Dharma Rajya does not mean a theocratic state. Let us be very clear on this point, Where a particular sect and its prophet or Guru, rule supreme, that is a theocratic state. All the rights are enjoyed by the followers of this particular sect. Others either cannot live in that country or at best enjoy a slave-like, secondary citizen's status. Holy Roman empire had this basis. The same concept was existing behind "Khilafat". The Muslim kings world over used to rule in the name of Khalifa. After the first world war, this came to an end. Now efforts are afoot to revive it. Pakistanis the most recent theocratic state. They call themselves an Islamic State. There, apart from Muslims all the rest are second class citizens. Apart from this difference there is no other sign of Islam in Pakistan's administration. Quran, Masjid, Roja. Id, Namaz etc. are same both in Bharat as well as in Pakistan. There is no need to the state and religion. By such a tie-up, there is no increase in an individual's capacity to worship God. The only result is that the state slips in its duty. This does not happen in a Dharma Rajya. Rather there is freedom to worship according to one's religion. In a theocratic state one religion has all the rights and advantages, and there are direct or indirect restrictions on all other religions. Dharma Rajya accepts the importance of religion in the peace, happiness and progress of an individual. Therefore the state has the responsibility to maintain an atmosphere in which every individual can follow the religion of his choice and live in peace. The freedom has its inherent limits. I have the freedom to swing my hand, but as soon as there is conflict between my hand and someone else's nose, my freedom has to be restricted. I have no freedom to swing my hand so as to hit another person's nose. Where other person's freedom is likely to be encroached upon, my freedom ends. The freedom of both parties has to be ensured. Similarly every religion has the freedom to exist. But this freedom extends only as far as it does riot encroach upon the religion of others. If such encroachment is carries on, it will have to be condemned as misuse of freedom and will have to be ended. Such limitations will be required in all aspects of life. Dharma Rajya ensures religious freedom and is not theocratic state.
Now-a-days the word "secular state" is being uses as opposed to theocratic state. The adoption of this work is mere imitation of the western thought pattern. We had no need to import it. We called it a secular state to contrast it with Pakistan. There is some misunderstanding arising out of this. Religion was equated with Dharma and then secular state was meant to be a state without Dharma. Some said ours is a state (without Dharma ), whereas others trying to find a better sounding word, called it Dharmanikshepa (indifferent to Dharma state). But all these words are fundamentally erroneous. For a state can neither be without Dharma nor can it be indifferent dharma just as fire cannot be without hear. If fire loses heat, it does not remain fire any longer. State which exists fundamentally to maintain Dharma to maintain law and order, can neither be needharma nor Dharmanipeksha. If it is Needharma it will be lawless state, and where there is lawlessness, where is the question of the existence of any state? In other words Dharma and State are self-contradictory. State can only be Dharma Rajya (rule of Dharma) nothing else. Any other definition will conflict with the reason of its very existence.
In a Dharma Rajya, the state is not absolutely powerful. It is subject Dharma. We have always vested sovereignty in Dharma. Presently there has arisen a controversy. Parliament is sovereign or the Supreme Court? Legislature is higher or judiciary? This quarrel is like a quarrel whether left hand is more important or right hand? Both are limbs of the state, the Legislature is well as Judiciary. Both have distinct functions to perform in their individual sphere each is supreme. To consider either one above the other would be mistake. Yet the legislators say, "we are higher", On the other hand members of the Judiciary assert that they have a higher authority, since they interpret the laws which the legislature makes. The Legislature claims to have given powers to the Judiciary. If necessary, legislature can change the constitution. Hence it claims sovereignty. Now since powers are bestowed by constitution, they are talking of amendment to the constitution. But I believe that even if by a majority the constitution is amended, it will be against Dharma. In 'reality' both the Legislature and the Judiciary are on an equal plane. Neither the Legislature is higher nor the Judiciary. Dharma is higher than both. The Legislature will have to act according to Dharma and the Judiciary will have to act according to Dharma. Dharma will specify limits of both. The Legislature, the Judiciary or the people, none of these is supreme, Some will say, "Why ! People are sovereign. They elect", But even the people are not sovereign because people too have no right to act against Dharma. If an elected government allows people to go against Dharma and does not punish. then that government is in reality a government of thieves. Even the general will cannot go against Dharma. Imagine the situation if by some manoeurving, thieves gain a majority in the government and send one of their ranks as an executive ! What will be the duty of the minority if the majority is of thieves and elects a thief to rule. The duty clearly will be to remove the representative elected by the majority.
