concept of secularism and the secularization process have, not been
a Hindu monopoly. Members of other religious groups have also
pursued them but essentially as individuals. Muslims as a group have
certainly shunned the concept as well as the process to the extent
they can in a larger modernizing and, therefore, secularizing
society. This is evident from the rapid expansion of traditional
mosque-attached madrasahs (schools), opposition to one common civil
code and adherence to the Shariat. Faith can never be a private
affair for most Muslims. As such, political parties and leaders have
to woo them as Muslims. This has inevitably produced a backlash of
which the Ramjanambhoomi issue has become one major expression.
I do not criticize Muslims for their
reluctance and even refusal to take to the secularization process.
Nor can I applaud Hindus for their participation in this process.
For while the spirit of liberalism and pluralism, which the West
represents, is alien to Islam, as it has developed since the
eleventh century when the orthodox ulema triumphed over
philosophers, Sufies and other Kinds of innovators, they are in
conformity with Hinduism which revels in plurality. But this
divergence creates a serious problem for both which the
self-proclaimed secularists have refused steadfastly to face.