The religious wars slowed down a bit in the last century. They were limited to Kashmir in the Indian subcontinent, the central European country of Bosnia, Palestine, and Rwanda. Religion was behind these wars. However, religion would be kept somewhat implicit as the cause of war. They were during the last century.
Since the beginning of this century, the Sharia philosophy of the Afghan Taliban movement began to spread in the Middle East. After Afghanistan and Iraq, the war to establish the Sharia philosophy began in Syria, Libya and Yemen. Governance of these large countries in the Middle East completely collapsed at the time.
Massive changes can also be seen in neighbouring India. The country has begun to move backwards from its basic social philosophy. Born in a southern Indian city, Subramanian Swamy, a BJP-nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, in a recent speech, threatened to take control of the global civilisation like Alexander the Great. Adhir Chowdhury, another Congress leader from West Bengal, has spoken in a similar tone against Bangladesh.
At present, Bangladesh is the only neighbour of India with which the latter explicitly has friendly ties. Considering that, it can be questioned how intelligent it was to openly make such a threat about religious violence.
Religious conflict is always there in conflicts between different classes of society. Sometimes it is hidden and sometimes it is overt, and the ruling class always uses this conflict. This is happening all over the world.
In 2014, the Modi government added a new dimension to the BJP's empowerment in India. It made the relationship with India's second largest religious community bitter. The citizenship law, cattle protection, repealing Article 370 of the Indian constitution, and the NRC – all these were targeted against a religious community.
India is on the path to the final rise of religious nationalism in domestic politics. Religious nationalists reached the pinnacle of power during the partition of India. However, there might have been attempts to hide religious violence back then.
Every civilisation is different in terms of culture, language, history and finally, religion. The new development of civilisation began after the Industrial Revolution. Europe understood that to benefit from the Industrial Revolution and to take the ongoing Renaissance movement forward, the countries of the continent had to gradually separate religion from the state. They were able to do that, and it is from that trend of development that we got today's European countries.
Religious conflicts among these countries began in the last century. The latest example was Hitler's extermination of the Jews during World War II. The next was the Yugoslav crisis in the Balkans. War divided Yugoslavia into seven parts at the time and it emerged as seven new countries with new religions.
Since the beginning of this century, Indian politics has seen a new polarisation. It became more directly involved in conflicts with neighbouring Pakistan, a country of Muslim religious nationalists. Born in the middle of the last century, Pakistan's military clique and its allies had been in conflict with India from the very beginning, and the latest episode of that was the rise of former cricketer Imran Khan to power.
Pakistan has become an uncontrolled society like many parts of the Middle East. The military is doing whatever it needs to do, whenever. All this is happening behind religion.
India is trying to influence its people through religion. There is also a big question about the extent to which the internal situation of Bangladesh lies on the secularism of its own constitution.
The uproar of the religious community in the wake of the recent events in France is surely a matter of deep concern. It goes without saying how dangerous the chaos that these religious people spread without taking the overall economy of the country into consideration is. The Jatiya Party, which is in the parliament in Bangladesh, spoke in favour of these groups.
The main export of Bangladesh is ready-made garments, and its main buyers are European countries, including France. Our apparel sector can be described as the major source of earning foreign currency as 85% of our export trade earns foreign currency.
Another religious nationalist, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's opposition party, called for a boycott of garments made in Bangladesh. In Europe, however, such religious nationalists did not get the opportunity to make an immediate impact.
Meanwhile, Trump displaying a Bible came to the fore in the US election. In the end, however, it was proved that Trump's display of the Bible had no effect on Biden's victory. Biden's victory is a new addition to the history of the United States, and the world has seen the first female vice president of this superpower.
This landmark event took place 55 years after women gained the right to vote, although in this case, American religious nationalists were quite active in spreading racist propaganda. Kamala Harris' mother was born in India. At the age of 19, her mother left Tamil Nadu and immigrated to America.
However, China is quite far away from this theology that spread in different countries even though there is a religious nationalism crisis in Xinjiang, a territory that it controls, and Tibet. It can be said that there is no presence of religious nationalists anywhere in the country, except on the mainland and in those two territories. The control of these religious nationalists is the driving force of China.
The peasant revolution was led by Mao in the last century, and mainland China remained free of religious nationalism as the role of religion in the society was set in 1949. China's neighbours – such as Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan, and above all, the countries in this region of Asia – have not prioritised religion in their societies with Mongolian ethnicity. Like European countries, they have left religious beliefs to individuals.
India and China started two new journeys at about the same time – in 1947 and 1949. At the time, the economies of the two countries were almost the same but the population of China was higher.
China lost five crore people to the three-year famine of 1959-1961 when Mao was still alive. India had never faced such a situation but since its birth, the country lagged China in almost all aspects in its clashes with Pakistan, i.e., the religious nationalists.
The overall economy of China and India, or all other social statistics, are not comparable. The key reasons why India lagged behind is religious nationalism.
Monowarul Haque is a political analyst.