[GHHF] Remarks made by Judge M L Mehta during anticipatory bail granted to Dr. Swamy worth remembering and discussing
On January 13, 2012 Dr. Subramanian Swamy was granted interim protection against any possible arrest until January 30 by the Delhi High Court for writing an allegedly “inflammatory” article entitled titled “How to Wipe out Islamic Terrorism.”
All his admirers, followers, and believers in liberty, freedom and ‘live let live’ philosophy across the globe appreciate the Delhi High Court Justice M L Mehta for granting anticipatory bail to Dr. Swamy. The remarks Justice Mehta made at the hearing are worth remembering: “We are a secular country and we should respect the system which we have. It is not a European country like Britain. We have a diversity and we should be proud of it.” Judge further commented, “If you (Swamy) give an undertaking that you will not write anything based on the book, I'll grant you the relief.”
Let us examine the there phrases Judge Mehta made during that hearing:
1) We are a secular country
2) We should respect the system which we have
3) We have diversity and we should be proud of.
1) Secular Country
What do we mean by secular? How do we define it? Why do we call India a secular country? Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sardar Patel, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and many freedom fighters talked about secular nature of India. Gandhi and Nehru prevailed and succeeded in adopting secular principles in drafting the Indian Constitution. Based on this, it is believed that the secular government is not supposed to interfere with religious freedom, maintain religious neutrality, not be partial to any one religion, and not allow any religion to impinge on other religious practices. There are several provisions in the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion and also prohibiting discriminating against any religion.
The Preamble of Indian Constitution declares India to be a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE,LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY. Articles 25 thru 28 proclaim that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion; every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right— (a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes; (b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion; (c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and (d) to administer such property in accordance with law; the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination. And no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
The Hindus have always kept their religion and politics separate. They never imposed their religion on people of other faiths. They never said their religion is the only true religion and called others as fake. They never engaged in converting people of other religions at any cost - through deception, deceit, allurement, lying, torturing, bombing, kidnapping, raping, looting, enslaving etc. All though the history they welcomed and other religions with open hands only to be stabbed by the missionaries. Hindus have paid a heavy price in terms of human suffering, material exploitation and destruction of Hindu edifices.
They have always been guided by the principles of respecting human life and peaceful co-existence. The Yajur Veda says: “May I look upon all beings with the eye of a friend!” And Atharva Veda says: “O Mother Earth,…. May we speak sweetly with one another.” Hindus call for equal respect to all religions. Hindus have always followed the concept of secularism, which is represented by the phrase Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava. It can be translated as equal regard for all religions. But when the Parliament included the word ”secular” as 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976, it was never defined. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the 42nd Constitution Amendment Bill explained that the purpose of inserting the word 'secular' was "to spell out expressly" the high ideal of secularism - which meant that what was implied in the Constitution was to be made explicit. The word secularism as defined in the Constitution Amendment Bill (1978) as equal regard for all religions (Sarva Dharma Samabhav) was passed by the Lok Sabha but was rejected by the Rajya Sabha. Since that time, neither the Parliament nor the Courts have defined the word “secular.”
A number of scholars and philosophers have defined the word ‘secular’ although Courts have no obligation to accept.
Dr. Radhakrishnan, former President of India, said, 'When India is said to be a secular state, it does not mean that we reject the reality of the unseen spirit or the relevance of religion to life or that we exalt irreligion. It does not mean that secularism itself becomes a positive religion or that State assumes divine prerogatives. We hold that no one religion should be given preferential status'. (Recovery of Faith: page 184).
Donald E. Smith, Professor of Political Science in Pennsylvania University, defined as thus: "The secular State is a State which guarantees individual and corporate freedom of religion, deals with the individual as a citizen irrespective of his religion, is not constitutionally connected to a particular religion, nor does it seek to promote or interfere with religion". (India as a Secular State, 1963)
Secular concept is tampered, tinkered, defiled, misused, maligned, misrepresented, and vilified by the government to the disadvantage of the majority Hindus, denying their religious rights and imposing the political power trampling the basic human rights. Instead of treating all religions equally, the government is promoting other religions through subsidies, grants, and quotas.
Justice system became a rubber stamp of government policies until Emergency. Supreme court even sided with the government to impose Emergency trampling the rights, liberty, freedom and justice of the citizens. Over the last few years the Courts have become active and making judgments based on the scientific evidence and legal interpretation of the Indian Constitution.
Justice system has a long way to go to be impartial and objective in the interpretation of the Constitution. Let us look at what are the ground realities Hindus are facing and how the Court system can bring about justice for all.
History of abuse of Secularism and denial of Hindu rights
If India is secular nation, why do minorities get the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Minority educational institutions can prescribe religious courses and appoint or dismiss a teacher/faculty member according to their whims, but rules and regulations are in force for majority religion educational bodies. The various interpretations of the Supreme Court on Articles 29 and 30 have ensured that unholy scenario.
If India is Secular nation, why do a number of state governments granted funds for minority educational institutions. Why, the Government of India and state governments provide funds for modernization of madrassas. And why the Aligarh Muslim University is run entirely on government grants.
