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70 Years of Secularism Paperback – 1 January 2018
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That secularism as practiced in Independent India has become almost a joke is something that the man in the street has started realizing of late. For most of the “secular” political class, badmouthing the majority religion for the sake of Muslim votes (who are believed to vote en masse) is what secularism is about.
And this is probably nowhere more painfully evident than in the eastern Indian State of West Bengal.
A State that has been partitioned on the basis of religion seventy years ago with nearly two-thirds of the landmass of the undivided Bengal going to form Muslim-majority East Pakistan, leaving a paltry one-third sliver of land to constitute west Bengal. Successive State Governments have worked hard to live up to their definition of secularism.
The result? The demography of West Bengal is under very serious threat. And the apprehension that this demography is undergoing rapid change is quite well-founded. But ask the local politicians about it. They will, predictably, wax eloquent about the composite culture of Bengal (Ek-i brint-e duti kusum: Two flowers on the same stalk – Hindu and Muslim).
Talk of ostrich mentality?
The first section of the book, which deals with the historical perspective, is OK.
But it is in the second section that Balakrishna has excelled himself. Particularly illuminating are the essays:
1) The Rise and Fall of History Research in India
2) New Age Gurus are Distorting Yoga and Chopping off its Hindu Roots
3) Jaipur Literary Festival as the Harbinger of Political Correctness
4) The Unaccountable Communist Republic of Jawaharlal Nehru University
5) Amnesty International as a Representative Sample of National Security Threat.
We have started at last to see through the pettiness and ugliness that masquerade as “secularism”.
Sandeep Balakrishna’s book is a useful contribution to our understanding of the issue.
However, Balakrishna needs a better proof reader!
And what has happened to “fi”? - - nest; - - eld; ful- - lment; de - - nitely - - nds; - -fth; of - - cer; suf - - ce; magni - - cent (culled at random from pages 34 to 39).
Good job, Sandeep. But get a new keyboard! The keys ‘f’ and ‘i’ are not functioning!!
The book needed a better editing due to a few syntex and clerical mistakes.
Beginning with Nehru, Ellora caves, Tipu... how Hindus and their identities systematically undermined.
Eg: Ajanta caves temples maintained clean but lord Shiva's Ellora caves temples left to decay