Saturday, April 11, 2009

Secular and Communal

Rarely do I agree with an entire post/article these days without significant points of disagreement. But I couldn't find anything to disagree with in this article:
Secularism, like communalism, is no longer a first principles debate; it is a pretext for forcing issues where none exist. The only two interpretations of secularism that are current in India are deeply warped: secularism as erasure of identity, or secularism as communal parity. Neither interpretation has room for the core meaning: secularism is about the freedom of individuals to make of themselves what they will; it is about making “identity” irrelevant to politics, not about its enforced erasure...

Real secularism is about giving citizens the freedom to escape being tagged, whether by caste or religion. The Congress politics now has limited appeal, even for the minorities it courts, because it is still caught in the politics of tagging. The BJP tags to target, Congress tags to provide noblesse oblige. But it is the tagging that’s insidious.
It is for this reason that I support a uniform civil code. By definition, in a public sphere of life, there shouldn't be discrimination based on any parts of one's identity.

As I come to understand from the roots of the word, communalism means to discriminate people based on one's community. I wonder then about the honesty in calling religion based politics communal, but not the caste based. After all a caste is a smaller community, isn't it ?

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