Argument of being a minority –

a word that What has influenced political discourse the most since the colonial period is the minority. Before independence, the nationalism of Congress was challenged with this word, this word has been causing polarization in independent India. Two important concepts – secular and liberal democracy, get confused in this word. The biggest irony is that the word whose definition was not considered necessary to be given in the constitution, the same word is guarding the constitutionality. Minority is not just a numerical term. It is an indicator of a particular socio-political relationship. When the majority religion becomes a challenge to the existence of the followers of the minority religion, then they feel the imperative of protection. That’s why the term majority and minority for constitution and extra-constitutional institutions in western countries stems from their socio-spiritual struggle. The conflict may have become history, but the sense of numeracy and the tendency to challenge hegemony arising out of it has not ended. So both these words are relevant.

Does India’s society and spirituality reflect the merits and demerits of the West? This is an important question, which enables us to bring out the basics. The non-Hindu religions in India largely claim to be a minority. And protection of minority interests has become the definition of India’s secularism. But Hindu majoritarianism has neither history nor present. And it can’t even happen. Hinduism stands on spiritual democracy. Hindu philosophy and life values ​​have developed on the basis of question and resistance. Questions and retaliation have not been a cause of intolerance. This is the most important feature of the Hindu way of life and philosophy, which has always saved it from intellectual stagnation and impoverishment of reason. The two words of Upanishad ‘neti neti’ (not this, not that also) is the formula sentence of this trend. And this is a spiritual democracy, in which merits and demerits, not numbers, lead to the existence of philosophies and sects. Due to this natural unlimitedness diversity is found at every level. That’s why Hindu is free from majoritarian tendency. This is the reason for the irrelevance of the word minority. Due to this fear, the discussion on the basic character of religions has been put in cold storage.

Some incidents before independence clearly prove the absence of majoritarian character. During the establishment of the Congress in 1885, a total of seventy-two delegates came, of whom sixty-nine were Hindus. Christianity and Islam had only two representatives each, while Parsis, a comparatively small number, had nine. This order continued later also. In the Congress session in 1904, the Muslim delegates were thirty-five, while the Parsis were sixty-five. In 1907 the number of Muslim and Parsi delegates were ten and twenty respectively. The population of Parsis was only one lakh nine thousand in the 1931 census. But, he never even felt the possibility of danger on his existence. That’s why they did not become a minority even after being a minority. The first six presidents of the Congress were WC Banerjee a Christian, Dadabhai Naoroji a Parsi, Badruddin Tyabji a Muslim, followed by George Yule and Weidenburn (both Europeans) and Pherozeshah Mehta a Parsi in 1890. No one felt the absence of a Hindu president in an organization with a Hindu majority. But the same Congress had to bear the brunt of minorityism. In 1937, when its governments were formed in the provinces, the Muslim League issued the Pirpur Committee Report. In it, putting Mahatma Gandhi’s picture and hoisting the tricolor was described as Hindu fascism. This was not the only report. Kamalyar Jung Report, Sharif Report kept attacking the Congress in similar language.

Congress passed about 323 resolutions from 1885 to 1947 to prove itself as minority friendly, but all proved futile. That is why in the Constituent Assembly Tajamul Hussain of the Muslim League (Bihar) argued that the words minority-majority were a creation of Britain and argued that on the basis of mere numbers no one becomes majority or minority. He appealed to the political parties to throw these two words out of the dictionary during his speech in the Constituent Assembly. But it proved futile. Independent India let that golden moment be lost in full consciousness, when we could establish our definition of secularism. But we went on with the crutches of imported concepts. This becomes an obstacle in the making of uniform civil law in the country.

Socialist leader JB Kripalani wrote a book in 1948 called ‘Modernity in India’. In it he had said that India would become hollow without Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Upanishads. He pointed out a misfortune. Non-Hindu religions of India do not consult these books and that is why they remain unchanged. Whatever attempt was made, the Islamic society did not make it its reference point. Aurangzeb’s brother Dara Shikoh translated the Upanishads. But it is not made a part of the Muslim discourse. On the contrary, it continues to be a part of Hindu thought.
India’s discourse has to move away from the numerical side. This is not only confusing, it gives rise to psychological division. The minority concept destroys the sense of locality, because locality does not allow the feeling of alienation to germinate. In this, local lifestyle and cultural elements dominate over religion. Wherever the feeling of community arising out of locality is strong, the land of communalism does not become there.

Uniform education system is the basis of the nutrition and strength of secularism. Unfortunately, the biggest attack on this was due to the growth of minority organizations. Whenever there was a concerted effort to emphasize on equal education, then there was a protest by calling it an attack on the minority. Namboodiripad’s government in Kerala had to bear the brunt of this in 1957, when the education system built on the concept of equal education faced opposition from Christians. The tendency to remain isolated is born from the minorityist mindset. This limits interaction. Dialogue takes place within the confines of formality. It is because of this complexity that Ferozeshah Mehta had said that ‘to tell the Parsis to keep aloof from the local people, to stay away from their interests, would not only increase the scope of selfishness, but would equally be a sign of lack of intelligence.’ The contribution of the Parsi society shows that the number of followers does not diminish their potential. The majority-minority discourse creates a web of complications, which suffocate participation in the discourse on the economic side of national life. As much debate took place in the Constituent Assembly on this question in India, the same debate could not come out of it. The reason for this is the dominance of career politics. There is a need to get rid of the web of this misfortune.
(The author is a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP)
(Credits: JS)
Rakesh Sinha

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