ARTICLES > POLITICS > Mahatma Gandhi on Religion and Polity
Mahatma Gandhi on Religion and Polity
By Dr. Sudhir Kumar
When we talk about the religion adopted by Gandhiji, we come to know that Gandhiji’s religion is not just the one limited to worshipping in temple, Mosque or Gurudwara but it has soundly founded on morality and humanity…….
“Vaishnav Jana to tene kahiye je peer parai jaane re…..” This was the unique Bhajan of Gandhiji, by which it is distinctly proved that how sovereign and welfare oriented the Gandhiji’s Religion was! If in the outset, we talk on Gandhiji’s Ideologies on the adapted polity, it was not at all in the sphere of cunningly treacherous, deceitful or disguising of cutting plots and revenges on of bloody blood relation centered. He always remained a great patron for the polity centered on the welfare of entire human race to fulfill their needs at the same time while in such politics the doer remains just like a catalytic agent who helps in bringing in home the chemical reaction but keeps itself away from being affected in any way. He believed in sacrificing for the noble global goodness. In other words Bapuji thought a polity centered on Nationalism and universal service and whose apex goal should be a human welfare in today’s scenario when it comes to analyze the present politics, it is neither based on Gandhian Ideal polity nor his religion. Gandhiji’s co-religious polity, it would be quiet worthwhile if we take Gandhian polity as a co-religion polity.
In his autobiography Gandhiji clarifies that without religion the idea of polity is quite unimaginable. In this context when it was asked him by a journalist, “How would you dream one common political strategy in a country of dozens’ of religions?” He replied, “It’s sure”, he doesn’t even think of a polity without religion. In fact religion should remain method and medium of our work but one should be very careful about the word ‘religion’. It doesn’t refer to the extremist ideologies; it means faith in a particular moral system. It is abstract by that its importance can not be overlooked. It is miles away from the Hindu, Islam or Sikh religions. It is not to out root these religions but to find common minimum co relations between them, and make it a real religion. He reiterates that this unique religion keeps itself away from the so called divertive religions. It is different from the violent ones. He believes in a polity in religion. His religion is sovereign and tolerative, away from superstitious’ and traitors. He doesn’t call it a religion which spreads hate and fights on morality.
He feels implementation of religion in polity because for him religion is not just limited to a personal and family life. He thinks that there is the inevitability of religion in ones social and poly-moral life as it is important in personal and family life too. Not a single facet of one’s own life be completed without religion’s intervene. He says, “My religious ambitions will not be satisfied until and unless mine affection does not become one with the humanity that too is possible only when I will find myself active in poly-morality”. Our personality is not indifferent hence it can not be segmented n social, economical, poly-moral and orthodox religiousness. He doesn’t believe in phenomenon which deviates from human welfare and such religious approach all other attitudes taking morality can only make life unmeanigful, unimportant, and hatchy-potchy. On this solid base Gandhiji puts religion and morality at apex spot in polity and he makes it mandatory to every politician to work in the frame work. The world’s long time history witnesses the intervene of cut-plots, violence, cruelty, injustice, exploitation, oppression and such defame us devils as a base in polity. In today’s polity it is known as a pure and real politics, the politicians who use these unfair means to benefit their nation are known as successful politicians. One who develops his country without thinking for a second for other countries . They selfishly snatch every bit of success as an opportunist for their countries and these people are taken and accepted universally, but being a worshipper of truth and non-violence Gandhiji discarders this selfish and violent tradition in polity.
He thinks polity’s ultimate aim as a medium for total welfare of mankind and hence there is no any place for violence, cruelty, injustice and oppression. If to achieve good results, the medium to attain need to be of equality good and pure, ethical values, it is compulsory. The antithetical medium can never establish such Nobel aims: like in all other fields Gandhiji proposes these Nobel values. The polity without truth and Non-Violence (Ahimsa) is against religion and ethics he fears such polity will result in ultimate and terrible treachery of human kind. In this context Gandhiji has taken polity in such a Nobel way. Where he writes, “I don’t accept a politics without religion, polity is a servant of religion, a polity without religion leads to doom .as it kills ones soul.” In this way by combining religion in polity and its inevitability for each other. Gandhiji has laid down a radical, ethical and revolutionary principle before world. He wants to tread the Nobel and radical principles of Jesus and Buddha quite mandatory. He believes in defeating untruth with truth, hate with love, and violence with Non-violence. In this way he extends his fully support in polity which stands on truth and Non-violence in the field of polity.
Gandhiji remained a world-renowned leader by enrooting his principles of polity in morality and spiritualism. This humanism, sustained and never giving up attitude to safe human life as a whole, made him to plunge in to the politics. As he wanted to freed justice to thirty crore people of the country lying oppressed in dirty clutches of bloody politics, so he believed this as a Nobel ritual. And thought it as a way to ultimate salvation. He says, “For realization of God, I am ready to sacrifice at any cost. And all my social, political morality and attitudes for the service of mankind have been directed towards this Nobel cause. And I realize God’s presence among the oppressed and for all such, I have a great feeling of compassion for these in me , as it is not possible for me to do something for them without being an active politician , so I am in active politics . And by this way I would be able to free the oppressed India, and by doing so, will be striving hard for mankind on the wider scale.”
Generally people don’t like to find religion in polity. As in polity everything is fair, even the bad things like cruelty, diplomacy, unfaithfulness and use of power in achieving selfish fruits etc. are taken as medium for success. In international or foreign policy, morality has been slaughtered. As the laws of morality are just confined up to ones own religion and society, and hence to destroy enemies, who engaged in anti-national activities, has been widely accepted as a dignified work and taken adorable.
The Nobel aim of Gandhiji’s polity was to establish political morality in religion of polity and to bring revolutionary changes in it. It was quite sure, as Gandhiji himself practiced and realized that only truth, non-violence and love can reduce down all the problems in various fields related with humanism.
Gandhiji adopted the Buddha and Jesus’ principles of winning over; “cruelty with love, false by truth”, and by doing so the belief becomes concrete on the Natural sainthood principles of human being God is omnipresent, even stays in the heart of the devil or crook too. By trading on the path of truth our conscience activates and by respect and love the compassion. If we do not believe in someone , he too equally disbelieves us. Disbelieving paves way for hate and hate to disgust for more hate and results in violence . Violence creates disturbances, and un-ethical things sprout paving way to sorrow. And ultimately the beautiful universe then turns in to hell.
If we stimulate believing in others and love, it nurtures holiness in one and this makes one to abide with the laws of truth . we walk on it to help in discarding the evil trails like hate and cruelty, It is difficult to live and to abide with complete idealism but with this Gandhian philosophy ; the more we shall bring it in practice in social life the double will be the rejoice , we will be benefited with, in our life .
Gandhiji himself adopted this life method by an influence of Tolstoy’s philosophy and started practicing it on the land of South Africa. In the beginning with inner ethical values ‘ self reliance and the pioneer of love Gandhiji started protest movement in Transwal in non-violent way for the Asian against the law of colour discrimination and as a result the law was taken back. Then after he practiced the same method for to mark his opposition against the law made by the Indian government along with some of the social tradition and ritual, and even by adopting this very method for three continuous years, he eradicated the English roots routed off. He realized that some of the problems may arise due to the method it may bring in some undesired results even, so that he expected social health situation and an individual’s morals and psychological preparations are of great importance to practice it to find its results in good way. For the success of his practice the healthy society is also very important. In this connection long experience was based on self confidence and power of truth. He always presented himself as simple and sober personality by accepting his own faults time to time. He reiterated on the use of this method in all fields of life and governance. His complaint was that, we have funded enough money and human talent in finding out the curiosities of the universe and on, researches of same kind. But elapsed the nurturing of the real long lasting peace giving process of developing and improving and enhancing of ones spiritual, truth, love-force which can bring in, complete and eternal happiness and peace. Without it the real existence of mankind, peace and happiness are all in danger.
It is generally accepted there should not be an inclusion of religion in polity as it results in undesired consequences, especially in a country like India were these results have been obliviously seen . In the current scenario the fear is if religion given a part in polity the extremist ideologist and destructive principles may cause the ultimate doom and they can flourish even better in such political hierarchy . But still Gandhiji believes in strict adherence of polity and religions mingling, it is quite inevitable. He has taken it, as important as a soul in the body. He stated that a politics without religion is just like a corrupt soul. Like other works of a person’s personal life are affected and governed by the bad or good religious principles .
Besides being a saint, Gandhiji was a good politician. He would say that not only religion but instead of all its bad fruits polity is also mandatory in life. He said that if people could see him in active politics it is only because politics in current situation has coiled around firmly which even by great attempt quite impossible to free oneself from.
In the medieval history, the western world had also tried to combine religion and polity but a great drawback came, when in the history, Saint Augustine had differentiated the two completely, and in due course of time religion and polity become the two rivalries
The relationship between a king and chief of religion , had gone at worst as a result the medieval and modern political thinker Mainkingawali had separated the two in such a great extent , that some orthodox religions took him as an atheist and immoral . In today’s context too, we have some examples of putting religion in politics, like the POPE of Vatican City; is both a religions guru as well as head of the government. The Dalai Lama of Tibet is accepted as religions spiritual Guru as well as a chief of govt. Pakistan has been made an Islamic Nation, while Nepal, as Hindu centered one.
But the religion Gandhiji had thought of bringing in office is neither concerned with any church like medieval politics nor with any temple , mosque or Gurudwara. In Gandhiji’s wide concept of religion these Hindu , Islam , Christian , Sikh or Jain , Buddha etc. remain only its sect . According to him the religion is one which tries to bring in home the enhancing and friendly relationship in the aforesaid religion, it changes the man inner out and paves way for establishment of truth. Religion is the basic fundamental principle which keeps him ready for sacrifice and for which his mind remains active and endlessly awaiting for it. It can not become one with the almighty until it thoroughly identifies the great creator. In short, religion means to believe in well settled moral and ethical governance, thus religion doesn’t differ from morality.
Gandhiji believes in practicability of religion fundamentally, means a religion comes in ones behavior. He thinks that to work spiritually, there is no other world than this whereas it can be seen in the daily deeds of a person. He doesn’t find it outside from it;
Actually he wants to prove religion through morality and ultimately a moral polity through religion. He says that if there is no inclusion of religion with politics, no one can achieve the almost aim. Hence he says, “Polity without religion is a phenomenon of great worries. According to him, the people who don’t believe in the religion in politics, they don’t know religion . He who is not nationalist can not be well versed with his own responsibilities and religion, he believes in main function of polity should be to see the welfare of citizen and of the country. So it necessary Polity is a service for the welfare of mankind, which results in truth. He says that there is no heaven outside to which one reaches after death, but it is present here and we can attain it here , in this context it is simply inevitable to differ polity from religion .
He explores a polity without religion becomes a medium for a few people to suffice there selfishness, and by this there develops an autonomy on the canvas of democracy The representatives of common people start paying heed at their own interests at the cost of public welfare . The polity in chair earns for the party . And the epitome of dirty polity comes when they make new laws for their own profit in the name of public welfare and responsibilities.
It is not possible to change the selfish competitive and unstable polity into stable, justified and understanding one until it is not based on the ethical values. In this way Gandhiji emphasizes on religion as an inevitable part of polity. By religion he does not refer to the so called religions but the ultimate truth that exists outside the so-called religions. It is ceaseless endeavors for justice by a spiritual sprit, and without accepting this truth, there is no possibility to come at certain principle. Gandhiji reiterates the masses entry in politics, as he thinks that an outside control becomes hindrance in smooth function of governance and unity of a nation. He thinks an outside politics as a great threat for national progress and unity. He never takes the reforming and united constitutional changes in better standardization of governance, until the law makers or the reformists get themselves purified morally . By this he emphasizes on mankind’s moral ethical through behavioralism . He states that to protest against faulty system and to bring real government, efficient and able personalities are important.
In this way, Gandhiji believed in the equivalence of rights and responsibilities. The one, to which one takes as a right for him remains the same for all and becomes a responsibility too. Where rights are interlinked with responsibilities there rests self Government and the political control looks out of office. Our ideologies should not be selfish, luxurious or self gained result oriented but all the rights should be practiced for common welfare , with sacrifice without selfish aims. The work done with selfish results creates oddities in physio-social circumference which pares ways for immoral social theories resulting in communalism and communal riots .But if a work done by willingness and that too for rights and responsibilities , no question arises of wish or unwillingness . It gives birth to wide and involving principles. In this way the religion based politics is a politics of self and he governs himself in such a way that never creates any threat for neighboring nations , in such political moralistic governments no one works for selfish aims. Only humanity and morality become the base of religion based nation. The masses and self become government, Here we attain Gandhiji’s battle free self government.