Do some Indians purposely misunderstand Secularism?

Do you remember the frenzied appeals to the Indian electorate before the elections in May 2014 to vote “secular”? They came from all quarters – from Bollywood, from “intellectuals”, and even from American universities. The foreign press had already given up. They were certain that the electorate would make a big mistake and vote communal instead of secular.

They all had underestimated the Indian masses. They did not vote communal. Grudgingly, even the foreign press now acknowledges that the voters did not make the big mistake they had predicted. However, several intellectuals and Christian and Muslims in India still feel that the electorate did vote “communal” and not secular. Those people clearly don’t understand the concept of secularism, which basically means that the demands by dogmatic religions are ignored by the state. Yet Dharma of course should not be ignored.

Let me explain, since secularism is a western ‘invention’:
Contrary to the perception of some Indians, secular is not the opposite of communal. Communal as such is not objectionable either. It simply means ‘pertaining to a community’.

Secular is the opposite of ‘religious’ and means worldly. ‘Religious’ in this context referred to Christianity – to a well-organized, dogmatic religion that claims that it is the sole keeper of the ‘truth’ which was revealed by God himself.

Now this ‘truth’ does not make sense as such, but has to be believed blindly. In short: some 2000 years ago, the creator-God had mercy on ‘sinful’ humanity, and sent his only son Jesus to earth to redeem us by dying for our sins. However to be able to get the benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice, one must be baptized as a Christian, otherwise one will be singled out for eternal hell on Judgment Day.

Such claims did not appeal to Europeans who used their brains, but for many centuries they had to keep quiet or risk their lives. The reason was that for long the Church was intertwined with the state, and harsh laws made sure that people did not question the ‘revealed truth’. Heresy was punished with torture and death.

Significantly, those centuries, when Church and State were intertwined, are called the dark ages. And the time when the Church was forced to loosen its grip, is called the age of enlightenment. Scientific discoveries, which could no longer be brushed under the carpet, played a crucial role for putting the Church into place. A new idea took root in the west: Reason, not blind belief, should guide society and this lead to the demand for separation between State and Church. Such separation is called secularism. It is a recent phenomenon.

In India, however, the situation was different. Here, the dominant faith never had a power centre that dictated unreasonable dogmas and needed to be propped up by the State. Their faith was based on insights of the Rishis, reason and direct, inner experience. It expressed itself freely in a multitude of ways. Their faith was about trust and reverence for the One Source of all life. It was about The Golden Rule: not to do to others what one does not want to be done to oneself. It was about having noble thoughts. It was about how to live life in an ideal way.

However, this open atmosphere changed when Islam and Christianity entered India. Indians, who good naturedly considered the whole world as family, were despised, ridiculed and under Muslim rule killed in big numbers only because they were ‘Hindus’. Indians did not realise that dogmatic religions were very different from their own, ancient Dharma. For the first time they were confronted with merciless killing in the name of God.

Guru Nanak left a testimony how bad the situation was, when he cried out in despair: “Having lifted Islam to the head, You have engulfed Hindustan in dread…. Such cruelty they have inflicted, and yet Your mercy remains unmoved…” (Granth Sahib, Mahla 1.360 quoted from Eminent Historians by Arun Shourie).

In spite of the ruthlessness of the invaders, Hindu Dharma survived in India, which is a great achievement. In contrast, the west succumbed to Christianity, and over 50 countries to Islam in a short span of time.

Though Hindu Dharma survived and never dictated terms to the state, ‘secular’ was added to the Constitution of India in 1976. And indeed, since Independence, several non-secular decisions had been taken which favoured the dogmatic religions. For example, Muslims and Christians had pushed for special civil laws and got them.

However, after adding ‘secular’ to the Constitution, the situation did not improve. The government continued to grant benefits specifically to the dogmatic religions.

This was inexplicable. Why would ‘secular’ be added and then not acted upon? And the strangest thing: ‘secular’ got a new, specific Indian meaning. For decades it meant: giving in to demands by those two big religions which have no respect for Hindus and whose dogmas condemn all of them to eternal hell.

It is an irony. Islam and Christianity that have gravely harmed Indians over centuries, got preferential treatment by the Indian State, and their own beneficial dharma that has no other home except the Indian subcontinent, was egged out. And to top it, this was called ‘secular’!

This wrong understanding of secularism is still not challenged. Media and several politicians rather cement it: They still call political parties that represent a religious group, ‘secular’, instead of ‘religious’. Why would they do this? Do they want to give Indians first-hand experience of the dark ages that had haunted Europe when the Church wielded power or of the experience when Sharia rules?

