Topic- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
4) Some of the mainstream arguments against the potential threat of blasphemy laws to a liberal democracy seem to be operating within a minimalist understanding of secularism. Critically analyze.(250 words)
Why this question
Punjab government is contemplating an anti-blasphemy laws which covers the religious books of all the major religions of India. However, the move has attracted a lot of criticism. It is essential to understand that criticism and see how the arguments put forward lack the proper understanding of the meaning and essence of secularism.
Critically analyze- Here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. Based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the arguments put forward against the anti blasphemy law. We have to analyze and bring out the deficiencies in those arguments and discuss how they don’t conform to the core principles and the essence of the secularism.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few lines about the recent proposal of the Punjab government to introduce an anti blasphemy laws which will provide protection to the religious books of all the major religions of India.
Discuss the arguments made against the anti blasphemy laws and how those arguments lack a thorough understanding of the concept of secularism. E.g One line of criticism faults the bill for defiling the sacred or the transcendental character of holy texts by using this-worldly state power to protect it. This attempt to expose the apparent irony underlying the bill is inadequate, for it misses the very political purpose of blasphemy laws. To deem certain ideas/thoughts/norms/values to be out of bounds for criticism or contestation is to argue that certain forms of power are beyond criticism or contestation. The creation, delimitation and expansion of the domain of the sacred is always a political (and not merely theological) exercise to create barriers of defiance for entrenched power; A second line of criticism faults the bill for importing the “Judeo-Christian” concept of blasphemy into Hinduism by including the Bhagavad Gita among the holy books. This is taken as a violation of traditions of pluralism and tolerance. However, this view ignores the historical fact of persecution, social boycott, outcasting of nastika/non-vedic/pakhandi heterodox streams, and the individuals and groups associated with these. Whatever apparent tolerance there is for the deviance from sacred texts is overshadowed by the fierce/violent opposition to the deviance in practice, particularly the practice of caste-based norms etc.
Conclusion- based on your discussion form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue as to what should be our approach in dealing with the issue.