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Does Secularism means Anti-Hinduism?

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Today, while scrolling tweets I saw an article in HimalKhabar titled "Saraswati Pooja: Religion resides in secular schools!" written by Purna P. Rai. Which attracted me to write this article. There were many questions in my mind while reading the article published in "HimalKhabar" like; What is the real meaning of Secularism? Why Secularism = Anti-Hindu? Why always Hindu's faith is targeted in the name of secularism? and many others. 

Q.1) What is Secularism

Secularism is the principle seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular, naturalistic considerations. As a philosophy, secularism seeks to interpret life based on principles derived solely from the material world, without recourse to religion. It shifts the focus from religion towards "temporal" and material concerns.

The term "secularism" was first used by the British writer George Holyoake in 1851. Holyoake invented the term "secularism" to describe his views of promoting a social order separate from religion, without actively dismissing or criticizing religious belief. An agnostic himself, Holyoake argued that "Secularism is not an argument against Christianity (Religion), it is one independent of it. It does not question the pretensions of Christianity (Religion); it advances others. Secularism does not say there is no light or guidance elsewhere but maintains that there are light and guidance in secular truth, whose conditions and sanctions exist independently, and act forever. Secular knowledge is manifestly that kind of knowledge which is founded in this life, which relates to the conduct of this life, conduces to the welfare of this life, and is capable of being tested by the experience of this life."

The principles of secularism that protect and underpin many of the freedoms we enjoy according to the "National Secular Society, UK" are:

  1. Separation of religious institutions from state institutions and a public sphere where religion may participate, but not dominate.
  2. Freedom to practice one's faith or belief without harming others, or to change it or not have one, according to one's own conscience.
  3. Equality so that our religious beliefs or lack of them doesn't put any of us at an advantage or a disadvantage.
Secularism in Nepal:- 

Before anything I write about "Secularism in Nepal" let me show you two pictures.

Pic 1: Former PM Baburam Bhattrai visiting Church, Pic 2: Current PM Oli visiting Pashupatinath temple.

Now here if you are common people then you have a question in your mind that "Why writer showing us this picture?". May this is a simple picture but it has a deep story about the situation of secularism in Nepal. 

Visiting Church in "Secular Nepal" never sparked any controversies, but visiting a temple was the biggest national issue, and all so-called "protector secularism" was giving the conclusion that it is the "end of Secularism" in Nepal. 

In Nepal, there are many articles, books, and ideologies available claiming that the religion especially Hinduism is against "Secularism". The so-called Ph.D. holders attack Hinduism by supporting "Secularism" but at the same time they give/appreciate other religions. They are doing their best to change the meaning of "Secularism" as Anti-Hindu.

 Now the issue with "HimalKhabar":-

While heading to the title topic let's analyze the article HimalKhabar titled "Saraswati Pooja: Religion resides in secular schools!". 

At the start of the article, it's in bold written "By worshiping Saraswati in the school, the students are being taught to praise, not to cultivate for knowledge. Religious symbols should not be placed in non-religious educational institutions. This is not against any religion." This statement completely against the cultural knowledge of the children. Culture is the main source to glorify the history of nation/state/ethnic groups/tribal groups. Culture gives you identification and basic knowledge about history. Teaching this to children is very important because it helps them to grow up and to function in a culture that has not one clear identity ready for them. Cultural education consists of the capacity for reflection. Children and also youngsters in cultural education learn to reflect upon their own culture, the culture of others, and culture in general. 

There is a statement, "Students were taught that service is more powerful than hard work through the story of Ganesha worshiping around Mahadev, or Kumar being circumnavigated around the universe." He criticized the story saying "servicing someone is being thought than hard work." Now, I'm pretty sure that he never learned the story or his moral value is less to understand the story even though the moral of the story is being mentioned in the Puranas. There is even doubt that his mind is focusing deep to attack Hinduism in the name of "Secularism" that he even didn't research properly about the story. Let's teach him the moral of the story.

The literal meaning of the story of Ganesha & Kartikey is – Children must respect their parents as they are dearer than the rest of the world.

The symbolic meaning of Ganesha & Kartikey – One doesn’t need to go around the world to gain wisdom and understand the truth. One must look within to find the truth. A wandering mind cannot get enlightened but a stable one certainly will.

This was the meaning thought to us from the small. But may his focus was in only economics classes so that he can earn by criticizing one religion for the advertisement of another in the name of "Secularism".

He also stated that following cultural values are like devaluation of  Science and Technology. But did we heard the same thing during some radical festivals of Christianity or any other religion? I think he even doesn't know the connection between Science and Hinduism. 