However, western secular states are not role models either. There is a lot of depression, drug abuse, alcohol and people are generally not happy in spite of doing everything to ‘enjoy life’. Here, India has an advantage. Her rishis have left a great heritage of valuable treatises not only dealing with how to live life in an ideal way, but also how to conduct economy, politics, diplomacy, etc. If those guidelines are considered, and if India becomes a state based on her ancient dharma, she has good chances to regain the lost glory as the wealthiest country in the world whose citizen are open-minded and contented.

by Maria Wirth



  1. Ms. Maria, you have been yelling the values of this country for few years in your blog, Unfortunately most of them, gone in deaf ears. I wish, the dirty politics in this country would come to an end during our beloved PM Modi ji.

    The rise of India is depends on the fall of our worst politicians and corrupt bureaucrats. It is high time to wash away those people. This is the service to the nation, our motherland.

    Keep punching Maria!

  2. Indians need not worry about how their past was, nor look at their future. Their simple present is itself a dark age. Japanese /Chinese/East Asians will never be vulnerable to being taken over by anyone simply because they are disciplined and focussed. Indians will always be losers to outsiders because they don’t have a strong character. We are a weak race, dishonest and cheating ourselves more than anyone. India might have been the birthplace of many good religions, but it might be the only few places in the world where no religion will have any true benefits simply because of the quality of followers. A few ten thousand to fifty thousand Britishers could rule 150-300 Million Indians for 350 years.It was the Moghuls before that, but we don’t have the numbers. we’ll be free for a few more decades, then it might be the US coming back just like Britain(we are already controlled very much), if not the US, the Chinese might be ambitious to be a colonial power). The history of being an oppressed race will just continue, started with Moghuls, then British, now a small gap, lets see who;s next, China or US. Theres no other culture on the face of this planet, that is easier to take over and oppress and rule, more than India.

    1. you seem to know very little about your culture and about your people. You fumed in the same way already at my “About” site earlier today. To what purpose?

      1. Well, I also do know the past 5000 years of history from a few books, and all the glories that we sing from Aryabhatta’s zero to how they had the pushpak vimaans and ayurveda, and the claim that we could travel all planets with the mind……I have exposure to that stuff too…….I simply look at the present, and look at the world, how and what we are today. I think our expectations with India can be compared to “Greeks and Romans and Mesopotamians wanting to regain their past glory” No they don’t do it right, but we do it. That’s why I fume, because we are the only ones who seem to cling to the long lost past and actually forget the present. Just like Athens and Rome will not rule the world again, India won’t be the golden nightingale again. Time changes everything, we Indians are just self-deceiving ourselves by turning a blind eye to the present aka deteriorating and dilapidated state of affairs.

    2. Raghav, You views and disappointment are no surprise. Like all Indians you were fed the wrong history. That is all I can say for now. Study this blog for a start:

    3. @Raghav

      It is sad to see your perception on India and her cultural wisdom, even after you know being an Indian the ethics and moral of our ancient culture, been taught so many years, generation after generation, Polio medicine is given away free of cost to everybody in this country to prevent the disease. You don’t administer to your children and blame somebody for that? You did not learn the richness of your mother religion and started blaming it. You have no moral right to comment something which you do not know even a bit (with your writing it is very much understandable).
      Probably your extreme passion on science alone made you to think very against religion (Hinduism to be precise) or your brought-up by your parents or elders your family made a mistake to taught you the essence of Sanatana Dharma and its meaningful rituals. As everybody knows, ‘where science ends there philosophy begins’, is the bottom line for you Mr. Raghav. It is very common in India, especially to this blog, receive comments like you, even in earlier times also.

      We strongly recommend you to jump to some entertaining blog/websites which suits you, instead of puking your venom into public beneficial blogs like this.

      1. Yes I did realise that people here are something similar to the bhakti yoga fraternity, I myself have pious and staunch bhakti yoga origins, but since I couldn’t find an explanation to the deterioration of Indian ethos, I turned to find the answer through the Gnana yoga system. I admit, there is a LOT of wisdom available in Hinduism, but I could find that there is more of it written in the books than in practice, the reason is that, it has become obsolete and people are not able to relate to it, just like mathematics will come only when we condition ourselves with practice counting. Pros of Hinduism: Leads to comparitively peaceful societies and culturally calmer people, Cons of Hinduism: Teaches about god’s supremacy, but fails to develop ethics in the follower as in to develop a conscience that feels that: lying is not correct, deceiving is not correct, unity and trust are needed,orderliness and chaos is to be turned to discipline etc. As per your request, I will leave the forum, I am not anti Hindu, I am only anti-obsoleteness and irrelevance of Hinduism. My complaint or dissatisfaction with the way hinduism is being taught is analogous to the Indian education system which almost all Indians know needs a revamp to something meaningful and purposeful. Rather than washing off our sins in Ganga maa, I would be overjoyed if hinduism now updates itself with times and teaches its followers not to commit sin at all in the first place with their conscience. Thats all my wish is.

      2. @ Raghav

        Let me thank you first for taking my comments in better way rather than in pessimistic or countering way. Out of your comments I feel/realize a mild sorrow in your mind that there is some kind of decline in this great Dharma called Sanatana. If you still feel your Dharma fittest of present world and only revamp a few aspect will shine further, we, on behalf of rest of followers of this Dharma, welcome you back to pavilion.

