Religion, caste, race and color are the roots which has lead to myriads of civil strife ubiquitously. Be it in India where hindu-muslim differences catapulted to partition, amercian civil war which put an end to the slave dynasty,south Africa’s policy of apartheid, irish-british conflicts, french war which bifurcated protestant and catholic, lebanese war between the christians and the muslims.
In theory according to the constitution of India, India is a secular state but pragmatically meditating on this will infer that it is unfortunately very far from it. Secularism means a doctrine that rejects religion and its religious considerations. Precisely the Government of India does not treat its citizen equal in matters of religion. It relentlessly gets involve in temple administration, temple funding or subsidizing pilgrimages.
Religion is very much a private affair and the state should not poke their nose in sectarian matters. The first bill of US rights prudently divulge that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise of promoting thereof..” It says ‘complete separation of church from the state’. The absence of religious strife in US is attributed to this law itself. This is why america is the strongest democracy.
While it is in uber contrast when we compare the status quo in India. The indian government pays a huge subsidy to its Muslim citizens for performing Haj to Saudi Arabia. In 2008, Rs 700 crores of the tax-payers money was paid for this purpose.
The rationale behind the Indian government subsidy goes against any notion of social equality and justice. No other country on earth including the Islamic country subsidizes Haj. Subsidies can be vindicated incase when market fails to deliver social optimal necessities for public good. But the subsidization of Haj is no market failure and the benefits are reaped only by one sect of the society. This tantamount to rob one sect to pay another sect as according to economic right one has the prerogative to spend one’s income as one sees fit. This also contravenes the free and fair elections in India as the political parties try to woo the muslim vote banks. Even the Prime Minister who is as innocent as freshly laid egg at the “All state Chief Minister” meet ranted that the minorities has the first right to the nation’s resources. That was a ridiculous statement as our PM and his party should embrace it to their DNA that each single individual is the smallest minority in any democratic state.
Finally, there is pernicious effect once an unearned benefit is granted, they will always expect more and more. And moreover if you try to dissolve the benefits, be prepared to face the wrath of beneficiaries. The politicians will never let 26% of the muslim vote bank to siphoned off. So this conundrum has only one solution: move the funding of Haj subsidy from public domain to private domain. Firstly, this will tranquil the non-muslims who thinks their moolahs are getting drained. Secondly, it will take out politics from the whole issue.
If India truly wants to be become a secular multi-religious state, the legislature should make amendments to its present etiquettes. It should not interfere in any religious matter whatsoever. The recent non-secular activities in India((kandhamal riots) are the major albatross in getting into the security-council. It’s very heart-breaking how each time India is denied its well deserved position in the security-council.
happy independence day.