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Letters

Role of Religion in Democracy
Has there any role of religion in democracy? Religion and democracy are two absolutely separate aspect human society. There are distinct manifestations of both. There is ever any relation between these two. Separate practices and systems are involved with these. Religion is only the faith of rituals and morals which determine value and behavior of an individual or a group may be small or large. Physically and psychologically, it creates a wall of separation among various religious groups. Although, theoretically speaking, it never teaches to hate and disregard other believers. Unfortunately, it has become the prime cause of conflict and violence among different religious groups throughout the globe.

On the other hand, democracy is significantly a political and economic system where every individual has own right to participate in a government regardless of his/her religious faith. It is a systematic process of ruling a country by the people themselves, and they participate wholeheartedly in the development planning and decision-making process of their elected government. Their elected representatives are their sole authority to speak for them in appropriate houses of a democratic government.

Surprisingly in Indian democracy, religion plays vital role to elect government and it desperately uses and controls the function of a government. It has become the prime agenda of election, development planning and decision-making of a government. It is no more limited only during election time. It is an agenda/issue of everyday because of captive vote bank. Political parties in democracy are using as bad and serious weapon for fulfillment of singular purpose of the vote.Religion has become a cruel weapon in a secular country. Political parties are deliberately violating the preamble of the constitution of India.

Here religion and democracy have become a supplement and complement of a government. And, as if, religion has become the main stay of Indian democracy. Question arises how such a government would ensure and safeguard country's unity and secularity?

We are worried about the future of our democracy. When our people would realise the game of the political parties?
Harasankar Adhikari, Kolkata
[email protected]

Plight of Political Prisoners in West Bengal
I am very much pained to read in the issue of May 5-11, 2019 Frontier about the plight of political prisoners in West Bengal, and of course reading about Sadanala Rama Krishna and his co-accused in NIA case were forced to engage a state lawyer is a reflection on Telugu land rights movement also.

Only recently we read in a newspaper that Patita Pavan Haldar and two other political prisoners after 14 years languishing in prisons were acquitted by High Court, Kolkatta and felt very happy, though Chatradhar Mahato, Prasun, Tinku (Venkateswar Reddy—Telugu Deepak?) and 84 political prisoners altogether are still languishing in different jails in West Bengal is a dark picture.

West Bengal is the only state which fought and achieved officially the political prisoner status or recognition, though slowly the recognition of numbers coming down and many new conditions are being imposed. West Bengal was always a fore runner and an example, particularly from the time of lifting the Emergency for the struggles for release of political prisoners and we need to take inspiration from them.

While AILRC conference took place in Kolkatta in 1988, I was in Secunderabad Prison in Ramnagar Conspiracy Case (TADA) in solitary confinement and Azizul Haque was there then languishing in jail for 18 years. My daughters and near and dear who attended the conference on return reported to me that the conference hall and rally reverberated with slogans for the release of political prisoners including both of us. I only wish those days will come back.
Varavara Rao, Yerawada Central Jail, Pune, June 30, 2019

More on Asim Som
In a memorial service on Asim Som, held on 29th June in Suresh Bhavan, Ballygunge, speakers recalled traits of his personality and how as a colleague in AIR and Basumati, he used to encourage and inspire them. He was born in Gauhati in 1929 and would have completed 90 years in a few days. Matriculating from Assam Board, he came over to Calcutta and enrolled for Chemistry honours but later changed to Bengali in Presidency, in which he passed MA too. He died in his younger daughter's house at 17 Palit Street, Ballygunge on 13th June. In his last book, Bishay Bibidh he narrated many experiences of his life.
Bibekananda Ray

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Frontier
Vol. 52, No. 4, Jul 28 -Aug 3, 2019