The Liberal Canon
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The Liberal Canon

Religion And Politics In India

Having been born in a Hindu family, I have often found myself preaching Hinduism. Growing up, I was privy to various social factors such as education, media and the colorful set of characters that formed my family and friends. They provided me with a wider lens from which to view the world and religion from. Today, all the education, culture, politics that I have been exposed to have taught me that there is no ideal way to look at religion. My parents are believers of religion in a manner that I consider healthy but I, on the other hand, do not believe in religion as such. I believe instead in a greater power or energy. Religion has given this energy a face, form and a voice. Everyone has a different way of interpreting things around them. The way I look at religion is that it is just a way to unite people and bring communities together to create a sense of brotherhood and belonging. Religion today, however, is not what it was meant to be. It has become a tool to differentiate between and divide people. As Rabindranath Tagore put it, “…broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.”

In today’s day and age, the majority of the people who find themselves practising religion are doing it based on interpretations of a few scholars. Every interpretation might differ a bit, as many say that people see what they want to see. Initially, humans passed information from written scriptures to the next generation verbally. A major issue with passing down information verbally is that humans fill memory voids by constructing their reality, which is often tainted with their own biases and beliefs.

India is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with a myriad of cultures, religions, languages, etc. Some people look at this diversity as a pro and some as a con. I believe that this diversity is a boon to India, it is just that we do not always use it to our advantage, but instead to stab ourselves in the back. No one today can talk about religion without talking about politics and vice versa. Religion has been tainted by politics for centuries. Back then, The British used this to their advantage by using the divide and rule strategy. Now, political parties use it to their advantage for vote banks. So many other people use this social construct to their advantage in various ways.

A multitude of people in India have a misconception about religion. The Hinduism of today is a product of politics. In reality, the word “Hindu” comes from “Hindustan”. Anybody who belonged to Hindustan, which is Persian for “the land beyond the Indus”, can call themselves a Hindu. It is more of a geographical identity than a religious identity. Anybody who lived in India after the 11th century and before the partition can call themselves a Hindu.

To conclude, I would like to quote Mary Parker Follett, who said,” Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.” Therefore, let’s all practice kindness and empathy, if not anything else. This may leave you with a lot of questions and views, and I would love to hear from you.

Som Nagda

“The Liberal Canon” is a student endeavour that hopes to give every individual the opportunity to express themselves. By initiating important conversations , sparking debates and encouraging dissent , the newsletter is playing a crucial role in moulding the leaders of tomorrow.

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The Liberal Canon

The Liberal Canon

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