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The Urgent Need To Dissociate Religion From Politics

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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.

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  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

    Definitely.

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