Rammohan Roy was one among several social reformers who rose to prominence with the coming of the British. He reached his peak performance with the coming of Lord Bentinck. With elaborate lobbying (probably, I guess), Rammohan got “Sati” outlawed in the jurisdiction of wherever The East India Company occupied Indian territory. Bengal Sati Regulation XVII of 1829.
I don’t think that Lord Bentinck would have asked if – Sati – was essential to Hindu Religion. The silent fact is – If its Religion, its essential. So why bother asking. If religious essentiality was the case, then, we would still be burning widows.
The above regulation casts some shadow on the present predicament. Is Hijab essential to Muslim religion? The answer should be – why bother?
Since when did the judges of India become Mullahs?
Why is the High Court judgement on Hijab discussing and passing opinions on whether the cloth is essential or not to Islam? Do they intend to interpret or amend the Koran?
The Hijab episode has cast some doubt on how the judgement of the land is derived. In the end, the judgement upheld the Hijab-Ban, but it could have arrived at the same place with head held high. Instead, the judgement chose evasion.
Some portion of the intelligentsia have been busy pointing out the deterioration of our justice system. This is the first time, I confess, such abjectness has hit me. The Judgement seemed atrocious even to a layman like me.
I find the word – Secular – problematic. The word is truly “neutral” so much so that its meaning and the connotations falls in-between stools. The word Secular is bland, thus directionless. It should mean – middle of the road – but it means – nothing.
For the people of India, we need a word which conveys the meaning of Secular, with some spice.
Secular in Hindi means – Panth Nir-Peksha. Meaning Religion Neutral. Meaning – one is free to practice whatever one wants, so long it does not interfere with non-religious matters.
This can be elaborated further. Panth Nir-Peksha means neither the government will use religion, nor the people will use religion – except where religion-specific needs are to be fulfilled -like religious places.
Indian Constitution English Preamble should be amended, replacing the word – Secular with Religion-Neutral. Then our intentions as a nation will be clearer.
In the recent ensuing Hijab incident some unusual divide happened. The court admitted, discussed and passed judgement on religion. After the High Court ruling – the ruling which, in my opinion is completely out of whack – it will be now challenged in the Supreme Court. If there is any wise judge there – this challenge should be thrown out of court, first day first show.
Navjot Singh Sidhu turned out to be a better comedian than Bhagwant Mann. If our Supreme Court ever sits on this judgement on the essentiality of religious practice, then, the Supreme Court will be even better comedian than NSS.
The “Slipper of Religion” should not be admitted to any secular institutions of India. Meaning – except where necessary for religious duties – in all other public places, aggressive and overt identification of any religion should be discouraged.