May 19, 2007

Rant - "Secular India" version

This promises to be one of many such rants. So I go into the Daily Star website and start browsing the news. After chuckling at the fact that Afsar Chowdhury's four volume history of '71 is reviewed under "Literature" with other fiction titles, I see this news item: "Bangladesh lacks real practice of secularism". Intrigued I click on it and find that the Indian Envoy has made such a statement.

The blood begins to boil, but I read on. The article does on to say:

"Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty yesterday said democracy would be stronger in Bangladesh if it could establish a 'real secular country like India'.

"Bangladesh is a secular country but there is no real practice of secularism... as there is a religious ministry here," he said while addressing a function on the occasion of foundation laying of Chandranath Temple in Sitakunda.

The high commissioner said democracy is very strong in India as there is no division or discrepancy among the people of different faiths and values and real secularism is practised there.

He suggested that Bangladesh follow his country for practising real secularism, which would help it establish a strong democratic country removing all discrepancies among the people of different beliefs and values."

Wow! Paternalism or onanism at its best?

Where to begin on how many ways His Excellency is wrong?

"There is no discrepancy between different faiths and values" in India? Clearly you and I see different statistics from different sources.

The very presence of "a religious ministry (sic)" defeats all purposes of equality between religious groups? Then how come our "religious ministry" also deals with non-Muslim religious groups, albeit HIGHLY UNEQUALLY (you listening CTG?) India may not have a religious ministry, but it DOES have a Ministry of Minority Affairs, whose mandate makes it clear that it deals with mostly Muslims and Sikhs within India. Oh, and "secular" Turkey has this and I'm not even going to bring up Iran with whom you're getting some pretty cozy gas deals going on. Say, would giving you our gas shut you up?

Lastly, follow the INDIAN example? You mean substitute persecution of Hindus, Buddhists and Aadibashis for persecution of Sikhs, Muslims and the whole of North-East India? Tweedledum or Tweedledee Your Excellency? I'd be laughing if this wasn't so serious!

Oh, and you might want to see the latest from India (GRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPH OF INJURIES!)

Two questions:

1) How are temples funded? I imagine they are under-funded by the GoB, which is mostly Muslim, and having been raised Muslim I know how petty and small-minded Muslims can be! I know I have a few Bangladeshi Hindu friends and readers online, so if you fill me in I'd really appreciate it. And does anyone, Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian/Jewish/whatever, have any thoughts on how to increase this funding locally instead of getting these condescending bastards to do it?

2) This is directed primarily to the Envoy. If India is so secular, why not fund a church or a buddhist temple or two? Give us a fucking break from the big talk alright? It might go down well with my countrymen less interested in your affairs, but a lot of us know what goes on inside India. Also, "the Indian envoy said Bangladesh government could expand it as a potential tourism centre"? Turning other people's sacred sites into tourist spots from the top is something that I'm firmly opposed to. May I suggest you join me in my opposition your Excellency, instead of turning my Hindu brothers ever more into a "minority" and a spectacle unto others?



Jajabor said...

thanks for the piece, Asif.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...and there is no religious rioting in India. And I have seen pigs fly.

Forgive me while I stick my head back in the sand!