Needless glorification of a below-par writer

Praveen Swami seems to be living in a distant fictional future which not only is entirely theoretical, but also extremely fascist for denying its inhabitants the fundamental right to believe and to live according to those beliefs. If how public money is spent or punishment meted out in a democratic country is tied up inherently with religion and culture, then any attempts at engineering social change by assuaging the masses to give up their ontological theories (which are as epistemologically valid as any other) instead of improving those political and juridical setups in a truly secular way (i.e. without the use of mind-control propaganda that tries to sway the public into either side of the faith/disbelief debate) smacks of nothing but totalitarian designs.

It would behove Swami to recognize that there are two kinds of secularism and the theoretical and dated definition that he ascribes to is not at all conducive to peace and progress, Instead what is needed is a vision that sees reality not through the theoretical lens but as it really is. Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion is how we Indians define secularism which is a part of our culture and heritage. This newfangled hard-line opposition to theism however, is ill-informed and ill-willed.

As for Rushdie, is his opinion on anything really worth incurring the hurt and heartburn of thousands (even lakhs) of Muslims? and Meera Nanda has already been criticized so much for her hatred of religion, that the article paints a biased picture of her career as a scholar by not mentioning the reactions her so called theories have evoked.


johandalberg said...

That theoretical secularism has become but another "theism"; with a league of "priests" and "prophets" of its own. A government that promotes religion, or even refrains from promoting people that gives critique on it, could in some cases be a sensible and peace-promoting thing to do (as you well pointed out) rather than stirring up antagonism for the "sake of democracy/secularism". The kind of people who feel a need to take part of the ideas of mr Rushdie or others will do so; regardless if he/they is/are censored or not. The author of the article you refer to seems to be calling out for "a universe built around citizenship and rights"; and here I thought that the state was obliged to safeguard freedom of religion?

Anyway, it is a nice and thought-provoking respone you did there...

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