I am from India. Now living in the US. Just starting to record a few thoughts on the net. Let me know if you'd like to know anything from me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays

One thing I like the most in the US is ‘freedom of speech’. As a concept it is amazes me. Here in US you can say anything you want as long as it is not against Christianity and Dick Cheney.

A big fan of SNL and all those stand up comedians, I have grown fond of speaking my mind out even if it offends the most righteous person known to me. Like any freedom, freedom of speech has had its share of making asses out of people like me.

The recent discussion over Christmas being the only religious national holiday in the US intrigues. In certain democratic(?) countries you will not be able to raise the question at all. But not in the US.

In a multi-religious multi-cultural country like India, all three major religions’ festivals are declared holidays. The three major religions in India being Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Some minor religious festivals are included too. And then there are the State holidays for local festivals. It is hard to believe that Good Friday is a national holiday in India and not in the US.

While that is one form of secularism another would be to let people handle it themselves. Like let people go on leave for one or two days a year for a specific festival. Even this is a practice in India.
Since Democracy is Rule of the majority it is hard to establish equality. If everything needs to be established by a voting, including Supreme court judgments, then the majority wins always. And anything offered to the minority is looked as a generous offer.

As a catholic I have been a minority all my life, even when I moved to work in the US. Though I would like to acknowledge myself as a global citizen, where I might be a majority member(of something), my passport still says I am an Indian.

Secularism is not to be determined by the government. Can the state and the church (why not the temple) be separate? Yes it can and should be separate.

Look at India for example. It lacks a uniform civil code, which is not an issue in the US. There are different laws for different religions in India, especially laws relating to marriage. How can a democracy allow this? True secularism is for the state to ignore what religion you are from. And just treat you as a citizen of the nation. In the US there is a feel-good situation in this. Most people do not discuss religion, even though they may be very curious about how I have a Christian name. Here even if the society does not treat me equally I have a great hope that the justice system would ignore my skin color and accent.

I am not sure how an argument over happy holidays or merry Christmas, will be answered. But the sheer fact that I am able to argue about it makes me feel happy. If the Christians can step into the shoes of the non-Christians then they would understand what they are talking about.

I am not sure if I did good in this blog but what the hell, I am free to speak my mind out. Hail blog spot. Makes sense?