5. S. K. Balasubramanian

You have performed a service by circulating the note of Dr. Shreerang Godbole. The note raises pertinent questions about the usefulness of the movement for equality amongst religions as. presently conceived by the RSS leadership. His observations are also relevant at the international level.

People who ask Hindus to treat all religions equally are barking up the wrong tree. Pluralism in faith is part of the baggage that every Hindu carries from cradle to grave. But genuine equality is a two-way street, and all parties should subscribe to certain commonalities in a sincere manner. I suggest the following steps:

I. At the National Level:

1. To promote true secularism all voters should affirm their faith in it in writing and also subscribe to the equality of all religions. Respect for all religions should be affirmed. Those who refuse to do so should be disenfranchised.

2. All marriages should be registered and should be subject to civil suit.

3. All religious schools should have an approved minimum modern curriculum.

4. No religious school should be given state grants.

5. Any religious school asking for state support should include a minimum programme of teaching other religions.

6. No book, however offensive it is claimed to be by religious groups, should be banned. All bans in existence should be lifted.

II. At the International Level:

1. We should lobby for full religious equality in all countries. It should be part of the human rights.

2. Citizens from countries with exclusive religions should not be allowed to settle in India, unless they declare their faith in religious equality and affirm that they will not cause offence to the sentiments of the locals.

3. Indian citizens should not be allowed to marry citizens of countries that do not subscribe to the equality of all religions. If they insist on such marriage, they should be asked to renounce their Indian citizenship and visiting or visa rights.

4. Countries which do not subscribe to the equality of all religions should not be allowed to contribute funds to NGO’s or social and religious bodies. Such a ban was in force against the Union of South Africa in the past because of its apartheid policy. It should be extended to cover religious exclusivism.


The writer is from Pune in Maharashtra.

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