The Meghalaya High Court while disposing of a petition concerning domicile made some rather controversial remarks concerning the Partition of India. These remarks have not gone down well and rightfully so. The high court observed that post-partition in 1947 Pakistan was declared to be an "Islamic State" and consequentially India should have been declared a "Hindu Nation".
This is problematic for many reasons. First and foremost the historical context is lost by such an observation. Partition was one of the greatest tragedies of the last century and while the sub-continent was divided along communal lines. The lines were not as straightforward as one Hindu Country and one Muslim Country.
The Pakistan movement was one that sought the secession of certain Muslim majority provinces of British India to be reconstituted as a separate country. India, as it was British India then, was to remain as India but sans these provinces and these new provinces were to from then-new dominion of Pakistan. India remained, it was Pakistan that left in 1947. There can be no question of India becoming a Hindu State as the secular character of the state never changed. In fact, this is why Pakistan had to apply separately for UN Membership post its independence while India occupied British India's seat at the UN.
India is the legitimate successor state to British India as far as international law is concerned while Pakistan is the new state. India has always been a multicultural multi-faceted nation that does not have one single unifying cultural character. The absence of this cultural character is what unites India, India being united in her diversity. It makes democracy the only viable political force and promotes a natural check against dictatorship.
Even if we were to assume that India was to be the "Hindu" country, as the high court encourages the government to do for the purpose of immigration control. We cannot extend that logic to India being a "Hindu State" the same way Pakistan is an "Islamic Republic". If India is a Hindu State, then which sect of Hinduism should govern the national ideology? The norms of which strain should be followed while determining policy? For Hindus are as diverse as people as they come, each in firm disagreement with the other on the overall nature of the universe but respectful of the others sentiment.
The idea that India was ever meant to be a Hindu country is laughable and the high court's observations on this point, apart from being unwarranted, fly in the face of reason.
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Updated Date: Dec 14, 2018 15:25:43 IST