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Why, Whom and What for Secularism in Nepal? :: By Dirgha Raj Prasai


Among all religions of the world Hindu religion is considered as the most liberal. According to renowned philosopher Voltaire, Hinduism is the best gift of the East to the West. Similarly, George Bernard Shaw, Irish litterateur also said ‘Hindu religion is the most important and the most liberal religion in the world. According to Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics, signs of Hindu religion are even found in the present Islamic country like Iran. A stone scripture of 486 BC found in Iran contains the words Hindu and Hindus. Even an ancient Parsi scripture ‘Shatir’ has lifted a word of Ved Vyas ‘I am a true Hindu born in a Hindu country’. Another Hindu philosopher Manu has taken the area between Bindhya in south India and the Himalayas in the north as Aryabrata, the land of Aryans. Even outside travelers like Megasthaniz and Fai Han have written in their travel memoirs after their visit of the Kingdom of Chandra Gupta Maurya that Hindus have tall figure, long life, healthy, who avoid narcotics, simple, intelligent, truthful, who do not keep witness in transactions, do not lock their houses and there is no theft. So, in the evolutionary process of the world’s civilization, Hindu philosophy is taken as liberal, simple and tolerant.

The declaration of Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom does not signify just its religion rather it is taken as the source of Nepalese nationalism and an inseparable part of Nepal. So, the party leaders made a grave mistake by declaring Nepal as a secular state. If instead of declaring Nepal as solely a Hindu country, it would have made sense if it were declared both Hindu and Buddhist country. But it is a matter of serious concern for whose interest Nepal was declared a secular state. Nepal is a small country and on the south there is a big country with open border. There are about 800 million Hindus and Indian Hindus respect Nepal as a Hindu kingdom. This should be taken as a matter of pride for us. For security reasons also, Nepal has a big advantage by being a Hindu country. If the Maoists are for Nepal’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, all Nepalese request them to change their idea about secularism. Even if one is a Christian or a Muslim, they should support to keep Nepal a Hindu country. But the seven political parties have made a great mistake by announcing Nepal as a secular state.
Even if one talks about secularism, the census 2001 AD can be taken as referendum. That time those who call them intellectuals, leaders of ethnic communities and communists and those who call themselves Christians had made campaign not to write anything in the column for religion or not to write Hindu as their religion. But the Hindus never confronted them or made it an issue. Despite the campaign against Hinduism, the number of Hindus in Nepal was found to be 82 per cent. If one keeps the Buddhists out the number of Hindus before the 2001 census was 83 per cent. Half of the diminished numbers were increased in Buddhism and Kiratis and there was half percentage point increment in Christians. The rise in Buddhism and Kiratis do not make much of a difference because Buddhism and Hinduism are complementary to each other and Kiratis also worship the same gods such as Shiva and Bhagawati like the Hindus.
Therefore, if instead of declaring Nepal as solely a Hindu country, it would have made sense if it were declared both Hindu and Buddhist country. But it is a matter of serious concern for whose interest Nepal was declared a secular state. No one has right to trample believe and conviction of more than two-thirds majority of the people. Even if there is a referendum, more than 85 percent Nepalese will vote for a Hindu country. More than that Hindus have the freedom to pursue their own way of observing the religion. Therefore, if Nepal is to be declared a secular country, all countries, which call themselves as Christian or Muslim countries should also be declared secular countries. If they want Nepal to become a secular country, they should also be willing to shun their ‘Cross’ of the Christians, ‘sign of David of the Jews and ‘Kawa’ of Muslims. Actually, Kaaba shrine is a pre-Islamic Shiva temple where the Hindu practice of perambulation is still meticulously observed and strictly followed. However, it needs to be pondered that even if Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom, it nature was like a secular country as Hindus have never done anything that would harass or trouble other religions.
It is shameful to write that in Nepal there are some existing international organization (INGO) who are talking to develop Nepal but they were and has been involving in spreading the Christian religion with money and giving the fallacious assurance. The Nepalese religious people always regard the other religions. Nepal and the monarch never show the religious intolerance. From the very beginning, there are two Mosques in front of the Royal palace, near Clock Tower, have never faced intolerance. But, the so-called big party leaders and some civil society’ and INGO conveners who are the puppets Christian Mission are active to destroy the indigenous culture and identities. We should remember the quotation of Voltaire: “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.”
Despite knowing this fact it is intriguing on whose interest the so-called big parties including Maoist declared Nepal a secular state. They had directly hurt the feeling of the majority of the Hindus in the country and more than 1 billion Hindus all over the world. Political leaders must rethink its decision. What they should have done is to remove the anomalies such as untouchables and other caste-based and social discriminations. This would have been the real tribute and service to the country and to the religion. Apart from some social anomalies there is nothing in Hindu religion that should be opposed. By declaring republic and Nepal a secular country; they are only serving the interest of a narrow group. Otherwise, if one thinks of the liberalism and tolerance, Hinduism comes first and foremost of all other religions
If we want to understand the reality about the secularism we can study the national history of India. An analyst Stephen Knapp says- India is slowly losing the Vedic culture (Hinduism) is through the process of secular or Christian education. In public schools all Vedic books have been removed from the curriculum. There are no possibilities to study the ancient Hindu literature or art in such institutions. The Hindu population is slowly forgetting the unique history and lofty culture of their home land. 5th Feb. 2008- Peoples Review). In fact the Christian saints order to destroy the huts where they keep the idols of Hindu’s God & Goddess and to break the statues of Hindus idols into tiny pieces. That was there goal to destroy Hindu & Buddha culture and make the country a Christian nation. The most dangerous steps is that the Indian Congress I- leadership groups are all Christians.

