Polticology of Religion, till when?

Posted on April 3, 2010 in Politics at Play

Chaitanya:

Since ages, Politics and religion have been complementary to each other. Religion has been playing a very important role in the field of politics as we see many political parties, which have come up on the basis of religious origin. The principle of Political Science of Religion or Politicology of Religion refers to the branch of political sciences that deals with a study of influence that religion has on politics and vice versa with a focus on the relationship between the subjects in politics in the narrow sense: government, political parties, pressure groups, and religious communities.

Religion has become a means of bagging in the votes of a particular religious community. Firstly, the political party would appoint the candidate belonging to the religion of the majority community. Secondly, there is publicity on how the party is going to help the majority religion and in what way are the people going to benefit from having a leader in power who belongs to their own religion, thus creating a large impact on the masses. Blind voting follows. Use of religion, caste or regionalism is a regressive and dangerous trend, capable of alienating people and dividing them into small sections

The effect of religion on Indian politics has been staggering. The hatred that has, for so many years put the country in a political strife, does not seem to be declining. The feelings between all the religions are just as strong as ever. The structure of the Indian government sets up for the confrontations between the opposing political parties. These confrontations are the basis for power struggle within the Indian government.

For instance, a volunteer organization of India was accused of being a reactionary group of “Hindu fanatics” with “fascist” tendencies by some political parties. On the other hand, a few others see it as a cultural organization dedicated to the revitalizing of the moral and spiritual traditions of India. Thus we see religion is also a source of conflict among the political parties themselves.

Once I heard one of a renowned political science professor quoting the following words — “According to dictionary, secularism is a condition or state, which is not concerned or connected with religion. That is to say, you have no religion when you exercise your mundane rights as an Indian. No one can debar you in the pursuit of your mundane activities like your wanting to become a carpenter or a taxi driver or an IAS officer or a politician or a Governor or the Rashtrapati even, on the basis of your religion. In India, religious and spiritual aspects are outside the domain of governance. There is freedom of all religions.”

But sir, all I want to ask is just a single question — “Are we a TEXT BOOK secular nation? ”

Keeping Religion from Politics has been one of the major concerns of many well wishers and leaders of our nation. But it is easier said than done. Religion has become a part of Contemporary politics.

However a few steps can be taken to reduce the impact of religion in the field of politics.

The incorporation of religious agenda within political manifestos or electoral promises should be made an electoral offence and should incur summary disqualification for the individual or for the political parties.

Awareness programmes should be conducted by the Election Commission of India and other concerned authorities which educate the people on how to choose their leaders correctly on the merit of their achievements and leadership qualities and not on the basis of religion, caste or any other such attainments.

These are a few ways in which the society can work towards seeing a less religiously influenced politics so that we all can have a better and bright future ahead. We would like to have your suggestions on how religion can be taken out of politics.

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The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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