The chaotic background of Indian Lok Sabha Election reflects the binary of religion and public domain. Unlike common discourse, where the religious scholars are ‘encouraged’ to associate with media, India has an always-already interlinked media-religion platform. However, it is important to note how the connection is not encouragement in India, where media is enmeshed in religion, with religious scholars in limbo.
Bill Ibelle in his article, Northeastern will train religious scholars to work effectively with the media, writes,
“When it comes to writing about religion for the general public, the media and religious scholars are equally at a loss. Both sides struggle to convey cultural insights in a way that won’t fan the flames of a cultural war”.
He emphasises on the need to make scholars of religion more receptive to the general public. Therefore, Northeastern University started training to allow religious scholars to work with the media.
The attempt to galvanise the academic with the practicality of media at University level is appreciable in opening up the ivory tower. But the politics of hatred in the practical arena dismisses the polemics of academia right away. The politics of hatred in India plays through the discrimination of caste, class and gender, deeply rooted in religious ethics and myths. Religion in India becomes the driving force of politics, academia and the general public. In the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Bhartiya Janata Party is undeniably non-secular in its Hindutva ideology. Such ‘one- religion’ ideology framed in a country known for its diversity undermines the general public with different identity and opinion. Certainly, religion is directly connected to the general public and media but the connection is through the power and ruling ideology. Nowhere does the religious scholarship get an anchor. At this juncture, the difference between religion and religious scholar needs an understanding. While religion is an imaginative ideology of a group of similar people, religious scholars trace the history of different lived realities guided by culture and politics. While one homogenises different religion and beliefs, the other recognises the existence of diversity.
It is important to increase the engagement of religious scholars with media and the general public. This picture will show progression only when the politics of religion is removed. It has an imperialist hold in assigning superiority to one religion over every other reality. It is like the burning sun that parches every leaf from different trees.