Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu

Western secularism vs. secularism of Bangabandhu: The word “Dhormoniropekkhota” is a straight translation of the English word “Secularism”. In our Indian Subcontinent, the social structure of the past was naturally secular, so there was no need to develop and distinguish this idea separately. That is why we may not have come up with our “own word” to define this idea. We have adopted the thought newly form English and started using it in our social context. But it has been needed in the Western world long ago, very logically and firmly.

Because they had to face may many bloody wars and injustice due to the conflict between power and religion. They have named the theory ‘Secularism’, which in English means the belief that religion should not be involved in the organization of society, education, etc ‘. This is how the term ‘secularism’ is written in dictionaries of the western world. That can also be interpreted as ‘irreligion’ if someone wants to translate those words with malice, although his real explanation is not.

Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The reactionary self-interested religious traders of Bangladesh have repeatedly misled the devout people of the country by interpreting the meaning of the Western dictionary as ‘irreligion’, they have attacked one of the principles of the state of Bangladesh. In the aftermath of that attack, they have repeatedly slandered Bangabandhu and his party, the Awami League, as the leader of independence and the first framer of the constitution, as anti-religious. That conspiracy and attack are still going on today.

The government led by Hon’ble Prime Minister and his party Bangladesh Awami League have been attacked by this. As long as a clear and unambiguous idea about the term “Dhormoniropekkhota” is being created for the common people of Bangladesh, the conspirators will continue to conspire with the opportunity of religious sentiment.

[ Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu ]

They know but do not admit that Bangabandhu did not accept the ideology of western ‘secularism’. He created a new meaning and outline of secularism for us; Which is equally effective today not only for us, but for the entire Indian subcontinent.

Recently Nobel laureate economist Dr. Amartya Sen said, ‘Bangabandhu’s outline of secularism is instructive, necessary and especially important not only for the Indian subcontinent, but for all countries of the world in the present context. Because the “secularism” that Bangabandhu adopted and struggled to establish is not the western secularism but the opposite. The Western world, through secularism, has sought to discourage individuals and states or societies from engaging in anything religious, which is more towards “irreligion”. On the other hand, Bangabandhu wanted to ensure the freedom of every person to accept/reject his belief and practice which will be guarded through secularism.

He wants to make sure that people are not deprived of any rights to the state because of their religious beliefs. No one should feel insecure because of religion. Overall, every devout person (regardless of religion or belief) should be able to practice his religion without fear or favor. The state will not stop there but will provide necessary assistance to everyone to exercise religious rights.

There is a propaganda that neither Bangabandhu nor the Awami League spoke about secularism before independence. After independence, “secularism” has been added to the constitution as a principle of the country on the advice of other countries.

[ Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu ]

The same group is involved in this propaganda and the mischief is the same. However, long before the war of independence, Bangabandhu dropped the word “Muslim” from “Awami Muslim League” to make the organization non-communal. Even when he formed the “Awami Muslim League”, he knew that he would remove the word “Muslim” in time. In response to a question from a colleague, he said, “The time has not come yet, it will be made public in time.” The motives and publicity of every movement of Bangabandhu’s freedom struggle are illuminated in the light of secularism.

The sense of secularism is by no means a new feeling for Bangabandhu. He illuminated this light long ago. Rather, through long study, thought, and experience, that feeling was further refined; From where he was inspired to make a new outline. He was a devoted student of history, as well as he studied the hearts of the people of Bengal with concentration. He knew: Sectarianism, religious strife and hatred were mainly imported into the land by the West. They have nurtured that hatred and made it the ugliest form here. They have used communalism as a tool of rule and exploitation.

After leaving, the country was divided on the basis of religion, on the basis of sectarianism. Bangabandhu saw that even in the newly formed Pakistan, instead of implementing the ideals of Islam, people were being deceived and exploited by using Islam. As a visionary politician, he understands: for the peace and security of the people, communalism must be addressed.

On the one hand, such as deception in the name of religion, rule-exploitation; On the other hand, religion has a strong influence on the people of this subcontinent due to history, economy and other reasons. After much thought, he introduced a new framework for secularism, in the light of which he led our struggle for independence and the drafting of a new constitution after independence.

[ Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu ]

The miscreants spread another propaganda about secularism. That is, secularism is only needed to establish the rights of other minorities. For the majority of Muslims, there is no need for secularism. In reality, in a Muslim-majority country, Muslims need secularism more than non-Muslims. Because Bangabandhu saw the division of different factions among the Muslims very closely. He has seen intolerance, violence, fatwas of one sect against another.

Not just Shia-Sunni sects or just sects, there are numerous sects within the same sect. These factions have left each other with the fatwa of disbelief. One faction has also issued a fatwa calling the other faction “Kabile Gardanjani”, or “worthy of beheading.” In this case, if one faction is able to influence the government and the legal system, the country will not be suitable for the rest of the Muslims to live. So he thought more about the need for security for the majority of Muslims than he did about the need for secularism for minorities.

Bangabandhu repeatedly saw in the history of the Muslim empire the rise due to secular policy and then the fall due to communal policy. The golden age of the Muslims is called the time of the Abbasid Caliphate. Considering that caliphate, it is clear that it was based on a completely secular principle.

[ Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu ]

People of other religions held many high positions in that empire. There were fearless practices of different religions or sects, even the security of apostates. That Abbasid caliphate gradually faded from the poison of communalism after the Ashari movement. There are many such examples in history. With these considerations in mind, the secularism that Bangabandhu set for us, the safe living and freedom of religion of people of all religions and sects, is his secularism.

If Bangladesh as a state is to survive and develop, there is no alternative but to hold and practice Bangabandhu’s ideology in the right sense. This ideal is our defense wall. If it’s not safe, we won’t be well.

– Sufi Faruq Ibne Abubakar

[ This article is originally written in Bengali translated by team ‘

[ Western Secularism vs. Secularism of Bangabandhu ]