My answer to the Quora question: Why do Communists hate Hinduism?
Communism is the political version of Marxism, the ideology propounded by Karl Marx. It is inherently atheistic and as a result, stands in opposition to all religions and all gods. Marx famously said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”
In countries where Hinduism is a relatively small slice of the religious population pie, Communism stands in opposition to Islam and Christianity also.
In China, where Communism has been the state ideology for a 60 years now, religion has been generally pushed into a corner by the powers that be. There have even been attempts to dictate the way people practice their religions there.
The Catholic Church actually has a catechism condemning Communism and Capitalism in the same sentence.
Communists in India have made the dominant religious identity — Hinduism — their target. And because Communist political parties need allies to reach positions of power, they ally themselves with parties whose stated purpose is to stand against “Hindu” parties. This is why one often sees Communists sharing the stage with “secular” Muslims and Christians.
Communism’s opposition to Hinduism therefore, needs to be looked at through the lens of political power. It helps to be aware of the bigger picture.
Communists “hate” Hinduism, not because they have something specific against Hinduism, but because in the Indian context, Hinduism represents religion. And opposing religion is what an atheistic ideology does.
It is interesting however, to note that this is not always the case. In West Bengal, presumably due to power equations, Communists and Marxists have been known to organise Durga Puja celebrations. Swami Vivekananda, one of the heroes of modern Hindus, is quite admired among modern Communists as well because of his message of social equality.
Things are never black and white.