धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः। Dharmo Raksati Raksitah.

Dharma protects those who protect it.

– Veda Vyas, Mahabharat

Sabarimala: Secularism Or Monotheism? | Anand Prasad

Now secularism really can mean that, I will not discriminate between religions and there are two ways, are not discriminating — one becoming godless as somebody who is sort of administrator, judge you. The other is I will be like maybe in the US, I could be Christian state, but I will actually not make the distinction no particular religion will get any favors. But in India we sort of have gone down the path of the British version of secularism, which is basically a godless state, that is how we, our whole state has been constructed on the basis of a British constitutional principle and that’s what you follow.

So it doesn’t matter if a judge is religious, it doesn’t matter if a judge is a priest, because this particular constitution bench had all those in the mix, they will take the godless approach because that is how our state has been constructed. Now when you look at a godless approach, you allow religious freedom, but then you make it subject to all other kinds of fundamental rights. It includes the right of equality, but I don’t necessarily have a big problem with that, but the mix level let you take it to, you then in that construct and actually most of us as I started it at some point in time alluded to this, think of God as a human fabrication, you think that men have actually fabricated God because you got scared of lightning, thunder, the tiger coming into your cave etc. You were scared of the darkness. So, you attributed whatever we are scared of, you have attributed an idea of God. So really God is a human fabrication and not a function of fact, and hence therefore, when you start thinking of it like that, as I said, the Tantri has dream, of course, since God itself is human fabrication, how can your dream be anything but human fabrication and so is the Devaprasnam. So how can that be anything godly.

Now, you also take into account, when you are the state, you take into account that historically and globally this is not. There has been some sort of historical prejudice, against women and therefore this sense is reflected in. So there were three rulings that actually ruled against in the Supreme Court three judgments, against the restriction, there were majority judgment due to two judges. Then there were two single judges that also gave, all three of them have got elements of women have been subject to prejudice over the ages, patriarchy has crept into religion and therefore those are the reasons why religion has those embedded principles in them and it is the job of the law therefore now to reform it, and so that’s the approach that happened at the Supreme Court and they talk about reform and various other religions and various other where the law is intervened and brought about reform. I think there’s a difference between issues of… So people equate the sati system and whether it ought to be reformed or not and therefore equation of this. I think you have got to start recognizing the fact that over centuries lots of things that are unhappy will come into existence. It may not have religious basis to it. They may be various, are the basis to why some of those cultural changes happen. But you can’t, you should, what you shouldn’t do is to try and equate one, and use those principles to put down another and that in my mind is really what has happened, is that the ideas of untouchability, the ideas of the sati system, all those have been used to actually strike down at this one particular tradition and here is where it is important for us to continue to recognize and constantly reinforce in our minds, that we are not one single religion, I mean we do call ourselves Hindus but we are not one single religion, we are actually a multiplicity of religions, various different traditions, some traditions can have some malice that have crept into them, and those could be sort of modified. You look at each malice to see whether it is justifiable, it is not, where does it come from, is it really discriminatory, does it deserve to exist not and therefore deal with it separately on an individual case to case basis, if we try and use a broom to sweep all the duster on the floor, we will stop making that distinction, so we try treating ourselves as a monolithic religion as soon as we do that.