        Let me ask these to you Mr. Raghav, if at all you are really worry about this religion. Something or somebody goes wrong in in your family would you mind fix it/him/her, or start only comment on the wrong? Is it not your house? Don’t you have responsibility to correct the mistake instead of only commenting and making joke upon it? Will you not suggest ideas to improve? Elders and educated like you won’t take up such jobs, how the next generation will catch right path without deviating? We are now, as per your comments, like this because of our previous generation did not do it in appropriate time. Would you mind considering it my friend?

      3. dear Raghav, can’t help feeling that you see Indians too negatively. Yes, there is scope for much improvement, but if you compare with people of other countries, Indians still stand tall. however, i do sometimes feel that the extremes are wider in India. there are highly cultured, good, wise people, which are difficult to find elsewhere, but there are also highly scheming, egoistic, base people. But yours is clearly a country for which one can develop love. The knowledge here is amazing. it was not respected till now even after Independence for various reasons, but hopefully times are changing now.

        Regarding Buddhism, when i came to India, most foreigners were interested in Buddhism. i also had read several books, as Hindusim had as it were a bad name in the west, associated with caste and many gods… (purposely engineered, as i feel now), but in India i realised that it is least dogmatic and whatever is there in Buddhism is already in the ancient Indian tradition. Buddhists claim that the concept of Atman makes a big difference, but it does not. Atman is not a separate entity. Atman is Brahman is one of the Mahavakyas.

      4. Hinduism is theory and Buddhism is implementation of the same theory, Buddhism has easy to adopt modules that can be incorporated within hinduism(Buddhism is after all Hinduism’s own offshoot), whereas in hinduism theres too much to delve into and find out. Well caste system, idol worship etc. yes I am aware too, western media portrays us in low light, in fact there seems to be more superiority thing within westerners, anglo saxons seem to be the top, then southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans the 2nd & 3rd class, then Latinos and Mexicans, and then other races are below them all, and Indians are placed above Africans but below East Asians. Superiority complex is as much a western a mindset as their punctuality and order is, compared to this our caste system is only a natural economic outcome, but has been labelled as a caste system. And well, I am negative about India, because in a practical sense, Indians are going from bad to worse. Yes there might be a lot of spirituality, but people born after 1980s are not in touch with the spiritual side, charecter erosion is happening very fast, people born today are born into the chaos straight out into the world, they are not spiritual, they are playing computer games and facebooking, and totally out of sync with the India and sanatana dharm that you admire. The culture in India is not as Indian as it is meant to be, it is practically a hybrid between India and the poor latino nations like Ecuador and Panama and Guatemala, they are chaotic and beyond repair like us too. Also, a lot of people see India in too high a light with regards to economy, but at ground level we are a collection of states where in each state’s economy is similar to a state in Africa
        The growth story and superpower dream, makes people think that India is/will be a world power, whereas in reality as individuals we, are a BIG poverty stricken nation, living lives comparable to mediocre African nations. At this juncture, spirituality will help us more if it simply helped with results in the form charecter building. Indians’s spiritual needs are relatively simple, analogous to the difference between mass public health vaccinations rather than cosmetic surgery. We need the former as of now. But India has deluded herself a lot into thinking it is far ahead than what it really is. With regards to respect etc. for Indians, we would have got it by now, if we had conducted ourselves to it, even among each other, not to say we need to care about what the west thinks about us, 18% of the world population, so many issues, chaos capital……..and recognition(Indians tend to long too much to be praised by westerners)…recognition is something that shouldn’t be of importance now, just getting ourselves in order should be the priority.

