Thursday, April 24, 2008

Traits of self proclaimed ‘Secularists’

It should be common knowledge by now that the self proclaimed ‘secularists’ have lost their credibility in the blogsphere & other independent mediums. They are often referred to as ‘pseudo-secularists’, a term not totally unfounded. These ‘pseudo-secularists’ exhibit certain traits common amongst almost all of them, which helps in immediately identifying them as such with remarkable accuracy. Secularism has acquired a totally different meaning in India.

It is common among the ‘pseudo-secularists’ to refer themselves. Often in debates, discussions, you’ll find them referring to each other. Words like ‘eminent historians’ or ‘experts’ or similar such are thrown in during discussions to justify their arguments. They never bother to elaborate on their sources. It turns out that almost all the time the source is one among their brethren or a JNU historian/expert with a proven ‘pseudo-secularist’ track record. Also, free usage of words like ‘many people’ or ‘a majority of the people’ or ‘all minorities’ are used without bothering to elaborate on the statistics or their sources, as if they have been given the right to speak on their behalf.

One more trait that’s very common is to manufacture facts or fabricate stories. By repeating them often, over time, they can be passed off as facts. The dictionary meaning of rumor is ‘Gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth’ & that’s exactly what these manufactured facts & stories are, with large doses of ‘untruths’ thrown in. When all the ‘pseudo-secularists’ repeat a fabricated story enough times, it gives them license to write these as truths. This was in full use during discussions on the Gujarat violence post the Godhra incident & many ‘eminent’ personalities were found indulging in this. To name some prominent ones – Arundhati Roy (false stories of atrocities on Muslim women), Teesta Setalvad (forcing a witness to commit perjury) were two such. This tactic was also used during last year’s Gujarat elections. It’s amazing how the press & the ‘eminent’ ‘pseudo-secularists’ were all speaking in one voice against the ‘communal’ (read Modi & BJP) forces.

Another trait exhibited invariably by the ‘pseudo-secularists’ is to discredit the Hindu argument. Anything supporting the Hindu argument & criticizing Islam or Christianity is automatically discredited. The fervor & zeal shown in protecting any Muslim terrorist or Christian missionaries accused of conversion on humanitarian grounds is totally absent when it concerns the Hindu groups. The Muslim terrorists are misguided youths & yet the Hindus are ‘Hindu Terrorists’. On one hand they say terrorism has no religion, yet the use the term ‘Hindu Terrorists’. Again without any justification or proof. Is there any Hindu group involved in forceful conversion? Is there any Hindu group involved in imposing it’s religion on others or claiming superiority over others? Are there any Hindu groups training militants in armed warfare? Does any Hindu group carry out suicide bombings? Such questions are never raised or answered. Yet the term ‘Hindu Terrorist’ is used very liberally without any proof or supporting facts. Also, to support their arguments against Hindus & Hinduism, they often cite sources, works, books that are convenient to them or from among their own, giving the cold shoulder treatment to any intellectual debate inconvenient to them or criticizing Islam or Christianity. Works of people like Ram Swarup or Sitaram Goel, among others, are hardly discussed or people like Arun Shourie aren’t given as much air time as given to ‘eminent’ ‘pseudo-secularists’.

When it comes to the Bible or Koran, everything that these books say is automatically accepted as the universal truth. Nobody dare dispute or question them. When you do, you are termed a ‘communalist’. Yet when it comes to Hinduism, scientific & historic proofs are sought (ex. the recent Bhagwan Ram controversy or the Babri Masjid issue). The ancient Hindu texts are discredited as myths (ex. Ramayana & Mahabharata) while others cannot be disputed. This is another trait that is so common among the ‘pseudo-secularists’. It is common & convenient to criticize Hinduism without any fear of retaliation, yet no voice is raised against Islam or Christianity. They know the consequences will be grave (Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad). Besides how else would one establish their secular credentials without blaming the majority?

This not a complete list of traits but some most common ones, there are a few more like being shrill, high jacking discussions when on the defensive etc, discussing them would lengthen this post. It has turned out quite long enough.

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