Akbar equates secularism to 'faith equality' concept

Akbar equates secularism to 'faith equality' concept

Veteran journalist and BJP spokesperson M J Akbar donned the definitive role of an observer of modernity, reinterpreting secularism as “faith equality” at Bangalore Literature Festival here on Sunday.

By doing that, Akbar asserted that the original French definition of “secularism” as separation of church and the State cannot work the same way in India. Instead, “faith equality” was a concept well entrenched in the Indian system be it legally, socially or culturally.

“Though Gandhi called this ideal Ramarajya, he was not communal. Gandhi was secular because India has always been,” said Akbar.

Faith equality, he stressed, is key to a modern nation, standing alongside liberty, gender equality and economic equity. In 1947, two opposing ideals of faith equality and faith supremacy (Pakistan) were born.

The country is still in conflict with it. For him, the Constitution symbolised the modernity of the Indian nation state. He identified Pakistan as one that doesn’t fit into the modernist definition.

Romanticisation of an imagined past to justify the present, according to Akbar, was what distinguished a nation that was not modern. It was a regressive state. In this context, he referred to Islamic fundamentalism, the failure of many Islamic states and those under the grip of Boko Haram and the Islamic State.  But he hastened to add that the faith supremacists were not faith exclusive.

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