Holier than thou
Being a secular nation, for India, has been a matter of pride, not prejudice. We rejoice the idea that our single nation-state houses people belonging to almost all major faiths practised and recognised across the world. It is not a matter of shame to be a secular nation; it is an uphill task that we have managed to accomplish despite housing a volatile population of over 1.32 billion. The recent comment made by the Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Anant Kumar Hegde, which directly attacked the proposition of being secular, stating vehemently that a secular individual is just a case of misplaced bloodline, further adding that despite its prominence in the Constitution, it isn't binding as the Constitution has been amended several times and his party would do that again to erase this denomination, evoked substantial fury. His comment is not only apathetic to sentiments but it undermines the Constitution, which for any minister in the assembly, is akin to the Bible or the Gita. Though Article 368 (1) of the Constitution does allow its amendment, it underscores specifically that any amendment must only be an extension of the values of the Constitution. Under no circumstance can the Constitution be overturned to suit the whims of any single individual or party, irrespective of its majority in the country. The Parliament witnessed expected ruckus over this comment as the Opposition sprung to action demanding an apology from the ruling party. The ruling party distanced itself from the minister, who was incidentally also a front-runner to become the chief ministerial face for the Karnataka legislative elections, scheduled to take place next year. The ruling party must condemn this comment, irrespective of how secularism has been assigned to its primary opposition. Without a doubt, it is essential that all those in power continue to remain subservient to the Constitution and thereby the idea of a democratic nation-state. In recent times, religious identity has become largely inflated and the position of secularism has been trampled upon as the weapon of the weak. In a country with diversity like ours, it is detrimental to project a single identity—especially now, when the Parliament goes on to hear the crucial triple talaq bill that will dismantle a particular community's tradition that provided lopsided favours to men. The idea of the bill is to uplift women while abiding by the constitutional goal of securing the prospect of every minority community in the country. The government must be cautious of the comments of all in its periphery and reprimand the misdoings of its leaders, setting the tone for a progressive future. India is incomplete without the harmonious assimilation of each community nestling in our nation.