
The fanatics are having a free run, and the soft targets always are not the fanatics from the other side, but the liberal secular common people.

MS | Thu Nov 5 03:59:09 2015
The propaganda is purely fabricated. Nothing of the sort is on the grounds. So please do not give importance at your end also.

Who are Moody's to advise
P.D.KULKARNI | Thu Nov 5 03:35:32 2015
Who are Moody's to submit unwanted advise.all of those who are protesting are chamchas of Congress and left parties are having links with pseudo secularists who always have an eye on \vote bank. However, some members of BJP also need to control their outbursts and keep quiet.They need not add fuel to fire.

Raj | Thu Nov 5 03:29:26 2015
Dear SME Times, Stop writing on Religion and Intolerance. You are not qualified to write on that subject in this forum. Best thing is to focus on business related issues.

Hindu state - Wrong message for Globalisation
J.A.Mohan Rao | Thu Nov 5 03:03:58 2015
Religious intolerence is condemnable.It is against our culture of religious freedom and secularism. Each individual in the globalised world today is free to practice any religion. It is individual's choice and not to be enforced. If the PM dosn't take a firm stand on secularism, surely India will lose its credibility in the globalised society.

TAPAN SUR | Thu Nov 5 02:51:05 2015
This word intolerance has been totally taken on a wrong path after Award Wapasi. When an early warning system goes off warning of an impending Tsunami,one does not question the INSTRUMENT, but one starts preparations to protect or take remedial measures before the actual event. So media politicians, everybody got it wrong. I don't feel it was done to show a bad light or some sinister plan was in the offing from across the borders? Being computer savvy todays human being has lost his sense of "common sense" which now is available only at a high premium? BJP had come to power with a brute majority a feat achieved in India after almost 30 years, but being in opposition for a long time, BJP has in it's genes this reaction from the opposite benches. The day they realize they are in power & need to govern, every contentious issue will be handled with ease. Congress on it's part need to realize it is in the opposition & now needs to take up only peoples issues, rather than manufacture issues & handle them. We are a plural society & must let it be that way, or else the fabric once stretched WILL tear very soon. I only hope we realize this fundamental way of living in India? Why no politician takes a vow in front of the nation & say "BHARAT MUKT POT HOLES ON INDIAN ROADS", there will be dramatic quality of life in this country even saving billion of dollars to the ex-checker? Can we ever have good governance, like what we got during the British Raj?

SECULARISM: Your liberty ends when the end of your umbrella touches my nose
MICHAEL | Thu Nov 5 00:50:48 2015
The ruling party never had an idea of secularism - even when they were in the opposition. So, it is strange to expect them to follow these principles. How does the State get involved in laying down rules of my eating habits/with whom I go out. AG Gardner once said "Your liberty ends when the end of your umbrella touches my nose" And here are leaders who spell out what I should eat. This has gone too deep into the minds of all the members of the ruling party & IMPOSSIBLE for them to reform & change. Petty politicians have started quoting Vedas to support their claim.

Maurice Purdy | Wed Nov 4 23:13:56 2015
Your editorial is very well expressed and India only needs to look no further than some other countries in this region to see where this type of intolerance ends up. It is an opportunity for Mr Modi to stand up and lead his country in this area which I believe he understands fully.

Secularism Time to mend the trust
Satish Walimbe | Wed Nov 4 18:07:59 2015
I agree there some undesirable statements by a few & incidents which should not have occured.But these things are negligible in comparison with legacy of masterminding communal riots of Congress for the last six decades. The ground for the current incidents has been created by pseudo secularists Congress. This is only a reaction of panicked congressmen whose divide & rule policy (inherited from British) is proving to be redundant day by day. Moreover their policies to grab power are now hijacked by some leaders. Remember very well, that India is entering an new era where we shall soon realize what secularism is all about. It is certainly not what the congress preached & practised till yesterday. The writers/artist etc (handful) of them do not represent India. Also we need not worry about moody's analyisis and reports. Indian enterpreners are capable of proving the analysis of western financials wrong. As far as US is concerned, Putin's raids over Syria against ISIS has exposed Obama. Under the pretext of destroying ISIS for past one year this rascal has nurtured the ISIS rapists ISIS is in fact a brainchild of Obama. I warn to all the daily publishers of leading or trailing newspaper of US please enlighten your Obama first before pointing fingers to India. Remember well that with you or without you India will march ahead.If you intend to reap anything from India's March keep your mouths shut.

