Secularism: ‘basic structure’ – Constitution of Bharat ensures ‘secularism’ to all citizens of Bharat. Infact Preamble to the Constitution was amended in 1976 by Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act to incorporate the word ‘secular’. And now it is considered as a part of ‘basic structure’ under the concept of ‘basic structure’. So much is the importance of ‘secularism’ to us.
There are many aspects one should take into consideration while dwelling upon the idea of secularism. Where did this concept/word originate? And why? Did Bharat have much better concept and principles to serve the intended purpose? Are religion and Dharma one and the same? What is the difference? I will not go into that debate as it will deviate from the issue in concern. But for the sake of understanding we can take the meaning of secularism as ‘equal to all religions’. And this will be acceptable to all of us except few extremists, for whom we shouldn’t care!
Therefore duty cast upon the State is to endeavor for preserving ‘secularism’ not only through its advertisements but also through its schemes, programmes and policies. But stooping to low levels of minority appeasement for vote politics is not new for us. It should be opposed tooth and nail. Syllabuses may contain lessons of ‘Ram and Rahim were friends in a village’ etc. but if your policies aim at division of population on religious lines hardly those lessons will help.
A good case challenging the constitutionality of religion based scholarships has lost in Bombay High Court recently. Now they have filed Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court order. It is learnt that SC has issued notices to Central and State Govts. Lets see what happens next.
Minority Welfare – The State Government of Maharashtra has separate Ministry for Minority Development. Under this Ministry the Govt. spends money on certain religious communities. This money is tax-payers’ money coming from majority community in major proportion. This needs allocation on development issues which are beneficial to all irrespective of religion, caste, creed, race, language etc. But under the guise of ‘minority development’, State Govt is wasting money on non-developmental issues. They may consider it as ‘investment’ which will reap them some votes. But it surely is detrimental to secularism and faith of people, especially majority Hindu community, in the State.
Allocating State Fund – State already has a Haj House in Mumbai which assists Muslims to go on Haj pilgrimage. ‘Haj subsidy’ issue is famous. SC also held its validity. Poor Muslims may be assisted to visit Mecca. And that is continued. Now recently CM Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated a new Haj House at Ganjipeth, Nagpur. This Haj House has come up on 19,000 sq.ft. It was completed by spending ` 15.5 crore. It has 40 rooms with 10-person each capacity. State Govt worked very hard and efficiently in this regard and accomplished the promise!
We are not sad about it, and we are not happy either. Had we been so rich and contented we could have supported it. That is not the case unfortunately. State Government of Maharashtra is very poor according to its own statements on various occasions. But that’s only when developmental and other issues are on table. Tell them that ‘minority’ community is involved in it, instantly they will swing into action releasing more funds than demand persists. Infact at the inauguration of this newly built Haj House, CM Prithviraj Chavan has demanded ` 500 crore from Centre towards various developmental activities for minority communities in 10 districts of state. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Chavan-demands-Rs-500-cr-from-Centre-for-minority-welfare/articleshow/10282517.cms)
prevailing Haj House in Mumbai
Let us look at some examples where Govt has said it has no money or shown apathy to take up the work giving reasons of financial crunch.
1) 1) No fund for ‘sainik schools’ – Sainik School in Satara is facing problems. The school principal Lt-Col Matthew Meriken says he has spent most of his tenure chasing bureaucrats to speed up the release of funds for the school. Maharashtra state school education secretary J M Phatak, while admitting that there were no funds for Sainik Schools in the state budget, says that ‘‘certain funds’’ have been approved for release, but held up because of a financial crunch. http://www.indianexpress.com/oldStory/5948/
2) State has no funds to buy power for Thane, Pune – Electricity consumers in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Mulund and Bhandup have been going through two to three hours of loadshedding for the past three days. This, despite the fact that they pay an additional 43 paise per unit to state power company Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL). The extra amount is for the energy that the MSEDCL draws from outside the state. According to a source, these areas need 350 MW of electricity more on a daily basis in order to bring their loadshedding hours to nil. Though the MSEDCL has the permission to spend only Rs 9.30 per unit to buy energy from outside Maharashtra, the rates are not less than Rs 13 per unit. As a result, the five urban pockets in the state are plunged into hours of loadshedding. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-04-08/mumbai/28039522_1_gas-based-power-plant-purchase-power-mw
3) No money for increment in salary of aadarsh shikshak – The State Govt cannot pay the due increase in payment of Aadarsh shikshaks (ideal teachers) chosen by itself. Reason? No funds! http://www.esakal.com/esakal/20110312/5540913486533169453.htm
Such is the condition of State Government. Why then it spends money on non-developmental issues? Think.. Can this Government serve your purpose? Is it really secular? Where is going the money you pay in form of tax? Do they deserve the posts we have given them? Is it not mockery of our faith in the State Government? Can poor and undernourished be divided on the lines of religion? Hindu children in melghaat and Chadrapur, Bhandara deserve no empathy, aid and help from State? And that too only because they are Hindus? Urban poor having Hindu faith cannot get religion based scholarship, which his ‘minority’ neighbour can very well avail of, only because he was born as a ‘Hindu’?
mouthful on whose labor? Generosity upon whose property?