Secularism in Nepal

Secularism in Nepal

In the last few years, religious issues (Secularism) have been included in the political discussions in Nepal. Especially after the success of the people’s movement of 2062/63 BS, the reconstituted House of Representatives declared Nepal a secular nation and the new constitution promulgated in 2072 BS ratified it.

Nepal is the head of Mount Everest, irrigated by the faith of Pashupatinath and the basis of Buddhist philosophy. Why should Nepal, known as the only Hindu nation in the world, have to be made a secular nation? Nepal’s traditional society wants to be clear on this issue. Why should a country with more than 80 percent Hindus or Sanatanis be declared secular after the movement of 2062/063 without a religious agenda? Article 4, Clause 1, Part 1 of the Constitution of Nepal 2072 states: “The state of Nepal ‘secular’ means the protection of religious and cultural freedom, including the protection of religion and culture from time immemorial.” Is there a difference in growth? The root cause of the controversy seems to be the decision taken without examining the public opinion on a sensitive issue like ‘religion’ which has no agenda of the movement.

Before discussing secularism, it is important to understand religion. The sages say: There are ten thousand definitions of religion. So discussions about religion are endless. It is difficult to define religion in any sense. Secular countries are not the same. It will be easier to discuss it from four contexts including the dimensions of temperament, duty, sect and sadhana method.

The nature is the nature of fire or the burning of religion, just as the nature of water is to quench or soak the thirst, that is, the change brought about by an unconscious root material object is the nature of religion. The meaning of duty is that what is worth doing or that must be done falls under religion. Monarchy is the religion of being a king, that is, there will be no moral deviation. Dharmaraj Yudhisthira can be taken as a follower of Rajdharma. Similarly, maintaining friendship is friendship. Karna, who did not leave Duryodhana even in difficult circumstances, has followed the path of friendship. Similarly, being smart like a paper, concentrating like a caterpillar, sleeping soundly like a dog, eating less and leaving home to learn are the five religions or duties a student should have.

According to the poet Tulsidas, ‘Dharam na doosar satya samana’. That is, there is no other religion equal to truth. Similarly, according to Mahatma Gandhi, secular politics is like a corpse. As far as secularism is concerned, it is based on cult or sect and sadhana method rather than on the basis of nature and duty. Without nature and duty, man is not irreligious. Sects include Hindus, Christians, Islam, Buddhists, Jains, Jews, etc. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, etc. believe in God. But Buddhists and Jains do not believe in God but in salvation and self, eternity. In any case, their path to God, salvation, salvation, self-realization is different. Hindus seek God or salvation through devotion or means, while Christians seek heaven through prayer, etc.

Religion means believing that it has some supernatural power. To achieve that, a sadhana method is required. Those who follow this method are called religious and those who do not follow it are called irreligious or neutral. A person who has no special affiliation with a religion believes in a denomination, but is neutral if he does not view other religions in a negative light. In secularism, individuals or societies have little interest in religion and worry about their own world, considering the use of science as a way to salvation.

Discussions on the history of secularism date back to the 19th century (1851) during the Holi Yoga period. In the history of the West, religious extremism is believed to have played a role in the Dark Ages from the 5th to the 14th century. At a time when Christianity or the Church was dominating the state system, culture and thought, the fields of knowledge, science and philosophy could not be developed in the countries of Europe. In short, medieval Europe was ruled by the pope and the clergy. Therefore, ignoring the comfortable situation of the people at this time, the Christian society got entangled in the cycle of worship and prayer. Man was to set out on a journey to the afterlife by devoting his efforts or full attention to worshiping God. They considered the day of worship to be sacred or ‘Holy Day’, i.e. the day of attaining God. Religious superstitions began to wane only after the wave of the Renaissance began.

During the Renaissance, Aristotle’s Enlightenment (logical and empirical age) re-emerged, while historical biological research by Copernicus, Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, and Charles Darwin replaced the mystical imagination with real scientific achievements. After that, only Europe could say that science was the solution to the crisis. Only after overcoming the Renaissance from the Dark Ages did Europe begin to lead the world in rejuvenation, including the industrial revolution, capitalism and the socialist concept.

A person may or may not be religious. But, it needs to be moral. Everyone should be moral but not religious. Worshiping the plants in this nature does not mean that religion is necessary to take care of everything. For example, giving water to people is not a religion but oxygenIs also given for. Charles Bedloff opposed religion. Those who do not oppose religion must remain neutral. The Holy See is of the opinion that one should not support or oppose or remain neutral.

