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Religion and Politics


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http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/quest/200206...60801940300.htm

Religion and Politics

Religion and politics are inextricably blended. Their separation tantamounts to the separation of blood and body. It was due to this notion that Gandhi called politics without religion a dirty game. Swami Vivekananda had also considered religion as the core of politics. Papalism pulled the strings in the medieval European politics. Islam has been influencing political forces in many countries.

But religion is a personal affair that should not have anything to do with public matters including politics. Man has made religion in order to develop discipline and also to satiate his spiritual needs. Any religion that gives birth to riots and violence cannot be a religion. Religion cannot exist without people. But ironically, man has been exploiting religion to reap political harvest to inject venom and to divide the people.

Most of the politicians routinely visit religious places to seek divine blessings. Even though they are staunch believers in religion and meticulously follow religious diktats, they never desist from reminding us that they are pure secularists. Those who claim themselves to be secular socialists hobnob with religious leaders for votes.

The religion-politics relationship poses no threat to a country's polity as long as politics does not use religion and vice versa. Unfortunately our country witnesses both of them. Today, politics has been religionised and religion has been politicised. Thus a religion-politics collusion is taking place.

What is the cure for eradicating the ill effects of such a collusion? No doubt, it is impossible to separate both of them. But to a certain extend both could be kept in their respective camps.

Firstly, all religious propaganda must be done away with from public places. Secondly, provocative religious processions must be banned at any cost. Thirdly, all historical wrongs must be buried. Fourthly, a general awareness among the people must be created either by education or through awareness camps and processions. Fifthly, radical electoral reforms are a major requirement. Lastly, a common civil code must be implemented to reduce social, cultural, religious ailments.

It still remains a Herculean task. It requires statesmanship, unbending moral stand, dynamic leadership and above all indomitable will to take up all the communal bulls by their horns. Let us all strive to maintain a balance between religion and politics and help in the progress of our country.

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As a Sikh what are your thoughts / views on this topic, as petaining to SGPC ( Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committe ) & SAD ( Shromanu Akali Dal ) and our international Sikh community in general?

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I was hoping to discuss the topic of "Religion and Politics" solely within the context of the Sikh community! The annual election to the president, executive committee and other office-bearers of the SGPC would be held on November 23, 2005. I understand that for the past several years the President of SAD sends in a sealed envelope announcing the name of the SGPC president ! If true, this amounts to a political president / prime minister appointing the religious head, who then "appoints" the various "politically charged" Jathedars and staff to run the Sikh religious/spiritual affairs! Instead of religion giving direction to the political matters, the politicans are dictating the religious affairs of the Sikhs ! For simple comparison it is tantamount to the President or Prime Minister of Italy appointing the Pope & his staff! What have we, the Sikhs "gained or lost" by this "Religion & Politics" situation? Orginally the SGPC was set up in 1925 to manage the Gurdwaras. The SAD was formed to take care of the Sikhs' politics.

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In light of the above I sincerely hope we can have a very constructive discussion on the matter. Do remember that international Sikh community has NO input into the affairs of SGPC/SAD. They do what pleases them ! Yet their actions/decisions affect us all !

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The SAD does have an international wing which international sikhs may be able to use to influence SAD policy.

With regards to religion i think the need for secularism was that many religions will restrict people who belong to another religion, thats why secularism was necessary for govt. There is a point of view that as sikhi does not prejudice ppl of other faiths there is not the same need to distance religion and politics.

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