The Cultural Analyst Stephen Knnap writes- India is a predominantly Hindu nation. 83% of the Indian population is Hindu. But it is a matter of great regret that India is the only country in the world where the Hindu majority population is being ruled by the other 17% minority communities. Sonia Gandhi, the President of the ruling Congress Party is a practicing Catholic Christian. Her son Rahul Gandhi who is being groomed as the next Prime Minister of India is also a Christian. Sonia’s daughter Priyanka Vadera and her husband are also Christians. India’s Defense Minister is AK Anthony,a Christian. Sonia’s closest advisors are: Margaret Alva (resigned yesterday), Oscar Fernandez, Ambika Soni, all Christians (yes, despite Ambika’ s Hindu sounding
name, she is a Christian).

In the annals of world civilization, Hindu philosophy is considered liberal, simple and tolerant. Nepal as a Hindu state did not just signify her Hindu religious leanings. It was also a source of Nepali nationalism and an inescapable fact of Nepal. Hence declaration of Nepal as a secular state has ignored the ground realities.
Among all religions, Hindu religion is considered the most liberal. According to renowned philosopher Voltaire, Hinduism is the best gift of the East to the West. Similarly, George Bernard Shaw, Irish littérateur, said, “Hindu religion is the most important and the most liberal religion in the world”. According to the Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics, signs of Hindu religion are found in Islamic countries like Iran. A stone scripture dating back to 486 BC in Iran contains the words Hindu and Hindus. Even an ancient Parsi scripture, Shatir, repeats the famous Ved Vyas saying “I am a true Hindu born, in a Hindu country”. Another Hindu philosopher Manu considers the area between Bindhya in south India and the Himalayas in the north as Aryabrata, the land of Aryans.

Even outside travelers to the region like Megasthaniz and Fai Han have written in their memoirs that Hindus are tall, healthy, simple, intelligent and truthful. That Hindus do not need to bring witnesses to financial deals and they do not lock their houses as incidents of theft are simply not heard of. The rise of Buddhism does not make much of a difference because Buddhism and Hinduism are complementary to each other and Kiratis also worship the same gods, such as Shiva and Bhagawati, as do the Hindus. Instead of declaring Nepal a completely secular state, it would have made more sense, in keeping with the ground realities, if it had been declared both Hindu and Buddhist country. There are about 800 million Hindus in India and Indian Hindus respect Nepal as a Hindu country. This should be taken as a matter of pride. For security reasons too, Nepal, a small country with open border to the south, has a big advantage as a Hindu country. It also needs to be borne in mind that no one has the right to trample on the conviction of more than two-thirds of the people.

