The Importance of Religion in Indian Politics

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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


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...go. The destruction of the

sixteenth-century mosque was fuelled by the BJP when affiliated

organisations ripped the mosque down by hand in six hours on December

6 1992. Even textbooks written by the BJP glorify Hindu history,

presenting biased representations of Indian history. India’s identity

cannot be discovered without an understanding of its past but this

interpretation of India’s past as secular or religiously fanatical

will be the possible mould for one of the worlds largest secular



Privilage and resentment: religious conflictin religion (Vatsla


India: Religion, Political Legitimacy and the secular state (Ralph


Human Rights Watch-

India (Robert L.Hardgrave)

Caste, Religion and Politics In India (Y.B.Damle)
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