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29. RELIGION AND NATIONALISM
No Conflict
THERE NEVER can be any conflict between the real interest of oneís country and that of oneís religion. Where there appears to be any, there is something wrong with oneís religion, i.e., patriotism also means good thought and good conduct. To set up a comparison between two synonymous things is wrong.
I hope those in the Union of India would be worthy of their faiths and would be proud to call themselves sons and daughters of the same soil, claiming perfect equality in the eyes of the law. Religion is no test of nationality they are Indians first and Indians last, no matter what religion they profess.
A friend asked me the other day whether I share the opinion, often expressed, that as between nationalism and religion, the former was superior to the latter. I said that the two were dissimilar and that there could be no comparison between dissimilar. Each was equal to the other in its own place. No man who values his religion as also his nationalism can barter away the one for the other. Both are equally dear to him. He renders unto Caesar that which is Ceasarís and unto God that which is Godís. And if Caesar, forgetting his limits, oversteps them, a man of God does not transfer his loyalty to another Caesar, but knows how to deal with the usurpation. A rehearsal of this difficulty gave rise to Satyagraha.
Take a homely illustration. Suppose I have mother, wife and daughter. All three must be equally dear to me in their own places. It is vulgar error to think that a man is entitled to forsake his mother and his daughter for the sake of his wife. He dare not do the converse. And if any of the three oversteps her limits, the law of Satyagraha comes to his assistance for the restoration of the equilibrium of the three forces.
The Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs, the Christians, the Parsis and the Jews should be Indians first and Indians last. Religion is the personal affair of each individual. It must not mixed up with politics or national affairs.

State Religion
I do not believe in State religion even though the whole community has one religion. The state interference will probably always be unwelcome. Religion is purely personal matter. There are in reality as many religions as minds. Each mind has a different conception of God from that of the other.

Religious Education
I am also opposed to state aid partly or wholly to religious bodies. For I know that an institution or group which does not manage to finance its own religious teachings is a stranger to true religion. This does not mean that the state schools will not give ethical teaching. The fundamental ethics are common to all religions.
I do not believe that the state can concern itself or cope with religious education. I believe that religious education must be the sole concern of religious associations. Do not mix up religion and ethics. I believe that fundamental ethics is undoubtedly a function of the State. By religion I do not have in mind fundamental ethics but what goes by the name of denominationalism. We have suffered enough from State aided religion and a State Church. A society or a group which depends partly or wholly on State aid for the existence of its religion does not deserve better still does not have any religion worth the name. I do not need to give any illustrations in support of this truth obvious as it is to me.

State Funds
A letter of Christian in a newspaper holds that the temple of Somnath cannot undergo renovation from the State funds, I sympathize with the objection. The Sardar happened to be with me. He was shown the cutting and he said that not a pie would be spent from the Junagadh State funds or, for the matter, from the Central fund for such purposes. The temple of Somnath will be renovated from funds donated by the Hindus and others who may be interested in the renovation. The Indians union is a secular state and not a religious one.