In defence of secularism in Bangladesh

There is no place of communalism in Bangladesh. We created our homeland in 1971 for people of all religions to live together in peace.

7 mins read
A Look Down Aerial view Of Hatirjheel Lake Bridge at Dusk; Dhaka, Bangladesh [Photo Credit: Salman Preeom/ Unsplash]

The state has nothing to do with religion. Religion is purely an individual’s own affair. The two-nation theory was graved through our glorious Liberation War in 1971 and in establishing Bangladesh.

Secularism is a wider view to the world that assures the independence in connection with all its strengths, qualities, values and behavior towards all sects, religion and other spiritual actions. This is a view that requires action and not just abstract thinking. Independence in a sense that the world as true self value.

The secularism we adapt is that of the positive and non-bias that respects all religions and groups. It is one of the basic elements to build a Bangladesh’s society that is surrounded with unity. It should create equality, justice, freedom, peace and democracy. It is the right road towards growing a nation that owns a base of one law taken from freedom and the declaration of human rights.

This fact clarifies the true meaning of secularism. It verifies to the world with all its value and independence. We chose Bangladesh as a result of its historical background in relation to this matter specifying secularism in relation to politics, social values, employment, law, identity, institutions and humanitarian values. 

Secularism is the equality that comes from the law without any civil, religious or group as mediums.

This coincides with the meaning of patriotism that makes each individual a national person. Therefore, who has a duty and right which is specified by the civil laws; example, personal secularism is the independence of the person and his religious beliefs among society; As a result, as a total right to express it. In other words, to respect every person and not to discriminate, and is alliance to a country and not a religion.

As for political secularism it is an independence from religion and not belonging to a religious group; in other words, to differentiate between religion and politics. The sovereignty of the president or any other president not matters what the religion is.

Sovereignty to practice politics without religious interference that have the right to practice their leadership as patriotic not in accordance to religion.

Employment secularism: total governmental independence not to associate any job to the amount of religions and not to discriminate between employees according to religion but to treat each one fairly.

As for group secularism: allowing total independence for a civil society with its individuals and groups without the intervention of religious institutions either through law example federalist or spontaneous.

Not to consider any religion a part of the government and not considering them have to special benefits. Lack of intervention of social institutions with the religious, such as, participation in religious lectures.

Another part of secularism is that of cultural secularism it is independent from education, health, and social to religion; canceling religions description from these institutions in its name or community or the conditions from benefiting from it or their programmes. Support of governmental and people and not to religion.

Dividing religious education from official institutional education and substituting with general culture about various religions with civil, patriotic, and social unity.

it is the independence of the law from religious laws without contradicting what religion thinks as valuable putting laws in according to civil rights, in the name of the people, not in the name of religion even if is taken from religious books. To delete all the subjects in the constitution, laws and documents that are written; especially elections and army; updating the civil rights, especially the bends chosen with respect to religious beliefs building civil courts that is responsible for implementing the civil right with its chosen bends.

Constructing judicial court that is requisite to implement the civil rights with optional bends. It is the independence of human values, such as, freedom, justice, equality, democracy, peace and ethnic background. Considering it a humanitarian value no matter about its historical background; to activate for the person and only the person.

No doubt after mentioning the all these details about secularism, it reveals that there should be willingness and completeness for personal secularism is the bases for the rest, for if a person considers himself of value, and equal to others everyone in society will be influenced by that. Secularism exceeds the meaning that we mentioned to include institutional secularism, law, political, and employment. All this creates a cultural or valuable secularism. 

If the state accomplishes these goals, Bangladesh will reach an advance state in regards to the nation, parties, groups, social, economic, politics and religion.

There will be enough elements to produce the sense of nationalism instead of religious belonging. And the constitution will relinquish the religious document to make it an independent nationalistic not based on religion.

Therefore, the government will have total authority if it declines from religion so there will no longer be states within a state. It extracts the fact that any religious image, without considering Muslim or Hindu or Christian or any other religious people. Furthermore, people of all religions will become more attached to one another, because they no longer are afraid of being divided; as a result of religion and therefore, will gain strength in order to protect and participate in building a better country. 

