Monday, March 14, 2011

The Principle of Separation

Any two entities A & B can be separated if and only if

A is separated from B and also

B is separated from A.

So two persons can be separated if person A goes to another place and at the same time person B remains in another place A. A divorce, on grounds of separation, happens when one spouse goes away to another location and at the same time the other spouse remains in another location. In case the second person goes to the place of the first person, then separation is not effected and hence divorce does not happen.

In other words, there must be control over both the entities and at the same time each entity must not encroach on the space of the other.

So if religion and the state have to be separated, in any sense, then if the state stays away from religion, then the religion must also stay away and separate itself from the state at the same time. So if the state becomes ‘secular’, the religion must also stay away from the state in order for the separation to be effected. However, for state religions, the religion explicitly has a characteristic of a state and gets into the affairs of the state. In other words, if the religion or followers of the religion want to implement Nizam-e-Mustafa or the Shariat, then it is explicitly stating that it wants to implement the divine law or the religious law in the state. So even if the state stays away from religion, as long as the (state) religion has this characteristic, for such religions, separation cannot be achieved as they themselves get into the affairs of the state or behave like another state. Hence, for state religions, secularism is a false and unachievable concept, precisely because it is the religion which does not separate itself from the state.

Note that in terms of the subjects addressed by the state and by any or all religions, there is a great overlap. So the separation, if at all, can be in whether the authorities, the implementation apparatus or the power / administrative structure is different between the state and the religion or if the legal code can be permitted to be different from the moral code / divine law.

State religions have the latter characteristics and hence do not leave the state alone. For this reason, for state religions, the concept of separation and hence secularism is ab-initio void and false. Hence such a religion, system or institution, cannot be recognized or admitted by a secular state and the followers of such religions are not secular.

In other words, if the state separates itself from the religion, and becomes secular, i.e. “secularises” itself, then at the same time, the religion in question must separate itself from the state and “de-statise” itself, in order to ensure and effect the principle of separation.

The problem arises for the state because the while the state can define itself in a certain way, there is no control over how the religion defines itself. So if the religion defines itself (or is given by Divine Law) such that it has a principle of dictating divine law to be the only law and excludes everything else, such a religion is not secular nor is separation or secularism possible for such religions, once they are admitted or recognized.

Choice of the individual v/s demand from the other side:

Gifts may voluntarily be given or exchanged in a marriage. However, if there is a demand from the other side (note: even a mere mention is sufficient as per the Supreme Court), it amounts to a demand of dowry, which is a cognizable and punishable offence. Similarly, the Constitution protects the right of the individual i.e. the citizen, to move into or adopt another belief system. In other words, the right to change the belief and practice belongs to the individual/citizen, i.e. the ‘outgoing’ individual, and not of the other side, the potentially ‘incoming’ system.

However, the statement, or assertion, or demand as a right from the other side i.e. the proselytizing belief system, is like asking for dowry. Hence, this must also be a cognizable and punishable offence.

Certain belief systems or institutions may or may not be able to perceive the trespass here because they have a priori arrogated the right to ‘own and convert’ to themselves, which in reality is a statement as to the end result of the exercise which is a foregone conclusion, by the ‘incoming’ system, like a dictate. Arrogating the right to exclusive ownership and implementing it also precludes the concept of ownership or possibility of trespass happening to the target, the victim of the ‘conversion’ activity.

The most fundamental attribute in democracy, of an individual, of a citizen, is choice, or election. This attribute is so fundamental that it is implicit in many concepts and even does not need to be stated. However, it belongs to the individual, the citizen. This is the exact opposite of some other ‘incoming’/’to be elected’ entity arrogating something or some end result to itself and hence would dictate and in doing so see itself as committing no trespass.

Propagation v/s ‘conversion’ and multiplication of numbers:

Mathematics and logic permeate every activity, and every person uses this explicitly or implicitly in a small or big manner. If instruction is given in this subject i.e. Mathematics say, then one can use it for whatever purposes or improve based on the acquisition and application of this skill. However, this does not mean that such persons need to leave whatever they are doing or alter it and become a mathematician. So the propagation and practice of the subject does not imply or necessitate a ‘conversion’. Note that the Supreme Court has observed that the right to practice and propagate religion does not imply the right to convert.

The statement or claim of belief, practice and propagation = conversion i.e., it implies and necessitates conversion, is a statement of their particular Divine Law which cannot be modified or excluded. Hence this is a statement about such a religion and its followers being non- or anti-secular.

Written by - onimusha

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