Friday, February 24, 2012

Secularism – A leash or shackle in Bharat’s neck? Part 1

The other day I watched the movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. The story is about a Chimpanzee called “Caesar” that received a gene-therapy drug, developed to improve the brain cell capacity in Alzheimer's patients, and achieves human-level intelligence. At first Caesar is un-aware of its social status but starts to resent the leash in its neck after seeing a family's German shepherd being restrained from coming after him. Caesar wonders if he deserves to be restrained like a pet, which might hurt itself and others due to its animal-level intelligence and low emotional-intelligence. Eventually Caesar revolts against its captivators by first exposing other Chimpanzees and apes to the same gene-therapy drug (it got) and then liberating them from the shackles of human civilization in order to lead a free life among its kind and build a civilization of his own.


The European wars of religion conducted in the name of Christianity brought immense suffering and destruction to European Anglo-Saxon society. The Church played a significant role in this and the political response of the European society was to separate the Church from state affairs. This is called as Secularism – separation of Church and State in a Christian society.
The first non-Christian society that adopted Secularism is the modern state of Turkey (1923). The past incarnation of Turkey is Asia-Minor, which is the land bridge between Asian and European continents. This is the region that is much contested by the Islamic Middle-East/West-Asia and Christian Europe. As long as the Islamic Ottoman Empire lasted (1302-1922), this region remained the center of Islamic power. The Ottoman Empire was defeated in the First World War, leading to the formation of the new republic, Turkey, in 1923. If this were to happen in medieval times, the Turkish society would have been converted into Christianity. Since the west itself separated the church from the state, a modern version of this political overlordism, Secularism, was accepted as the compromise option by both sides. This transformed the definition of Secularism from “separation of Church and State” to “Christianity without Church” in the modern geopolitical context.

The next major society that accepted Secularism is the Hindu-majority India (1947). Once again this Hindu majority nation (India) was colonized by Christian west and the only compromise option for India to get its independence is to accept Secularism (read the overlordship of Christianity without Church) as the governance model. It is pertinent to note out that half of Muslim-majority India, that became Pakistan at the same point, did not choose to become a secular state. Perhaps this is the compromise that the Hindu-majority India is forced into with Christian Britain in return for its support to convince the numerous princely states in favor of India.

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