Why Christian Concept of Secularism is meaningless in India?

by Jay Shah on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 2:29am Why Christian Concept of Secularism is meaningless in India?

The very idea of a secular form of government- with priestly authority separated from the affairs of the state- is relatively a recent development in Europe. But it is a practice of extremely long standing in India- going back to Vedic times.

Brahmins in India have long been classified as Vaidika and Laukika. Vaidika Brahmins are those that are engaged in priestly duties, while Laukika Brahmins are those that are active in the secular professions like medicine, engineering, law, teaching and others.

More importantly, the texts used as guides for religious and secular activities have always been different. This is not the case in Islam in which the Quran is not only the prayer book, but also the law book. It is claimed to be the basis for Shariat - or Islamic Law.

We can see this distinction more clearly when we look at Hindu religious texts. Many devout hindus use the Vishnusahasranama or some other prayer book in the religious functions. But it has never been Dharmashastra and others authored by sages like Brihaspati, Manu, Gautama. Kautilya’s Arthshastra was a standard manual on adminsitration. None of these is considered a religious text, or ever used in religious ceremonies. We find a clear separation the religious and the secular.

This was even true in vedic times. The vedas and the Brahmanas are religious texts, but they were never used as law books. The guidelines for legal and adminsitrative duties were laid down in sutra works likeDharmasutras, Nyayasutras and others. Even among sutra works, there was separation into Grihya (household) and srauta (sacred).

This was so even in practice as we learn from from ancient literature. The famous vedic sage Vishwamitra was born into a royal family but wanted to be known as a vedic seer. He has to give up his kingdom and perform a long penancebefore he could gain recognition as one. The reverse was also true. In the case of emperor Bharata (son of Dusyant and Shakuntala) it was the opposite. Finding his owns sons unfit to rule, he adopted a son of vedi priestly family of Bharadvaja as his heir. It was this Bharadvaja’s

The same was true of Medieval Christianity. the spiritual leader of Iran. but gave up his claims when he founded his religion. The Spiritual is wielded by the Church. In Islam. Same is the case with Vardhman Mahavir. the First Amedment to the Constitution removed all influence of religion upon the government. Quran is not only the prayer book. This remained true even in historical times. The Islamic code of law .the so called Shariat. Muslim clergy claim the right to interfere in the affairs of the stae in the name of religious duty. It is well know that Gautama Buddha was born into a hindu royal family. Both these religions are also theocracies. Similarly. The one by the hand . Government as the secular arm of the church and therefore subject to priestly authority was a claim that was fully broken only by the disestablishment of religion in Europe following the French Revolution. the spiritual and the material (or secular). Madhavacharya. who was also born into a hindu royal family but gave up his kingdom and later founded Jainism. But he was no longer recognized as a sage or priest.is based on the Quran which is also the prayerbook of Islam. But he had to give up his claim to royalty before being accepted as the head of the Madhava sect. But neither Vidyaranya nor Ramdas sought any political power. In the United States. The famous Madhava seer Jayatirtha (144088) was born into royal Deshpande family. Ramdas inspired Shivaji.both in theory and in practice. Theocracy was out of the question . This record of Hinduism should be compared to the history of Christianity (of medieval Europe) and Islam. there is no clear separation between priestly and secular duties as there has been in Hinduism since time immemorial. better known as Vidyaranya inspired the founding of the Vijayanagar Empire when Hinduism was facing its greatest crisis. The message is simple: one could not be both ruler and priest. it is also the law book. the material for the Chruch. are in the power of the Church. Seven hundred years ago Pope Boniface VIII has assereted his secular authority in the following words: ”Both swords.son Vitatha who succeeded Bharat as King. Contrast this with the record of Ayatollah Khomeini. and the ideology that underlies them. For the same reason.

This is the characteristic of a theocracy rather than a true spiritual tradition.laws that would be administered by the clergy. there has been one at least one case of forced marriages of under-age Muslim girls against the law of the land.from the affairs of the state. in the name of “Secularism” and “religious rights”. The reality is: as with Medieval Christianity. . For this to happen these countries have to completely remove the influence of clergy .” This is a clear statement of how the Church regarded the state as the “secular arm” of the Church. The same phenomenon is raising its head in Britain. In India. God is simply the pretext used to extend and strengthen its power and influence in the temporal world. being simply politicians in religious garb. Even in United States. In Islamic countries this has still not happened. More often than not the Muslim clergy have no spiritual vision to offer.of the priest. the other by the hands of kings and knights at the will and sufferance of the priest. muslims have not let that happen. organizations like Muslim Personal Law Board are insisting on separate laws . Even in India. West broke the power of Church through secularization of the state. Islam even today regards secular authority as far more important than the spiritual content. muslim religious leaders are demanding the right to function as a theocratic State with a State administered according to Islamic Law. Blasphemy law has also been exercised by assassinating an Egyptian scholar living in Texas for expressing his dissenting views.the mullahs. The question is what is the source of this theocratic ideology? The simple answer is Monotheism/Exclusivism is the foundation of Theocracy.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful