Skip to main content

Ananta Kumar Hegde should be sacked: People like him do not deserve to hold any constitutional office

By Battini Rao*
A minister in the Modi government has publicly attacked secularism and stated that his party is here to change the Constitution. At a public meeting of Brahman Yuva Parishad at the Koppal district of Karnataka on 25 December, Mr Ananta Kumar Hegde said that seculars ‘are like people without parentage, or who do not know their bloodline’. He also said that he is happy if people identify themselves with their caste and religion, but gets suspicious about seculars who refuse to do so.
Meanwhile, after public criticism the Minister has apologized in the parliament and said that for him ‘Constitution is supreme’. This apology however should not fool anyone. Doublespeak is an old BJP/RSS tactic. Minister’s comments should be understood in the local context of Karnataka politics and the broader ideological beliefs in India which have lately helped Hindutva fascists expand their appeal.
Karnataka has recently seen widespread public demonstrations and outrage against murders of two well known rationalist public intellectuals, namely Prof Kalburgi, and Guari Lankesh. Both were against the Hindutva agenda of the BJP in Karnataka, and are widely believed to have been killed by extremist Hindu groups. Karnataka goes for assembly polls next year. Minister’s comments were clearly aimed at ridiculing opposition to Hindutva in Karnataka and galvanising its core support base. However, the actual politics of Hindutva and its reach goes much beyond this core.
Through his talk of ‘no parentage’ and ‘bloodline’, the minister has shown a casteist, patriarchal and feudal mindset. The caste system is based upon strictly controlled patrilineal descent. It valorized savarna castes the only ones fit for learning, bearing arms and commerce, while the majority of Shudras and untouchables were forced into farming, and artisanal and other professions which were devalued. Savarna castes maintained and justified their privileges through their ‘bloodline’. It is obvious that the minister wanted to present his party as the defender of the most outrageous savarna caste prejudices.
Similarly, by ridiculing people of would not consider their caste or religion as their primary identity, he has shown a mentality that cannot have a place in a modern democracy. The primary identity of every Indian recognized by the constitution is that of a citizen, irrespective of caste, gender, religion, or ethnicity. No identity can be forced upon a citizen, and if a citizen wishes, she/he can refuse to follow caste or religious diktats, or can even change their religious identity. Democracy gives citizens the freedom to be whatever they wish; but communalism, casteism and racism force into fixed identities and target them on that basis.
It is well known that Hindutva is against secularism. It considers secularism detrimental to the interests of the religious majority (which they falsely claim to represent); and a means of appeasing religious minorities. Many broad-minded people who oppose the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian politics of Hindutva also think that secularism is a doctrine concerned only with protecting minorities. This is a limited understanding of secularism. India needs to be secular not only for the security and protection of minorities, but because no true democracy can function without secular values, and a state which does not follow secularism will be against interests of every Indian.
Formally speaking, secularism require that that the state refrain from discriminating between citizens on the basis of their religion. At a time when Muslim Indians are being lynched on false accusations of ‘love jihad’, and ‘beef eating’, and when state governments appear more intent on vilifying the victims rather than punishing the murderers, no sane citizen can deny that the secular principle of equal protection of law to everyone is extremely important.
Modern democracy is premised upon two fundamental values: equality and freedom. The principle of secularism in this context implies that no religious belief, injunction or text, can be used to violate the equality and freedom of citizens. This is of extreme importance for a society like India, where the equality and freedom of many citizens are routinely violated under the garb of religion. For example, the untouchability sanctioned by the Hindu caste system which meant that untouchables were humiliated at public places was outlawed by the Constitution. Similarly, if ban on entry to public places of worship, or unequal property rights and divorce practices like Triple Talaq sanctioned by religion are found to be violating the right to equality and freedom of women, these too can be made illegal.
Secularism is also necessary for the protection of freedom of others who may not consider themselves oppressed. In a secular democracy the freedom to choose one’s profession, life partner, place of residence, food, dress, the right to express one’s ideas, etc. cannot be violated on the basis of religious demands. It is high time Indians realise that the anti-secular and anti-minority agenda of Hindutva is actually against all Indians.
A misunderstanding specifically spread by communal forces is that secularism is anti-religious. This is a completely bogus allegation. The overwhelming majority of statesmen who framed Indian constitution were religious persons, who believed that a secular state was best for the country. The majority of Indians who are religious regularly vote for parties which call themselves secular. Actually, secularism is essential to guarantee equal religious freedom to everybody. On the other hand, communalists of every denomination constantly attempt to enforce their own perception of religion on everybody, especially upon the community they claim to represent.
The Minister’s comments violate the secular and democratic foundations of the Constitution. It is a matter of shame that a person who holds his office by virtue of an oath under the Constitution has boasted about his party’s intention to demolish that very Constitution. Moreover he voiced them at a savarna caste gathering. This intention of the BJP/RSS is well-known and we should not be surprised. Rather we should call upon Indian citizens to take note of this sinister scheme of the Sangh Parivar and resist it by all possible democratic means.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism demands that Mr Ananta Kumar Hegde be sacked from the council of ministers. People like him do not deserve to hold any constitutional office.
---
*Convenor, Peoples Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S) 

Comments

Werner Ebner said…

Hi there, yes this piece of writing is actually good and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging. thanks. yahoo email login

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”