Is the latter view consistent with the secular character of our State? The answer to this question will decide the acceptable relation between religion and politics.
Gandhiji used to say “My religion is my politics and my politics is my religion”. If religion stands for moral qualities like love of truth, faith in God, love for human beings, it would moralise politics.
This is what we need today. In a world where respect for human life is at its lowest ebb where politics is identified with cheating and political leaders are oblivious of moral considerations we need politics imbued with morality.
But religion is nothing more than a bundle of outdated rituals, hackneyed customs and irrelevant practices. As it divorced from practical life, it is not in touch with the realities and demands of the present day life.
It suspends the reasoning power and makes human thinking pointless. It is today a powerful opiate for the masses. With the help of religion they are drugged into hostile and dangerous state of thinking.
They cannot be persuaded. The confirm their prejudices and never try to change them. They become idolatry and repose full faith in their leaders. Instead of cultivating tolerance they become intolerant to other religious groups.
All of this is incompatible with the democratic sprit which needs broad mindedness, open mind, belief in reason and faith in the potentialities of the common man. Clearly if we want to weaken our democracy we may allow religion to have incursions in politics.
For India politics an ally of religion is more dangerous. Religion with diametrically opposed practices may lead to disintegration. Religious dogmatism breeds on illiteracy which is available on a large scale in India.
So religion should be a private affair having nothing to do with the public affairs. It can be achieved only through over hauling of outlook.