If India is a secular nation, why don’t we have uniform civil code? Why do we have a separate code for Muslims, Christians and another one for the rest?
If India is a secular nation, why would the Supreme Court itself prescribe the salary for Imams and naib Imams amounting to over Rs 6,000 million annually. Why did the Supreme Court not enforce a similar pay scale for the Priests of Hindu Temples and granthis of Gurudwaras.
If India is a secular nation, why did the governments of Indira Gandhi and V P Singh spend Rs 0.7 million on Jama Masjid of Delhi, although it was not classified as a national protected monument. Later on also, nearly Rs 10 million were spent on the renovation of Jama Masjid by the Department of Archaeology between 1990 and 1996. This 'secular' largesse is in contrast to the denial of even a rupee to ancient Hindu temples like Badrinath and Kedarnath.
If India is a secular nation, why would the Central and state governments establish as much as 27 percent reservations for minorities in educational institutions and employment at the government level?
If India is a secular nation, why would the government declare religious occasions as public holidays. In order to appease the minorities, V P Singh's government declared the birthday of the Prophet as a gazetted holiday although no Islamic country gives that privilege to its citizens? Similarly, Boxers Day was declared a holiday for Christians although no Christian majority countries gave that privilege except Australia.
If India is a secular nation, why did the central government and state governments pass the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act to take over and control only Hindu Temples? This Act had bestowed several powers on the governments such as auditing temple funds, appointing archakas (priests), constituting a committee to monitor temple affairs, creation of a common pool fund, regulation of investment of funds and use of surplus funds. All appointments, property, finances, renovations, pujas etc. are monitored and controlled.
If India is a secular nation, why would the Indian government take over prominent Hindu Temples in North India through the passage of Specific Shrine Act? All well known Hindu temples including those at Puri, Kashi, Mathura, Ayodhya, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi, Mumbai (Shree Siddhi Vinayak Temple), Shirdi, Amarnath, Puri Jagannath, Kamakhya Devi Temple are under government’s control.
If India is a secular nation, why would the state governments take over only Hindu Temples in the following states for mismanagement and misuse of Temple Funds?:
Andhra Pradesh: More than 32, 000 temples are under government control misusing and abusing the assets of Hindu Temples. As much as 25 percent of the Temple money is paid to the state government. Many Raja Gopurams collapsed due to total negligence on the part of state government. Nearly 500-year-old Sri Kalahasti Rajagopuram was allowed to collapse.
Karnataka: Over a ten-year period nearly 75 percent of Hindu Temples money was transferred to Churches and Mosques resulting in the closure of 5000 Hindu temple per year
Kerala: Guruvayur Temple money was used for government projects denying the renovations of the existing Temples; Ayyappa Temple money is taken over by the state government without providing adequate facilities for the pilgrims; thousands of Hindu Temple lands were taken over by the government without paying any compensation.
Tamil Nadu: More than 38,000 Temples were under government control; according Muruganandan’s report that nearly 79 percent of the Temples were in shambles; Temples receive only 25 percent income generated from Temple lands and shops; historical ancient paintings of some Temples were blasted; Hindu haters statues was installed in front of the most sacred Temple insulting Hindu sentiments.
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If India is a secular nation, why did the same governments use the same reasons to take over Mosques and churches and control their finances, lands and management?
If India is a secular nation, why would the central government state governments grant Hajj subside for Muslim pilgrims to go to Mecca every year since 1959.
If India is a secular nation, why would the state governments subsidize Christians to go Jerusalem, Rome and other places.
If India is a secular nation, why do the justice system in not following up on the decisions taken by the courts to see that the judgment is implemented. For example, why would the Supreme Court not pursue the conviction of Afzal Guru as to why he was not executed?
If India is a secular society, why the Supreme Court would not find the executive branch in “contempt of court” for failing to implement the court’s decisions.
The list of abuses to the word ‘secular’ by the government is too broad and extensive to list. The above few examples are sufficient to give the readers the extent of government’s abuse of the word ‘secular. ‘
Let us remember what Sri K M Munshi said in the early 60s: If, however, the misuse of the term `secularism' continues... if every time there is an inter-community conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the question, the springs of traditional tolerance will dry up... While the majority exercises patience and tolerance, the minorities should adjust themselves to the majority. Otherwise the future is uncertain and an explosion cannot be avoided."
2) Respect the system
When the honorable Justice Mehta said that we have to respect the system? We only can assume that we have to respect other religions, their practices, their ideology and their code of conduct. How do we define ‘respect?’ It is defined as “to feel or show deferential for,” “a feeling of appreciation, often deferential regard,” and “willingness to show consideration or deference.”
We must be careful in showing appreciation and respecting the system where you have a wide variety of faiths with different ideologies and missions. We should open our eyes to see the evangelical religions are doing in the society, open our ears and hear what Pope and Mullas are saying. They want to destroy the ancient Hindu religion by either planting ‘cross’ on India as Pope Paul said or completing the ‘unfinished business’ of converting people into Islam.
It is this kind of conversion theology that is causing havoc in the lives of Indian people. In fact former President A P J Abdul Kalam said that, “In 3000 years of our history people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others.”