      5. I must thank you too, for allowing me to be a part of the group. Yes you are right, I’m not liking the erosion of the inner strength that hinduism, sanatana dharma, or any name we give it, but broadly Indian beleif systems. And I beleive I and many of us know why it is eroding(weak ethics, mistrust, lack of order etc), well if someone I know is going wrong, and especially if they are in my control, I will do what I can to enable them to take the right way. Regarding suggesting others, I might be far less mature and experienced than you think, I simply have a passion and curiosity for finding out what is wrong with the present way hinduism is. Regarding revamp, I beleive hinduism can stay the way it is, but the way it is implemented has to be more professional and serious. chanting and remembering god 24X7 will not solve our problem, but finding and removing our negative qualities will. And for this we must consult out own branched out schools of thought such as buddhism, which have kept the good part of our teachings intact. Take for eg. “how to remove fear”? some sect within buddhism takes its disciples to the forest, makes them sleep in an enclosure surrounded by wild animals, and they live like this for 10 days, by the time they are out, they have dealt with their inner fear so much that they have learnt to let it go. Imagine, if there were only 1 lakh indians in our historical years who were trained this way to be fearless, neither Mughals nor British would have had it easy. I am not saying Hindu ideas should be dismissed, but there should be a way of learning like theory and practicals, it has to be done judiciously at HOME LEVEL. that link is about the sect of buddhists that specializes in fear removal, we could incorporate these elements as a part of upbringing of 5-15 year olds, because charecter formation happens at this age, it is important to give them solid charecter strengthening, not necessarily jingoism and mob mentality, but the habit of practicing good values, habit of not succumbing to fear, practical understanding that cunningness will be bad for the whole community in the long run……etc……….Israelis have a parenting style that makes perfect young people till the age of 20, and then followed by 2 years of military service, and then you are free to live how you like. As a lone person no one can do away with the education system even if it is pointless, and we cannot and shouldn’t impose gurukul either, as it will make them out of sync with the modern times, however at HOME LEVEL, we can do a lot. Reading and memorising vedas and chanting could be substituted with sessions of discipline and focus building, camps of fear-removal, chanting rehearsing vedas etc, could be left in the domain of seniors and experts. Youngsters and common man should be targeted with charecter and moral building excercises, and intricate yagnas and chanting and rituals must be left to the domain of experts and seniors. In other words, hinduism could transform and work towards producing results in people, in the form of charecter improvements apart from repeating ancient traditions.

      6. Raghav, i don’t know whether you are aaware of it, but many good things are happening. yesterday on Astha channel i heard that Swami Ramdev plans to spread the concept of his Acharyakulam in Haridwar all over India (Vedic & Adhunik shiksha). by chance i saw that he incorporated losing fear, too in the curriculum – the children were made to climb down the wall of a multistoried building (secured by a rope) etc.
        India has huge challenges, agreed, for example the huge population on relatively little space. Europe looks empty (and boring) when coming from India… still, India still has dangerous wildlife, that has been killed off in Europe.
        Indians are clearly far more flexible than us and this is a great advantage. let’s do our best to make Indians aware of their strengths.
        Also, Indians who don’t speak English seem to be more grounded in values.

      7. Dear mam,
        Well, good things have to happen, if they don’t there is no escape from becoming a nation of 2.5 billion strong savages where 70% will be homeless and living lives of famine and malnutrition, due to the pressure of resource shortage(aka non proactive birth rates). Well these movements help, but also parents of under 15s can help change the fortune of this country if they take conscious efforts in charecter building modules(I dont know how, but it must be possible, there must be some school of thought that is specialized in this area that can be incorporated into hinduism and hence finally into family living). Indians should compare and compete less with the west, they should emulate and strive to compete with east Asians, the reason being that, west has an abundance, and the problem there is how to manage and keep up their high living standards, over here the problem is entirely different, here it is about “building” the country from scratch, evolving a good culture etc., spirituality and relegion could get a lot of mindspace in the earlier generations, but now it is difficult to reach the minds, it is very cluttered in many directions, you call people to come and run in a 5k marathon on facebook, they’ll click like and sign up and come and run like fools, you call the same people for a walkathon to the kumbh mela, they wont even read up. Indians will now only respond to stimuli that looks western, a priest in a dhoti or a kurta pyjama will be dismissed as an old piece, whereas the same priest will get mindspace, if he can wear a blazer and talk excellent English. Spirituality wont find an appeal in the new borns unless it looks sophisticated and looks like corporate training, at least that is when Indians will look. For a western mind, spirituality would be sadhus and beards and padrakshaks, but for it to enter the Indian mind, spirituality has to be made to look fancy, parents should be proud to drop off their kids to a neo-hindu personality change session, just like the way they fancy a famous after school tuition teacher.

        You are right, Indians who don’t speak English seem to have more values, and they are the goldmine that India can turn around with, if only they are cared about. It is easier for spirituality as well as mob mentality both to reach them, they still have some pride left in their culture, They are currently at a disadvantage due to jobs mandating the need for english to have white collar jobs. Some people want to do away with English, but that will be very counter productive, even the little BPO and IT sector that we DO HAVE will close down for the next generations.However if they can be shifted into manufacturing from hand to mouth agriculture smoothly, then there’s nothing that can drown India. the US is already planning to make each American home turn into a little factory, to beat China, but India is a better place to try out such innovations as there will be a lot of takers and there is more of a necessity for such ways of managing ourselves.

        Right now it is difficult to build the basics, but once the barrier is broken and basics are built, transition will be possible, confidence in ourselves will increase, then milestones can follow. Home level changes might be a way to enable the macro level changes.