There are two bases for the philosophy and practice of secularism. When referring to a person in philosophy who can be religious, neutral and atheist. For example, if a person walking on the road does not pay attention to seeing temples, mosques, churches, it is understood that he is neutral towards religion. If Shraddha sees, he is a believer and if he behaves with hatred, he is considered an atheist. Another thing is that if there is a close relationship between religion and society then it is a religious society and if the society does not give importance to any particular religion then it is a neutral society.

The relationship between the state and religion can be considered from four angles. He can be briefly discussed as follows:

  1. The first country is based on ‘religion system’. If the state is under the control of the whole religion, it is called theocracy. The scripture itself is a book like the constitution in which the believers have the privilege. The head of state with religious privileges. For example, in Rome, Italy, where the Catholic Church is headed by a Christian pope, Vatican City, Buddhist Tibet, Greece, Mount Athos, traditional Christianity, Iran, where the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979, the Koran became the main text mentioned in the constitution. There are religious appointments. Religious office is supreme where there is Sharia law like constitution.
  2. In a ‘religion-influenced state’, no particular religion is subject. Special religions are accepted and accepted. This includes Judaism-affected Israel. Among the Scandinavian or Nordic countries affected by Christianity in the world are Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and England. Even though England is called secular, the Queen is the representative of the Church. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei and Saudi Arabia are among those affected by Islam. Buddhism has affected Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and, to a lesser extent, Japan. Among the countries affected by Hinduism are Nepal and India, which follow the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Until a few years ago, Nepal was considered the only ‘Hindu nation’ in the world. It has now become a secular nation. However, the constitution has defined Nepal as a country with religious and cultural freedom, including the protection of religion and culture that has been going on since time immemorial. Here, the symbol of Hinduism, cow rearing is considered as a country where the right to protection and conversion is against.
  3. As an ‘anti-religious nation’, there are countries that ‘destroy’ religion. These countries claim to be following the ideology of Karl Marx. In the Soviet Union, Lenin launched an anti-religious campaign and implemented Marxism. After 1917-1923, Stalin killed 4 million people and destroyed the Christian Church. In Cambodia, Polpot killed 2 million people and destroyed Buddhism, while in North Korea, people of any religion are still tied to cannons and blown up. In China, the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976 is also known as an anti-religious campaign. Since 1978, China has become increasingly hostile to liberalism. At present, the general public is allowed to practice religion, but members of the public service have to renounce their religious affiliation.
  4. “Secular state” refers to countries that do not discriminate against citizens on the basis of their religious beliefs. All citizens are treated equally there. No religion is a state religion. Religious texts or books are not given priority. It is a matter of understanding and explaining that the state and the religion are different. The constitution of the country, the rules in the law are the final.  There are two types of secular state. France can be considered as a secular nation with a strong or negative mindset that stays away from religion or has no meaning, is a religious person and does not stay in the state structure. Where Muslim students are banned from wearing burqas at school and Christians from wearing cross-marked pendants.

On the other hand, a liberal or positive secular state does not give priority to religion but wants to have close relations with all religions. Such countries are not neutral with religion but with scriptures or sects. America is a secular country. But, his national currency is written in dollars (In God we believe ‘we believe in God’). It is pertinent to note here that the outgoing President Donald Trump held the Bible in front of the church and said “I can do anything for Christianity” and the incumbent President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath in the Holy Bible. Similarly, the role played by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, and the Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli’s claim that Ram was born in Madi, Chitwan, to place a golden water vessel in Pashupatinath’s Shivalinga can be seen as a reflection of his passion for religion.

Though Nepal is declared a ‘secular nation’, the expressions and overt activities of the leaders of various parties have given the impression that the transition of ‘secularism’ in law and ‘secularism’ in practice has begun.

In the West, the issue of religion has become at the root of the problem and in neighboring India there is a risk of communal riots. Is not the case. Here the question may arise: is Nepal a liberal secular country? The new constitution declares a ‘secular nation’, and religion is nowhere to be found in national laws, rules, flags, or currency. So far, no party has been conducting politics on the basis of religion, while even the major parties and the decisions of the courts seem to be secular.

Despite this, due to the influence of neighboring countries and political parties standing on weak ideological ground, it seems that the agenda of religion can enter Nepal’s politics at any time and under any circumstances. Aware of this, the need of the hour is to take Nepal to a state of secularism without being affected by theocracy or religion and to transform it from an anti-religious state to a soft religious one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *