‘Remember Me, When You Vote’

‘Remember Me, When You Vote’

Mosa Sangtam, B.A. 2nd Semester (Political Science Hons)

Religion must mainly be a matter of principles only. It cannot be a matter of rules. The moment it degenerates into rules, it ceases to be a religion as it kills responsibility which is an essence of the true religious act.

I am neither a supporter of the ruling party nor the opposition, I am simply a common man who can think and write. In the name of democracy, common people are exploited, discriminated, subjugated and suppressed by political leaders. India and rest of the world have adopted a ‘Democratic System. One must remember that democracy is also not the best form to govern the state; it is rather the best among worst.

We elect our own leaders to guide us, protect and make polices for further development of a country. However sadly, they misuse their power for personal gain and create another form of Authoritarian rule or dictatorship. The voices of thinking people who have written against ‘political, social, cultural, religious evil’ in society have been suppressed and brutally murdered. As mentioned in the constitution, that India is a secular country, however, the irony is that people are lynched, harassed, discriminated now and then in the name of religion, caste, race, gender, culture and so on. The relevant question is who are to be blamed? Should we blame the religion? I believe every religion teaches humanity, brotherhood, love and peace. Therefore, the accusation of destabilizing the society by playing the politics of religious, social and cultural ‘BINARY’ should be levelled against political elites who uses politicised religion to manipulate the mass sentiments to spread hatred amongst people, with an ultimate aim to stay in power. After so many years of independence, the evil practices of caste system, religious politics and invisible slavery is still prevalent. A Dalit youth who went to watch upper caste ‘Garba’ never returned home again. He was beaten to death just because he belonged to Dalit/ former untouchable community. Caste discrimination has not spared even the educational institutions, Rohit vemula, a Dalit PhD student from Hyderabad University, despite being a meritorius student had to commit suicide, due to prejudices and sufferings he faced as a Dalit. He is not the only one, there are many more. Authors, writers, poets, scholars, journalist, activists have also became a victim of religious, and caste politics. Gauri Lankesh, aged 55, was an editor of ‘Lankesh Patrike’, a weekly newspaper published in Bangalore, Karnataka, was shot dead at her own doorstep. She was murdered, a week after she wrote about RSS, BJP and communal politics. The accused stated that he was hired to kill her for the sake to save Hinduism. This is again not a coincidence when scholars and activists like Dr. M M Kalburgi, Dr. Narendra Dab Holkar, Dr. Govind Pansare were killed for writing against Fascist Hindutva Politics. Innocent civilians are the main victims of communal violence and caste-racial-religious hatred. An incident that happened in Kathua in the state of Jammu and Kashmir had shaken the world where an eight year old girl child was abducted, raped and murdered. In order to teach her community (Bakerwal) a lesson she was made to be the victim of ‘Revenge Rape’. Unsurprisingly, as media witnessed, two BJP MLA’s took part in the rally with other Hindu fanatics in support of the accused. India is known for unity in diversity to the world. However, in reality it has a different meaning. Undoubtedly, India has a diverse culture but outsider know nothing about the cost that religious and racial minorities as well as Dalit and Tribal communities are paying in this nation which once was known as “World Teacher”. Political elites are elected to promote peace and fulfilling the needs of all the people, not for particular community, religion or culture. However, we see the other way around; cows have become more valuable than human lives. With Hindu Nationalists coming to power, cow vigilantes increased, Religious and communal violence increased, ‘Mobocracy’ become synonymous to ‘neo-nationalism’. Mohmmed Akhlaq, a farm worker was lynched on suspicion of consuming beef. Therefore, Plato rightly said, ’for man, when perfected, is the best animal, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all’. Many were lynched in the name of religion some of them namely Pehlu khan, Junaid khan, Allimuddin Ansari became victims and the list goes on. In fact, the victims were mostly Muslims. No religious texts including Quran, Bhagwad Gita, Bible teaches hatred toward others. Religion is ‘rigid’, it remains unchanged. So, how can a modern man see religion as a ‘guide’ for mankind in today’s world? ‘Rationality’ and ‘Religious fanaticism’ cannot sit on a table together for ‘talk’. No reasoned argument is possible in the religious realm, ‘faith’ have completely overlaps ‘facts’. “Lucius Annaeus Seneca”, a Roman Stoic Philosopher quoted, ‘Religion is regarded by the common as true, by the Wise as false, and by the Rulers as useful’. Nexus between religion and politics is one of the greatest threats in the society. Citizens enjoying right to vote have a vital role to play. They have bigger responsibility, as a rightful citizen and as a voter, to select and elect the right candidate without any influences. Religion should remain as a personal entity and not mixed with politics. We cannot accept ‘development’ at the cost of human life. Without religion, if there is peace, love and harmony, I would rather choose to live without religion. At the end, we as a human being are answerable to humanity.

I pay homage to those, who lost their precious life fighting for righteousness.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thoughtwill delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.