Saturday, December 5, 2009

"a mind with a secular bent"

The recent Swiss referendum to ban constructions of new minarets has riled every "mind with a secular bent". One such mind, Vishnu Som of the NDTV, declared -

"It represents a fundamental threat to millions of Muslims in our country" [Link]

It would seem strange that someone would declare a ban which is the result of a democratic referendum in a sovereign country and which is applicable only within the country's borders to be a fundamental threat to Muslims of another country. And this question was rightly asked by Nitin and others (follow the debate here). The response from Vishnu was unsatisfactory to begin with and entirely typical of "a mind with secular bent". His answer -

"This is as easy to comprehend as it gets." (Complete answer here)

What he seems to imply here is that the issue is so simple only a fool could not comprehend the threat to Muslims. The long, meandering response is anything but an answer. Instead it is a "secular mind" wondering why "right wingers" fail to get it. And Vishnu is guilty of doing the same things he accuses others are doing. In his response he says -

"I cannot tolerate such a generalisation and cannot tolerate people who believe that to be the truth. And it is generalisations like this which represent a fundamental threat to Muslims in India and around the world." [Link]

He disapproves of generalisations yet he paints all those who criticized his views as having a "right-wing edge". So any view that is not congruent to that of a "secular mind" is automatically "right-wing". And the connotations associated with "right-wing" are well known in India. Ergo, all contrary views are invalid. Only Vishu's, possessing a "secular mind", are correct. Indeed in this very first comment he sets a prerequisite to win any debate, one needs "a mind with a secular bend" to understand what he said. After this a "right-winger" can never win.

Another thing that's typical of a "secular mind" is the desire to jump to speak on behalf of the Muslims. If the Indian Muslims feel threatened by something that happened to Muslims elsewhere, let them say so, why should Vishnu feel compelled to do so? The Indian Muslims are capable and have the necessary freedom to do so. Indian Muslims are Indian, Swiss Muslims are Swiss and sovereignty of nations must be respected.

Much of what I feel has been articulated very well here, here and here. This is a very good example of the techniques the left uses when debating, declare your's is the right way, label opponents as "right-wingers", continue arguing "right-wing" is wrong hence anything it says is invalid and declare victory -

"Enough of the great minaret debate. Horrified by the right wing wall I ran into. New subject today ... Will tweet later today." [Link]

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