To get rid of the rightist and leftist parties even those that state secularism from a long time from a religion that they instated with consciousness or not. We will strengthen it and make it more attractive especially those who are interested in constructing a modern government; reinforce its political activities especially after adjusting certain laws in relation to elections and that the parties present its candidate without any religious favours.

Complete secularism helps in building a fair and active society for everyone; gives priority to the areas, societies and lands that are deprived from all the essential things in life putting aside for any religious favours. Restores to all the people their rights without any discrimination. Furthermore, assists on acting with complete freedom, no chaos or distinction for religious preference. Moreover, to give the people to behave in total freedom without interference from they are political or religious leaders so as to restore a healthier democratic state in association with a complete political and active responsibility from the people; instead of depending on their representatives. 

In addition, lessen the conflicts among the political leaders that breaks in most times all the possibility of a strong and just ruling. To free the country from governmental advantages in favour of those who are of the same religion act in harmony to their own advantages. This mechanism of ruling will be easier without any fear of negative reactions and also enhances to clarify the conflict in classes. Of society by demolishing the religious advantages by discovering the bonds, economic, and social laws which is our duty to adjust so as to serve the society of those who are less fortunate and to work in changing without the fear of religious outbreak of lie and unjust.

Secularism helps in distinguishing between faith and living a blissful life, on one hand and the elements of a religious society on the other hand. It offers the opportunity for the religious and non-religious to have the freedom to choose something based on their own beliefs without any religious dominance from society.

It helps in freeing religion twisted problems and suspected alliances that are used from far ranges from its genuine aims. It provides assistance to help free religion from its misconception that is fabricated by religious society so as to justify the state and render it from criticism. These conceptions, such as, those that make God the strength and victor to the believers against their enemies, to violent killing, and bias against those who are not in their place. 

Secularism helps in setting free Muslims (psychologist) from the complex of fear and benefits, and freeing the Hindus from the complexity of injustice and stupidity. It aims at release both parties from caution, arms depot, equalising of fear and militates. Moreover, releasing the Christians from the constant search towards the west for support and depending on them for strength and the Muslims from constant searching to eastern Islam for support and strength as well.

In addition to freeing the sects from bias thoughts, in other words, freeing the group of religious believers or those who are a member of a sect, who are influenced in being a part of this cultural belonging that is creating an ill-tempered atmosphere for those who offend their religion. Hindus….

However, we are aware of how difficult and complicated it will be in Bangladesh to build such a society, but in order to construct a healthy, strong, and modern society there must be secularism. In the possibility of accomplishing this complete secularism from one point or the likelihood of being without it creates a big challenge among Bangladesh’s people.  So, eventually there will be a clear plan that divides the stages in detail for secularism that is feasible for later, and distribution of the stages to attain it.

The first point that should be focused on is the clarification of secularism with all its aspects thought the media. At the same time, we should condemn all misunderstanding or part of it, that could be attempted either to confuse or the will to confuse so as to strike the accurate of secularism.

The second thing is to gather all those who are convinced of secularism and organising them to be among the annual conference of secularism in Bangladesh. This should be able to gather all those groups of secularism, in arrival to an ultimate understanding and trying to persuade them to accept the other difficulties that are obvious.

Furthermore, fulfilling an agreement among those of the annual conference to form a possible strategy that will be conceivable. Moreover, the chance to invite all people to a discussion about secularism and rooting it one by one.

Dividing this learning through stages regularly or inevitably is imperative.

The third point is to put a detail description of a plan, with a schedule to fulfill it gradually or regularly. This should be done through research examining every point and organising it in a file that will be able to answer all objections and criticism. Besides that, it should follow a lengthy programme so these strategies will start to be easier and faster, at the same time, considering the methods of other teachings that looks harder and demands longer time.

There is no place of communalism in Bangladesh. We created our homeland in 1971 for people of all religions to live together in peace.

Anwar A. Khan

Anwar A. Khan is an independent political analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

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