Freedom of Speech and Secularism in Indian context.

A friend has raised discontent over the use of Charlie Hebdo example in previous post. (The choice of the word “Tolerance”)
Here is the clarification.
Unlike in Western Europe, India’s secularism doesn’t mean hurting or hating religions in the name of artistic expression or freedom of speech.
The reason why I cited Charlie Hebdo as an example in the previous post is because, 
Indians would not draw the Prophet as a human bomb or with sexual connotations [Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy], put Jesus Christ & holy cross in urine [Piss Christ] and so on.

 

That is the French idea that as a part of Freedom of expression, you can insult religions and we can already see it is not working (attacks post the publish).

Doing hateful speech is ‘bad’, and it has a breaking point, and intolerance would result. (That’s human nature)

Indian idea of free speech is that do speak, but be prepared for the consequences. Hate speech is not allowed in India. We, in India, respect all religions as our own and would not hurt others just because we can.
So “tolerance” is not applicable to Indian context but to French ideals.
Our institutions doesn’t detain or insult based on the religious identity of the person. Forget commoner, even Constitutional position holders  and superstars aren’t spared.
India does not stop one from wearing hijab or any other religious artifact. No Headscarves In Schools, No Burqas In Public: Colorblind Racism In France.
In India, you can practice your religion in whatever way you can. The Hindus would not abuse you for your hijab or burqa.
We even go to the extremes and allow each religion its own personal laws.
In India, we don’t take anti-Islam rallies every time a terror attack happens. Punches thrown at Australia’s anti-Islam rally.
Instead
Islamaphobia is a practically unknown term in India. We have had hundreds of terror attacks. But, we will not associate religion with the terror folks.

This is all because the society has “tolerated” the differences and hasn’t accepted and appreciated different cultures as their own.

This sort of islamophobic craziness is far more rare in India.

Even in the US, Obama is hounded by the right for his middle name Hussain. Although he is a religious Christian and a good guy, many believe he is secretly a Muslim and abuse for it. Barack Obama religion conspiracy theories.

In India, one can be a real Muslim and we would not “tolerate” you as a President, but we will celebrate you. Abdul Kalam lived and died a Muslim and celebrated a national hero even by the rightwing Hindus.

Percentage of Muslims in many European countries are comparable to that of India. However, how many of them rise up to become their national icons?

A minority can climb to any position in India – Army General, President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and so on and we have had all these in the past few decades.

Every other country (incuding France) has a glass ceiling for its minorities preventing them from taking positions of power.

Spain and Portugal were at one point Muslim countries. Then during the Spanish Inquisition they were brutally taken out and now it is hard to believe that there was even Islam there. Wiped out from history in a brutal way.

We don’t do that. We don’t even tolerate. We actually celebrate our Mughal dynasty, because that period was as much a part of our culture as any other. It was our own.

Christian percentage in India is not too much more than Hindu percentage in US or UK. However, Christmas along with Buddha Purnima and Bakrid are major government holidays in India, while Diwali is not a government holiday in UK, Thailand or UAE. We celebrate with you and love your icons as ours.

It is not just now, but forever. India has been the home for persecuted communities around the world – Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Tibetan Buddhists, early Christianity and so on. India – A Nurturing Sanctuary for Judaism .

It is not just religious freedom, we celebrate and  accept cultural freedoms of all kinds as one of ours.

 

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