Politicizing Religion

Politics these days seems to be synonymous with exploitation of various communities to garner votes. No politician shies away from adding fuel to the simmering fire of religious differences which is already creating rifts in the overall wellbeing of the country.

Leaders of various parties have no qualms in taking advantage of the sentiments and weak spots of various communities. They seem to adhere by the divide and rule policy which the British famously used to destabilize the country.

The nuclear deal, which started initially as a deal centered on nuclear energy and resource procurement, has now become a red herring and the main issue has been sidelined by party politics and associated grunge. The leaders of the opposition parties have, along with many other methods, resorted to once again manipulating the sentiments of the Muslim community and coercing them to go against the deal. Many have alleged that by siding up with the UPA, Mulayam Singh Yadav has toyed with the sentiments of the Muslims. Mayawati has launched a campaign to gather the sympathy of the ‘Muslim Bhaichara committees’. The Opposition parties plan to play the innings by driving home the fact that the nuclear deal is anti-Muslim as the Prime Minister has extended support to Bush who is alleged to be anti Islam.

In India, religion and politics go hand in hand. It seems to be a marriage made in heaven but it sure is wreaking havoc on Earth. Our multicultural subcontinent is the abode of many religions. While Hindus form the majority of the population, we have the second largest Muslim population in the world. India is also home to approximately thirty million Christians. In our country, religion has been politicized and it often becomes the bone of contention, leading to various riots and communal clashes.

The power of politicians to drag religion into various aspects like the nuclear deal would make any civilian marvel.

There are many Indian politicians who arduously preach theHindutva ideology.The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) Vishwa Hindu Parished(VHP) and Bajrang Dal ,the Shiv Sena of Maharashtra fanatically endorse Hindutva. Many crimes have been committed in the wake of Hindutva.

Gujarat burned and its Muslim population suffered due to aroused sentiments of a particular religious group.

The Babri Masjid issue is often raked up by fanatical Hindus and it always leads to widespread communal riots in various parts of the country. It is one of the most infallible stimulus that leads to Hindu-Muslim riots.

Indira Gandhi’s assassination witnessed brutal massacres of Sikhs in the capital. Such incidents are rampant in our country. And very often they end up in bloodbath.

All that a politician needs to do is produce a small spark, and soon it gets converted to a widespread, dangerous and uncontrollable fire. And it is the general civilian populace which has to haplessly suffer due to the propaganda of the unmerciful politicians. Once a leader has tapped into the mob mentality and brainwashed people, such venom is spewed; that mobs rape woman and girls and butcher men, women and children alike. And the law-abiding citizens of the country become mere scapegoats and cry silent tears once their ordeal is over.

The intermingling of religion and politics is very dangerous and very often it completely shifts the focus from the ‘real’ problem at hand, acting as a smokescreen. Religion being used for political propaganda poses a Herculean threat to the secular nature of our country and it once again seems to be used for one party to get back at another.

Apurva Joshi

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