Pseudo secularism
Manish | Wed Nov 4 14:44:26 2015
This is just a ploy by the Congress minded or Congress supported individuals. Yes, the situation is not great but it never was. The truth is that the present government is trying to undo a lot of evils that have been legacies of successive governments at the centre. It might not be sufficient but at least there is a beginning. Supporting the policies of the Congress means supporting the way the country has been governed over past six decades. People with sinister designs and the illiterate might be doing so but a well informed person like me never will. I've heard a lot of these so called distinguished people showering praises on the Congress' ideology which just confirms that it is all politically motivated.

Secularism: Time to mend the trust
pandu simharaju | Wed Nov 4 13:39:06 2015
Those incidents are happening from long time.But when NDA came to power Media started highlighting. Section of people behind to trash the image of India.

This is really very critical and relevant topic
Manu | Wed Nov 4 12:05:16 2015
This is really very critical and relevant topic for current time. This is will surely tarnish the image of our country and it will not only affect politically but affect the business environment as a whole. When we are trying hard to sell India as site for Make in India this will be a big hurdle. More over this will turn the mood of the market from positive to negative. Pluralism was our strength and pride, and we won freedom and thrived for 60 years on the same only. but some vested interest who are not aware of macro economics or world political conditions think that only one religion or group will bring the change. If this goes on then we will also go the same way as our neighboring countries where radicals rule and chaos is every where.

RAJESH | Wed Nov 4 11:54:49 2015
I this country secularism means if any undue incident happens with minority the whole media and so called secularist people rush with all guns blazing. Now frankly speaking although the incident is regrettable and everyone should condemn it and take people responsible to the court of law, but what i observe is that people and political parties try to take advantage of this incident for their own agenda.Specially i was amazed by everyone shouting on top of their houses that secularism is in danger in India but in reality is it so?. I salute the son of the slain person who happens to be in Indian army and he tried to clarify that this should not be made an agenda for others.But suddenly people have started giving back awards, and recognition. Now the question arises they doing so & if they are really secular what things they are doing to promote it . Instead they are adding fuel to the fire to get personal glory or their solidarity to the regime which is not now in power. But people of india are no fools & that's the reason this is the first time people have started opposing these so called Pseudo secularists. What had happened in Muzzafarnagar last year then why no one gave back rewards, why no Bolywood star says that there is intolerance growing. If India wants to move forward we have to be unite irrespective of cast or religion.and we are dependent on each other for our bread.

Satyanarain Bhardwaj | Wed Nov 4 10:41:10 2015
This is nothing but a law and order problem. Some Media persons are also highlighting this more than required. Those persons are returning awards must be checked that what is the motto behind this.Their motto is something else.

Swapan Chatterjee | Wed Nov 4 10:27:16 2015
Classical capitalism doesn't invite the religious fundamentalism in the body polity of governance. It never be the index of conducive environment of Industrial and economic growth of countries. This intolerance should be stopped for the development of Indian democracy and growth of its institutional health.

I agree 100% on this article
Uttia Majumdar | Wed Nov 4 09:59:37 2015
We are not able to live and breathe freely in our own country anymore - this is true for the Aam Aadmi of every religion.

P.R.Joshi | Wed Nov 4 09:57:40 2015
In any part of the country religious tolerance today is same as it was during previous Congress regimes. The opposition parties have no subject to denounce the government and that is the only reason they are creating artificial fear. Any patriotic Indian would never support them nor would have raised such cry, only selfish opposition parties who are not finding ways to indulge in their corrupt ways of looting the nation’s wealth are creating such scene. I totally don’t agree with your write up.

Ajay Goyal | Wed Nov 4 08:39:37 2015
Before everyone "runs off" in different directions.... can someone define Secularism..... what it stands for... what is and what is NOT SECULAR"..... let everyone first understand what this is ALL about..... don't you think.....????

Secularism: Time to mend the trust
DDN VERMA | Wed Nov 4 08:16:45 2015
I am sure the entire move is aimed at by certain anti-country elements to defame and stop PM Narendra Modi who is making all out efforts in order to move the country forward in all directions.

Secularism: Time to mend the trust
SUNIL KAPILA | Wed Nov 4 07:14:23 2015
Sir: Yours is a business portal. For any religious-political discussions we have different platforms. I am your paid user. there may be thousand others like me. Requested to kindly stick to business affairs only. However You are welcome at my Twitter handle #SUNKAP000 REGARDS

Secularism: Time to mend the trust
Vivek Kolte | Wed Nov 4 06:41:51 2015
It is not matter of secularism. It is matter of the wrongly given awards and they are given back to avoid black money enquiry of respective persons. So much will happen in future about wrong happened things.

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