For Our Own Sanity, Keep Religion Away From Politics

For Our Own Sanity, Keep Religion Away From Politics

When religion takes a back seat and the essence of healthy politics starts growing, it is bound to give rise to a developing nation

Ranjan Das GuptaUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2024, 11:28 PM IST
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Representative Image | Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

An American political expert once stated that India is the largest democracy with the maximum illiterate voters. This saying proves true as it is only in India that religion is used as a political tool, especially during election campaigns to win over the masses. Nowhere in the advanced first world is countries’ religion a base for politics. To use religion in politics is a dangerous mechanism by political parties to gain votes. To the objective and thinking mind, religion will never dominate over rational ideologies. A well studied mental condition is always guided by the better aspects of science and reason. Religion never wins over logic. That however does not indicate that every human being will be an atheist. The place of worship and religious practices should be completely separate from the work field, areas of progress and politics too. When religion overcomes scientific mentalities, it gives birth to superstitions, dark edged mentalities and a primitive attitude. It never gels with modern philosophies which promote reason, logic and impartiality. Politics is a game in which every living person is involved directly or indirectly.

Those who preach that they are not involved in politics can never be trusted, as they indirectly do not welcome a change for the better. Above all such minds are averse to benevolent revolutions. When religion enters politics it harms society like no other element. Bias, blind loyalty and putting an end to protests which are genuine are religiously dominated political views. When John F. Kennedy pointed out in 1962 during the Cuban crisis that religion plays no role in ending that dangerous situation; he was far-sighted and correct.

Our illustrious predecessors like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri never allowed religion to enter politics. Even Indira Gandhi didn’t use religion as a tool to win elections. The present hysteria surrounding the Ayodhya Ram Mandir being used to gain political mileage is not at all a healthy sign.

Many so-called great politicians are forgetting that India is becoming economically weak, the status of the nation is decreasing in the human development index and unemployment is rising. How can a rationally thinking mind accept this contradiction? Are we living in the new millennium or have we gone back centuries to days of feudalism? India like the UK has never experienced an industrial revolution in the true sense of the term. No wonder the mind of the average Indian lacks the finesse of a benevolent bourgeois society.

Socialism is still a far cry for our nation. Religious bias should never be a component of healthy politics. In political issues matters concerning economics, development, healthcare, education, agriculture and a host of other matters should be highlighted, not religion — as it will neither fill empty stomachs nor generate employment. Religion should therefore be divorced from politics. When religion rules a creative mind, it loses its patent and is robbed of a social potential. The very idea that religion is the target to achieve goals is not a correct and healthy mind’s worth.

What is so malevolent about religion? The simple answer is that religion, mythology and myths are not substantiated with truth. These are in a way make-believes. That however does not indicate any disrespect of any belief which has a spiritual base. The Bhagwad Gita, Holy Quran, Bible or Granthsahib have never spoken about religious fanaticism. They have preached tolerance and respect for every other religion and human being. The common belief that one who does not subscribe to a particular religion is to be eliminated is a totally wrong and unethical theory.

No sensible mind will ever support such beliefs which stress on communal harmony getting disturbed. The inner eye of any mature politician should keep away from religion when working. Politics has been described as the last refuge of the scoundrel; yet, no society can be devoid of politics. In healthy politics there is always scope for debate and opposition. It is a thorough political investigation and dissatisfaction which results in revolutions.

It is an unconfident and weak soul which opts for religion to supersede politics. A sporting and educated mind goes by the philosophy of tolerance, healthy competition and love for humanity. There remains no silver lining in the clouds when religion overtakes politics. It is bound to give birth to communal disharmony, social unrest and violence. When religion takes a back seat and the essence of healthy politics starts growing, it is bound to give rise to a developing nation.

It is really a tragedy that in India, which claims to be a very developed nation, politics is guided by disturbing religious feelings which have rotted the core of our political system. The entire Indian political scenario will be better the day political issues do not rise from religion.

Ranjan Das Gupta is a senior Kolkata-based journalist who writes about health care, education, arts and culture

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