NEW DELHI: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today pitched for separating religion from politics, saying the “relics” of medieval history, religious wars and crusades, have come back to haunt the world with the rise of ISIS.
Delivering the VK Krishna Menon Memorial lecture themed ‘The Networked World: Pax Indica in the 21st Century’ at the Indian Society of International Law in Delhi, Mr Tharoor also wanted the countries to “protect diversities and yet co-operate with each other” in a globalising era.
“We think of religious wars and crusades as relics of medieval history, yet they have come back to haunt us in the second decade of the 21st century with the rise of ISIS or Daesh. Why are so many political grievances, real or imagined, articulated in religious terms? The answer surely lies in the primordial nature of religious identity,” Mr Tharoor said.
“…but can we separate religion from politics? Can we dream of a world in which religion has an honoured place but where the need for spirituality will no longer be associated with the need to belong? Where religion will not be the principal unit of identity, and identity not the basic driver of politics?” he added.
The former Union Minister further said that if identity can relate principally to citizenship than faith, to a land rather than a doctrine and if that identity is one that can live in harmony with other identities, “then the world might resist both Jihad and McWorld”.
“If we all come to understand and accept that every one of us has many identities, then perhaps we can assert each of them without attacking others,” he said.
Mr Tharoor also underscored the need for countries across the world to protect diversities and yet cooperate with each other.
He insisted the world “as a whole” must reflect the idea that is already familiar to multi-ethnic democracies like India and America “that it shouldn’t matter what the colour of your skin is, kind of food you eat, sounds you make when you speak, God you choose to worship (or not)”.