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 politics 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 ... ... middle of paper ... ...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 democracies. Bibliography Privilage and resentment: religious conflictin religion (Vatsla Vadantam) India: Religion, Political Legitimacy and the secular state (Ralph Buultjens Human Rights Watch- www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india India (Robert L.Hardgrave) Caste, Religion and Politics In India (Y.B.Damle)
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