The Roots of Democracy and Secularism

April 11, 2010

A new weekly has been launched in the capital. The Editor is M. J. Akbar; the Chairman is Ram Jethmalani; the name of the paper is The Sunday Guardian.

The last issue of this journal (April 4, 2010) carries an interesting article by Jethmalani. The title of this article sounds provocative : “Hindutva is not property of BJP”. Some of my party colleagues may take umbrage, and presume the article is critical. It is not. It is complimentary.

Indeed, the stress is on Indian Secularism having its roots in Hindutva. Jethmalani had very ably argued Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s case in the Supreme Court, and secured Justice Verma’s landmark judgement on Hindutva in which the Court declared : “Hindutva is a way of life or state of mind and cannot be understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism”. In his article the learned lawyer observes: “It is a pity that the BJP has not been able to explain to people that Hindutva and Indian secularism are practically synonyms.”

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In the late eighties while I was president of BJP, I recall a phone call from a Canadian Television Team which had come to New Delhi. I was told that this TV Team was producing a television serial titled “The Rise and Fall of Democracies around the Globe”.

The TV anchor who spoke to me said: “We are greatly impressed by the manner in which India has sustained democracy for four decades, and the

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