Secured Cognition & Securing Recognition…
Political Science defines the State as a community formed by People that exercises permanent Power within a specified Territory. As per this definition, a State has four major elements: Population, Territory, Government and Sovereignty. However, Palestine had none of these! Still, some people, who used to live in different parts of the globe, used to think that they were from the same country… because, they were followers of Islam. For them, Religious Faith became an important source of Solidarity and Emotional Unity! Irrespective of their geographical location, a sense of Patriotism helped them remain united. When the UN recognised Palestine as a State in 1988, it had no specific geographical boundaries. Of course, Yasser Arafat (August 24, 1929 – November 11, 2004) – the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority from 1994 to 2004 – had played an important role in securing the recognition.
In South Asia, Pakistan was formed on the basis of Religion in August 1947. According to some of the Political Analysts, the apparent cause of the fall of the erstwhile Soviet Union was unequal development and Religion was one of the most important issues involved in it. A number of countries have recognised Islam, Buddhism or Christianity as State Religion even in the 20th Century. Although Bangladesh became an Independent Nation in 1971 through a Language-based struggle, it gave Islam the status of a State Religion later… It can, hence, be surmised that Religion or Faith is still influencing the Identity of a State in contemporary world!
The influence of the State on Mosques, Churches, Monasteries or Temples is still there, albeit covertly, in various countries across the globe. In a Secular Nation, like India, political personalities are often seen performing religious rites while inaugurating State-run projects!
Italian Philosopher Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527), who used to consider Religion as man-made, had said that the value of Religion lies in its contribution to Social Order and the Rules of Morality must be dispensed with, if Security requires it. His concern with Religion (Christianity) as a sect was that it made men weak and inactive, delivering politics into the hands of cruel and wicked men without a fight. During the 18th Century, the ideas of English Philosopher John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) and French Philosopher Pierre Bayle (November 18, 1647 – December 28, 1706), in particular the ones regarding separation of Church and State became more common, promoted by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. In 1721, French Political Philosopher Montesquieu (January 18, 1689 – February 10, 1755) had already written about Religious Tolerance and a degree of separation between Religion and Government. All of them tried their best to separate State from Religion. Perhaps, all their attempts were in vain, and that Religion is still influencing the Politics in a different form, and vice versa….
It, seemingly, has taken quite some time for Religion to be coherent, integrated and evolved. The role that Religion has played in the formation and operation of Society and State in different periods of time has been recorded in History. Even in Secular countries, the Political Society uses Religion to stay in Power.
The most important duty of a State is to protect its people living within its territory. In recent times, it is seen that the State has started selecting its Citizens! In other words, the caretaker is deciding who can stay inside the building! In India, this Game started in the 1990s with the introduction of Voter Identity Card. Later, this Card, along with Ration Card, Permanent Account Number (PAN) Card and Passport, became the most important proof of Indian Citizenship! It seems that the Indian State thought that the People had enjoyed enough Freedom, and now it was the time to check their Status of Citizenship. Then, the State started its surveillance on the Natural, Social and Political Rights of Citizens. In a way, it is flagrant that India has started considering one’s Religious Belief before deciding her/his Citizenship Status. Hence, a-priori definitions and concepts about the State and its People, chiefly with regard to Religion, are seen redundant in a Modern Nation.
Perhaps, Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941) – the Great Indian Poet, Author, Painter, Musician and the Winner of the Noble Prize as the first Asian – had shared his ideas about Love, Morality, Art and Meaning… above all: Life (which are Timeless) being more than relevant even almost eight decades after his death! The depiction of how Power might get to manifest itself in personal, as well as political, settings in his fluid language, which is full of metaphorical expressions, has indeed taken the pattern of understanding to another dimension… the phrases talking about ‘not claiming possession but ensuring freedom as well‘ and/or ‘…while God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones’, and/or chiefly ‘… a race gets bound by petty taboos and superstition, when it loses its vivacity, much similar to a rivulet when it ceases to meander on, it gets bound by different forms of gulfweed…’ talk about the situation mentioned about present statecraft in modern world. As a mystic, even Tagore had also mentioned something which seems quite apt in this regard, as well… this possibly is an endless mystery because there is no reasonable cause that could explain…
People are well aware of the fact that the State System gets to be stagnant, if the Government tries to establish the Supremacy of any particular Religion. Do the Statesmen not understand this?
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