I start a new thread as a reaction to MADHUKAR KULKARNI's claim, that India were a secular coutnry.
I consider a country as secular, when
The number of secular citizens does not make a country secular.
I am not sure, if there is any fully secular country on earth.
Germany is not a secular country. As an example, shops are closed on Sundays by law for religious reasons.
India is not a secular country.
- Cows causing traffic chaos are not removed, because they are considered as sacred.
- Astrology is taught in universities.
- People are allowed to bathe in the sewage water of the river Ganges and spread diseases, because the bath in the water is an expression of a religious.
Yes, we've managed to set a very low bar and seem to be going lower - I hope that when we hit rock bottom we stop digging : (
One more remark. I do not mean secularity of a country as a dichotomy. From an atheist's perspective, a secular country according to my definition would be the ideal, even though there may not be any one country fulfilling the criteria.
But it is possible to compare countries along a secularity scale.
It's simply a matter of definition. And it can get more confusing when a country's official position is one thing, but the public enforces or demands another. US clams to be secular, yet I see numerous protests against mosques, not just from citizens, but from a number of politicians.
And what if a country allows religion in general to control it's state affairs? No one religion in particular, but an accumulation of all the religions. For example, here in Canada (and many countries I believe), you just have to call your group religious (any one will do) and you don't have to pay taxes. It's one thing to have freedom of religion, but is it secularism if you're allowed to live off the backs (taxes) of the rest of the population because of your religion? I don't know...
Perhaps we need a more nuanced term. I like Mauli's criteria,even if no country meets them now. How about secularish, LOL, maybe not.
secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief.
Gerge Holyoke first defined secularism and his definition is universally accepted. Let us not strain our brains to imagine different individual definitions on which everybody can not agree. The above is his defination. There are no cows, no sewers etc. Marulaki's claim that the river Ganges carries sewerage water needs varification because her post smells of prejudice.
Cows are not on road for religious reasons. If this point is mentioned in different context, it could be acceptable but what Maruli is doing is like sticking a dogs tail to a cat. As for astrology, Maruli should do some research and tell us how many universities, out of well over 100 in India teach this optional subject and how many students study the same. Some years back we had a retrograd HRD minister and this was done by him to satisfy his whim. The secular people of India, by and large, have neglected it.
People in India can follow their religion without interference from government and all people of all religions receive equal protection under law, all are given equal opportunities without consideration of religion. If this does not suit Maruli, she should get her ideas checked.
Again your last statement reinforces your country, like mine, SUPPORTS all religion...not neutral to it. Not saying it's a good or bad thing...just saying (^_^)
I have given above the most original definition of secularism. Our country does not support all religions, it offers religious freedom to every one who wants it, it does not suppress religions. If we do so, almost every Indian will be suppressed and our country will become an atheist dictatorship. That is not secularism.
Marulaki's claim that the river Ganges carries sewerage water needs varification because her post smells of prejudice.
I observed with my own eyes in Varanassi, that someone swept the left-overs from a burial into the river Ganges to prepare the place for the following burial. That justifies my definition of the water being sewage.
As for astrology, Maruli should do some research and tell us how many universities, out of well over 100 in India teach this optional subject and how many students study the same.
I was critiziced for having made a serious social blunder by calling astrology 'non-scientific nonsense' in the presence of a man, who was venerated as a renownd specialist with a university degree in astrology.
Once again, I am not prejudiced against India. In many ways it is a beautiful country with a high and old culture in art, literature and music. But this does not make me blind to the observation, how the ubiquitous religion is detrimental to everyday life in India.
Marruli, we are discussing secularism and I have given enough material on this subject.
AN is an international forum. Secularity is a world wide issue and I think it is important to rationally evaluate any country with the same detached rationality, without being derailed by nationalism or racism.
This thread is about how secularity or the lack thereof in the organization and laws of any country has an impact upon the life of the citizens.
The religion of the majority of the population of a country influences subtly the culture. People do not automatically free themselves from the specific religious bias of their culture, when they become atheists. Christianity has damaged western culture, Hinduism has damaged Indian culture, every religion has in some way done subtle damage.
I am not devaluing India by using examples from there. I am attempting to realistically interpret my own experiences and observations in India, without either prejudice nor glorification. This means to recognize, that India is not only Tagore, Ravi Shankar, Bollywood, Taj Mahal and Fatepur Sikri, but it is also the country, where the cows are not removed from blocking the traffic, because in Hinduism they are too sacred.
I consider AN as the appropriate forum to describe my observations of religious behavior without censoring myself, as I have seen it with my own eyes. But I also do not want to hurt anybody's feelings, who identifies as a citizen of a nation, where the people have been humiliated by the English colonialism until 1947. Anybody, who has ever read the book 'A Passage To India' by E. M. Forster, can understand the special sensitivity of Indian people for real and apparent western arrogance and this has long term effects.
I just checked the membership of AN, there are 457 members from India. I wonder, if I have offended them all?
Maruli, your prejudice still shows. You could have started a post on secularism without mentioning my name and making derogatory remarks about my country. Very clearly, it appears a directed attac, however you may try to cover it now.
I am sure your country is perfect in every way and no one should criticize it ever.