Is the Dichotomy between Politics and Religion in India a Myth?
The current political scenario of India is fuelled with politicized religion that is infused with hegemonic Hindutva ideology. However, the root of the political backdrop of India adhering to religion is traced back to the Brahmanical Vedic tradition’s state patronage with the Raja or the kings’ inferring legitimacy to the Brahmins despite wielding power. The interrelation between religion and politics has been inevitable in Indian political scenario, especially in post-colonial India. Few historical accounts have blamed Aurungzeb for causing communal hostility between the Hindu and the Muslim with the imposition of Jizya during the later medieval period. Nonetheless, many scholars have contradicted this since the existence of India as a nation is still unclear and India was a subcontinent with amalgamated cultures where Hindus and Muslims were just fluid groups who were later inferred with religious identities during the British period. It is quite apparent that the atrocities and vandalism that goes in the name of Islam in India were really perpetrated by the Turkish race. However, the train of a foreign conquest followed by the destruction and devastation had given way in India to mutual understanding between the conqueror and the native people. The conqueror eventually resorted to adopt this country as their own.
The purpose of this article is to analyze whether the dichotomy of religion and politics in the political framework of secular India exists or is a myth in a comprehensive way with an in-depth insight into the political framework of the Indian subcontinent in the medieval and colonial era. The commingling of politics and religion according to many social scholars is a recent phenomenon especially in the post-colonial period with emergence of hostility between the two religious populations resulting in communal violence. The horrors of the partition of the country between India and Pakistan following Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Two-Nation Theory is still and will be a blood stained blot in the Indian history. Post Independence, with the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India was converted into a secular nation with stringent adherence to “church-state separation” followed by the Western countries. However, Indian political scenario comprises a different notion of secularism, which refers to a principled distance from religion. Maintaining a principled distance from the religious institutions enraged the Hindus who were provoked by the Right wing political parties with Hindu Nationalism and criticized the Congress Party for appeasing the minorities thereby engaging in their vote bank politics. The recent political scenario of India with Narendra Modi led BJP Government preaching the Hindu population Hindu Nationalism ideology and striving for a Hindu Rashtra has endangered the secular status of the country, which is like a melting pot with amalgamated culture and religion.
Keywords - Hindutva, Hindu Nationalism, Melting Pot, Secularism, Secular Arrogance and Secular Ignorance