Indian secularism is radically different from Western secularism. Indian secularism is based on inclusive, equal respect for all religions.
Western secularism is about exclusive, equal disrespect for all religions. For example, here is Webster’s definition of secularism:
“secularism: indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations”
In a religious country like India, the Western idea of secularism has few takers.
I will in a later post take up some other examples of how we Indians use words differently from English-speaking Westerners, but for now, here are two photographs that show that Indian secularism is not an imposition from above, but that its spirit is alive and kicking among ordinary Indians.
The above shot was taken inside an auto. For some reason, the flash did not fire; apologies for the lack of picture clarity. From left to right, we have (1) Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala, a saint of the Orthodox Syrian Christian church, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parumala_Thirumeni, (2) Christ, (3) the Kaaba in Mecca, and (4) Lord Ganesh.
And in the above photo, below a Christian message is an image of goddess Attukkal Bhagvathi.
I love the following image; it embodies the spirit of Indian secularism (yes, the spelling error is grotesque!):
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