Hindus have always respected other religions and welcomed them with open hands and encouraged them to practice their faith without realizing the missionary menace that has wrecked the lives of Hindus and still continue to wreck unabated. We have respected their religion and initially provided places for them to build their places of worship. As the saying goes that it takes two to tangle. Unless others respect you, you cannot respect others. It cannot be one way.
Let us remember the words of Dr. Abdul Kalam about the very essence of India. We have never invaded any country, never captured any lands, or never converted any minds by force in the name of religion. Because, we respect freedom of others! Do the Christians and Muslims respect our freedom? No. They do not. It is not in their books; it is not in their blood. They see Hindus as preys to be converted; they do not see them as individuals. They cannot see any other religious people as humans, they see them as targets for conversion. Christianity and Islam are born to dominate others, convert others, destroy their culture, debase their religion, denigrate their practices, occupy their lands, rob their individuality, humiliate their personalities, break their images of worship, destroy their Temples, and deplete their resources. They cannot respect other religions because they consider them as fake religions. Thus, Muslims and Christians use different methods such as deception, allurement, torture, blasting, suicide bombing, violence, and killing to prove theirs is the only true religion. Hence they are engaged in this kind of heinous wok in the name of their God; heathens and kefirs are expendable and they are their rightful targets for conversion.
Any number of passages can be quoted from Quran. Just a few are enough to gauge the cruelty of Islam:
8.12: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
47.4: So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.
[4:48] GOD does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside GOD, has forged a horrendous offense.
Islam no doubt encourages, appreciates and rewards the cruel slaughter of innocent, defenseless people. There is no provision for exercising independent thinking and freedom of speech.
3) We have diversity and we should be proud of.
Diversity is the hallmark of Hinduism. Equality is ingrained in it. Freedom of speech is never denied. Pluralism is the cornerstone of Hinduism as exemplified in many Hindu families where each member may be worshipping different manifestation of God or Goddess without demeaning or denigrating the other. Tolerance is the very essence of Hinduism. The concept of Ahimsa (nonviolence) is drenched all Hindu scriptures. Mutual respect plays dominant role in every day life.
Would the Honorable Judge tell the Muslims that we have diversity and we should be proud of? Would the Honorable Judge ask the Muslims if they would accept his remarks on diversity of religions?
Bharat has always been a diverse country. Almost all known religions live in India. We welcomed Parsees when they were thrown out from Prussia. Buddhists were greeted with joy when Chinese threw them out from their homeland. Different sects of Jews settled in different parts of India. Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, and Shintoists live in peaceful coexistence. Christians came and settled. Muslims came and conquered. India is the home of third largest Muslims population. Hindus have never believed in conversion and they never persecuted people of other religions for the purpose conversion.
Why is it India is facing problems only with Muslims and Christians? Very simple! Conversion is the culprit. Conversion is poison. Conversion and peaceful co-existence are not compatible. No body has to be a rocket scientist to figure out the reasons. Islam and Christianity believe in conversion. They want to convert the whole world into their respective religions. They are forcing the Hindus into a corner and pushing them against the wall. Hindus have to realize it, Justice system has to decipher it, and political parties have to recognize it. Collective action is the need of the hour.
Many other religions do not have any problem with the local Hindus. They lived in peaceful coexistence for centuries. They are never discriminated. Diversity is appreciated. No body was condemned based on religion. Because of this open mindedness and pluralistic view, Hindus have been taken advantage of by these two major religions. Let us examine the sentiments of other religions, which do not believe in conversion.
On December 1, 2011 Sri Dalai Lama proudly announced that “I consider myself as a son of India” and carries the message of ahimsa across the globe and says that the country’s spiritual leaders should promote love and harmony in India and outside. Further he observed “that India has so many languages and dialects, yet remains strongly united because there is the freedom of speech and rule of law.”
Jewish people lived in peace without any discrimination for more than 2000 years. Gary Weiss observed that in India the ethnic diversity “is a historical fact. Much as we in the West may resent it, India has a lot to teach us when it comes to religious tolerance.
To my mind, the best example of that can be found in the remarkable story of a tiny minority--India's Jewish community. India may be the only country in the world that has been free of anti-Semitic prejudice throughout its history.
That's really a bit astonishing, if not ridiculous, when you think about it. Compare that with any Western nation, be it France or Russia or even the U.S., where discrimination against Jews in housing was a fact of life as recently as the 1950s. But in "backward" India, from the beginning, the Jewish communities have not only been free of discrimination but have dominated the commercial life of every place where they have settled--something that has fed traditional European anti-Semitism.
Why has India remained free of this scourge? Various reasons have been advanced for that--such as, the Hindu religion does not seek to convert those from other faiths. What we do know is that anti-Semitism seems alien to the Indian character.
We are proud of our heritage that represents diversity and espouses freedom, liberty and equal justice.
Let us all ponder and contemplate on these three phases Honorable Judge Mehta pronounced while granting anticipatory bail to Dr. Subramanian Swamy:
1) We are a secular country
2) We should respect the system which we have
3) We have a diversity and we should be proud of
Jai Bharat Mata
V. V. Prakasa Rao, PhD
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