The inevitable relationship shared by the two non-identical and intangible world of politics and religion have more often been the subject of debate and observation amongst one and all for a long time now.Be it a dinner table discussion,a classroom conversation or a media talk,politics and religion are two such popular and entwined subject which are sure to occur even during scientific deliberations.But here the difficulty lies in their conflicting ties and aggressive relationship touching upon sensitive issues and affecting the governance of any country at large.Looking at this company from the world-wide view would be too elaborate to discuss so we’ll see this from an Indian perspective,of its importance and effects.
The constitution of India declares it to be a sovereign,socialist,secular,democratic republic,assuring its citizens of justice,equality,liberty,and endeavors to promote fraternity amongst them.Now when we look at the term “secular” we question ourselves and our society of its presence at all especially when the present India is under the rule of a party which has preached the idea of “Hindutva” for more than 20 yrs now.
Looking back to our ancient Indian history one sees that India since the Vedic period was a strict caste based society.Gradually we see the evolution of religions like Jainism and Buddhism and the strong opposition faced by them from Brahmanas who considered themselves as superiors and were threatened by these upcoming popular beliefs(we all know of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and his presumed belief in Buddhism which is stated as one of the causes for the decline of Mauryan empire as this garnered negative vibes from the Brahmanas).Only in the post-Mauryan and Gupta period we begin to see the traces of Hinduism developing by the means of Vaisnavism,Shaivism and Shakti cults being followed in north and south India.We see Islam for the first time coming in India with Arab traders as early as 7th century AD to coastal Malabar.Islam arrived in North India in the 12th century with Turkic invasions and has since become a part of India’s religious and cultural heritage.The origins of Christianity in India is uncertain but it is the third largest religion practiced here.Sikhism, is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, by Guru Nanak and continued to progress through the ten successive Sikh gurus (the eleventh and last guru being the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib).We have other religions like Zorastrianism too but when compared to these four the number seems insignificant.
Now India has such prominent presence of a variety of religion and religious groups yet it is known as “Hindustan”.We have Muslims occupying a principal position in medieval Indian history with the Mughal rule and for a long time have been a part of India.Christianity is assumed to have been here even before it established itself in Europe then why such bias and emphasis on “Hinduism”?If India is neural on religious front then why is the Indian National Congress said to be garnering favour from the Muslims and BJP from the Hindus.Over the course it is likely that the discussion will remain between Hindus and Muslims because it is indeed the most evident and ever current topic to be looked at and how these two have a role in making,breaking or largely affecting Indian politics.
We all are aware of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya which occurred when a political rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court by the rally organisers that the mosque would not be harmed. More than 2,000 people were killed in ensuing riots in many major cities in India including Mumbai and Delhi.The land is claimed to be Ram Janmabhoomi and the Hindus surprisingly realized it only in 1992 that they have to protect their religion because they were claiming that a Hindu temple was built in its place, the demolition of which was followed by the construction of the masjid in its place.Political parties have often tried to legitimize their position like this by arousing sentiments only to gather votes in their favour not realizing the harm they cause.The Britishers have used this issue in the past for their own benefit to divide and rule.Claiming that India has Hindus,Muslims and Britishers they wanted to establish themselves as a secular body who donot demarcate by religion.As a result we ultimately went through Partition,simultaneously pain,sufferings and lifelong misery.Our relations with Pakistan are never amicable which is an unavoidable fact.On the morning of 27 February 2002, the Sabarmati Express, returning from Ayodhya to Ahmedabad, was stopped near the Godhra railway station. Several of the passengers were Hindu prilgrims, returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. Under controversial circumstances, four coaches of the train caught on fire, trapping many people inside. In the resulting conflagration, 59 people, including 25 women and 25 children, were burned to death.These are the Gujrat riots of 2002,a three-day period of inter-communal violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat.Incidents like this happen,people die and are given no respite.In recent times the state of Uttar Pradesh has seen worst form of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district over the conflicts again between a Hindu and a Muslim.Congress losing the 2014 General Elections was blamed for its act of governance that could not save people from dying.Recent clashes in Saharanpur and the murder of Indira Gandhi had brought in confliction between Sikhs and the other religious groups.There have been a lot of bias and favouritism resulting due to majority and minority presence of religious groups but India in particular has been largely involved in the irreconcilable Hindu and Muslim differences.
Our past and present are replete with films,television shows and even stories conserning the impossible merging of these two religious beliefs through the holy union of marriage.Vikram Seth’s novel “A suitable Boy”shows how a boy though bound through the thread of love to the girl couldn’t continue the relationship and is declared ‘unsuitable’ because he is a Muslim and the girl is Hindu.We have real life incidences of children slitting of their parents throat to be with their lover of opposite religion because the acceptance rate of a Muslim in Hindu family or vice versa is very less.Every now and then we see newspapers making headlines with similar cases,the subject being of national importance. “Tu Hindu banega na Musalman banega ,Insaan ki aulaad hai Insaan banega”,such songs have been penned down most obviously to develop secular ideas through popular media.
We keep on repeating,”United we stand,divided we fall”.What is the necessity?maybe because it happens otherwise.We feel threatened and insulted with few words against Hinduism but never care what we do or say against our Muslim counterparts.Though we fought together and threw out the enemy,we no longer were one nation.They wanted to break away and form another entity.India bled then and bleeds now,everyday for truce but the politics in India which is ever keen at generating nationwide emotions through the easy way of religion does so to make us hate them more and more.Indian Muslims are treated as defaulters and part of a foreign region even though they give their life for nation pride.Sania Mirza being called a “Pakistani bahu” was one such incidence where people were made to feel that Muslims are step children of the nation and can never be its true blood,the Hindu race.Insecure and frightened each day,we live as if we are there to die,Kashmir will never be peaceful,will never see the cessation of hostilities.We will keep on blaming the Muslim race for devoiding India of its wealth and the two supposedly dichotomous worlds will remain unfit for polite company.