Recently, People in the "Secular-Country" of Europe & America celebrated "Christmas", even in Nepal youth celebrated it. Which didn't spark any controversy by saying it is harmful to the practice of "Secularism". We come to see such articles only when there in Hindu festivals. What does it reflect?

The writer of that article in HimalKhabar also sees Saraswati Pooja as a "Creating mindset to children for the religious state". I don't know in which text, in which country he saw that celebrating religious festival resulted, the end of the "Secularism" status of the country? 

You can read many things written in the article that are against Hinduism in the name of protecting "Secular belief". But the practice of festivals other religions is not against "Secularism". His article in HimalKhabar is more anti-Hindu than what it claims to be. This also brings many questions among the people. This takes us to our next section,

Does Secularism mean Anti-Hinduism?

In recent days there we saw many activities, many changes in the country. Nepal became a "Secular country", Democracy was established, and many more. When the concept of "Secularism" was first introduced in the world, it was introduced to bring all religion to the front. "Secularism" was introduced to make the State separate from religion so that the government can more focus on development than on the radicalization of religion. It was established to protect all the minor and major religions of the state to glorify all the culture. 

But in the 21st century, the definition of "Secularism" was changed to anti-Hinduism.  Anti-Hindu "Secularism" is more practiced in the Hindu state which is changed to a "Secular state" than that in "real-Secular State". Nowadays to be "secular" you must have to oppose Hinduism. 

Nowadays if you wanna follow "Secularism" you have to attack the Hindu's faith it doesn't matters either you know the meaning that Hinduism is saying or not. Even you attack Hindus in baseless things you are called to be "Secular". For example Purna P. Rai's statement above about the story of "Ganesha and Kartikey" where he completely gave another meaning to it. Nowadays "Secular" Ph.D. holders don't even do research about Hinduism and attack it for their satisfactory definition of "Secularism".

India is a secular nation. Constitutionally all are equal. There will be no discrimination based on religion. However, in the real system, the majority community, Hindus are brutally abused and trolled by all, especially by the Seculars, minorities, and So-called Ph.D. holders. Hindu scriptures like the Ramayana, the Gita, the Mahabharata, the Manusmriti, and the Purans, etc are mocked and trolled. In some cases, they are even burnt by some extremist groups. Even in some universities, this burning of Hindu scriptures is an annual affair.

The striking legislation against the majority is about establishing educational institutions. In Nepal, minorities like Muslims, Christians got a special right to develop their institutions. They can set their own rules on admission of students, recruitment of staff, and also introducing their faith-specific rules and curriculum. But Hindus do not have these privileges. Hindu customs have to go through the Western lens of human rights, animal rights, and gender equality. But the same lens does not apply to the traditions of minorities. The recent PM's Pashupatinath is a classic example of how media, so-called "secular's" NGOs, and Ph.D. holders use the discourse of gender equality, the Right to pray, and so on to undermine the age-old tradition of the temples using an imported ideological lens.

If we see the "Secularist" Role model country "USA", then even there the President takes an oath by touching the Bible (holy book of Christianity) which never sparked any controversy. And was even appreciated by the Nepalese "Secular Society". But when the PM of Nepal even visits the Pashupatinath Temple it becomes a national threat to "Secularism". All peoples in the"Secular Society" of Nepal show hypocrisy. "So-called Educated" will use heavy words like "Bhramanism", "hegemony", Blah, blah, blah. 

Ending Topic:-

I'm not a philosophy writer, so I don't have any experience in such type of writing but this topic was to be addressed. That's why I choose to write about the topic. While reading Purna P. Rai's article there was a clear smell of propaganda. We hear such types of articles only from "so-called Educated" profiles in Nepal. Whose intention is only to divide and rule by misguiding. We saw the example above in the "Ganesha and Kartikey's" Story which was not only misguided from the real meaning of the story but also propagated the false narrative in the youth. 

We can see such types of attacks every time here in Nepal. And their's model is also well-known in society. The first attack on the faith with misguiding meaning away from real meaning, gives some illogical philosophical answer if above two formula doesn't work then they play the victim card to gain the emotional support of people. 

Celebrating Saraswati Puja in school based on one's faith is not a big deal In countries with a predominance of certain religions, it is not uncommon for religious festivals to be celebrated in public places. Even in a secular country like the United States, Christian holidays are celebrated in schools and colleges. In some states, festivals of local religions are also celebrated or holidays are given on that occasion. This doesn't mean spreading hate among a specific religion in the name of "Secularism".

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