Religion and politics




Religion and politics


          There is no doubt that in the making of our present civilization religion has contributed a lot more than any other institution. Yet it is an irony that more blood has been shed in the name of religion and more people have lost their lives in communal riots than in all the epidemics or other natural calamities that have struck mankind. What a pity that our politicians and fundamentalists have destroyed the true spirit of religion.
          Religion is a personal affair that has nothing to do with public matters including politics. Religion is a force that teaches man the norms of humanity, tolerance and spirit of charity. On the other hand politics is a means to achieve wordly power. But the prevailing political culture has polluted the social & moral standards of politicians. They use religion as a potent weapon to rouse and inflame the religious passions of the people to achieve their political ends.
          After independence India adopted secular form of polity. We have specifically provided for religious freedom to all religions to propagate their reliĀ¬gions. Right to freedom of religion is one of our fundamental rights enshrined in articles 25, 26, 27 & 28 of our constitution. Then where have we gone wrong that today every religion in India is politicized? In this context the Indian polity presented a very dismal picture during the 40 year rule of the congress party. The congress leaders professed delinking of religion from politics. They created the bogey of majority ruling over the minority. In this clandestine manner they continued to keep their hold on the Muslim vote bank. It is historically true that Nehru was in search of a safe constituency dominated by Muslims for Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. The haven for him was found in Rampur (U.P.)
          In fact secularism in India is synonymous with minorityism. It was natural for the BJP and 'Sang parivar' to expose the strategies of congress party & gain political control. They succeeded by winning the votes of the majority. V.P. Singh had already succeeded by Mandalising the politics. Since then the congress party has been marooned and is in search of an ideology to come back to power.




          However, Indian politics has suffered in the process. Today political atmosphere is charged with communal divide. It is not out of place to mention that the communal divide has become so alarming in the country that the integrity and the unity of the country is in peril. The nation is often caught in communal conflagrations, killings and burning of properties. The Bombay riots & Godhra riots are testimony to this fact. During communal riots the people of different religions are converted into a blood thirsty mob.
          As a matter of fact the country was divided on communal lines right in the year 1909 when Minto Morley reforms were introduced. The Muslims were granted separate electorate. Two nation theory propagated by the Muslims was obviously welcome to the English. Again the country was partitioned on comĀ¬munal lines. Then how can one expect that the Indian politics will remain free from religion. The political conditions in J & K have further aggravated communal tension in the country.
          It is a pity that general elections in 2004 are going to be fought purely on communal ground work. The atmosphere in the country is already charged with religious tension. Religion and politics relationship poses no threat to country's polity as long as politicians do not misuse religion for their political ends. The problem of communalism is peculiar to India because of parliamentary form of govt. How is it possible to delink religion & politics particularly in a country like India?
          In fact the so called secularists have been using a particular religion as a vote bank. Their concept of secularism did not take into account the basic question of national integration. Now those who accuse the BJP as communal- ists are the pots calling kettles black. AU of them played with minorities sentiments. The BJP was shrewd enough by cashing in upon Hindu passions. Therefore, religion is like a cancerous growth destroying Indian polity. It needs highest kind of statesmanship, selfless leadership & very strong political will to do away with the communal elements from Indian polity. Religion must not be allowed to be exploited for political ends.