What’s Religion Got to Do With It? The Case of Rahul Gandhi


What’s Religion Got to Do With It? The Case of Rahul Gandhi

Illustration: Palak Bansal


ill India ever know if RaGa is a Hindu, Christian, Parsi, or Atheist?” ran a needlessly provocative homeplate of Bhupendra Chaubey’s prime-time debate last night, showing the priorities of the media in a nation where fathers are judges die mysteriously. Far from covering the explosive news story of Justice Loya’s death, Chaubey and his brethren went down an investigative rabbit hole, carefully bringing up religion and definitely not trying to stir up communal tensions in the run-up to the elections in Gujarat, a state famed for being a Hindutva laboratory.

On most days, I don’t think of myself as an idiot, so I understand that religion plays a major part in India’s vote-bank arithmetic, in the same manner as caste does. But when the talk of the ruling party has been “vikas” for so long, it’s weird to see its lapdogs in the media hold debates along religious lines again and again, most recently with Padmavati and the Hadiya “love jihad” situation. But a question I keep returning to is, why the fuck is religion still a major talking point, especially that of Rahul Gandhi?