Importance of Religion by Anil
Netaji cites the Marxist attitude towards religion as his third reason for the unacceptability of Marxism. Now what is the Marxist attitude towards religion? Religion has been an important component of human history since the primitive ages, and even today religion is inseparable from human life. History has progressed through numerous crises and social revolutions, but religion has emerged from each crisis with new vigour and has influenced society in new ways. As it has been an integral aspect of history, Marxism explains it too from the economic and materialist perspectives. An economic interpretation of religion implies that it is only an expression of economic self-interest: an expression of the class interests of the capitalists. With the emergence of private property, the propertied class discovered religion to protect their property. The direct implication of this interpretation is that religion will disappear with the abolition of private property in the future society. Religion is nothing but a capitalist conspiracy to fool people. Thus, atheism and anti-religious stance are core components of Marxist sociology.
One might say that religion has been recognised in the
Soviet Union, and that abolishing religion is not a routine activity of the State – therefore, being anti-religion and pro-abolition of religion are not essential aspects of Marxism. This argument is erroneous. If a State or an individual temporarily suspends its atheist programme or allows religious activities under certain circumstances, that does not change the fundamental tenets of Marxism. As long as materialism and materialist interpretation of history remain a part of Marxist theory, abolition of religion and atheistic outlook will remain integral to it. In Marxist discourse, religion is as harmful as opium – explanations offered by Engels and Lenin are clear on this.
Religion, on the other hand, is the bedrock of Netaji’s outlook. Connecting with the all-pervading consciousness through Yoga Sadhana has been the driving force of his work and political struggle. The role of religion in the life of a common Indian is also beyond any doubt. Those who recognise the power of spiritual force and consciousness cannot accept the materialist interpretation of history and atheism. The role of consciousness in Netaji’s philosophy of life is well known. That is why, according to him, even though many people in
may accept many tenets of Marxist economics, they will find its atheism unacceptable. It can be argued that atheism and anti-religious sentiments can develop in India too, under the influence of external factors. But, according to Netaji, any anti-religious sentiment can never grow strong in India even under external influence. There are social and political reasons for anti-religious feelings being so strong in India . The Church there has oppressed people through its rigid command and control system, as well as its mechanical functioning. The Church being the institution and instrument for propagating religion, the negative reaction to its misdeeds naturally affected religion as a whole. The State has therefore taken it upon itself to demolish religion, forgetting religion’s beneficial influence. This too, is an extreme measure, and a distortion. Russia India’s social setting was never the same as ’s. There has never been an oppressive machinery such as the Church in Russia Europe. Therefore, no anti-religious sentiment has gained ground here due to any external influence. In short, the Marxist theory and outlook toward religion is inapplicable to . India