    4. Dinesh · · Reply

      Dear Raghav, It seems you are talking about what you are seeing in the society superficially. The anciant glory of dharma or hinduism was not simply made of literature, it was prepared carefully by considering all the scientific facts. You must take a deep look towards the history of Indian anciant culture. Before the invasion of Islam in India, This was perhaps the richest society of the world with full of trades happening to the Europe and Middle east. India with hinduism, Persia with persians, and Greece with greeks were a peaceful world. After the evolution of Islam, situation turned dramatically. Islamists captured Egypt, Persia (Iran), Mesopotamia (Iraq) etc and converted these in fully Islamic within two decades.
      India was not run as a full country but there were separate autonomous kingdoms were here at that time. All of them were prosporous and linked with same culture which was hinduism.
      But due to lack of unity Islamists captured India and ruled here for 800 years as different dynasties in different times (ghulams, syad, lodi, tughlaks, mughals etc) at that time many conversions were performed forcefully but India largely remain hindu country because we always opposed the intrusion to our culture as you know we had some very brave kings or people at that time like Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, Tipu Sultan etc. 99% of Muslims or Christians have hindu ancestors.
      After that British came and they also take the benefit of lack of unity and ruled here for 200 years. They also converted people into Christianity through missionaries by bribing and all those illegal means but could not do it enough. They looted Indian resources and made UK prosperous. They exploited all the resources of India and sent them to UK & in return India got nothing. Dada Bhai Nairoji has explained about it in his book “Drainage of Wealth.” It was main reason of India becoming so poor. It were british who made unrepairable dent to India both economically and culturally.
      After that we got largely unefficient rule of Congress Party thats why after 67 years we are not able to eradicate poverty because their focus is on “appeasement politics” and “subsidy politics” so that they could remain in power without doing any hard work. But I feel people of India now understand this. It was that kind of politics due to which in the name of secularism, those politicians have dispelled the people from the culture of hinduism by making flawed education system where hinduism values were/are not taught. But it is the deep rooted culture of ourselves due to which we still have that sense that we are not violent, we accomodate every religion, we believe in “vasudhaiv kutumbakam”(whole world is like one family) and “sarv dharm samabhav” (all religions are equal and leads towards the god).
      I am very optimisic about new government that they are doing hard work to eradicate poverty, to make people believe in our culture and have pride in it and to help India to achieve some part (if not full) of its past glory.

    5. kis ko murkh banana chahte ho vts! aap ka gyan ati uttam hai par wo bhramit karne wala hai ya fir swayam digbhramit hai ..harday se Hinduism aur iske anuyayiyo ke liye irshya aur dvesh ikaloge tabhi iske swarnim itihaas ke dashan ke patra banoge ..bahut hi asan hai ye kahna ki yaha par chritian aur ismists aaye aur unhone hukumat ki ..par iss baat ko samjho pyare ki wo bhi hiduism ko ukhad nahi paye to samjho iski jade tab kitni gahari aur majboot hogi ..esa isliye ho saka kyoki esa hamare swabhav me tha kisi par atyachar nahi karo par agar koi blat hinsak hone ki chesta kare to fir mahabharat atal hai ..agar hum angrejo ke agent Gandhi ki bato me aa jate aur hinsa nahi karte to kabhi bhi ajad nahi hote ..hamare kabhi har na manane wali soch aur dust ke saath dushtata ka vyavhar karne ki sikh ke karan hi hum aaj fir se ajad hai aur jo dust saktiya fir se sir utha rahi hai usko kuchalne ke liye tyyara hai …jai hind

    6. Don’t spit poison raghav be optimistic

  3. You have probably read the books written by the so called western intellectuals. Agree Indians have got ruled. That is because we have not been militarily undivided. Times are changing. Kargil is an example of what Indians can do if provoked. China is not able to control Xinjiang even with dictatorship whereas we with democracy have been able to defend Kashmir against the Paks and Chinese.

  4. विकास · · Reply

    Maria nice article.. I like your approach towards sanatan dharma or hinduism.
    @Raghav nice and healthy debate from ur side , But common don’t be so pessimistic.

  5. Well, the population during 1947 was only 300 Million, even if it had doubled by now, Indians would have been living comfortable enough, but it has multiplied 5 times, the fault is not the government’s that we keep blaming, it is our very ancestors, who were supposed to be full of wisdom, likewise why do you think external rulers such as British/moghuls/future rulers were/will be able to rule us, it is not just because they had more muscle mass and brains, it is simply because WE have a lot of FEAR. we have fear because, our culture promotes nurturing fear to escape wrath, but they give it the name of nobiliity, in order to escape the physical pain of invaders, our ancestors ran away into temples, thinking/hoping god will save them. We see that attitude even today, whenever there is a fearful predator(the ruling junta), the Indians are the most accepting, and we will be the first to surrender and accept, we have made it noble and virtuous to accept injustice, not because we want to be noble, but beause we dont want to take pains, we want to take it easy . When the Brits came in, Indians being smart as usual, surrendered to the British, and helped defeat their own nearby kingdoms. Cunningness is more harmful than straightforwardness, we are the living examples of a race that will always shoot itself on the foot by being cunning. We might be individually cunning, but collectively the most easiest race of people for any outsider to play with and rule us, either directly or indirectly. If India has to change, Indians are the solution, and government really cannot do everything, have a look at this it shows how children are groomed in Japan, and compare this with what values children are taught here. Only if children are brought up well, India’s basics will ever improve. We grown ups are just rotten apples like our ancestors who have led us to where we are today with a high population, bad upbringing with lack of accountability, lack of civic sense, etc etc. and all those basics, which need to be inculcated in the coming generations, for their own good and for the stability of this culture.

