‘The notion of secular was not known to Hindus’

Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) tears into the “preamble” of the BJP manifesto saying the party has not given up on its “feel-good” theme. In 2004, it tried to fly the kite of an “India Shining”; in 2009, it is recycling the myth of “India Glorious” from ancient times.

The BJP premable, signed by Murli Manohar Joshi, tries to sell India as “the most ancient and continuing civilisation of the world”, when it was not. It talks of Indian farmers dazzling foreign travellers with their agricultural abundance when famine was common. It talks of a superior “indigenous education system” that compared with the best in England when there were no schools or colleges as we know them today. And it talks of a health care system complete with vaccines and plastic surgery.

“Most insidious is the manner in which the preamble conflates the “Bharatiya world view”, Hindu thought and secularism “in the real sense of the term”.

The notion of the secular was actually not known to the Hindus, as the secular requires giving priority to the human being irrespective of his or her beliefs. Hindus were concerned with establishing caste and sect.

Only the Buddhists expounded a view that might be called secular since they emphasised social ethics irrespective of other links. And the Buddhists were ousted by the Hindus.

Read the full editorial: India Shining to India was Shining