Secularism, Democracy and Justice
Indian judiciary proved once more that they are as secular as Indian constitution is. They sentenced people who are accused to be involved in the Best Bakery case. The Best Bakery case was one of the worst incident ever in Indian history. 12 musllims were burnt alive during Hindu-Muslim riot at Baroda in Gujarat in 2002. The chargesheet was filed. The earlier court acquitted all these aftter the main witness Zahira and her family turned hostile. They blamed it on Teesta, the Human Rights Activist, who made her tell a lie before the court. Some TV channels in India broadcast the Tehelka report that Rs. 18 laks was paid to Zahira for her to turn hostile. The secular India is hoping to deliver justice on each of almost 1000 cases registered during those days.
At last law prevailed and most of the accused got convicted for life-term. However, Zahira Sheikh is given two weeks time to show cause why they turned hostile.
Meanwhile, in a similar case in Pakistan, the court has acquitted all the 88 accused persons allegedly involved in the Sangla-Hill church-burning case. The court acquitted them on the ground of ‘lack of evidennce’. Had Pakistan been a secular democratic country, the verdict would not have that easy to deliver – I think.
In this reference I would like to refer to an article published in a Pakistani newspaper on why India is intact where Pakistan and Soviets broke.
The Friday Times, Lahore, Pakistan October 4 – 10, 2002
Why is India intact?
by Farrukh Saleem
Here are some statistics on India. More than a billion people spread over a land mass of nearly 3 million sq km (the size of four Pakistans); twenty-eight thousand dialects spoken across 28 states and 7 union territories; fourteen official languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali, Kashmiri, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya and Assamese.
The population comprises 800 million Hindus, 120 million Muslims, 25 million Parsis, 23 million Christians, 19 million Sikhs, besides Buddhists and Jains. Hindus are further divided among 2,800 unique communities. The caste system has Brahman, Kshatriya, Vashya, Sudra, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.The Scheduled Castes are further divided into 450 distinct communities. The Scheduled Tribes have 461 distinct communities and Other Backward Classes are divided into 766 distinct communities.
This is a division like in no other country. All the possible fault-lines exist: religious, ethnic, linguistic, geographic and communal. And these divisions run deep. On top of that, for the past half-century there have been at least nine significant centrifugal movements seeking autonomy, secession or independence from India. Among them: Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF); Dalitstan Organization that seeks “independence for the Dalits, or black Untouchables, also know as Dravidians, the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent before the arrival and dominance of the Caucasian Hindus”; Free Tamil Nadu that “seeks independence for the Tamil people of south India and perhaps a union with the Tamils of Sri Lanka”; United Liberation Front of Assam that seeks independence of the State of Assam; National Socialist Council of Nagalim that seeks the independence of Nagaland and surrounding areas in the Northeast; Revolutionary People’s Front of Manipur (RPF) that seeks the independence of Manipur; People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK); eighth, there has been a Declaration of Independence of the Sikh Homeland; ninth, National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) in the state of Tripura.
Some of the above secessionist movements continue to allege that India is an example of “Brahmanist Imperialism” or that India is becoming a “de facto Brahman state”. In 1947, many had predicted that India, because of its uncounted diversities, would not be able to survive as a sovereign state. India, it was said back then, would be divided up in several small perhaps more homogenous states. They have all been proven wrong.
The Pakistan the Quaid gave us was practically all Muslim. We had one official language. But, within 24 years of Independence, we managed to lose half of what the Quaid gave us. General Yahya violated the basic principles of democracy and Bangladesh now celebrates March 26 as Independence Day and December 16 as Victory Day.
India is pathetically poor and so is Pakistan. India is the 29th most corrupt country while Pakistan is the 25th most corrupt. India is marginally more literate than we are. India has had 14 prime ministers; Pakistan has had 20. India has had 12 presidents (three were Muslim); Pakistan has had 11. We have had four military governments. India has had none. Pakistan has been split into two. India should have been split into four.
Just what has really kept Brahmans, Sudras, Muslims, Christians, Tamils, Dalits and Assamese together? What has kept India united?
India is democratic we are not. Could that be it?