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Photos of deities should be disallowed even in govt offices


English transcript of  Editorial in Karavali Ale, Kannada daily, Mangalore today
Karnataka Chief Justice Dinakeran’s order banning display of photos of deities and   performing of religious rituals in court premises, has come to light two months after it was issued. People who believe in secular ideologies would welcome this decision. In fact, the government which should  be secular and above religious affiliations  and which should consider all citizens equal irrespective of their religious affiliations, should have  issued  an order banning religious symbols or rituals in  all government offices including courts  and should have taken steps to ensure the rule was strictly complied with. But ever since independence no government has taken any step in this direction. As per Constitution, India is a secular nation. This being the case, any symbol depicting the superiority of any religion or any ritual should have been naturally banned in  government offices, courts and educational institutions where people of all faiths converge and which runs with taxpayers’ money. This is the underlying need of the secular system which we have accepted and are practising. We do not know to what extent Justice Dinakeran’s order has been implemented in courts. The Chief Justice should have brought government offices and schools and colleges too within the purview of this order. The public should send their views on this to Justice Dinakeran.

There  is no hope that the present BJP government which came to power on the basis of majoritarian religious sentiment would issue such a circular. Under the circumstances, the Union Government should issue suitable instructions to all state governments and take steps to ensure that the rule is  strictly adhered to within the next one month.

The governments which have used religions only for their vote bank politics, backtracking to adhere to secular ideologies is not in accordance to the needs to the time. The BJP government’s action of announcing hundreds of crores of grants for different  mutts during the past one year period, is not just an act of drilling a hole into  the state treasury, but also  it is non-secular. It is nothing but gross misuse of  valuable resources which otherwise  ought to have been used for public welfare.

 Even political leaders who come to power  with the help of the votes of people belonging to all faiths, participating in religious functions is as good as  putting the horse behind the cart. We cannot say that only BJP men  are  deeply religious. There are such people in all parties. Just try to recollect as to the number of homas and havanas in which the Congress and JD(S) CMs and ministers have openly participated.

It is not suffice if the system is secular. We can say we are living in a secular system only when people who control the system (Including  leaders and bureaucrats) are secular in the true sense.


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