This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Author Name Retracted On Request. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Urgent Need To Dissociate Religion From Politics

More from Author Name Retracted On Request

Something that caught my attention recently was a post on a social network site stating, ‘If you are a Hindu, vote for Modi’. Today, such statements are very common and easy to come across, especially after the debate which revolves around the issue of the Prime Ministerial candidate. The statement yet again clarifies the political stand that parties take and how they have actually used religion as a weapon to arm their speeches, fool the masses with religious ideologies and divide them on communal lines.

modi campaign

Indian Nationalism has long been lost. Today, nationalism is seen to propagate the interest of a particular religion. I am not stating that nationalism doesn’t exist in India but my point is over the whole idea of how nationalism is being propagated in India especially taking into regards the hate speeches, communal divisions and mob incitement. Today, nationalism has narrowed down to a single ideology that is ‘Hindutva’.

Many here will argue what is wrong if someone says that if you are a Hindu, vote for Modi? The statement ‘If you are a Hindu, vote for Modi’ itself  defeats the complete of idea of secularism which clearly catapults one to vote by challenging them on the basis of their religion. This is completely against the idea of secularism adopted by India that political scenario was to be free from religion with all religion being treated equally. This is why the the religious extremist parties such as RSS were banned post the assassination of Gandhi, so that they could have no interference in political arena. However, this hasn’t been the case and RSS still continues to play a significant role in the decision making process of the BJP. The overthrowing of Advani and replacing him with Modi for the Prime Ministerial candidature was a move played by RSS who even asked Advani to continue guiding the party for the national interest. But what is their national interest?

The campaign idea such as these actually divide our nation on the basis of religion, just like how once Jinnah and Nehru had torn the Indian subcontinent into three pieces. Statements such as these, time and again confirm that the communal hatred that saw its birth on the eve of independence remains alive and the nation remains divided on religious grounds. When India was born, the ideas as conceived by our leaders were that the rise of India as a modern nation would eliminate the prominent role as played by religion and side-line it largely. However, their idea failed drastically with the political entities making religion their prime electoral agenda.

And of course, as I have written this, I will be dismissed as yet another Modi hater who is maligning his image and accusing him of the Godhra riots. Firstly, I am not anti-Modi or pro-congress. I am anti-system that has caused fraudulent corruption, suicides among the farmers, has kept us divided on the basis of religion and so on and so forth. Secondly, my point isn’t what Modi is all about or what RSS or BJP is all about. The only point that I am trying to assert is whether it is actually necessary to use religious terms to incite one to vote for a candidate? Is it necessary only to be a Hindu to vote for Modi? Yes, he is a communal hate monger but he has many a Muslim supporters in Gujarat itself. Why not simply state and propagate just the idea of voting for Modi by excluding the term Hindu. Does one become a Hindu only after voting for Modi? Does their faith only depend on  hitting the vote for Modi button on the EVM machines? Is this how naive we are?

People, as responsible citizens of a democratic India, let us at least not be like these politicians and vote with religious prejudices. Let us be responsible and vote for a change. A change that improves our nation’s condition, and now we even have the option of rejecting a candidate. It may perhaps not dethrone him/her but at least now a picture shall come forward where actually the displeasure that the masses had for the entire political cartel will be brought forward and perhaps it may encourage voting among us middle class families who had stopped voting only because we knew no one was worth the vote.

You must be to comment.
  1. Jared Purdy

    Fortunately, in Canada, this has been the case for a number of decades, and has been increasingly so. Evidence of that is the passage of same sex marriage legislation by a Liberal government, and it’s subsequent enforcement by a Conservative government. Legislatively, it is a non-issue. Socially, that is a different matter, depending where in the country one happens to live.

    However, regretfully Quebec, Canada’s French province, has re-introduced the divisiveness of religious issues in politics with the tabling of their “Charter”. It claims to be treating all religions the same by banning the public display in government buildings (and certain other locations) of religious artifacts, including clothing. However, this has only become an issue in the last few years, with an increase of Muslim immigrants, and the election of a very conservative, separatist government.

  2. Saem Hashmi

    It true that the nationalism in India has taken a course where attempts have been made to project India as a nation of the ‘HIndu’s’ and not the others. Even among them it is of the higher caste and class and not the lower (Dalits). For them, the second last generation of Colonisers i.e. Muslims are still colonizers residing here in India and rightly belong to the land across the borders. The ideology of nationalism has seriously been lost to the political scenario in India where religion is more in the forefront. Religion is the new politics and the vote bank machine.

