Secularism vs Pluralism?
BY: Hamza Liaquat
The world has evolved over time. It never remained the same. It was Palaeolithic period that transferred into Stone Age, to group living to informal city states to empires to dark ages to renaissance to nation-state system to nationalism and to contemporary globalization. Globalization is a concept meant to fulfil three necessary preconditions which include free trade and international cooperation, free mobility and migration, and consensus on global and regional issues. Various factors contributed to promoting globalization. At the end of First World War, the leaders of the world tried to formulate a system of nations to solve outstanding issues but remained unsuccessful. Why it remained so is a matter of debate and can be discussed at any suitable time. After Second World War, the need for a regulatory mechanism was felt badly and this United Nations came into being. It helped a lot in promoting and preserving peace across the globe as the world remained indulged in decade’s long cold war yet a direct conflict was never happened, thus saved the world from the menace of the general war.
Formation of the European Union further strengthens the process of integration. The concept of common currency and establishment of Euro-zone region, joint defence and foreign policy approach by the European Union added positively to make the world a global village. The dollarization of international trade influenced trade and favoured the process of globalization. So, all was going on smoothly when the rise of right-wing populist leaders emerged in the major world capitals and provided an unnecessary setback to the process of globalization.
Right-wing populist leaders are those who exploit the people of their weaknesses and tell them a false story to get to the oval office. Sometimes they are referred as demagogue leaders.
Here is the most striking question. How come these leaders emerged? How they remained successful in influencing the opinion of the masses? Why people supported these leaders despite the fact their policies are dangerous to world peace and prosperity?
The answer to these questions simply lies in the secularist tendencies that shadowed the thinking of the leaders of the free world. Their very concept that only secularism is the chief proponent to achieve last globalization backlashed harshly. We can see that secularism simply did not work in the world. Despite the technological advancement and the progress we have achieved we simply cannot let religion out of lives and thinking. Secularism did greater harm to society and paved the way for the demagogue leaders to convey their false ideals to the people and exploit them.
Simply put, secularism did not work. It remained unsuccessful in Turkey, the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, France, India, Israel and many more others. People elected demagogue leaders there who promised to work for the national cause and reverse the exploitation caused by the free world. After years of secularism policies turkey is now reviving the same nationalism and religious sentiments. India, constitutionally a secular democracy has been under the rule of Hindutva impressed Mr Modi who has been known by the name of Butcher of Gujrat. The US and the UK, the parents of secularism are under the nationalist leaders who are criticizing the very system that their forefathers made.
Israel is using brutal force on innocent Palestinians in the name of the will of God and that they are destined to revive the so-called Jewish state thereby killing innocent people, so again the revival of religion in politics. Same is the case with Modi led government in stripping Kashmiris off their rights and status quo. In France, despite the worldly comfort, the people are on streets and protesting. The yellow vest protests in France is a litmus test for a secular democracy to handle.
Now, we have explained that the reason for present catastrophe lies on the shoulder of secularism. So what is the solution to get out of this mess?
Though, there is no one answer to this question. We need a lot of things to do to get back on track. But the most important tool to ensure a peaceful world is the concept of pluralism. No state can claim to be a secular state for infinite time, there is a religious sentiment which would be out sooner or later. So, rather than following the secularism, we must follow the footsteps of pluralism. It will not only give a sense of nationalism to the majority population in a country but also protect the fundamental rights of the minority people.
Pluralism will not stop people from practicing their religion and follow the state of irreligiousness. It will help people to practice their own religious ideas freely while respecting the choice of the minority people. For this to be successful, legislators must do their job honestly to protect the people from exploitation by the majority group.