This follows the first part: Secularism Redefined.
So, what is the big difference between original definition of Secularism as “No importance to any religion” and the Indian definition of “Equal importance to all religions”? Some people don’t see much difference.
Unfortunately, Religion does not just come with philosophy, rich literature, spirituality, great buildings, moral code, universal brotherhood, altruism, love of mankind and colorful festivals, which are all considered good.
It also comes with blind belief, superstition, orthodoxy, fundamentalism, irrationality, illogic, stupidity, idiocy, which are not necessarily the tools that you want to include in running the state and its machinery.
Since one cannot just filter out good things about Religion from the bad things, it is best avoided by the state in its daily functioning while allowing its people to celebrate the goodness and revel in its badness. That is called the separation of state and church.
It’s like saying: People, do what you want to do. If you want to believe Tuesday is a bad day for meetings and taking decisions, don’t take them up. If you believe water shouldn’t be drunk on a Saturday, don’t drink it. It’s up to you. But please don’t push those beliefs onto the state making it a universal rule where in everyone has to abide by it.
When we say the above, what we actually mean is: We understand that you are being foolish. We allow you to be foolish. But don’t expect everyone to be foolish. That’s a little too much to expect.
So, what a secular state wants is to separate foolishness from the state so that foolishness is confined to individuals as part of their freedoms. It’s like saying: You have the right to be foolish, but don’t expect us to create rules and laws based on your foolishness. Hence, the definition – ‘No importance to any religion’.
However, Indian definition of secularism – ‘Equal importance to all religions’ translates to ‘as a state, we promote foolishness, encourage it, and employ it in our courts, legislature, executive and daily working. In fact, we embrace all your foolish ideas with equal vigor and interest as long as you belong to a religion.’
While the actual version of secularism tries to keep the foolishness out of state machinery, the Indian version of secularism includes foolishness to celebrate it and institutionalize it.
That’s when our courts will give verdicts like, ‘You have dug a well in your backyard. You have raped Mother India. You are convicted of rape’. Or the government will take decisions like, ‘Lord Rama along with thousands of monkey friends constructed this dam across the sea nearly 2 million years ago, and henceforth, it shall be considered a man-made construction’.