The Importance Of Religion In Indian Politics

1519 words - 6 pages

The Importance of Religion in Indian Politics

India is the largest democratic country in the world, in the last
fifty years it has travelled and been influenced by multiple social
and economic changes. Its independence from Britain in 1947, the
partition creating Pakistan and the Pakistan/ Indian debate over
Kashmir have been fundamental political movements within these years.
As Y.B.Damle states, “Politics is concerned with goal-attainment and
politics is the art of possibility”, the political process cannot
function without structural features. As a country with multiple
religions, a secular state, the political process has been moulded
around not only ethnicity and caste but religion has proved to be a
major factor. India has long been known as a very spiritual, religious
area of the world.

Religion is a way of life, an integral part of Indian tradition,
permeating every aspect of life, from chores to food to education and

A census in 1991 showed Hindu’s made up 82% of the Indian population,
smaller percentages are taken by minority groups such as Buddhists,
Jainists, Christians and Sikhs, while the largest minority group,
calculating for approximately 101.5 million members of the population,
are Muslims.

In this last century we have seen the role of religion in Indian
politics enhanced, currently governed by the BJP, Bharatiya Janata
Party, Hindu nationalists. This blatant religious influence effects
the economic and political growth of all south Asian countries,
threatening the cohesion with neighbouring and foreign countries,
threatening the large majority of Indian-Muslims, disharmonising other
Islamic countries.

When India won its independence from Britain in 1947 Islamic Pakistan
and secular India were torn apart, unleashing intent religious
hatred. A partition based on religion as the congress would not allow
Muslims to sit before 1947. Now, governed by Hindu nationalists
religious nationalism affects the secular state, a state that cannot
foreseeably be secular when it encompasses such a majority of

Hindu’s believe in Dharma, that in accordance to the sacred Hindu
text, every person has their own path to follow and it is better to do
their own duty badly than another’s well. (Hardgrave ch.1) Only by
fulfilling their own predestined duties can they expect a ‘more
favourable rebirth and ultimate salvation’. Therefore for a Hindu a
true democratic state should be against their religion, as it involves
meddling in others affairs. Along with this Hinduism divides and
distances the sub-continent. Each Hindu linguistic area have their own
traditions, way about their different lives and their own God’s. with
an existence without unification how can India politically aspire to
social change and reform? As Gunnar Myrdal...

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