India and the term intolerance have been on an on-and-off relationship since the Babri incident in 2002. However, this isn’t a term that has arrived to stay. India has always been and shall remain a secular country, because secularism is the very essence of its prominent religion – Hinduism. Hinduism as a religion, and Hindus – have been secular since ages, and hence this population sustains the ideal of secularism in the country. Hence intolerance and communalism are aspects that cannot prevail for long in India.
The above words are excerpts from an interview of the former Chief Election Officer SY Quraishi. He opened up regarding the conditions of Muslims in India, vote bank politics, intolerance in India, role of illiteracy and even the concept of family planning for Muslim communities; about which he shall soon publish his book.
Quraishi made it clear that the conditions of Muslim communities is better in India than any other Muslim-majority country in the world; which is a fact agreed upon by most. Pointing out that secularism runs in the very blood of Hinduism and Indians, Quraishi ruled out the possibility of persistence of intolerance in the country.
The former Chief Election Officer also affirmed the role of politically motivated agendas and vote bank politics that have kept communalism and intolerance alive in the country. Hatred among religious communities is fuelled for votes, which has made India look like an intolerant nation; while it clearly is the opposite.
Also, the fact that many Indians still remain illiterate is not a factor that hinders the democratic election process. Even an illiterate man has his own parameters through which he makes a choice of his leader. The election process is not hindered by illiteracy in India or by any such factors. It is in fact only barricaded by the religious intolerance inflicted as a part of political agenda. Quraishi is confident that intolerance is inflicted by third parties in the people of India, as the native essence of the country is nothing but secularism. People are forced to look at events as aspects through a religious perspective, than the reality.
Quraishi’s interview was based on his upcoming works namely ‘Family Planning in Islam’ and ‘Electoral Reforms in South Asia.’ Throwing more light on his unconventional subject of study regarding family planning in Islam, Quraishi denied the controversy of the subject. He said that not all Muslims deny the idea of family planning, and it has in fact been prescribed in the Quran itself. He says that the doctrine only prescribes a man to marry when he is worthy, and bear only as many children as he can comfortably raise. His book shall revolve around this ideology can be availed soon.
However, the important message from this interview that we are concerned about is the statement made by Quraishi – “The basic ethos of India is secular, which stays.” His claims that Hinduism is a secular religion that has made lives easier for other communities here strikes a chord with the native inhabitants of India. We’ve strived all through to make tha country a peaceful place, and S Y Quraishi has pointed out the very fact.