MINORITIES : A SACRED TRUST
:-by Justice Rajindar Sachar-:
The guilt of fiendish murder of Junaid can not be sidelined by Hindu Majority under the slogan of “Not in my Name”. In fact Hindu majority will continue to be held guilty so long such devilish acts continue. These acts are a shame on our constitution and this challenge has to be met frontally.
The recital in the preamble to the Constitution that India is a secular state means that no religious group (including Hindus) can claim any special dominant position or status in the country.
Secularism does not signify Anti-Religion. In India people fervently believe in their respective religions and overwhelming number of persons of all communities give equal respect to the religion of others. Secularism signifies giving equal dignity and respect to all religions. Of course it goes without saying that Indian State has no religion of its own, nor for that matter can any religion claim superiority over another religion as by resorting to false premise that any religion in the Country is indigenous while others are foreign. This is heresy not permitted by our constitution, which gives equal reverence to all the religions practiced by various communities of India.
As put expressed succinctly by Lord Acton as follows: “A state which is incompetent to satisfy different races condemns itself; a state which labours to neutralize, to absorb or to expel them is destitute of the chief basis of self-government”; we need only substitute minorities for races to in the above quotation to apply the test in India.
Supreme Court when it said; [Dr. Ismael Faruqui Vs. Union of India, 1994 (6) SCC 360]
“It is clear from the constitutional scheme that it guarantees equality in the matter of religion to all individuals and groups irrespective of their faith emphasizing that there is no religion of the State itself.”
Posing the question what is the purpose it referred with approval to the test laid down by Lord Scarman of House of Lords UK;
‘The purpose of the law must be not to extinguish the groups which make the society but to devise political, social and legal means of preventing them from falling apart and so destroying the plural society of which they are members.’
Thus inclusive development in India and for that matter in any country alone is the path to prosperity. It is an undeniable truth and needs to be irrevocably accepted by all in India, namely that minorities, Muslims and Christians are not outsiders. They are an integral part of India. Let me quote what Swami Vivekanand (who even worst of RSS idealouge will not deny that Swami Ji was one of the greatest spiritual personality of India) has to say of the intimate connection between the spirit of Islam and Hinduism thus, “He also told Hindus not to talk of the superiority of one religion over another. Even toleration of other faiths was not right; it smacked of blasphemy. He pointed out that his guru, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, had accepted all religions as true. Swami Vivekanand in fact profusely praised Islam and in a letter to his friend Mohammed Sarfraz Hussain (10th June 1898) without any hesitation wrote “therefore I am firmly persuaded that without the help of practical Islam, theories of vedantism, however fine and wonderful they may be are entirely valueless to the vast mass of mankind. For our own motherland a junction of the two great systems Hinduism and Islam – Vedanta brain and Islam body – is the only hope……. the future perfect India.”
There thus can be no real progress in India which does not include minorities, Muslims, Christians as equal stakeholders. It needs to be emphasized that development and growth in the country has to be all inclusive – the mode of development must necessarily take into account the needs and sensitivities of Minorities, Dalits, Tribals in India. This was reaffirmed and emphasized recently by the Socialist party (India) which is inspired and follows the philosophy and programme of Shri Jaya Prakash Narain and Dr. Ram Monohar Lohia, thus; “that they must be treated as a special trust and there is an urgent need to attend to their problems immediately.”
The report of U. N. Human Right council, Forum on Minority issued on December 14 th , 15 th , 2010 has mandated as follows;
“The Council emphasizes; “Consequently, the right of minorities to participate effectively in economic life must be fully taken into account by governments seeking to promote equality at every level. From implementing non – discrimination in employment and enforcing protection laws in the private sector to developing national economic development and international development assistance schemes.”
The basic task is to reconcile the pluralism which then exists in that State, and the need to respect the identity of the various groups, with the overall concerns of non-discrimination, equality, national security, territorial integrity, and political independence.
The Minorities especially the Muslims have been the ignored factor by all Central Governments. It is not understood why since Prime Ministers High Level committee Report was given in November 2006, and which had recommended the establishment of Equal Opportunity Commission as an instrument to prevent discrimination against Minorities in the private sector like housing, employment, (since courts can not interfere in discrimination in private sector) this recommendation has been inexcusably violated and also remained in cold storage.
Thus inclusive development in the country alone is the path to prosperity. It is an undeniable truth and needs to be irrevocably accepted by all in the country that minorities, Muslims and Christians are not outsiders. They are an integral part of India. There can be no real progress which does not include minorities, Muslims and Christians as equal stakeholders in the country. I can not put it better than what Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan, one of the greatest leader of our country had to say over a century back. Gandhiji repeated it in 1921, and also in another prayer meeting at Rajghat on 24th March 1947 thus; “In the words of Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan……I would say that Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of mother India just as the trouble in one eye affects the other too, similarly the whole of India suffer when either Hindu or Muslim suffer.”
This puts a sacred obligation on the majority to fight for justice to minorities like Junaid.
I can do no better than end with a quotation from the well-known Italian author Dante namely; “the hottest spot in hell is reserved for those who see injustice and do nothing.”