Even when Nepal was a Hindu kingdom, its cosmopolitan nature made it secular. Hindus have never harassed or troubled the followers of other religions. In whose interest is the declaration of a secular country, then? The so-called big three parties must rethink their decision. What they should have done instead is strive to remove anomalies like untouchablility and caste-based and social discriminations. Apart from some social anomalies there is nothing in Hindu religion that should be opposed. But, it is a matter of grief that when Christianity came with adds in Nepal, People were forced to convert to Christianity. Is it secularism? Never forget, Nepal is the pious original Hindu country, the birth place of Vedas, Purans, Upanishads, Shruti, Smriti and Lord Buddha. Being the country of Everest, where civilization began and is also known as the country of ‘SANGRILA.’ Nepal is as holy place to Hindus & Buddhists, as Mecca for Muslims and Jerusalem to Jews and Christians.

Declaring Nepal a secular country only serves the interest of a small section of the populace. As to Nepal, if properly defined in its true context, there should be no problem with secularism. Hinduism does not discriminate between individuals and communities on the basis of religion; actually, Hinduism is the real Secularism. Hinduism started as a worldly and spiritual thought system without any artificial and pre-conceived or heaven-sent ideology and in Europe scholars praise Hinduism as the real spirit of Secularism that they follow and learn from the Vedas. However, mere traditions and ceremonies is not religion nor yet secularism but cultural manifestations are to be facilitated except that fairy tales, historical myths and superstitions are to be avoided as these create irrationality and by stupefying people create backwardness. Cultural practices are good as long as they do not infringe the basic fundamentalism rights and liberties are not infringed. a scientist attitude of reason, common sense and nationalism is necessary to avoid the historical superstition which might have been placed by the enemies to destroy the minds and to propagate the suicidal and dangerous social, spiritual and cultural backwardness. Secularism is neutral in between the individuals, groups, nationalities and religions. (Humaniste International )

Otherwise, Hinduism is the most liberal and tolerant of religions. How can the oldest and most liberal of religions be thrown away just like that? No religion (and certainly not Hinduism) should be made a political issue.
But by declaring Nepal a secular state, the government has done just that: tried to put together the unmixable, which could be dangerous to the whole Nepali society. All Nepalese should unite and raise voice to upturn the decision and declare Nepal a Hindu and Buddhist country, as the country’s natural characteristics dictate.

It is a matter of grief that the nonsense foreigners who want to destroy the Nepalese identities, sovereignty had and have been supporting the Maoist groups. A Nepalese political analyst Prakash A. Raj writes-‘The end of monarchy in Nepal and the declaration of republic would not have been possible without the support of Government of India as the Indian brokerage of 12 Point Accord played the most important role in the success of Jana Andolan-2 in 2006. Thus the country having the largest Hindu population in the world played a dominant role in abolishing the only Hindu kingdom in the world. The stand taken by two European countries, Norway and Switzerland in supporting the Maoists after King Gyanendra took over power in February 2005 and before April 2006 is very revealing as it helped to gather support against the monarchy. Norway has shown a lot of interest in Nepal and was one of the few countries to welcome the Maoist culprit leader Prachanda of Nepal-2008.’ Now, all the foreigners are suffering by their mistakes.

Therefore, the question is why and how could they throw away the oldest and the most liberal of all religion just to serve the interest of another religion (Christian). The most important thing is that no religion and at the moment Hinduism must not be made a political issue. But by declaring republic & Nepal a secular state, they have made mixed religion with politics, which could be very dangerous and detrimental to the whole Nepalese society. Now it is a high time Nepal should be careful to save her indigenous culture. So, let all Nepalese unite and raise voice to revert the irresponsible party’s decision and again declare the constitutional monarchy as well as Nepal a Hindu & Buddha’s Kingdom.
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