UPSC considers secularism a threat for Indian culture?
25th September 2019
Former bureaucrat Kannan Gopinathan, who recently quit the prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS) over alleged suppression of freedom of expression in Kashmir and elsewhere by the government, has replied to a question put up in a civil services exam. The question was: “What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?” In Hindi it was: धर्मनिरपेक्षता के नाम पर हमारी सांस्कृतिक प्रथाओं के सामने क्या क्या चुनौतियाँ हैं (Dharma nirpekshta ke naam par hamari sanskritik prathao ke samne kya kya chunautiyan hain?) The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts examinations for higher bureaucracy including the IAS, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service. A photo of the question paper showing the said question was shared by Ajmal Aramam, a journalist, on Twitter. Responding to the tweet, Gopinathan wrote: “Indian secularism is a positive concept, taking along and encouraging all the cultural practices while instilling a scientific temper against superstitions and harmful practices.” This would have been the first sentence of my answer!