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...But the chances are they will fail. Their quest is rooted in India’s past, not her present, and it lacks a practical approach. Instead of utilising the tremendous strengths offered the country by its glorious past, their tactics are squandering them. This is not helping the world solve its problems of the day. Being a Vishwa Guru would make all Indians proud. We all yearn for the glory of those days when our people reached the pinnacle of thought, achieved great understanding of the divine, and invented excellent ways of living. However, India cannot simply reclaim such a position; it must be earned afresh. Our people will have to do the necessary tapasya once again, with new thinking for modern times. We can be guru only if the global community acknowledges us as such; we cannot thrust our gurudom upon them. What it takes to be a guru was described by Swami Vivekananda, the man who first gave India this aspiration. ...TOI on Nov. 24, 2017, 2 a.m.
...Instead, it is deepening divisions, inflaming religious extremism, and removing any hope that the country’s different religions can come together to build a great nation. There is no need to revile Savarkar however. Uniting Indians is a worthy cause. And India does need a rallying cry that brings together the majority Hindus. Where Savarkar goes wrong is in asking Hindus to think parochially, rather than being broadminded and lofty in their aims. He also fails to offer a practical system of government where minorities can share power with the majority and thus become true partners in building our nation. And his plan lacks a visionary blueprint for Bharat to expand in size and global influence. Hindutva is too intertwined with the majority’s religion. This failing was evident from before the country’s partition. One could assign blame, but the fact remains that Savarkar’s grand strategy that “Hindusthan must ever remain one and indivisible” didn’t succeed. ...TOI on Sept. 22, 2017, 2 a.m.
...Instead of uniting our society, it has fomented fragmentation and alienation among our diverse religious communities. The Hindu majority has now risen against years of over-accommodation of the Muslim minority. This puts the country at risk of losing its tolerant and pluralistic democracy. India today desperately needs a new definition of secularism, one based on freedom of religion, equality before law, and separation of religion and state. All of these requirements are essential for secularism to work in any country. Indian secularism fails because it allows governments to grant religious freedoms, but not to treat religions equally. The biggest failure in this regard began in the early years of the republic, when the government codified Hindu social customs into law but allowed Muslims to continue practising Sharia law. ...TOI on Aug. 8, 2017, 2 a.m.