My friends often countered this with the fact that while Indian masses already know your religion from your surname, they also _assume_ that you are a "believer" in a higher power. That if it came out that a politician was agnostic or atheist, they would never win in India.
Well, the cat (some cats, at least) are out of the bag! The ToI reports that as many as six cabinet ministers took their oaths of office only on the constitution, no "help me God". From the article:
Six cabinet ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's new team are 'non-believers'. These ministers "solemnly affirmed" that they would bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution while taking oath today.
The Prime Minister and 13 of his ministers took the oath in the name of God.
This who didn’t, are A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde, M Veerappa Moily, S Jaipal Reddy and C P Joshi, a first-timer in the cabinet.
The other ministers who took oath in the name of God include Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Vayalar Ravi, S M Krishna, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni, B K Handique and Anand Sharma.
Given that our home minster is a non-believer, does that mean that God won't bless India?
In any case, this agnostic feels that it is a good sign for the country when a politician can openly acknowledge his lack of belief in a supernatural power, while still stressing their intention to do their duty in accordance with our governing document; one that didn't come to someone in a vision, or is not comprised of God's own words, but is a living, changing, evolving entity, much like our rich culture.
Amen to that!