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Confronting Modern Idealistic Variant of Secularism

Confronting Modern Idealistic Variant of Secularism

15-06-2023
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The present era that we are living in, is ideally a continuation of long historical chains. In every step, the globe, species, nature, and ideologies experience a vast complexity and reconciliation in its social, political, economic, and most importantly ideological aspects. The establishment of a co-operative society with equal rights and social justice is always the optimum inclination of human society that leads them to go through a lengthy chain of strive with their traditional views and innovative ideologies.
When it comes precisely to deciding a particular principle to which all social lives should be confessed with cordial satisfaction, there was a series of conflict and revolution. Human beings were in deep crisis all the time stating a code of life for themselves that should completely be free from oppression and antagonism which will also cover the entire human nook and corner. Although Islam has presented such a trustworthy, feasible and sustainable domain that can meet every expectation of human society, the world (dominated by west) ridiculously ignores making it as a code of life. Nonetheless, history witnesses the incredible failure of humans towards making such an universal discipline. 
Modern people often refer to ‘secularism’ as the salvation of the crisis. They also often talk about inclusion of all religions together. Nonetheless, secularism has faced the exact ordinal change in the course of time. Secularism has its own background history and it changes the tenets in every wave of civilization. A paradigm shift takes place to insight the core principles of secularism in the course of time. However, having failed to secure its ideological fruits; right now, it takes such an idealistic ground which is ready to forget the conventions and historical facts. This writing is aimed at conveying the modern variants of secularism in its core and how it leads the world to reopen the same cruel page of history let alone social justice.
The modern variant of secularism (secularists) endeavors to intentionally forget the historical root of it. Secularists often argue that “whatever good or bad things happen earlier is not to be figured out since they are struggling to establish an ‘ideal’ society.” This sort of paradigm is always keen on forgetting the historical, political, and geopolitical order that exist in the present era. Some significant aspects that the ‘modern’ secularists claim to have in their polity and social structure that are, quote and unquote, tolerance of distinct religions, avoidance of any ideological clash and oppression, assurance of equal rights and opportunities for all religion as well as peaceful social atmosphere renouncing the religions from political principle and policy making.
However, the history of Secularism does not sympathize with the current idealistic perception. First and foremost, Secularism has been born and raised in the western reality and political solicitation. Thus, when it talks about refusing religion as a social principle or code, it obviously indicates Christianity. Due to misconduct, illegitimate rules enforcement and unconditional confinement of religious values (unscripted and in the name of god’s satisfaction), secularism is placed as a rising salvation instead of religion. In the birth phase, it started a series of communal conflicts. Moreover, it divided the unified civilization and inaugurated the power politics where two separate parties presented their own ideology and perception to secure the throne. That’s where secularism stands as a tool of attaining power and power leads them to govern the nation (nations later on). This sort of ideological transition from anti-oppression movement to oppressors makes secularism more detrimental and destructive than all other ideologies. 
Nonetheless, Modern idealistic seculars try to veil the dark history of secularism; rather, they are comfortable with “peace” and “equal” slogans. Interestingly, they reassure the equal distribution of Justice among humanity irrespective of religion and creed. It seems completely ridiculous and ironic because their recurring activities do not go their way. If they are enquired about the colonial propaganda, Imperial oppression, cultural and economic aggression upon the Muslim world, they legitimise it in the name of Civilising the savage. Even the distinction of first and third world is the ultimate consequence of secular doctrine. 
Talal Asad has presented some very fundamental observations on the idealistic perception of secularism in the modern time. Firstly, He argued that Secularism has become more like a religion now which is shaped like all the religions having distinct rituals, characteristics, icons and secrecy.  He says
“However I am not persuaded that because national political life depends on ceremonial and on symbols of the sacred, it should be represented as a kind of religion that it is enough to point to certain parallels with what we intuitively recognize as religion.” (1)
Secondly, he contends that secularism often conveys the message of equality in people’s personal and political life; however, with his political power practice it decides the very personal belief and practices in the society and nation. Therefore, Talal questions; 
“secularists accept that in modern society the political increasingly penetrates the personal. At any rate, they accept that politics through the law, has profound consequences for life in the private sphere, so why the fear of religious intrusion into private life? “ (2)
Liberalism and Freedom is often used synonymously with secularism by modern secularists; whereas, when their ultimate consequence is the aforesaid power attainment and practice upon certain nations or polity, they use secularism to inhibit the opposition ideology. Talal mentions; 
“Of course secularization has been undertaken not only by liberal democratic States but by authoritarian states, too, and this only shows how ambiguous liberal language is, how committed both types of secular states are, above all, to the definition and maintenance of modern power.” (3)
In brief, the modern idealistic variant of secularism  is nothing but the follow-through of actual, aggressive and oppressive ideology. It has changed the musk only whilst in terms of its goal and expectation, it shows the similar cruel face throughout the course of history. Thus, it should be confronted with care.
Raihan Uddin, CSAA, Department of English, University of Dhaka. 
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