New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that “secular” was the most misused word in politics, and that those who framed the constitution would have introduced “socialist and secular” in it if they had felt their need.
Singh, who initiated the debate on “Commitment to India’s Constitution” in the Lok Sabha, took veiled digs at the Congress in his speech, and also targeted actor Aamir Khan over his remarks concerning intolerance.
He said B.R. Ambedkar, considered the architect of the constitution, had faced injustice and indifference due to social iniquities but kept control over his feelings and always presented an objective point of view.
“He (Ambedkar) never said how much he is being insulted in India. He said he will live in India for strengthening the country. He never thought he will go somewhere elsewhere,” Singh said.
Singh’s remarks drew protests from opposition benches but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said there was nothing objectionable.
He said Ambedkar was the “binding force” for the country while the country’s first home minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was the “unifying force”.
He said Ambedkar had felt that reservation for weaker sections was a “socio-political necessity”, and he made it clear that there would be no dilution in the policy.
Singh said the words “socialist and secular” were introduced in the constitution through the 42nd amendment. If the constitution makers had felt their need, they would have included them in the preamble.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge sought to counter Singh, saying Ambedkar wanted to include these words in the preamble but did not do so in the prevailing atmosphere.
Singh, however, said Amedkar felt that secularism was in the basic nature of Indians and there was no need to mention it separately.
“In today’s politics, if a word has been misused the maximum, it is secular,” Singh said.
The minister said the formal translation of secularism was not “dharam nirpeksh” (neutral of religion) but “panth nirpeksh (neutral of faith)”.
Singh said the “misuse of some words” had not allowed the country to have the level of harmomy that was sought to be built.
He also said that Ambedkar should not be seen just as a Dalit leader.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the house when it took up the discussion as part of 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Ambedkar, regarded as the chief architect of the constitution.
The day is also being observed as the Constitution Day, commemorating the acceptance of the draft statute on this day in 1949.