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India is wearing hate in 2020. No space for Tanishq’s secular jewellery

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19.10.2020

You remember the song — Ek chidiya anek chidiya — from Doordarshan’s 1970s animated short educational film? The whole premise of the song rested on inspiring unity despite the religious and cultural differences prevalent in India. It was an attempt to spread the message across a country that could still hear the pangs of Partition. The attempt was to keep the secular spirit — mauled to near-death in the post-Partition violence — alive. That was 1974. In the India of 2020, secularism is a ‘joke’ and the Tanishq commercial is the latest proof. Being unapologetic is a political fad and many Indians don’t care about the health of secularism. This is most visible on social media.

In India of today, anything that talks about unity or secularism, finds a way to be controversial. The makers of Tanishq advertisement have been accused of promoting love-jihad. Wonder what equipment the propagators of hate have access to — they are quick to tell how hurt a particular community is when faced with such portrayals.

However, let’s not delude ourselves. Deep inside, most Indians struggle to be secular. And a lot of the credit for keeping this centuries-old hate alive goes to politicians and their politics.

Much of India’s politics and the driving force for voting has been based on either caste or religion, because Indians are primarily driven by these two factors in their day-to-day lives. The fact that auto rickshaws, trucks and buses with Jai Shri Ram or 786 stickers are a common sight in India shows how people wear religion on their sleeves. Even government offices have pictures of gods and goddesses — tells a lot about how a State views religion. Religion in India isn’t private. Governments in India flirt with it all the time to their advantage. Even the Constituent Assembly had thrice rejected the proposal to add the word ‘secular’ in the Constitution.

Also read: VHP demands Modi government enact ‘stringent’ law against ‘love jihad’

The........

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