SECULARISM, NATIONALISM & INDIA

Whether strong
        nationalism could

        lead to a strengthening of secularism in India ? Is Narendra Modi’s recent definition of secularism “acceptable or expedient”?

Given his record of hostility towards minorities, Modi is far too intolerant a person to define secularism in any way. At the same time it is assumed that ‘secularism’ and ‘tolerance’ are  to be identical. They are not. It is a confusion emerging out of a unique Indian interpretation of secularism by which the concept, which in much of the world is defined as the separation of religion and religious activities from the affairs of the state, is assumed here to mean religious tolerance. But if you go by the globally accepted definition of secularism, you would find it possible to be secular while being deeply devoted to a particular religion to the extent of actively disliking devotees of other religions.

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GENDER – VIOLENCE vis-a-vis GENDER EMPOWERMENT : SOME CONCEPTUAL ISSUES

Meenal Katarnikar
Adjunct Reader in Jainology, Department of Philosophy, University of Mumbai

… Continuation from the previous issue
 

Role of State in Women’s Empowerment

The constitution of India not only grants equality to women, it also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.

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NEITHER A WITCHCRAFT NOR SORCERY DOCTORS OPINE IN BABY – BURNING CASE

Superstition and dogmatic belief have been dealt with a severe blow in a recent incident of new born baby went up in flames. A male child born of a rural couple in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu had gone up in flames four times intermittendly in about a couple of months.

The baby is now under medical surveillance in the air-conditioned intensive care unit of the Kilpauk Medical College at Chennai. Dr. Narayan Babu, the paediatrician has observed that this rarest of rare phenomena is known as a spontaneous human combustion. Methane gas and fat tissues that are congenital in human body might have generated a highly inflammable acetone which gets aflame when emerges out through the skin. More so, if the place is warm or if somebody smokes nearby. The baby’s skin has gone to biopsy test but somehow the baby is gradually recovering.

What is heartening to note is that as counselled by close relatives, the parents of the body have not taken him to a pilgrim centre to propitiate the gods and goddesses. However it is this case that demands the development of scientific temper among the populace both in rural and unborn centres.

RENOWNED RATIONALIST Dr. NARENDRA DABHOLKAR

In a country which celebrates
    godmen and obscurantists,

    Dabholkar succeeded in building a robust movement across villages, schools and colleges in Maharashtra.

Born into a socialist family in Satara district, Dabholkar qualified as a doctor and practised medicine for over a decade before being drawn into social work. Initially, he joined movements for social justice with Baba Adhav but found his calling by 1983. By 1989, he founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, targeting exploitative godmen, ‘miracle cures’ and regressive religious practices.

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SELF RESPECT MARRIAGES – SOLUTION TO CASTELESS SOCIETY

“Of all the Hindu samskaras, the Vivaha is the most sacred and significant one, because it is the origin an centre of all Yajnas performed by a grahastha”.

The impact of British rule on India during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries led to changes in all walks of Indian life. The impact on society has been most significant that Sankaran (Nair) in his presidential address to the Indian National Congress (1897) remarked, “Great as is the necessity of British Rule for the political emancipation of our country, even greater is the necessity for social and religious reform”.

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