  6. Hinduism: The good, the bad and the ugly.
    The ugly: This group forms the majority. They see all religions as equal so they show respect for them all even though they are condemned to an eternal hell-fire. They practice non-violence to the scale which relegates them to being cowards, the reason India was invaded so many times. This group of people practically die a thousand times before they actually die relegating their souls to subhuman conditions in the next birth.

    The bad: This group is much smaller. They are the extremists who within a wink of an eye would turn to violence just to be heard, keeping in mind, violence is permissable in self-defence. But the good side of this group is thatthey will at any cost step up to defend Bharat Ma. The way I see it, some one has to do it, as India is the brain of the world and if she dies the rest of the world dies.

    The Good: This group is yet fewer. They are the ones, like Maria Wirth, who would constructively criticise the other faiths that poses a danger to India and the rest of the world, and even the hindus themselves for not living up their dharmic duties. This group is more likely to embrace the the true religion of the Vedas, at some time in this birth or the next.

  7. Love Peace · · Reply

    What India needs is peace. Definitions and history may divide. Christian are bad, Muslims are bad says Maria, but they are there to stay and Hindus have to live with them. Need Gulf countries for jobs and oil. Need America and Israel for stability. So forget definitions and history and live in peace. Maria can talk something to bring peace to India.

  8. It might be noteworthy that Buddhism is a form of reformed and rational and purified condensate of Hinduism, and Indian kingdoms were at their strongest when Buddhism was being practiced all over India, and buddhism travelled into Japan and China, and even today we are seeing the benefits in the form of focus, perfection etc. and as a result their economic and technological prowess and wealth. I honestly feel, hinduism needs reforming and a revamp. After all Buddhism and the Buddha are Bharat Ma’s revolted son, and the son can help an ailing mother with the right medicine. Our religious deans and leaders might help if they reform the hindu school of thought to make Indians more life-facing and fearless than life-escaping through rituals, and pujas which have now become nothing more than ceremonies and cultural occasions.

    1. @ Raghav:

      The content of your comment obviously establishes that your fondness on Buddhism rather than Hinduism. You can, by all means support, embrace and propagate Buddhism. Nobody going to stop or talk against it. For your mere understanding, unlike other religions in this World, Sanatana Dharma is not a religion at all. If you have any thought of considering Sanatana Dharma as religion, please kindly update yourself about this. Sanatana Dharma represents much more than just a religion in the normative sense of the term; rather, it provides its followers with an entire way of life and with a coherent and rational view of reality. ( For more info, in case you are interested, please try this link: ) This Dharma does not insist anyone to implement the rituals and customs in their daily life. However, it explains the imperative of such thing and leave it to you to follow or not.

      In any circumstances, all that I want to say is, stop merely finding mistakes; start correcting it at your reachable level. One fine day, you would come out with few mistakes in Buddhism also after embracing it (may be you are already). Be sure, all other religion will not tolerate blasphemy unlike Sanatana Dharma. You are a man of mere ‘fault finder’ than some ‘solution provider’. Kindly go ahead of your new thought in religion and see what best you can achieve. We are, not in any means, eager to know the results of your findings as we are comfortable in our way of life and would make it more comfortability as and when required with taking due reference from our Vedas, Upanishads, etc. All the best Raghav!

      1. No, I am not a convert into buddhism, and never will,

        I have created a little merger of the good practical points of Buddhism into my own beleif system, and created a neo system that I found beneficial for myself.Practically the difference is very little, earlier I used to do chanting, but I used to do it without a clue, now I simply meditate and observe the self, earlier I used to run to god out of fear and anxiety, now I observe my own anxiety and fear as to what it is. And at the same time I still go to temples, still celebrate festivals, still fast on certain days. I think it is easily possible to get the best of both, without rigidly choosing this or that. Thanks for the wishes.

  9. Varun Goyal · · Reply

    Dear Mam

    Once again the nice article to enlighten people. But I suppose the citizens of India had shown there ingenuity for democracy when they overwhelmingly voted for Manmohan Singh second time after the nuclear deal done with US during his first term. Nuclear Deal was pushed only because of him and for that very second time, people voted for Manmohan Singh and not for Sonia Gandhi.

    This, for Narendra Modi, is the second such times when citizens have shown they utmost ability to make sharp acute decisions. This is a true democracy.

    People in India were fed up of politics revolving around religion and caste. Since Independence, false promises in pretext of religion have led the political sphere in India. Later, BJP had seen its downfall as citizens stop voting for them. Citizen started hating BJP for its over-religious tone. You see Babri-Masjid Demolition was not taken by many Hindus in positive. Hindus are secular by birth. They respect others. This is the default setting.

