What is a ‘Secular’ Nation ?

Mr Durgesh Parulkar
Kemal Pasha established a new regime in Turkiye, for which he placed a proposal on 3rd March 1924. He said, ‘We want to preserve the Republican state in any situation. It is in crisis. The Ottoman Empire was built on a broken communal foundation. The foundation of the new Republic must be strong. Its design should be scientific. The remnants of the Caliphate and the Osman dynasty must go. The antiquated communal Courts and Laws should be abolished and replaced by a modern civil code. Non-sectarian Government schools should be established instead of schools run by Maulavis (Islamic clerics). The sect and Government should be treated separately’.

1. Reforms initiated by Kemal Pasha

A. Banned the traditional Ottoman and Muslim skull cap. A hat replaced it.
B. Property and lands of communal monasteries were confiscated. Subsistence class was employed on these lands.
C. Abolished the law of Islam and replaced it with German commercial law, the Italian Penal Code and the Swiss Civil Code.
D. Banned polygamy and closed Harems.
E. Persian and Arabic words that had entered the Turkish language were banished.
F. Translated ‘Quran’ and ‘Bible’ into Turkish.
G. Prayers in mosques began to be conducted in Turkish.
H. Foreign missionary schools were closed. They were banned from imparting religious education.
I. The Arabic script was replaced by an improved Latin script.

2. What if we decide to make India a ‘Secular’ state like that made by Kemal Pasha ?

A. If the civil code comes into existence, which communal law will become null and void ?
B. Who will be affected by the ban on polygamy ?
C. If it is decided that the Scriptures and prayers should come in a regional language or Sanskrut, then which Scriptures and prayers will get translated ?
D. If it is decided to change the names that symbolise foreign cultures, which names will get changed ?
E. If missionary schools are banned, which schools will get closed ?
F. If an effort is made for language purification, which regional language words will get excluded ?
G. If it is decided to change the script, what will be its alternative ?

3. Will you transform yourself for a ‘Secular’ state ?

Such changes have to be made for a secular state. Those who holler about secularism should think about this and take the required initiative. It should also be noted that this means being progressive.

– Mr Durgesh Jaywant Parulkar (Devout Hindu Lecturer and Author, Dombivli, 6.3.2023)

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