Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Politics and Religion

Wednesday 19th June 2024 06:19 EDT

The UK PM mentioned how his faith helps him during the election campaign. The Indian PM, showing his faith, helping him through the election leads to the likes of Arundhuti (aka Suzanne) Roy having a apoplectic fit. The US President going to Church – no problem. The UK Head of State sworn to uphold the Protestent Church – no problem. Each of my books have a dedication to family or friends and each above the dedication have an ‘Om’ symbol. Only in one country that was stated by my publisher as not advised. Yes, in India, the birthplace of Hinduism.

The assertion by the UK Prime Minister that his Hindu faith provides him support during elections can be understood through the lens of Hindu teachings and principles. Here are several ways in which Hindu teachings might help during an election or indeed any difficult times:

1. Dharma (Duty and Righteousness)

Hinduism emphasizes the concept of dharma, which refers to duty, righteousness, and moral law. For a politician, this can translate into a sense of duty towards the country and its citizens, fostering a commitment to act ethically and responsibly. The Bhagavad Gita, a central text in Hindu philosophy, underscores the importance of performing one’s duty without attachment to the results. This principle can help a leader remain focused on their responsibilities rather than getting overly anxious about the election outcomes.

2. Karma Yoga (Path of Selfless Action)

The Bhagavad Gita also introduces the idea of karma yoga, which is the practice of selfless action performed for the benefit of others. By focusing on service rather than personal gain, a politician can cultivate a sense of purpose and motivation that transcends personal ambitions. This can be particularly empowering during an election, where the primary goal is to serve the public and address their needs.

3. Resilience and Inner Strength

Hinduism teaches the importance of inner strength and resilience. The story of Lord Rama in the Ramayana is a testament to maintaining composure and moral integrity in the face of adversity. Such narratives can inspire a politician to remain steadfast and resilient, even when facing criticism or challenges during an election campaign.

4. Meditation and Mindfulness

Practices such as meditation and mindfulness are integral to Hinduism and can significantly aid in stress management. The regular practice of meditation can help in maintaining mental clarity, reducing anxiety, and improving decision-making abilities. These benefits are crucial for anyone involved in the high-pressure world of politics.

5. Equanimity (Samabhava)

The concept of samabhava or equanimity is highly valued in Hindu teachings. It refers to maintaining a balanced state of mind, regardless of success or failure. This principle can help a politician deal with the ups and downs of an election campaign without becoming overly elated by success or despondent by setbacks.

6. Spiritual Guidance and Community Support

Hinduism often involves seeking guidance from spiritual leaders and engaging in community worship. These practices can provide a sense of support and solidarity. The communal aspect of Hindu worship can also foster a sense of belonging and mutual support, which can be comforting during the pressures of an election.

7. Ethical Leadership

Hindu ethics promote honesty, integrity, and non-violence (ahimsa). These values are essential for building trust with the electorate. By adhering to these principles, a politician can create a positive image and earn the respect of voters.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter