It is amazing to see uncanny similarities between the Hindu religious right in India and the Christian religious right in the US. Just like the cow belt in India – there is a Bible belt in the US. I had a ringside view of the rise of Hindu religious right during Babri Masjid – Ram Janmabhoomi movement in India and now I am having a ringside view of the rise and rise of Christian religious right in the US. Here are some strikingly uncanny similarities:
There was a flood of TV serials based on Hindu mythologies during 1990s starting with “The Passion of the Christ” something similar has been happening in the US. NBC has a major mini-series called Revelations based on the book of Revelation. A major motion picture on Da-Vinci code is under production.
There was a lot of talk in India in the 1990s that the predominant culture of India is guided by Hinduism and secularism has done irreparable harm to underlying ethos and culture of the country. In the US – there is a lot of talk nowadays that the country has been founded on Judeo-Christian values and how courts and secular press is diluting that culture of the country.
Politicians in India used wedge issues revolving around religion in the 1990s to get votes. Of course the prime example was Babri Masjid – Ram Janmabhoomi issue. Apart from that there were a variety of other issues like the Shah Bano case, Uniform Civil Code etc. that were used to fire up people and get votes. In the US, there are issues like installing ten commandments in courts, Terry Schiavo case, abortions and gay rights that are being used to fire up people to get votes.
I am sure that someone far more analytical than me who majors in these kind of things can take these two time periods in the history of two greatest democracies in the world and just bring out these striking similarities more than I have and point out how religion without reason can lead to colossal mistakes.