    But in 2013. BJP only when led by Narendra Modi, did wonders. If anybody else from BJP would have been the PM candidate, I feel this overwhelming response could not be there.

    Hence, Citizens of India now differentiate Developmental Politics. That is important.

    Although, one of my articles is also addressed to the Secular People of India. It may interest many of our readers here too. I am hereby sending the link for that.

    Feel free to comment.

  10. We are .. and always be the “Sleeping Tiger” .. I have bbeen waiting most of my adult life for the sleeping tiger to wake up.

  11. Good, great article. You rock

  12. Namaste,I stumbled upon your blog and can’t thank you enough for putting down your thoughts in such a lucid manner.I believe the next generations need to have a sense of pride and respect in our Samskriti to preserve it and pass it on.One key need is to promote the Samskrita Bhasha.That is the vital link we lost.Knowing even basic Samskritam will open the doors to a wealth of treasure.

  13. This article written very well and the outcome was even nice.Good to see people who proud of their culture and care for its betterment.

  14. Maria Wirth, a “BIG THANK YOU” for this blog on Secularism. Simple & to the point.

    I read the comments on the blog with a great deal of interest. All I can tell/advise persons such as Raghav is that he should STOP reading the the Western media magazines & newspapers that are being bandied about as ‘intellectual’ reading – The Economists, The Newsweeks, The TImes, The NY Times etc. Read them if you wish but DO NOT take them as Gospel truth. No way.

    I was a voracious reader of all of these since 1960 and was happy to quote from them for my various lectures etc. After 2005, I began to separate the news from the planted stories/views. Today, I am fully free of the Western ‘hangover’

    I love Germany – I am engaged with them in engineering since 1982. My German friends love India and Indians – we see a lot that is common (and overlook the negatives).

    I also believe that China is now on the decline, and India will rise again to full glory in the next 5-10 years (though we lost 10 good years on account of the misconception about SECULARISM ). Raghav, it is a question of WHEN, not IF.

    At 74+ I am not sure if I will be around to see that period – but I can the signs already.

    As Joel Osteen said : “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a POSITIVE life”

  15. Thank you, Maria! Very good explanations.

  16. Krishan Saxena · · Reply

    Thanks for this enlightening article/blog on Hinduism (i.e. Sanatan Dharma) – the culture of India (i.e. Bharat). I hope many people will read it. India is finally coming out of Dark Ages. In post independence India, the history of India was turned into a fiction and fiction was being taught as history of India – all in the foolish belief that by sweeping the dirt of history under the carpet, so to say, India will make a new clean beginning and have peaceful future. But as the Civil Rights leaders used to say to Blacks in the United States during the struggle for Civil Rights “You don’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you are coming from.” It was the misfortune of Indians that they were lied to by their leaders after the independence and “tolerance” – the basic tenet of Hindu culture was turned into “cowardice.” Hindus survived, not because they were cowards or because they did not fight, they survived only because they were neither of the previous two and continued to pay whatever price was needed – from the sacking of Chittorgarh by Khilji where every man, woman and child (some 35,000 of them) was sacrificed rather than submit to slavery — to Jalianwala Bagh, where the unarmed Sikhs and Hindus were mowed down just “yesterday” (in 1919) if one was to visit the place.

    For many, it is difficult to believe what is happening and are fearful it may not last. But India has turned the corner and there is no going back.

    1. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh were once India. If we did not lose it through cowardice, how else did we lose it? 4 lakh kashmiris, even after independence could be driven out from J&K and the whole of India didn’t raise the issue and doesn’t even remember it, which other group in the world is a coward if hindus are not cowards? but all of them hound the Gujratis for the riots, as though it is the right thing to do, but it is acceptable to kick out and slaughter kashmiris….Hindus survived because of the British, who only had economic and colonial interests, and didn’t really care about relegion. Even today India will not survive unless it has the support of the west or Russians. Look at France, 12 people shot, 1 MILLION turn up in the unity march. Will hindus ever dare to do such a thing, even if it was right., hindus will devotedly and proudly ‘accept’ it as god’s doing and forget it. Hinduism is just another word for cowardice and ‘cheating oneself and each other’. I am a hindu myself, but not really proud of value-less ness of our origins, the apathy, the lack of management skills and lack of discipline, the lack of civic sense etc.,. Bharat was a very apathetic and reckless couldn’t careless place, contrary to the beleif that it was a golden nightingale. If the English didn’t come to India, we would not even be a united India. We owe all our little existence and delaying of hinduism wipe out solely to the British.

      Another 350 years, hinduism will be wiped out, and by 2100-2125, hindus<= 50% of India's population. This is real, and an act of god or karma or whatever we call it, or always like to call things, the excuse we give to our own lack of efforts. Do you know that all the road accidents and train derailings and hanging loose electric wires from poles electrocuting people are all acts of god and karma too. That's hinduism for you, the very reason for bharat's unique apathetic mindset.

