Hence I can say absolutely: no politician can become religious unless he drops politics. Then he is not a politician, and what I am saying does not refer to him.
You have also asked: can a religious man become a politician? That is even more impossible than the first because there is no reason at all for him to become one. If inferiority is the cause that drives you into ambition, then how can a religious man become a politician? There is no driving force. But once in a while it has happened in the past, and it may happen in the future, so let me say this to you.
In the past it was possible because the world was dominated by the monarchy. Once in a while, the king’s son might turn out to be a poet. It is very difficult for a poet to become the president of America; who is going to listen to him? People think he is crazy, and he will look like a hippie. He cannot shape up himself, and he is trying to shape up the whole world?
But in the past it was possible because of the monarchy. The last emperor of India, from whom the Britishers took over, was a poet – that is why Britishers could take over India – Bahadurshah Zafar, one of the greatest Urdu poets. Now, it is not possible for a poet to become an emperor; it was just accidental that he was born a son of an emperor.
The enemy forces were entering the capital and he was writing poetry. When his prime minister knocked on the door and said, “It is absolutely urgent, because the enemies have entered the capital,” Bahadurshah said, “Don’t disturb me. I am writing just the last four lines. I think I will be able to finish these four lines before they come here. Don’t disturb.” And he started writing. He finished his poem; that was more important for him.
And he was such a simple and good man; he came out and he said, “What is this nonsense of killing people? If you want the country you take it, what is the fuss about? I was burdened with all the anxieties, now you can be burdened with all the anxieties. Leave me alone.”
But they would not leave him alone because they were politicians and generals. To leave this man in New Delhi was dangerous: he may collect his forces, he may have resources – nobody knows. They took him from India into Burma; he died in Rangoon. In his last poem that he wrote from his deathbed, he said, “How poor I am. I cannot get even six feet in my beloved’s street.” He is talking about New Delhi, which he loved, which he had created; and he was a poet so he made the city as beautiful as possible. He said, “I cannot get even six feet to be buried in my own beloved’s street. How unfortunate Zafar” – Zafar was his poetic name – “How unfortunate, Zafar, you are.”