Our identification with a religious community is a sociological process.
When that community begins to organise itself, and makes demands upon the body politic, we see the politicisation of religion. Religious communities are transformed into political actors laying claim to secular power. It was precisely the politicisation of religious identities that was to reach alarming proportions in the pre-Independence period and the process continues till today.
Which religion tells its members to die for it?
It is only ‘religion as politics’ that demands sacrifice of lives.
Today when the status of secularism in the country is in danger of being dislodged from political imaginations and political life, it is time to re-inscribe and revalue the concept. Secularism bridges the empirical proposition that our society is plural and the normative proposition that pluralism is a good.
This is what has tried to do: to bring out the significance of secularism and that of tolerance to our collective life. There is no moment like the present to take up a job that is worth doing.
More than seven decades after Partition, we really have to ask ourselves: Do we really want to live in a bare and stark society marked by informal apartheid? Or do we earnestly desire to inhabit a social order that fosters warm relationships based on civility and mutual respect? The first kind of society will drastically constrain our minds and hearts, our sensibilities and our perspectives. The second sort will enable the unleashing of creative imaginations and allow us to become fuller human beings, at ease with ourselves and with others in a plural society.
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