On being secular

Everyone wants to be secular these days. The newspapers are full of important people who are anxious to let everyone know how important it is to be secular. “The minorities are such a maligned lot. They cannot take care of themselves. It is up to us – the enlightened majority, to take care of them. How else will they survive?” Why, the other day, an important secular man married a minority woman to drive home his point. Now, I hear that he is writing a book to let us know that it is working well.

This has all been very heart warming for me. A tear rolled down my cheek when I heard our Law Minister bravely breaking the law and demanding special quotas for minorities. “We will give the minorities exactly the importance they deserve!” he thundered. “What selfless bravery and nobility”, I thought as I reached for my handkerchief sobbing like a child. “Why can’t the others be enlightened too”, I cried, alarming my ten year old who was busy with her homework essay on Why it is important for all Indians to celebrate Christmas. The bad guys just don’t seem to get it. Rather than understand how special our minorities are, they seem to suffer from the delusion that all of us are equal.

On a flight back from Delhi, I was seated next to a prominent secularist. I shook his hand vigorously, thanking him for showing all of us the way. “Why don’t the bad guys get it? It is so obvious”, I protested. He looked down at me over his spectacles, with a knowing smile. “My chap”, he said patting me in an avuncular fashion, “the others don’t want to get it. All they seem to want is for every one to be treated equal. We are not all equal, you know”, he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Whatever do you mean?”, I asked in amazement with the anticipation of a worshipper about to be inducted into a cult. “The minorities need help. For years, they’ve needed us to take care of them. It is our duty to do so. That is the truth”, he concluded with a flourish. “You mean, we should be such noble people and help them to not take care of themselves?”, I shouted in amazement at the brilliance of the idea. He nodded and smiled like a Buddha.

“Why, it’s so simple. We can do even better. We should give them special laws so they don’t even have to worry about the constitution. After all, the constitution was probably written by a bigoted majority chap” I shouted, besides myself with the joy of having discovered the ultimate truth. “I know’, he said, “and we already did”, he clapped his hands, “They have their own laws”.

“Wait, I have a brilliant idea. The problem is that they are a minority. I say we let them convert all of us by paying us money. Then, they can become the majority”, I screamed, dazzled by own genius. “Done. Next?”, he cut me short. Crestfallen by my inability to come up with an original contribution to the secular cause, I tried again, “I say we make one of them the President”.

“Where have you been, boy? That started in the fifties. You’ve got to do better”, he chuckled. Gasping for a lungful of air, and desperation mounting, I cried “ Let’s pass a law that says that anyone who proclaims that all Indians are equal will be jailed. That ought to really shut up the bad guys”.

“Hey! wait a minute, we never thought of that”, said the important man. As he got into his chauffeur driven limousine, he handed me his card. “Give me a call. I think you have the makings of a great secularist, my chap”

This satirical piece was written by me in 2006. It is being published in What Ho! with minor changes from the original piece with permission granted to me by myself. Have you read What Ho! ? If you didn’t know, you’re already here at What Ho!

10 Replies to “On being secular”

  1. Loved the part about taking care of them and help them not take care of themselves. It is what we are doing isn't it? So that they remain down and we feel good about 'taking care of them.' Liked the way you have covered the other minority too. Could feel the anger, or was it 'fundamentalism' as our secular friends would say?

  2. Loved the part about taking care of them and help them not take care of themselves. It is what we are doing isn't it? So that they remain down and we feel good about 'taking care of them.' Liked the way you have covered the other minority too. Could feel the anger, or was it 'fundamentalism' as our secular friends would say?

  3. I think, it will be better idea to appoint a commission to enumerate the various, castes, sub-castes, communities etc and come out with the % of each such groups in the total population. The Govt can then allot quotas for permission to conduct protest marches, fastings  against the other groups and also for the trivial items like jobs, education, ration,  etc. Each such sub-group will then deifinitely be EQUAL with every other sub-group . This will be true proportional representation, with none favoured against the other in any walk of life.

  4. I think, it will be better idea to appoint a commission to enumerate the various, castes, sub-castes, communities etc and come out with the % of each such groups in the total population. The Govt can then allot quotas for permission to conduct protest marches, fastings  against the other groups and also for the trivial items like jobs, education, ration,  etc. Each such sub-group will then deifinitely be EQUAL with every other sub-group . This will be true proportional representation, with none favoured against the other in any walk of life.

  5. 🙂 Problem is that there will be massive discord over the composition of the commission itself, with all the sub0groups wanting representation on it. Thus, it will turn into a snake trying to swallow its own tail – and stay in endless limbo 🙂

  6. 🙂 Problem is that there will be massive discord over the composition of the commission itself, with all the sub0groups wanting representation on it. Thus, it will turn into a snake trying to swallow its own tail – and stay in endless limbo 🙂

  7. Sarcasm is the last refuge of the powerless, as they say. I'm not sure if proponents of secularism get the irony that lies underneath it all 

  8. Sarcasm is the last refuge of the powerless, as they say. I'm not sure if proponents of secularism get the irony that lies underneath it all 

  9. Disqus generic email templateWhat I meant amounts to almost the same. It will not move an inch forward, if you form a Committee. It is harakiri. That is the reason that the Govt resorts to it , if they do not want to solve it.Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 07:48 AM Subject: [laughinggas] Re: On being secular

    what ho! wrote, in response to G.N. Balakrishnan:

    🙂 Problem is that there will be massive discord over the composition of the commission itself, with all the sub0groups wanting representation on it. Thus, it will turn into a snake trying to swallow its own tail – and stay in endless limbo 🙂
    Link to comment

  10. Disqus generic email templateWhat I meant amounts to almost the same. It will not move an inch forward, if you form a Committee. It is harakiri. That is the reason that the Govt resorts to it , if they do not want to solve it.Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 07:48 AM Subject: [laughinggas] Re: On being secular

    what ho! wrote, in response to G.N. Balakrishnan:

    🙂 Problem is that there will be massive discord over the composition of the commission itself, with all the sub0groups wanting representation on it. Thus, it will turn into a snake trying to swallow its own tail – and stay in endless limbo 🙂
    Link to comment

Comments are closed.