Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Meaning of 'Secular'

It is accepted wisdom that one cannot translate between languages; words have meaning in one language but not in another. This is the case with the word 'secular'. Due to western history, the word has meaning in western civilisation: after all, the Enlightenment was dedicated to removing religion from human affairs. Tolerance was made necessary by the wars of religion. In Bengali, we have created a new word, a neologism, to stand in for the English word. It won't work.

So, what's a secular party then? For the Awami League is described as a 'secular' party. The only meaning that the word can have is 'anti-Islam' or 'anti-Muslim'. And the Awami Leaguers are anti-Islamic, pro-Indian people.

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