  17. Dear Maria Ji, I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lucidity and clarity with which you bring out the truth. Raghav has a point when he mentions about the lack of discipline among the Indians as people. However where he is wrong is in mixing up the two things, that is, religion and governance. There is tremendous greatness in our ancient Dharma but general public is devoid of such wisdom. All human beings like the freedom and liberty that our democracy provides. But corruption that has seeped into the vitals of our society is not allowing enforcement of discipline what with the law enforcement agencies fully compromised. Now can we find an answer for this apathy in our scriptures or traditions? All that is needed is governance with an iron hand and the rest will take care of itself.

    Also needed is an urgent reform of our education system wherein removal of Macaulian content is a must. Modernity need not mean dogmatic aping of the western values which themselves may not stand the test of time.

    Maria Ji, you have been writing for so long but can you tell us if your friends back home have followed the essence of what you have discovered in this ancient country.

    Thank you for your tremendous efforts. May your tribe flourish!

  18. Very nice article explaining Secularism and communalism…

    1. Panchanathan Suresh · · Reply

      Hi Smt Sivakamasundari, I understand that you have interacted with Shri M Subbaraman who was close to Kanchi Swamigal. One of my friends wants to contact you. Can you please share your contact email details by writing to me at

      So sorry to bother you.

      Thanks a ton.

  19. Viral Tiwari · · Reply


    In short, you are secular from the purview of its so called “Indian definition” *IF* you *DO NOT* question or conquest the adulation and appeasement of other dogmatic religions e.g.:

    a) Haj Subsidy. India is the only country to give it! Not even Saudi Arabia (At the helm of Wahhabi Islam) provides that!

    b) You should have no qualms in supporting or getting support of the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, “All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen” , Indian Union Muslim League etc.

    c) No conquest or questions upon the surrender of Indian cultural values to these dogmatic religions under the garb of minority protection.

    So if you challenge any of the above or similar as above points,then you are branded as a “neo-fascist zealot with no conscience” by the self anointed & appointed champions of so called Indian “Sickularism”. (Intended pun, Sickular instead of secular).

    Its an interesting read to know about few facts as below:

    Even then, the likes of Owasi’s are true secular patriots(who call for separation and sedition) and the likes of RSS zealots(who call for unification).

    I wonder what would be the reaction of secular liberals if a subsidy for Hindus is proposed for pilgrimage.

    And more eerie is the absence/silence in our intellect media about the likes Raif Badawi (poor blogger at the sad end of flogging) and Fayhan al-Ghamdi (The preacher who raped & killed his 5 year old daughter, and got away with it. Thanks to Sharia Law).

    Oh secular intellects, do we take your silence in such matters as their endorsement?
    Remember as quoted by Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    And in case of expansionist missionary religions, the response of secular intellects has perhaps been exacerbated to a *BIG NOTHING*!

    No wonder, in Indian dictionaries the meanings for words Secularism and Fundamentalist should be swapped with utmost and immediate effect.

    Would save a lot of confusion I guess.!!!

    Jai Siya Ram!

  20. Viral Tiwari · · Reply

    Hmmm forgot to mention in my previous comment, about the plight of Shirin Dalvi.

    Food for thought oh Indian Secularist’s?

  21. Dinesh · · Reply

    I read your tweet on #CommunalMedia and from there I got this very enriching blog post. I have always beleived in our anciant haritage as one of the best because all the things which were taught to us by our family, by our society were excellent. Now being an adult, I can feel that those values have actually turned me in a good human being. Hinduism never tells to hate other religions and in the same way my parents or whatever holy books of hindus I read or tv programs I watched, there was not a smallest thing which told bad about other faiths or religions. But in contrast the holy books of islam or christianity tells them that their religion is superiour that makes them highly radical and bad human beings. But I think christians applied their brains and they by and large did not trapped into their wrong faith so they are not radicalized.
    World has a lot to learn from hinduism. the family values, the relationships between father son, father daughter, siblings, mother son, mother daughter, spouses, respecting elders etc.
    The main problem with the islamic people is that they are radicalized upto such an extreme, they dont see how bad they are tought about faith. they are taught to hate non islamists.
    For India I can only say, the overwhelming hindu majority is very much necessary to maintain peace and secularism here. Thats the only way to survive all the religions as india is home to the every known religion in the world.

    1. True, Hindus need to remain in big majority in the interest of India and humanity as a whole….

      1. Yes, true… I second the comment made by Ms.Maria ji. She is absolutely correct.

      2. Balaji, and even better if also those who converted to the dogmatic, blind- belief- in- unverifiable- dogma religions would see sense. Fail to understand why it is not obvious that a biased god who puts strange condition (baptism, or reciting a line) for his favours can’t be the absolute truth.
        But yes, brainwashing from childhood works…. they will see those who point out flaws in their religion as misguided if not worse.

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