During the second world war then Hitler attacked France, the French army could not stall the onward march of Nazi troops. The then Prime Minister of France. Marshall Petain decided to surrender. The French public supported the decision, but De Gaulle escaped to London where he declared that he did not accept the surrender. France is independent and will remain so. From London, he formed a Government of France in Exile and eventually liberated France. Now if the majority rule is to be considered supreme, then De Gaulle's action will have to be condemned. He had no right to fight in the name of independence. De Gaulle derived his right from the fact that the French nation was above the majority public opinion. The national Dharma is above all. Independence is Dharma of every nation. To preserve independence, and to strive for regaining it when lost is the duty of every citizens.
Even in our country a majority had not risen against the Britishers; only a few had. Some revolutionaries arose, some brave people arose and fought. Lokmanya declared "Freedom is my Birth right". He did not declare this birthright with the support of a majority or by a referendum from the public. Now a days people advocate that the merger of Goa should be decided by referendum, that there should be plebiscite in Kashmir etc., etc. This is wrong. National unity is our Dharma. Decision concerning this cannot be made by plebiscite. This type of a decision has already been taken by the nature. Elections and majority can decide as to who will form the government. The truth cannot be decided by the majority. What the government will do will be decided by Dharma.
You all know that in the USA where they swear by democracy, at one time Lincoln did not accept wrong public opinion. On the question of the abolition of slavery when the southern states declared their intention to secede. Lincoln stood firm and told them: "You have no right to secede even in a democracy". He fought against this and did not allow them to secede. Nor did he tolerate slavery. He did not show readiness for a compromise whereby there may continue partial slavery to accommodate southern states. He did not accept the principle of meeting halfway. He categorically declared that the system of slavery was against tradition, the Dharma, the principle which were at the basis of American nation. Therefore the system of slavery had to be abolished. When the Southerners decided to secede he told them "You cannot secede". On this point there was a civil war and Lincoln did not compromise with Adharma.
Here in our country the situation in this regard is very much like old Hindu marriages where a married couple could not divorce even if both the parties wished. The principle was that their behavior should be regulated not by their sweet will but by Dharma. The same is case with the nation. If the four million people of Kashmir say that they want to secede, if the people of Goa say they want to secede, some say they want the Portuguese to return, all this is against Dharma. Of the 45 million people of India. even if 449,999,999 opt for something which is against Dharma, even then this does not become truth. On the other hand, even if a person stands for something which is according to Dharma, that constitutes truth because truth resides with Dharma. It is the duty of this one person that he tread the path of truth and change people. It is from this basis that persons drives the right to proceed according to Dharma.
Let us understand
very clearly that Dharma is not necessarily with the majority or with
the people. Dharma is eternal. Therefore. in the definition of democracy
to say that it is a government of the people. It is not enough, it
has to be for the good of the people. What constitutes the good of
the people. Dharma alone can decide. Therefore, a democratic Government
"Jana Rajya" must also be rooted in Dharma i.e. a "Dharma Rajya".
In the definition of 'Democracy' viz. "government of the people, by
the people and for the people", of stands for independence, 'by' stands
for democracy and 'for' Indicates Dharma. Therefore, the true democracy
is only where there is freedom as well as Dharma encompasses all these
Read Chapter 4