  3. Veer Subhash

    How about when people are asked not to vote for Modi because they are Muslim ???

  4. ammobomma

    This is article just reeks of cynicism and is probably written by a just a dumb arm chair bimbo whose only knowledge of our politics is by watching biased ENGLISH news channels . What proof does she have to show Modi is a hate-monger? Someone should share this article with BJP and sue the author for putting such false allegations against Modi. This article nothing but a test to the author idiocy. So you have congress,sp,bsp, cpi,cpm. ysrc and what not asking muslims to vote for them and that is not a danger to our fabric. Prime Minsiter Man Mohan singh saying Muslims have first right to our national resources is not threatening our pluralism? But if 1 party of 500 parties say Hindus vote for us that becomes communal? Shows your disgusting line of thought lady. Keep your arm chair analysis with you. Under the garb of youth these people are spitting venom against BJP. Looks like another site that is a lackey of sickularism that represents what is wrong with our country

  5. saem hashmi

    The above composer needs to vine out of his perhaps arm chair. The aticle not only has projected modi as a culprit but simply talks of how nationalism has been defined. Actually your personal out swing towards the author shows the pent up frustration you perhaps have towards this stewing truth of which the educated and realistare very well aware of. Btw English news channel or media of any sort so far has been on a very neutral stand and hasn’t maligned either the Congress or bjp or sp or bsp or what so ever party. You need to wake up from the slumber you perhaps have been in me being a Muslim do not regard any political party worth it. Its a free world. your outburst has perhaps put you out f the realm of argument

  6. rajkanyadm

    I scrolled down the page before i read the article to check how long it was only to have read the first two comments. Not only am i absolutely shocked to see that people who have political opinions, strong ones at that don’t know how to express themselves without sounding condescending and derogatory, both at the same time in degrees unacceptable.
    First things first, i actually like the article because it is honest, it makes sense and it definitely asserts its own opinion without putting down anybody else. I am not a Congress supporter neither am i a Modi supporter. I am an Indian citizen who wants good for herself and the country. Again, while i am at it, making my decision that is, i will make sure i am not posting derogatory comments on a respectable website called ‘Youth Ki Awaaz’ that aims to bring forth what the youth of India thinks without of course inviting wrath from a section of the population that feels adding expletives to a comment adds weight to their argument.
    Whether i sit on an armchair or a helicopter, whether i watch NDTV or Balika Vadhu, I have an opinion. I will say it.
    Ana? Good Job. Really.

  7. Suhas Ar

    To the best of my knowledge it was not the BJP that said “If you are Hindu, vote for Modi.” I believe people should vote for what is right for the country, and not on the basis of caste or religion. That said, statements that appear on social media cannot be taken to portray the official line of the party or for that matter what it stands for.
    First of all, Modi’s definition of secularism is “India First”. That translates to doing what is right for the country, irrespective of religion, caste or creed. You can practise religion yourself, but nowhere should it influence policy.
    At the same time we continue to have different laws for a particular religion, special status for Jammu & Kashmir, is that not hypocricy or mixing religion in politics? The Shah Bano case being a prime example of the same. Is it not wrong for compensation to be given out for “innocent people” on the basis of religion, or for that matter for the Home Minister to issue directives to CM’s “Don’t arrest innocent Muslim Youth”. Is that not minority appeasement and votebank politics?
    The whole premise of the article is on the basis of a saying on social media and is directly contrary to everything Modi has said himself and what the BJP stands for (officially and otherwise). Regarding Hindutva, the Supreme Court itself has said it is a way of life.

  8. megabookfreak

    I don’t disagree with a lot of what you have to say. Religion and politics do go hand in hand in India (AND A LOT OF OTHER PLACES!) but we should learn to vote for the candidate who will help the country not the one that is of the same religious belief as us.

    However, I do want to bring light to your description of RSS being a “religious extremist” organization. I don’t entirely agree with this statement because it implies that RSS in some way is intolerant towards other religious. Primarily, RSS is a social and cultural organization. They want to unite India under Hindu values…NOT under Hinduism. These values are mainly comprised of things like equality of genders, respect for all living things, tolerance, etc. RSS does not want to force people to convert to Hinduism, it simply wants you to believe in the basic values that I just listed which are really human values. Therefore, I disagree with you representation of RSS as an extremist organization.

  9. Inert Bodhi


More from Author Name Retracted On Request

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Shirstii Tiwari

By Mannat Punia

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below