Balwant Singh Buttar.
Addressing a public rally under the mass contact program of the Congress at Batala on May 1, 1985, Mr. N. D. Tiwari, Chief Minister of UP asked the Akali leaders not to harm the unity and integrity of the country by mixing religion with politics. In a similar meeting in Ludhiana on May 3, 1985, Mr. Natwar Singh, the Union Minister of State for steel stressed the need for keeping religion out of politics.
How I wish those leaders had read Sikh history and had known something of Sikh religion and traditions! This apart, they even do not care to study what their “Father of the Nation” had said on the subject of religion and politics.
Writing in his memoir about Gandhi, the American Journalist William L. Sherir says, “I was puzzled by Gandhi’s insistence on mixing religion and politics. I questioned his mixture. I thought religion and politics should be kept separate as the founding Fathers of American Republic had the wisdom to do. Indeed I ventured to argue that it was Gandhi’s inculcating so much Hindu religion in his Indian politics that had kept the majority of Moslems out of his nationalist movement.”
To this Gandhi summed up the purpose of his life as he contented in the next to last page of his autobiography. “Those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means’ and “that my politics are derived from my religion” Gandhi continued, “I have been experimenting with myself and my friends by introducing religion into politics.”
Let us hope the Congress leaders will henceforth stop advising the Akalis to keep religion separate from Politics and follow in the footsteps of the one whom they call “Father of the Nation.”
Article extracted from this publication >> May 31, 1985