two factors go easily together because Hinduism is a religion in
which devotion is not based upon dogma but on freedom and tolerance.
Hindu political leaders should uphold religious freedom in the
political realm but need not hide their Hinduism in doing so. The
very openness of Hinduism allows them to do so, which does not bind
Hindu politicians to any exclusive creed. Politically Hindus must
require that members of all religions follow the law of the land and
a common civil code, even if other religious groups may call this
discrimination against them.
Hindu politicians should look upon
all individuals, regardless of their religious background, as
possessing the same political and human rights. They should treat
Muslims in India as equal citizens of the land, not looking at them
as vote banks or as members of a particular religion only. They
themselves should be proud religious Hindus but politically protect
all citizens regardless of different religious beliefs.
Just as Western politicians speak of
following Christian values of compassion and humanitarianism, Hindu
politicians can speak of universal Hindu values of Dharma and
diversity without ceasing thereby to be secular. The
problem is that modern Hindu political leaders have felt that in
order to represent the entire country they must cater to minority
religions and make speeches praising their glory.