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Time for caution: Are India's development and politics determined by religion?

By Harasankar Adhikari
Is India, by definition, a secular nation? Secularism is only an ornament in this democracy. It becomes a political blame game. Political parties are distinctly classified into two religious segments. One plays the Hindutva card. And another group is used to using the secularity card while it is biassed and used to patronize the minority (Muslim) card, in spite of different unexpected happenings caused by the minority (Muslim). This nation was partitioned due to religious reasons, and at present India is symbolized as a tolerant nation so far as its secular nature is concerned, particularly after 1975 when the notion of secularism was enacted by then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. What was before that? It lacked a legally protected religious identity.
Since the country's independence, political parties in India have used religion to gain political advantage. It complicates the relationships between citizens. It has been expending handsome revenues for communal harmony, etc. , while comfortably sponsoring racial division for its own sake – (for a captive vote).
Are India's development and politics determined by religion? Political gossip, national development, and all other aspects are certainly limited within the realm of religious division. It reminds me of the caution of Rabindranath Tagore, "No religion whatsoever can for a moment stand on the basis of negation. It must have some great truth in its heart, which is positive and eternal, and for whose sake man can off all that he has, and be glad." Religion, or Dharma, is the 'highest ideal of perfection'. So, Tagore opined, 'It is a reality that has to be reached, and according to the degree of our relationship with it, we attain the fulfilment of life'. It is the supreme reality. 'It compromises within itself the highest spiritual enlighten; it is eternally true for all beings; its laws are not restricted to any boundary of outward circumstances. Therefore, it has the principles of reality, wisdom, and infinity.' ' It has its moral value, it leads us to peace, goodness, and love.'
Tagore also expressed, -"That which I value in my religion or my aspiration, I seek to find corroborated, in its fundamental unity, in other great religions, or in the hopes expressed in the history of other peoples. Each great movement of thought and endeavour in any part of the world may have something unique in its expression, but the truth underlying any of them never has the meretricious cheapness of utter novelty about it. The great Ganges must not hesitate to declare its essential similarity of Nile of Egypt, or to the Yangtse- Kiang of China. Only water-spout displays a sudden arrogance of singularity and vanishes in the void, leaving mother Nature ashamed of so monstrous a production!"
But in this democratic nation, religion becomes a narrow passage and the only cause of division. Therefore, Rabindranath advised, 'The mind of India is divided and scattered; there is no one common pathway along which we can reach it. '....our effort has been to establish our unity on the basis of our common interest in the political or economic situation.'
Last of all, will our political leaders, who used to spend their sleepless nights thinking about the betterment of their voters, rethink this? Will they think about development without religious essence?



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